Don’t Medicalize My Eschaton (or, What If Addiction Isn’t a Thing?)

Three blind men are feeling around with their hands, trying to determine what's in front of them."I feel something long and ropy, with a bristly end," one says."I feel something thick and wrinkly, muscular and prehensile," one says."I feel something curved and hard and smooth, like a shofar," one says."I've got it!" the first one exclaims. "It's an elephant!"And they spend the next five days trying to feed hay to a table with a rope, a shedding python, and a shofar on it. … [Read more...]

“Amends” reviewed by Rachel Manija Brown

author of All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: ...The prose and dialogue of Amends is a real pleasure, biting and clever and snappy, quotable and re-readable. At times it’s almost too polished. One of the points of Amends is how modern American society is constructed to allow us an endless amount of shallow quick fixes we can use to stave off whatever raw and terrifying emotions or reality we’re hiding from. Reach out, and there’s always something there to grab, whether it’s drugs and booze, TV an … [Read more...]

Double Review: My Reality-TV Rehab Novel, Gil Fagiani’s Rehab Survivor Poetry

reviewed by Jendi Reiter: ...Logos is a collection of persona poems set at a heroin treatment center of that name, in the South Bronx in the 1960s. It comes out of Fagiani’s own experience, first as an inpatient there, and later as a social worker at a Bronx psychiatric hospital and the director of a rehab center in Brooklyn. The desperation of addiction has a way of levelling distinctions between races, classes, and professional backgrounds. The first-person narrator of some of these poems, p … [Read more...]

Amoris Laetitia: Pregnancy Counseling, Penitence, And Pudding

my take at First Things:Philip Larkin lamented that whether or not anybody refills your drink at a party “seems to turn on where you are. Or who.” In our divided Catholic Church, pastoral care is a lot like Larkin's cocktails. Catholics who sincerely desire to submit themselves to the Church they love come to their local parish seeking the wine of resurrection; and receive sometimes water, sometimes vinegar. If you're in an especially culturally-contentious position, you may be favored with a … [Read more...]

A Principal, A Senator, And Two Stories of Second Chances

I'm esp struck by the role of Christian faith in both of these pieces.Nancy Hanks, "A Principal Met a Student She Expelled, And It Changed Her Approach to Discipline": ...I prayed for forgiveness for that time and any other time I betrayed the privilege given to me to be a steward and protector over the children I serve. For anytime I never just let my students just be kids. Goofy, carefree kids that make mistakes — sometimes big and sometimes small. For holding kids to standards that I d … [Read more...]

“A Paleocon, An Otherkin, And a Saint Walk into a Bar”: Kate Havard

reviews my novel--and gets off some great lines of her own in the process: Eve Tushnet’s wonderful debut novel Amends takes place during the first and only season of a doomed reality television show about alcoholism. The show—also called Amends—follows a group of miserable weirdos through a one-month spell in rehab.The book is also a brutal satire of both the conservative cultural journalism crowd and the “Everything is a Problem” social justice crowd. What sticks with you, though, are the s … [Read more...]

“What Could Possibly Be Wrong With Christian Masturbation?”: I’m at Christianity Today

with exegesis of Black Swan and The Babadook, and some stuff about shame and confession:This post is part of a weekly Her.meneutics series called The Sex We Don’t Talk About, designed to feature female perspectives on aspects of sex and sexuality that can go overlooked in the church. Masturbation doesn't fit within typical modern ethical concerns. It's not unsafe or cruel; in moderation it does not interfere with academic or economic performance, and it doesn't make your children more l … [Read more...]