“Marilynne Robinson in Montgomery”

This essay takes a while to get going, but it's a good, steady look at the way aesthetics and theology can lead us to flatten human experience--especially when "us" is white Americans writing about race. As somebody with a very "suffering and humiliation keep you close to Christ, you should consider them sometime" spiritual style myself, it was good to get a reminder of the way that kind of spirituality can cut against a communal pursuit of justice. As somebody who loves Robinson's books, it was … [Read more...]

“A Meditation on the Bloody Octave of Christmas”

Reposting this piece from 2012 by Msgr Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington: Many are shocked to walk into daily Mass on December 26 and instead of hearing more of the “Baby Jesus” we are confronted with Martyrdom, “The Feast of Stephen” is ancient on the Church’s calendar. More ancient than the Christmas cycle and hence it was not removed to another time. Bu the martyrdom does not stop there. We are in the midst of the Christmas Octave, an Octave filled with blood as we shall see.more; an … [Read more...]

Wedding Crowns and Solidarity in Struggle: A “Gay and Catholic” Book Extra

I've been to two Orthodox Christian weddings so far, and my favorite part of them is the crowns. Both bride and groom are crowned during the ceremony. As with the breaking of the glass in a Jewish wedding (probably also my favorite part, though the chair-bouncing which terrified my father at my sister's wedding may take first place there) I'm guessing there are multiple meanings to this symbol, but the one I've heard most often is that these are the crowns of martyrdom. They're meant to remind … [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...]

From “Graham Greene on Film”

Granted that From the Manger to the Cross is well made, was it worth making? The film critic of The Times who didn't like it at all--"sincerity is not enough"--noted "a tendency towards gross materialism," and certainly, as in Spanish churches, you are allowed no escape at all from physical suffering; Christ is a man beaten up, like a Nazi prisoner in the Brown House. The physical horror is never far away and always well conveyed--whether it is the Massacre of the Innocents, dark passages and … [Read more...]

“Sexual Abuse, Security, And the Seal of the Confessional”: Powerful Piece

at A Queer Calling: ...I belong to a Christian tradition where confession is offered, and it is encouraged that people make confessions as often as needed. Confession is, without a doubt, one of the most meaningful spiritual practices in my life. Every good confession makes me feel like a newly-illumined handmaiden all over again. Forgiveness is the most incredible of gifts. Each experience of this mystery leaves me feeling washed, renewed, restored, made whole, joyous, grateful, and empowered. … [Read more...]

A Musical Rosary: New Series–The Annunciation

Hey y'all. I decided to start this new series of very brief reflections on the mysteries of the rosary, linked to songs, so you end up with a kind of rosary playlist. We'll begin at the beginning, with the Annunciation. In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was gre … [Read more...]


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