“Crawl of Faith”: Me at Acculturated

on Balanchine's "Prodigal Son" ballet: I’m glad nobody told me anything about George Balanchine’s choreography for The Prodigal Son before I watched it. The librettist, Boris Kochno, made a lot of changes to the Biblical story, and all of these changes sound like terrible ideas. more--from my series on portrayals of penitence. I really like how this turned out. … [Read more...]

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Seven Quick Takes… Almost Friday

Yo. Let's see if this is actually seven or not!"Bullying Prevention Programs May Have Negative Impact." To me the key thing here is the recommendation to focus on "systemic change within the schools," rather than turning bullying into a Thing which you've set aside and spotlit. If you're instilling students with respect for one another and for the teachers, and if teachers and other authority figures aren't tacitly approving of bullying, you are a lot less likely to get to the point where … [Read more...]

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“Hans Urs von Balthasar on Christian Defenselessness”

at Mockingbird: Of all things, defenselessness and, from the natural human perspective, weakness (and, last but not least, anxiety) now become the essential prerequisites for Christian fortitude. Right where I become serious about baring my heart and my life, the real power (which is not mine but God’s) radiates most purely. ‘But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show us that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.’ We are oppressed on every side but are not made anxio … [Read more...]

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The Words of Love in Whispers and the Acts of Love in Screams

A postscript: It's entirely possible to explain Christian morality to someone who does not know that God loves her. It's just that your words won't mean what you wanted them to mean. Even and maybe especially if she accepts the truth of the moral precepts, the conclusions she draws will be profoundly opposed to the Gospel. If she has never been tempted in this area or has overcome profound temptation (so far) then she may receive your moral teaching with self-righteousness; if she is especially … [Read more...]

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Francis’s Conservatism (Uh, Sort Of)

I finally had the chance to read that really fascinating interview with the Pope. And the first thing that really struck me was a passage I'd been expecting to basically skim: Francis's description of what it means to be a Jesuit. I ended up thinking that, at least from one perspective, this and the discussions of art were the most important elements of the interview.I mean, first of all I do love that he cops to loving the Jesuits' discipline despite/because "I am a really, really … [Read more...]

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Bedrooms and Bootstraps

Last weekend I went to a conference put on by the Archdiocese of Washington, "Speaking of Love: Answering Tough Questions About Human Sexuality." It was geared toward youth ministers, teachers, and other people who work with teens and young adults, so it was a window into what the AD-Dubs thinks young people need to hear about sex, marriage and chastity. I had, I guess, three basic problems with the conference's approach, which I will present in no especial order. (I went to the keynote … [Read more...]

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“Consolations”

of being gay and Christian. Sequel to "Desolations" of ditto. By Brent Bailey, and again quite powerful: 1. It made my faith more complicated: From day one, following Jesus has almost always benefitted my life. I grew up in the Bible Belt, where a certain amount of religiosity lends credibility, and I received scholarships to attend Bible college and study ministry. For most of my growing up years, there was never a reason for me to consider not being a Christian, so my decision to be a … [Read more...]

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