Five Books to Read in College

This is a list of five amazing books. They come representing five noble genres: the novel, the memoir, poetry, the short story, and the essay. How good are they? This good: as I read, I often had to pause, put the book down, breathe or sigh or shake, and look around to see if the world was still there. It was – but each time, the way I viewed it had changed.This list is particular, not comprehensive. I did not assemble it from other people’s recommendations, I did not poll anybody; between th … [Read more...]

“Didactic Paragraph-Pomposity” and the Pursuit of Truth

In one of my first encounters with Søren Kierkegaard, I distinctively remember hearing the term “Gobbler of Paragraphs.” My professor stated that this term, originally taken from some margin notes to Fear and Trembling, would inform the way our seminar would proceed. He wanted to ensure, as we students were reading Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments, that we were taking time to inwardly digest the assigned material.As we worked our way through the Fragments, Kierkegaard began to urge us to … [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...]

The Liberal Arts and the Call to Die

          A week or two ago, I saw a friend post a link to a discussion between Robert P. George and Cornel West on the liberal arts. Having spent my time in certain intellectual circles, I was correct in assuming that Professor George would provide a robust and well-articulated commentary on the liberal arts from his Catholic, natural law understanding. Not being familiar with him outside of his appearances on The Matrix and The Examined Life, I was mostly watching to hear Professor West’s under … [Read more...]

Why Choose Theology?

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A defense of the liberal arts will almost always also be a defense of theology, because the principals that undergird the liberal arts always have theological implications. Take the recent talk Mark Roche recently gave on why one should choose a liberal arts education. I was struck by how his defense of liberal education could be extended to achieve an understanding the role of theology in dealing with existential questions in life more broadly. Roche argued, in a pretty typical fashion, that … [Read more...]


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