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...]

“Be Perfect”

In his reflections on February 23rd’s Gospel reading from the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:38-48), Carl Olson draws attention to the ease with which a priest and his congregation glossed over Jesus’ words: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Perfectionism can lead to pride and personality disorders.  Better to acknowledge our limitations, and try to be “the best policeman, or fireman, or Indian chief, that we can be,” Olson’s priest advised in his homily.  This is no doubt go … [Read more...]

Christian Symbolic Action

Regarding my most recent Fare Forward essay, two questions have been repeatedly asked of me. The first: Why think that symbolic action occupies such an important place in the Christian life? And the second: I’m not sure I understand the sorts of symbolic actions you think are so important to the Christian life; could you say more? I debated which of these two questions to take up today, and settled on the latter. My apologies to those more interested in the former.Let me begin by trying to d … [Read more...]

Receiving the Gift of Presence

My first post here at Fare Forward discussed the nature of providing Christlike presence to the grieving. An insightful commenter elaborated, saying,"I have a tendency in my life to close myself off to other people; to deny my friends and even my wife the opportunity to share in my burdens and trials... this is another species of error... those who grieve or suffer must be able to open themselves to this notion of presence." I resonated with his observation, and the question has puzzled me, "If … [Read more...]

The Shortcomings of “Love What You Do”

Evangelical Christians love to cite this widely popular quote by Martin Luther King Jr:“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”This is the love-what-you-do (LWYD) creed, to be contrasted with the opposite do-what-you-love (DWY … [Read more...]

The Miniature Wife

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 The Miniature Wife, Manuel Gonzales’ debut collection of short stories, begins with a line by W.B. Yeats: “Things fall apart.” Those three words are a fitting introduction to the eighteen stories that follow, in which a plane is hijacked, a soldier is beset by swamp monsters and robots, and zombies descend on a mall.Whether you want to classify these stories as magical realist, speculative, or genre fiction, they certainly give us the pleasures of traversing well-worn ground to disc … [Read more...]


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