“Order, Chaos, Peace”: I review a biography of an architect of conservatism

for The American Conservative: Back when I was involved in the late-’90s conservative student movement at Yale, I noticed something. The libertarians, whose philosophy celebrated individual choice and experimental living, were normal and in control of their lives. The traditionalists were disorderly drunks who got kicked out of things. Libertarian pastimes included knitting and swing dancing; trads held contests to see which of them could punch his own face the hardest. (Always bet on the T … [Read more...]

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Sex Ed in the Renaissance Tavern

Over the weekend I drove to a wedding with a bunch of strangers. We got to talking about our memories of middle and high school. One of us went to either a small-town public school or a private religious school (can't remember which), one to a single-sex Catholic school, and two of us to an intensely progressive private school. And none of us had had any kind of sex ed that struck us as even marginally relevant or insightful.So look, if fools didn't rush in, would we even need middle-school … [Read more...]

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“My story: Catholic, Lesbian, Celibate, & the Journey to Self-Acceptance”: I’m in the Deseret News

doin' my thing! (a much more personal, less Charles Williams-y version of my Charles Williams piece): ...For a long time after my conversion I focused almost exclusively on accepting church teaching. But there is another struggle for acceptance, which for many gay Christians will be even more challenging: the struggle for self-acceptance.The self too is a gift from God. Your life, with all its weirdnesses and inexplicable longings, is a gift that it is your duty to receive with gratitude, … [Read more...]

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“Celibacy, Self-Acceptance, And the Extra Inkling”: I’m at First Things

readin': I’ve just finished Charles Williams's 1937 novel Descent into Hell, which was recommended to me by a couple of Catholic friends. Williams might be called “the extra Inkling.” Everybody knows J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but far fewer people remember the other, less aggressively punctuated members of the club, including the philosopher Owen Barfield and Tolkien's son Christopher.Williams is the best-known of these auxiliary Inklings, and his writing is indeed what the youth of toda … [Read more...]

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From Christian Wiman, “My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer”

Abundance and destitution are two facets of the one face of God, and to be spiritually alive in the fullest sense is to recall one when we are standing squarely in the midst of the other. … [Read more...]

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Unchosen Blessings: Gay Celibacy and Unplanned Pregnancy

Someone who knows I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center sent me a recent article from Medicine Anthropology Theory, "Blessing unintended pregnancy: Religion and the discourse of women's agency in public health." It's a qualitative study of the reproductive histories and practical spirituality of women at a homeless shelter in the Southeast. The things the women say really sound like things our clients say; but what struck me most was how much of their experiences resonated with the religious … [Read more...]

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“We Know That We Are Going to Be Killed”: An Interview with an Iraqi Priest

at First Things: CoppageDid you have prayers that you were relying on?Fr. BaziMy prayer was on the chain itself. How much I hated that chain, because they tied me. I used to pray by that chain, pray the rosary. With much praying I became calm. I really became stronger, sometimes I was aggressive with them. When they asked me questions, sometimes I was laughing, I asked them, “What kind of stupid question was that?” Sometimes I felt that they were captured by me, I was not captured by … [Read more...]

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