Take a Break—For Renewal

“Think for a moment about your typical workday. Do you wake up tired? Check your e-mail before you get out of bed? Skip breakfast or grab something on the run that’s not particularly nutritious? Rarely get away from your desk for lunch? Run from meeting to meeting with no time in between? Find it nearly impossible to keep up with the volume of e-mail you receive? Leave work later than you’d like, and still feel compelled to check e-mail in the evenings?”So begins a recent New York Times artic … [Read more...]

House of Cards

 House of Cards is a new American political drama released on Netflix instead of a traditional tv channel. Here are three thoughts on the series after having seen the first nine episodes.First, one can’t help thinking of Tolkien’s description of men “who above all else desire power” while watching the series. The show is part Shakespearean tragedy in the mold of Macbeth and part Nietzschean homage to the over-man, played with consummate skill by Kevin Spacey. The difference, of cours … [Read more...]

Why Choose Theology?

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...]

Literature Alone Won’t Save Us

 The New Yorker's faith in literature has been shaken by the fact that a great reader like President Obama is capable of ordering drone strikes (h/t FF contributor Blake Neff). In an article published on their site yesterday ("A Reader's War"), Teju Cole gushes about Obama's literary sophistication: Barack Obama is an elegant and literate man with a cosmopolitan sense of the world. He is widely read in philosophy, literature, and history—as befits a former law professor—and he has sho … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins Feels Sorry for Priests

The reactions to this morning's announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will be stepping down have been variously funny, insightful, and annoying. Richard Dawkins has one of the best. He tweeted:He needn't concern himself. As Forbes magazine points out extensive research shows that clergyman is the world's happiest job. Dawkins would be baffled; he might gain some clarity by reading Servais Pinckaers' book The Pursuit of Happiness - God's Way: Living the Beatitudes. For a helpful piece on … [Read more...]

“There’s Nothing Wrong with America that Another Depression Couldn’t Fix”

 Before yesterday, I would have thought my chances of encountering a popular rap song that rejects materialism were slim. But as I was working, I turned on my Spotify, went to the top hits playlist, and clicked on the most popular song. It was Thrift Shop feat. Wanz by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. It’s a song that, at least on the surface, celebrates buying clothes from thrift stores and rejecting the American obsession with expensive brands. I’m apparently way behind the times finding thi … [Read more...]

The Ubiquity of Mental Illness

In a recent Grantland piece, Chuck Klosterman wrote about the strange saga of Royce White, a first round NBA draft pick out of Iowa State University. White has been in the news because he has been diagnosed with a mental illness that, amongst other things, causes him extreme anxiety when flying. His illness is one of the many factors feeding into his ongoing contractual dispute with the Houston Rockets; White wants an independent doctor to be assigned to him who will determine when he is and is … [Read more...]