The Prison of My Person, The Shackles of My Skin

Wesley Hill quotes some powerful words from CS Lewis on masturbation and lustful fantasy: For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever … [Read more...]

From “The Orthodox Way”

Thirdly, the gift of the Spirit is a gift of diversity: the tongues of fire are "cloven" or "divided" (Acts 2:3), and they are distributed to each one directly. Not only does the Holy Spirit make us all one, but he makes us each different. At Pentecost the multiplicity of tongues was not abolished, but it ceased to be a cause of separation; each spoke as before in his own tongue, but by the power of the Spirit each could understand the others. For me to be a Spirit-bearer is to realize all the … [Read more...]

“Material Madchen”: I read “The Artificial Silk Girl”

at AmCon: I picked up Irmgard Keun’s 1932 novel The Artificial Silk Girl at the Neue Galerie in New York, basically on a whim. It promised to be a dizzying tour of Weimar Berlin, last call before Hell and all that, from the perspective of a young, single woman whom the introduction compares to Madonna’s “Material Girl.”Certainly our heroine, Doris, is materialistic in a certain sense. She pays her bills by dating men. Her closest relationship is with her stolen fur coat. (The letter she writ … [Read more...]

From Irmgard Keun, “The Artificial Silk Girl”

tr. Kathie von Ankum: At the table next to me was a wonderful lady with really expensive shoulders and with a back--it was straight all by itself, and such a wonderful dress, it makes me cry--the dress was so beautiful, because she doesn't have to think about where she's getting it from. You could tell by looking at the dress. And I was standing next to her in the restroom, and both of us were looking in the mirror--she had such light white hands with elegantly curved fingers and an assertive … [Read more...]

Bedrooms and Bootstraps

Last weekend I went to a conference put on by the Archdiocese of Washington, "Speaking of Love: Answering Tough Questions About Human Sexuality." It was geared toward youth ministers, teachers, and other people who work with teens and young adults, so it was a window into what the AD-Dubs thinks young people need to hear about sex, marriage and chastity. I had, I guess, three basic problems with the conference's approach, which I will present in no especial order. (I went to the keynote … [Read more...]

Tunes for Our Times

“The vices of the rich and great are mistaken for error; and those of the poor and lowly, for crimes.”-attr. the Countess of Blessington, and via JWB … [Read more...]

This Mockingbird Article About Sex and Internet Porn

quotes literally all of the good bits of the Alain de Botton piece it's riffing on; dodges de Botton's more banal or wrongheaded generalizations (AdB writes as if internet porn is a male problem not a human problem, and says sex can get in the way of "other things we care about, like prosperity, safety, and happiness," which is a list of three things I don't care about all that much); and adds some gentleness of its own. You should read it! But I will give you a quick teaser of the AdB piece … [Read more...]


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