“Their Wives and Their Wealth Have Made Them So Mute”: Reading Waugh’s biographies of Campion & Knox

Recently finished Two Lives, which encloses in one volume Evelyn Waugh's biographies of St Edmund Campion, a martyr of the English Reformation, and Ronald Knox, a semirandom priest. You should absolutely read the Campion biography. It's passionate and the prose hangs in garlands, with thorns tipped in blood. It isn't swoony or silly (like the sentence I just wrote), it isn't sentimental or polemical although this is Waugh so he does stick a shiv in occasionally; in general it's crisp and acrid, … [Read more...]

“Beyond Religious Life and Marriage”: My Epic Piece for “America” on Nonmarital Christian Kinship

in some of its many forms: Tim Otto found the Church of the Sojourners in San Francisco almost by accident. When he was a lonely little kid, one of their members, an artist, tried to teach him to paint. (“I was an utter failure,” he remembers.) When he grew up, he began to see in Sojourners, a Christian intentional community, a form of discipleship and an “art of love” that he admired and needed. more! I may as well say that I like the ending of this piece. Every time I do this stuff I try to d … [Read more...]

More Sex Ed Thoughts Plus Two Disreputable Songs

I'm not especially satisfied with that post I did about sex ed, and this email exchange gets at part of the reason.A reader: This wouldn't normally clear my "worth emailing about" threshold, but you specifically solicited comments, and I do have a question.When you discussed pros and cons for the ownership framework, one of the things you liked was the way it helped the student relate to other actors. The examples, though, were people doing things that were pretty obviously bad in … [Read more...]

“Who Rents, Who Buys, Who Tells Your Story?”: I review “Little Men”

for First Things: Little Men, the new gentrification drama from writer/director Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange), has a rich premise and two excellent young stars. Its thinness—its inability to satisfy the expectations it sets up—comes from Sachs's unwillingness to explore both sides of the class divide in his double story.Little Men is about the sudden, deep friendship between two thirteen-year-old boys: Jacob (Theo Taplitz), a yearning, driftwood Manhattanite who wants to be an artist, and Ant … [Read more...]

Kids Under 12 Drink Free: I review the “AbFab” movie & “Bojack Horseman”

together! The third season of Bojack Horseman arrived the same day the long-awaited Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie opened here in D.C. So audiences who want to watch appetitive people careening through aimless lives have two starkly opposed portrayals of antiheroes who gobble drugs and guzzle booze, corrupt minors, and abase themselves for fame and maybe kill people.AbFab is the simpler pleasure. The movie plays like an extended episode of the TV show, in which lifelong best … [Read more...]

“Inside Japan’s Booming Rent-a-Friend Industry”: The Week

isn't the "ohh those kooky Japanese!" story I feared. All the many reasons you might hire a friend: There's a word in Japanese, gaman, that translates roughly as "stoic forbearance in the face of the unbearable." It's a deep-seated Japanese value, this idea that you suck it up no matter what. A lot has been happening lately. Anxiety and depression spiked after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The country itself is shrinking, its population plummeting and aging rapidly. And there's the apparently … [Read more...]

“Christian Love and Kinship Outside Marriage: Thoughts from a Gay Catholic”

My talk at Calvin College is available at Livestream and YouTube (below):I thought this one went well. Oh man though, I'm so glad I got new glasses about a week after this was filmed. Look at how far I have to push these down the bridge of my nose to read. … [Read more...]