Tenderness, Penitence and Estrangement: I Review the El Greco Show at the National Gallery of Art

for the Weekly Standard:The nickname “El Greco” reveals two things about Doménikos Theotokópoulos, the weird and sublime painter of the Counter-Reformation: He was Greek, and he was a stranger. When everybody around you is Greek, nobody is “the Greek.” El Greco’s vision reflected the second part of his identity even more than the first.more … [Read more...]

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Jason Byassee on Christians and “Christian”

This is the part that really irks me the most on eschewing “Christian.” It’s as though we get off scot-free for historical Christian sins (the crusades, racism, you name it) by just calling ourselves something else. Christians believe there is a way to forgiveness and purity—but it passes through confession, restoration, and repaired relationship. The much more costly way to disassociate from those who have done ill in Christ’s name is to set about loving as fanatically as they hated.here; vi … [Read more...]

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“In Defense of Flagellation”: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

is right: ...During the podcast, the guests made several in-passing negative references to the monastic practice of self-flagellation, which were never challenged. In particular, they made a couple points: the first is that God, being fundamentally non-violent and opposed to suffering, could not condone such a practice; second, that monks who engage(d) in such a practice were trying to earn holiness. Yet we find that many great saints, who were in no dangers of such spiritual … [Read more...]

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Vocation as the Next Right Thing: “Gay and Catholic” Tiny Book Extra

Okay, as I wrap up this series of "dvd extras" for my book, let me maybe relieve some pressure.A Queer Calling today has a thoughtful post about talking to teens about celibate vocations. I've tried throughout this series to flag some of the problems with the way we--I--often talk about "discerning a vocation." We can make it sound like vocation is navel-gazing; or like it's a self-directed quest where you pick which of the million possible paths ahead of you looks best, rather than sticking … [Read more...]

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The Killing Joke: I read “Infinite Jest”

Finished it and flipped back to the very first page. Hugely tempted to just go in for an immediate re-read. It's an engrossing, brutal book.I found the first 100 pages or so a really mixed bag--my one real criticism is that the book itself sometimes seems... bewildered and amused?... by the existence of people who aren't white. There are definitely exceptions. The Hugs Not Drugs/"shit down your neck" scene is fantastic, and feels real, or rather feels exaggerated in the way both life and the … [Read more...]

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“Confessions of a Former Bad Catholic”: A Queer Calling

w/a lot of substance: ...As I thought about this last night, I was taken back to my college and early graduate school days. Without hesitation, I can say that I was a deeply devoted Catholic. I attended Mass almost every day, not out of compulsion but because I woke up each morning with an eagerness to hear that day’s Gospel proclaimed, to be present with the very small daily Mass-going community in my college town, and to be in the same chapel where bread and wine mysteriously became Christ’s B … [Read more...]

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Discipleship Is a Journey: “Gay and Catholic” Book Extra

Hello! I'm cheating here and basically just writing up my notes from the talk I gave at the Trinity School for Ministry conference this past weekend. (All the sessions will be available--some as video, some as podcast--and I'm super looking forward to listening to the sessions I missed, e.g. Melinda Selmys exploring transgender identity through the lens of Flannery O'Connor's "Temple of the Holy Ghost.") This topic is obviously especially relevant given the buzz around "gradualism" at the … [Read more...]

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