Fra Angelico and the Sex-Hating Church

A really rambling post.Now that my book is out I've been doing a lot of interviews, and in many of them I've been asked to tell my conversion story. A huge part of my conversion involved realizing that the Catholic Church wasn't what I'd thought it was. For example, I had this image that the Church opposed and rejected the human body--the beauty of the body, the joy of the senses--and denigrated all sensual beauty and pleasure, from the beauty of a Japanese maple to the ecstasy of sex. (I'm … [Read more...]

“How Should Secular People Approach Sacred Art?”: The Best Essay of Its Kind

I've read a ton of these and Pelagia Horgan's appreciation of Fra Angelico is the best by far. Give it time to build: The loveliest image I know is Fra Angelico’s ‘Entry of the Blessed into Paradise’, a scene from his painting The Last Judgment of 1431. In it, the blessed, just risen from their graves, gather together in a flowering garden to join hands with angels and dance into the light of heaven. There’s a scene in D H Lawrence’s novel The Rainbow (1915) when Anna Brangwen sees a copy of the … [Read more...]

What Whiskey Goes With Cheese?: I read “The Spectacular Now”

This is just a quick note to say that I read Tim Tharp's Spectacular Now, the YA novel on which the movie was based, and I really enjoyed it. It's the tale of a high-school cutup and ladies' man who's also a barely-functional alcoholic. He's a generous, sweet-natured guy, fairly open about his self-deceptions, and a total cheeseball. The book is sometimes preachy in an authorial way, which I didn't care for, but most of its occasional swerves into preachiness are much more organic--high-school … [Read more...]

Art as a Vocation: Gay and Catholic Book Extra!

What do we want? Eve's book! When do we want it? ...Soon! (Preorder now; it releases 10/20.)I drafted a chapter on art as a vocation but cut it because I couldn't figure out a structure, which is always a sign that my thinking is disjointed and either muddled or in some important respect incomplete. Fortunately, in a blog post I can just post a listicle and call it a day. YOU'RE WELCOME. So, you know, here are some points about art as a vocation, especially a vocation for gay/queer/same-sex … [Read more...]

God Is Working His Purpose Out

Can we tell what God is trying to tell us with events in our lives? Does God use events in our lives that way?I used to be more confident than I am now that this was a spiritually-fruitful way of thinking. That was basically because I'd asked myself what purpose various things in my own life had served--my birth defects, that was the main thing--and I felt like I had a good sense of some plausible answers. E.g. by problematizing my body, my birth defects helped me honor the body not for its … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #4–Presentation

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.... A couple years ago I was having some kind of argument with a freshman Hegelian. I'll mangle his argument--I don't remember it well enough and haven't read Hegel--but what I took away from it was that everything in life served to advance ideas. Better and better ideas over time. So there's a progressive view of history, but one which focuses solely on … [Read more...]

The Prison of My Person, The Shackles of My Skin

Wesley Hill quotes some powerful words from CS Lewis on masturbation and lustful fantasy: For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever … [Read more...]


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