Talking About Thomism

Some books and songs and movies and talks stay with you, and the longer they stay with you, the more you feel the need to share them. This past January, I heard a short discussion of St. Thomas Aquinas's thought (called Thomism) that was among the most compelling I'd yet encountered. It's stayed with me, and I wanted to highlight it, especially in light of conversations I've had with some friends lately about putting Christ at the center of our discourse. Fr. Thomas Joseph White, a Dominican … [Read more...]

That Is Very Christian of You

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My favorite character on The Big Bang Theory is Sheldon. How to summarize seven seasons of him? He’s a theoretical physicist at Cal-Tech who holds four graduate degrees and started college at age eleven. Spock is one of his heroes. He has trouble detecting sarcasm but has made progress in employing it. He drives the other characters crazy with his arrogance, fussiness, and compulsive need for routine, even though they concede that they probably wouldn’t all be such good friends without him … [Read more...]

Ignorance: A Blessing

There are some things that I know with certainty. The sum of two and three is five. All mothers are women. A triangle has three sides. My back hurts. I am currently writing a blog post and trying to think of another example that doesn’t sound too trite. I think most would agree that the degree of certainty which I have about these things is so high that I cannot not know them.On the other hand, there are many things that I cannot know with certainty. Some of these things are fairly i … [Read more...]

To Work Is Not Quite to Pray

St. Benedict has often been (mis)quoted as saying, “Labora est Ora”. Or: “To work is to pray”. It is not clear precisely what was meant by this phrase when it first was propagated, but the guiding sentiment seems clear enough: Work - that activity whereby we take up and transform the creation towards some productive end -, can count as an act of worship. The Christian tradition’s attitude towards work would seem to make such a sentiment attractive. For the Christian tradition has, by … [Read more...]

Bulletins from a Second-Order Society

Mitt Romney was having a bad week. This, as anyone familiar with the 2012 election’s proceedings can attest, does not really narrow things down.That year’s primary saw President Obama and his opponent Governor Romney trade so many awkward, embarrassing blows that countless weeks from that season could be called “bad.” But this week had been particularly brutal. While traveling overseas to burnish his foreign-policy credentials, the hapless Republican had managed to seriously offend vast swath … [Read more...]

What We Talk About When We Talk About Ambition

When it comes to ambition, it sometimes seems that feeding our egos means starving our souls. The Onion highlighted this ambivalence with an article headlined “Unambitious Loser with Happy, Fulfilling Life Still Lives in Hometown.” Quote: “Sources close to Husmer reported that the man, who has meaningful, lasting personal relationships and a healthy work-life balance, is an unmotivated washout who’s perfectly comfortable being a nobody.” This Onion piece juxtaposes the language of worldly success … [Read more...]

That They May Be One

Just last week, I met up with an acquaintance with whom I had grown up in the church, but who, after studying sociology in college, dropped the faith because it simply “didn’t help him understand the world” in a way that made a difference as to how he would live his life. Faith in Jesus was not a live option for him because it seemed that various other sociological factors could better explain the dynamics of Christianity than the self-definition that Christians themselves offered of themselves. … [Read more...]


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