Musical Rosary #15–The Crowning of Mary, Queen of Heaven

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. This mystery takes me back to what I said about the Scourging at the Pillar. I am not the Queen of my own heart; I am not, if I'm doing it right, the captain of my soul. I'm not the fantasy character who was raised as a mere pigkeeper but learns that she has a secret destiny to save the world and then rule it. Our task in life is to discern whom to serve and … [Read more...]

A 1987 of the Heart: I Rewatch “Less Than Zero”

...because of course I do.So this used to be on Netflix streaming, but I didn't tell you about it then, because what am I, your butler? Anyway, you can still get it through Netflix Delayed Gratification. The first time I watched LTZ was December 2011, about a month before I had my last drink (so far). I don't know if it was what I do for a living--the compulsively analytical eye of the person who gets engulfed by art for money--or the emotional numbness and batteredness of active addiction, … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #6–Agony in the Garden

He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." This one's really short and straightforward because there's a song which more or less perfectly captures the acceptance & surrender which this mystery is mostly about for me. I already wrote some stuff about the Mountain Goats' We Shall All Be Healed and it's not like you guys were ever going to escape this rosary series without SOME … [Read more...]

The Mask of Obedience

Last year I wrote this really scattershot, unsatisfying post about "The Beauty of Obedience," rescuing obedience as a positive term and a category you're allowed to care about. I recognize that that post was not the tightest thing I've ever written, and in fact, I'm still kind of flailing around trying to talk about what a positive vision of obedience might look like, but here are yet more extremely scattered thoughts.I've been thinking about that terrific phrase, "the mask of command," and … [Read more...]

King of Cups: Rereading Tim Powers’s “Last Call”

Fantasist (and mackerel-snapper, if we're counting) Tim Powers does high-concept tales in which hard-bitten characters struggle to learn to love one another and escape complex, unforgiving systems of magical dark forces. Last Call is probably my second-favorite of his fantasies of salvage--the greatest is Declare aka "the one where demons fight the Cold War"--and as I reread it I loved it even more than I did the first time around. The high concept this time is "war for succession among the gods … [Read more...]

Good Friday: Anglican Abp Justin Welby on “Getting the Answer You Didn’t Want”

Powerful stuff. … [Read more...]

St Makarii of Optino, quoted in “The Orthodox Way”

[St Isaac the Syrian] also says, "God's grace comes of itself, suddenly, without our seeing it approach. It comes when the place is clean." Therefore, carefully, diligently, constantly clean the place; sweep it with the broom of humility. … [Read more...]


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