Like a Child

As the oldest of seven kids, I’ve done my fair share of wiping dirty faces, checking for closet monsters, and speculating as to why the sky is blue. But I also grew up in a church that encouraged “child-like faith.” In that church, this phrase was often shorthand for, “We don’t have answers for this, but having questions and worrying about it shows a lack of faith.” Sometimes “this” was a problem the Church has struggled with for ages, such as the problem of suffering, but sometimes it referred t … [Read more...]

This Is What We Do

A few years ago, Chrysler debuted a slick commercial called “Imported from Detroit,” featuring Eminem cruising past relics of the city’s past industrial and civic glory. The voice-over, backed by the thumping guitar riff of “Lose Yourself,” praises Detroit’s gritty resilience and the unexpected luxury of Chryslers rolling out of its factories. Eminem stops his car under the marquee of a theater. He strides down its aisle toward a robed choir, turning to the close-up camera on stage with the tagli … [Read more...]

Epic Mentality

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 In my house, my wife Katie and I are hoping that using consistent, relaxing music around bedtime will help to create a sleepy routine for our seven-month-old daughter. You may be surprised to learn that current music of choice is a playlist of peaceful tracks from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films. No, we don’t think little Teresa is learning anything from “Into the West.”  (Our parental delusions aren’t that acute.)  But as I listen to the music and recall the stories told by Tol … [Read more...]

Tikker: The Death Watch That Makes Every Second Count!

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A few weeks ago, I was delighted to hear a story on the Colbert Report about Tikker, "the death watch that makes every second count!" As Tikker's Kickstarter page indicates, "Tikker is a wrist watch that counts down your life from years to seconds, and motivates you to make the right choices. Tikker will be there to remind you to make most of your life, and most importantly, to be happy. But it's not really about how much time you HAVE, it's what you DO with it." Thus, for $59 plus shipping, you … [Read more...]

The Economy of Desire

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In The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer admonishes Christians who have bought into the theology of “cheap grace.” Bonhoeffer describes cheap grace as “the grace we bestow upon ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.” In Bonhoeffer’s view, the heresy of cheap grace is founded on a false separation between faith and obedience: “...we must never forget the indissoluble unity of the … [Read more...]

Latin in the Summer, or Learning to be Attentive

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I am twenty-three years old, and I am spending my summer taking Intermediate Latin at Notre Dame.  I’m not even doing it for credit; officially, I’ve fulfilled my Master’s program’s ancient language requirements, having already taken Latin I and II.  I question my decision at times, especially when I am sitting on my back porch in the summer evenings, covered in a blanket of crumpled notes on participles and infinitives and deponent verbs and semi-deponent verbs, attempting to translate Cicero’s … [Read more...]

Learning to Want What We Want

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During the course of a homily on the virtue of faith I heard this Sunday, the priest gave an anecdote from his teenage years. I can’t quote him verbatim, but this is essence of what he said: As a teenager, I thought that Heaven was essentially a mass that never ended. The very idea of sitting through a never-ending series of church hymns repulsed me. Nevertheless, I wanted to want this because I believed I should. His experience of wanting Heaven despite his visceral repulsion to it is an e … [Read more...]


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