By the Light of the Cross: Christian Wiman’s “My Bright Abyss”

What makes Jesus credible--at least for those of us who are Christians? The answers are as diverse as the wild array of weird Christian spiritualities. What stood out to me when I converted was the violence and public humiliation of the Crucifixion. The lurid, tabloid violence of Jesus' death seemed to me to meet, in some way, the reality of a brutal world. If there could be reconciliation it would need to be a horrific reconciliation; and so that's what we got.I didn't notice this at the … [Read more...]

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I Don’t Believe in Modern Love (But I Do Love “Modern Manners”)

Recently revisited Modern Manners: An Etiquette Guide for Rude People, my favorite PJ O'Rourke. I think what makes it work is the mix of elements. It's mostly corny humor, like the extended segment on food fights ("Use a raw oyster to show someone what a French kiss would be like if she'd married a reptile"). There's also a lot of witticism: a lot of peppy, preppy cynicism. But mixed into all that there is just enough genuine insight (the bit about how modern people have replaced love with … [Read more...]

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From “Modern Manners”

A brief predivorce period is favored because it's best for final separation to take place before the romance is gone from a marriage. Otherwise the couple are likely to have no regrets. (Having no regrets is a common, even popular, modern condition. It is nevertheless to be avoided. Having no regrets is what robs modern alcoholism of its poignancy. It has also ruined modern verse.) … [Read more...]

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From PJ O’Rourke, “Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People”

Heroin and the other "downs," natural and synthetic, are not polite. These drugs effectively eliminate the painful aspect of existence, which, nowadays, is almost all of it. Pain, such as a pain in the ass, is the thing that commonly alerts us to the presence of other people. Interaction with others is what manners are all about. Don't take "downs." Try to be "down on life" instead. … [Read more...]

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“The Reactionary Mind”: Ross Douthat Gives Me an Excuse

to push you toward the late virago Florence King (I'd start here) and also to suggest Charles Johnson as someone whose weird little parables expressed a lot of reactionary insights from a black American perspective. Also, follow Don Colacho on Twitter....Our intelligentsia obviously does have a conservative wing, mostly clustered in think tanks rather than on campuses. But little of this conservatism really deserves the name reaction. What liberals attack as “reactionary” on the American rig … [Read more...]

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“Book Recommendation: Poor Relief in England 1350 – 1600”: The Dorothy Option

relevance! ...McIntosh also takes care to outline the change in attitude toward the poor as she finds it in legal verbiage. Rather than charity as a meritorious act, the new laws concerning the poor become much more concerned with control of aid recipients, placing much more emphasis on behavioral conditions the poor must meet, and implying that poverty was less a result of misfortune and more a moral short-coming on the part of the needy, an attitude McIntosh connects with the Puritan … [Read more...]

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The Three False Gods of Marriage, Freedom, And Morality

So I spent a long weekend in Holland, MI, the heart of Dutch Reform USA and home to Hope College. I was there to talk about Gay Catholic Whatnot, in a variety of settings--a mix of public and private, etc--organized by the St Benedict Forum, the college's small but growing papist posse. It was a fantastic experience. I'd esp like to note the way aesthetic concerns surfaced throughout the trip. Hope College people really care about sacred architecture and music; the chapel service I spoke at had … [Read more...]

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