“My Side of the Confessional: What Is It Like for a Priest?”: LifeTeen

w/a very touching piece--last anecdote is esp striking: I was once riding in a shuttle-bus with a number of older folks on the way from an airport. They noticed that I was a priest and started asking questions about it.“Do you do all of the priest stuff?”“Yep.”“Even the Confession thing?”“Yeah. All the time.”One older lady gasped, “Well, I think that that would be the worst. It would be so depressing; hearing all about people’s sins.”I told them that it was the exact oppo … [Read more...]

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Wesley Hill: “Eve Tushnet’s Spirituality of Humiliation”

a super-neat piece that connects my new novel to some themes in my nonfiction writing: Eve Tushnet’s new self-published novel Amends (available as an e-book or a paperback) is peak Tushnet: there are more quirky one-liners than the best standup you’ve seen, more offbeat metaphors than even Michael Chabon can conjure; there are themes of friendship and sacrifice, themes of recovery and religion; there are gay characters, and there’s even a Christian one (the latter features in an extended scene n … [Read more...]

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“What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Movie Like This?”: I review “Trainwreck”

for AmCon: “There will never be an American AbFab.”This was the first thought in my mind as I left the theater after seeing “Trainwreck,” the new Judd Apatow/Amy Schumer moralizing romcom. The movie seems to think that it’s the story of a bad girl who triumphs over adversity and gets her man. It’s actually the story of a basically nice girl with major daddy issues, who learns and teaches a few heartwarming lessons on her journey toward somewhat delayed adult responsibility. This movie pulls … [Read more...]

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A Retraction, Re: Marriage. Too Bad, This Bit Had a Good Line in It.

So in an earlier post I wrote this: It's important that marriage--its norms and expectations, more than its explicit legal benefits--is one powerful cultural response to the fruitful/destructive volcanic force of eros, and especially heterosexual eros. It's important that out of the many cultural institutions that try to channel the lava, marriage is typically one of the gentlest. (That's often true even when a marriage culture is oppressive and misogynist--in those cases the alternatives are … [Read more...]

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Marriage Unconstrained: In Which I Argue with Myself

So I don't know if you noticed, but that Pixar/gay marriage post was really two posts awkwardly yoked together by a cartoon about singing volcanoes. And some of the latter half of the post, especially, made Christian marriage sound like a social-improvement project: Live in mutual self-gift, mirroring the love of Christ and His Bride the Church, because it will lead to a stable bourgeois society. I have these studies showing that surrender of self-will is good for child educational … [Read more...]

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“Lava” in the Western World: Justice Kennedy and Pixar

Yesterday afternoon I watched Inside Out. You'll get more from me about that later, but for right now I want to write a bit about "Lava," the short, and the weird coincidence that I saw it on the day of the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision.Aesthetically "Lava" is a mixed bag--or rather, a bag with one great thing and one awful thing in it. The designs for the two volcanic main characters are charming, lovely, and just weird enough. But the short tells a simple story--it could easily … [Read more...]

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Penitence in Easter: Great Post by an Anglican Bishop

...The New Testament suggests that there is nothing more paschal in character, nothing more closely aligned with the great transitus of Jesus’ death and resurrection, than the transitional moment represented by our repentance and God’s forgiveness, which brings new life out of the death we’ve constructed for ourselves.Rowan Williams noted in his book Resurrection that the disciples’ experience of resurrection was inextricably linked to their own desertion of him and their failure as his frien … [Read more...]

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