“Indie Music’s Christ-Haunted Women”: I’m at AmCon

with some answers to a question I asked here recently: I listen to a lot of what you could call “Christ-haunted” music. Your Mountain Goats, your Weakerthans. Not music made by believers necessarily (although sometimes, unexpectedly, yes), but music made by people who can’t quite escape the stories of Scripture and the language of Christian faith. Cain, resurrection, David, sorrow for sin; a desperate rosary or a hospital vespers. You could add to this list stuff I don’t personally quite grok, b … [Read more...]

Didn’t Know It Was a Devil Town: I Finally Watch “Friday Night Lights”

For years people told me I had to watch Friday Night Lights. And they all said the same four things: "Coach and Tami Taylor have the best marriage on television. I love how Dillon is its own character, and the show honors those who stay in their nowhere hometown instead of going Somewhere to be somebody. Ugh, skip season two, some dude kills a dude and it's just a soapy mess. Oh and you don't have to care about football, seriously, it's not a show about football."Some of this is true! Here … [Read more...]

From Sarah Ruhl, “100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write”

There were times when it felt as though my children were annihilating me. Finally I came to the thought, All right, then, annihilate me; that other self was a fiction anyhow. And then I could breathe. I could investigate the pauses. I found that life intruding on writing was, in fact, life. And that, tempting as it may be for a writer who is also a parent, one must not think of life as an intrusion. At the end of the day, writing has very little to do with writing, and much to do with life. And … [Read more...]

Where Are the Lady Mountain Goats?

A cri de coeur! Where are the women who write weird, metaphor-laden personal songs about their fraught relationship with the Lord? Are there Sufjanes out there? I would really like music by women, in just about any genre, with lots of Christian stuff (they don't have to be actual believers, just people with really intense relationships with God and the Church) and not prettified but raw. Not Avengers-type stuff about anger at the Church, or anyway not only that, but about complex longings in … [Read more...]

Forgiveness and Social Justice

Does Christ's command to love our enemies and bless those who curse us place especially heavy burdens on the marginalized and disadvantaged?On its face the answer is obviously "yes." The more vulnerable you are to others' abuse of power, the more they will hurt you and the more you will have to forgive. Women so often appear as icons of forgiveness in men's stories (last point) because we are more vulnerable to them than they are to one another.This is part of the reason for something … [Read more...]

“Inside the Seminary”: Disturbing report

in Commonweal:...From 2008 through 2010, I was a seminarian in St. Paul, Minneapolis, an archdiocese now entrenched in its own abuse scandal. My experience there led me to believe that the problem of priestly sexual abuse is due, at least in part, to the failure of seminaries to provide adequate human and sexual formation to men studying for the priesthood. More specifically, my seminary formation failed to confront the questions surrounding sexual abuse in a candid and psychologically … [Read more...]

Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig Reviews “Gay and Catholic”

for AmCon. Really like the point about my book being specifically lesbian rather than gay--and it should've been much more lesbian! If I had it to do over I'd do a LOT more research into the history of love between women, e.g. Boston marriages, "romantic friendship." This piece focuses more heavily than the book does on the specific, perhaps outre case of vowed friendships, which I'm presenting as a beautiful possibility grounded in tradition and not some kind of universal Solution to the … [Read more...]