A Clarification on My “You Don’t Have to Grok Natural Law” Shtik

(I'll take any excuse to jam both "grok" and "shtik" into the same headline.)Now and then I find myself saying that you can accept Catholic teaching on [whatever, usually about gay stuff somehow] without being persuaded by or caring much about natural law theory. E.g. in the book I say, "This book is not a theological treatise defending the Catholic Church's teaching on sexuality. I admittedly don't always understand that teaching, and I don't think you need to understand every single … [Read more...]

Benedict Option Conclusion: Places in the Heart

This is the final part of my series on Leah Libresco's discussion group on "The Benedict Option" aka living a more communal or "thicker" Christian life. Parts one, two, three, four.This is gonna be a pretty rambling conclusion loosely linked by the theme of "place." I've found it most helpful to view the discussion of "the Benedict Option" as a way of raising fruitful questions, not an attempt to provide a One Best Model. (It's about having more-Christian problems, not finding solutions--or … [Read more...]

Are You Drinking With Me, Jesus?: Benedict Options and Recovery Communities

This is part of a series on the "Benedict Option." Part one, part two, part three.I mentioned that I was struck by the number of people at Libresco's "Benedict Option" discussion who were in recovery themselves, or who had some close contact with recovery communities. I don't want to make too much of this, really--I know more people are in recovery than I realize, and Leah's thing was pretty much the opposite of a representative sample. But if we're wildly speculating on what people with … [Read more...]

Benedict Option, Part Three: It Takes a Hyattsvillage

One of the neat things about Libresco's "Benedict Option" gathering (for what this actually was, see here and here) was that we had a few people from the growing Catholic neighborhood in Hyattsville, MD. This is a little place on the Green Line (yay), an attempt to build a community where Catholic life is visible, normal, and beautiful. You can get a taste of it from a profile at Fare Forward which included this description: The community’s power for such corporal works of mercy became t … [Read more...]

A Geek Guide to God

Ave Maria Press came up with a terrific logo for Leah Libresco's new book, Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers That Even I Can Offer. Against a starswept blue background, there's a diagram of an atom with circling molecules--and the molecules form the beads of a rosary. I love the science-fiction flavor of this image; and I love the way it captures one of the greatest strengths of Leah's book, her ability to craft memorable and poetic analogies for the experience of learning to pray as a … [Read more...]

The Benedict Option, Part Two: This Time It’s Personal

Part one aka What the heck is this thing? is here.At Leah's, we discussed all three points on my more-individual-to-more-immersive spectrum. From the first point we noted that DC has flourishing communities not only around the Dominicans but also the Franciscans; hit me up eve_tushnet@yahoo.com if you want more on the latter. Libresco's your go-to person for the former. We wrote down which people lived/worked where, and planned to meet up for Eucharistic adoration or daily Mass, followed by … [Read more...]

The Benedict Option, Part One: Build a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul

On Friday night I went over to Libresco's to talk about "the Benedict Option" with a group of mostly-Christians. ("Mostly Christian is partly pagan!" --Miracle Max describes all of us, sometimes.) It was a wide-ranging discussion so I'm not giving you just one summary post but a short series on how deracinated, distracted, economically and vocationally and psychologically unstable cosmopolites (God bless us, every one) can create spaces where Christ is easier to see.First, what is the thing? … [Read more...]


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