“Stephen King and That Awful Muttering Voice”: Me in the American Spectator

It's an overview of King's work plus a review of his two most recent novels: What do you do when you’re in a Stephen King novel, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? Or rather: What do you do when you’re Stephen King, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? subscribers-only; I do actually think I make some good points here, so if you're interested in King you might get a hold of it. … [Read more...]

“Never Quite Free”: My series on portrayals of penitence concludes

with a look at the Mountain Goats, We Shall All Be Healed. This piece has a couple lines I really like: One way to mistell stories of penitence is to envision penance as a linear process of restoration. You do a bad thing, you feel bad, you make amends (often in a way which involves saying ritual words like “I’m sorry,” or doing something which offers an obvious symbolic parallel to your wrongdoing), status quo ante. There can be truly sublime portrayals of this kind of almost mathematical penit … [Read more...]

Yoda and the Giving Tree: The Leaf-Green Faces of the Enemy

Two points connected solely by my desire to use this title.First, I am not going to say much about the long exchange in the comments to the post I was just talking about. You'll know pretty quickly if it's the kind of thing you can read without wanting to throttle a swan. But I wanted to register my full-throated agreement with Gabriel's disapproval of the Yoda line, "Do or do not. There is no try."People. This is very close to the opposite of the truth! First of all, many people who … [Read more...]

Fools, Drunks, And Americans

As much as I love the idea of a ballet about alcoholism, this article on "Why Russia's drinkers resist AA" seems to rely on unstated, wrong assumptions not only about addiction and recovery, but about the diversity of spirituality. Although the title is neutral--resistance can be heroic as well as bullheaded--the article itself seems pretty clearly slanted toward the conclusion that Russia needs to get with the Program.As you know, Dr. Bob, I have immense respect for the 12 Steps and my own … [Read more...]

“Thanks for Sharing”: Let Your Inhibitions Run Wild

Helen Rittelmeyer is obviously right that we're in a cultural moment where addiction and recovery provide almost the only common language we have for exploring subjects like grace, penitence, and hope. Thanks for Sharing, the sex-addiction romcom starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark "Ruffalo Ruffalo ruffalo ruffalo ruffalo Ruffalo ruffalo" Ruffalo (...sorry), is yet another example of Helen's point. Ruffalo (ruffalo) is a recovering sex addict named Adam, who after five years of sexual sobriety is … [Read more...]

‘Cause You Just Can’t Do Things Your Blogwatch Wasn’t Meant To

or, stuff I've been reading.The trust gap between working- and middle-class young people (related to my review here).Helen Rittelmeyer on "A Not-Quite-Recovery Memoir from 1813": "In his circle he was always the normal one."Timothy P. Carney: "Childbirth Made Me Love My Wife's Body More." Lovely.Interview with Dan Barden, whose very fun and insightful recovery-noir The Next Right Thing I reviewed here. … [Read more...]

The Words of Love in Whispers and the Acts of Love in Screams

A postscript: It's entirely possible to explain Christian morality to someone who does not know that God loves her. It's just that your words won't mean what you wanted them to mean. Even and maybe especially if she accepts the truth of the moral precepts, the conclusions she draws will be profoundly opposed to the Gospel. If she has never been tempted in this area or has overcome profound temptation (so far) then she may receive your moral teaching with self-righteousness; if she is especially … [Read more...]


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