A Short Review of “The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women’s Movement”

Going into this book I knew basically nothing about the beguines--not even how you pronounce it. (BEG-een, BEY-geen or buh-GEEN, according to dictionary.com.) All I really wanted from Laura Swan's short popular historical survey was an introduction to a vocation that has been almost entirely forgotten: laywomen, sometimes itinerant but sometimes living in communities from two or three people to a miniature city of over a thousand women, ministering to their neighbors and developing a unique … [Read more...]

Bad Catholics, Anxious Christians

A very small thought about this review of several "young evangelical memoirs."So first, there's a lot of good stuff in that review, even if Jake Meador is not quite as sympathetic to the authors as I think he thinks he is. (Yes, I am reviewing a review, because the Internet is bad.) I really liked the discussion of performance vs "putting on Christ"--cf the mask of obedience. Liked the line, "The problem [scandal and its discrediting of religious authority] creates is that religious … [Read more...]

Four Kinds of Argument on “True Fulfillment” for Gay Christians

Tim Otto (I reviewed his book here) asks a question about those of us who call for a revival of devoted, intimate same-sex love within the historic Christian sexual ethic: [I]f Wesley is encouraging people of the same sex to “go all the way” in spiritual, emotional, and intellectual ways, why not “go all the way” with the body as well?…I’m curious as to how Wesley would respond to concerns that by singling out physical intimacy as wrong, his proposal is dualist or even gnostic. (from here, … [Read more...]

“The Consolations of Friendship”: Intriguing Theological Exploration

by Wesley Hill: ...Perhaps this is at the heart of why Christians came to celebrate it. Friendship is a token or participation in that divine lavishness. When I travel overseas to visit a friend, spending more money than I have on plane fare and gifts that I’ve carefully selected in light of the little hobbies and secret interests of my friend that I am lucky enough to know about, I’m doing so not in order to guarantee a specific response or to meet a need. I’m doing these things, rather, becau … [Read more...]

What Does Your Local Crisis Pregnancy Center Need?

I've been volunteering as a crisis pregnancy counselor for a little over a decade, and my friends often ask me what they can give us or do for us. It's Lent so maybe you're thinking about what you can give to women and families in need. Here are a few thoughts ranging in commitment level from very low to very high.First, obviously, the easiest way to know what your local center needs is to ask them. (I didn't do that for this post because I'm not actually going to donate anything so I didn't … [Read more...]

“Who Are the Gay Evangelicals?”: Molly Worthen

in the NY Times:...Exodus’s collapse was a media spectacle. It was a huge blow to those who insist that same-sex attraction can be “cured,” and an encouragement to the growing number of evangelicals, particularly millennials, who support L.G.B.T. rights. But some young Christians resist the notion that embracing queer sexuality as an identity — not a disease — permits them to embrace homosexual relationships. These dissenters proudly call themselves gay or queer or bisexual. But they have tu … [Read more...]

If You Don’t Honor Celibacy…

This is a more tentative section of my "three false gods" presentation. It's about what we lose when marriage crowds out the practice of celibacy.Catholics have marriage as an image of Heaven--the wedding feast of the Lamb. But we also have celibacy as an image of the life of Heaven, where there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage. Putting marriage in its proper place means not only renewing other forms of "horizontal" love, but also a rediscovery of the beauty and passion of … [Read more...]