Your Body Is a Battleax: Against the Weaponization of Gay Christian Witness, Plus More From Canada

So last weekend I got to visit Our Neighbor to the North, the magical land where when you say, "Toller Cranston," people actually say, "Oh, the figure skater?" I learned many things there. Milk in bags is a REAL THING, people, it's not just something made up for Gordon Korman fanfiction! Here are some notes, including bonus #CanCon in case there's a subsidy for that.# I was there to do a longer version of my usual shtik about paths of love for gay people in the Church. (BOOK ME, I RESONATE … [Read more...]

The Unimaginable Atheist: Aleteia Took Down My “Loser Letters” Review; You Can Read It Here

Late last month Aleteia asked me to review "The Loser Letters" at CUA. I ended up giving it a negative review. They have now pulled that review from the website, which they've explained here. (I should say that I like Elizabeth a lot & realize she is trying to manage many conflicting demands and impulses.) I'm posting it largely because CUA chose to highlight the production and required all or most of their freshman class to attend, and I think that's a serious mistake for reasons I tried to … [Read more...]

The Long Halloween: Some quick movie reviews

The House at the End of Time: Twisty Venezuelan family/haunted-house horror about an older woman coming out of prison and sorting through what happened on the fateful night when her husband died and her son disappeared. A compassionate priest assigned to visit her (she's sort of in house arrest in the haunted house) helps her unravel the mystery--and the final twist about the priest's own history is genuinely moving. This is an emotionally-sincere, spooky film, and its climax is an extended … [Read more...]

The Unimaginable Atheist: I review “The Loser Letters”

and tell CUA they made a big mistake:“The Loser Letters,” Mary Eberstadt’s tale of an ex-Christian’s attempt to improve the New Atheism via perky blog posts from rehab, is making its dramatic premiere at the Catholic University of America. The play, adapted from Eberstadt’s novel by Jeffrey Fiske, has three major elements. One of these is brilliant and charming; one is powerful but laced with melodrama; and one so underthought that it’s degrading to the audience. Unfortunately, I’ve named t … [Read more...]

Doomed Queen and Beaten Champion: Concert review, Tristen & the Mountain Goats

A few weeks ago I got a chance to see the Mountain Goats in concert. Let me tell you to do this thing if you get the chance. The Mt Goats is sort of one guy, John Darnielle, and the people he gets to help him make narrative, terrifically-structured indie music; I've yapped about their stuff here and here among other places. I super love them but am wary of live music for whatever dumb reason, so when I finally saw them at Calvin College, I was totally blown away. Darnielle was losing his voice … [Read more...]

Sad Bible Songs: I review Harrison Lemke’s “Fertile Crescent Blues”

at First Things: "Christian pop is unrelentingly cheerful.” That was Leah Libresco's conclusion when she analyzed the frequency of positive and negative terms (“grace” vs. “sin,” for example, or “love” vs. “fear”) in Billboard's Christian pop top-50. Grace and love and life and light are all great things. But if your soul needs a smoke break from the endless Christian pep rally, a lay-me-down instead of yet another pick-me-up, Harrison Lemke's beautiful new album Fertile Crescent Blues is what y … [Read more...]

“On Abstaining from Communion”: Poignant, Funny Post from Max Lindemann

on a recurring theme here: ...As the episode with the baffled usher illustrates, some people simply aren’t used to non-communicants. During one early-morning Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan, I approached the celebrant with my arms crossed. (This was before I had been properly briefed on how barbarous an abuse of the liturgy abuse this constitutes.) The poor priest tried to thrust the Host into my mouth, forcing me to block his hand with the crux of my arms and clamp my mouth s … [Read more...]