The Cold Reboot of the Soul

I sometimes hold it half a sin To put in words the grief I feel; For words, like Nature, half reveal And half conceal the Soul within. --Tennyson--My brain is a treacherous organ. I've made my living from it for almost a quarter century, yet it has a defect that makes this hard sometimes. The defect is mental illness, and it's been with me my whole life.Usually, it behaves itself. Lately, it hasn't been. It comes in cycles, sometimes keyed to seasons (late winter is a bad time for … [Read More...]


How I Work: Will Duquette

Will Duquette completes the ora et labora circuit by adding a How I Work to his How I Pray entry. Here's a little bit: I use Evernote for storing general notes I’ve got no better place to put—ideas for blog posts, for example. I’ve drafted a fair number of blog posts in Evernote as well; it’s conveniently available no matter what device I’m using, and then I can copy the post into WordPress. Although, one of the reasons I’ve been using Scrivener more is that I can copy Scrivener’s rich text form … [Read More...]


Pope Benedict, Creation, and Biblical Criticism

My paper "The Word in Creation: The Ratzingerian Critique of the Historical-Critical Method and Its Application to the Creation Accounts" is up at Homiletic and Pastoral Review.Two of my preoccupations during my master's studies were Creation (particularly the Augustinian understanding of Genesis) and the theology of Pope Benedict. This paper was where the two converged thanks to Ratzinger's little masterpiece In the Beginning…': A Catholic Understanding of the Story of C … [Read More...]

From Logos Bible Software

Hip-Deep Heaps of Quail!

Today's infographic comes courtesy of Translation Follies. It purports to illustrate Numbers 11:31, in which the Lord sends quail in abundance to the Israelites.Some Bibles, including the NAB, do indeed translate the passage as "at a depth of two cubits upon the ground." Even the fairly literal NASB adds an italicized deep in the passage.The Hebrew, however, roughly works out to "about two cubits the surface the land," without mentioning depth. (The Septuagint uses the Greek ἀπό, whic … [Read More...]

2015-04-04 10.17.10

Blogging Will Remain Light

I enjoyed my Spring break so much that I decided to extended it ... by getting sick! I had hoped to return with a How I Pray today and then Regularly Scheduled Blogging, but that will have to wait for a little while.In the mean time, enjoy this medieval illumination of a rabbit holding a snail-falcon while riding a dog. … [Read More...]

Alexander Ivanov, Christ’s Appearance to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection (1835)

Happy Easter

From my family to yours, may you have a happy and blessed Easter. … [Read More...]

Bitstrips_Code Rage

How I Work: Anthony S. Layne

Over at Outside the Asylum, Anthony Lane takes on the How I Work challenge:What has changed over the years since you started and what do you do differently? Oh, my, what hasn't? I keep thinking of the song from The Mikado, "As some day it may happen", in which Ko-Ko tells us that, among the people he could execute that would never be missed is "the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone, All centuries but this, and every country but his own." We could criticize the debilitating effects … [Read More...]

(Photo: L'Osservatore Romano)

Understanding the Washing of the Feet

One of the most striking traditions of Holy Week is the washing of the feet at Holy Thursday mass. Once again, we are reenacting something Christ himself commanded us to do, and the somewhat awkward and uncomfortable way the tradition is performed at many modern masses does nothing to undercut the potent symbolism of the act.Multiple layers of meaning and possible interpretations, from the purely cultural to the deeply symbolic, are found in John's account of the washing of the feet … [Read More...]

The Judas Tree, And Other Legends of the Betrayer

This is cercis siliquastrum, the Judas Tree:It is, according to legend, the type of tree from which Judas hanged himself, and its once-white blossoms blushed with shame to be part of such a terrible history.Or perhaps it's called the Judas Tree because the clusters of blossoms sometimes hang from the branches, suggesting a hanging man.Or maybe it's all just a mistake: its French name--"Tree of Judea"--misunderstood as "Tree of Judas." Legend is funny that way.The Wednesday of … [Read More...]


How I Pray: Kevin Knight

Kevin Knight is the Sacramental Preparation and Education Specialist for the Archdiocese of Denver. He is also the founder and editor of New Advent, which will celebrate its twentieth anniversary on May 1st.Read more entries in the How I Pray series. Who are you? My name is Kevin Knight, editor of the New Advent website, staff member of the Archdiocese of Denver and loyal servant to the true emperor, Jesus Christ. Father to two wonderful sons, husband to a wonderful wife. And I hope to … [Read More...]

2015-03-22 13.59.07

The Earliest Known Depiction of Witches On Brooms, and What It Tells Us About Evil

This marginal illustration comes from Le champion des dames (A Defense of Women) by Martin Le France, 1451. Martin was secretary to both Antipope Felix V and Pope Nicholas V. His work is a 24,000-verse (!) poem extolling the virtues of women, but also condemning heresy and corruption.The witches are identified Vaudois, or Waldensians, who were accused of practicing witchcraft and celebrating the witch's Sabbath. Flight was one of the powers given to demons and their minions, and thus was ofte … [Read More...]


Your Facebook Wall, Circa 1935

Either Facebook or the worse texting plan ever.  … [Read More...]


Game Con Threatens to Leave Indiana Over Conscience Protection Bill

The latest moral preening about Indiana's conscience protection bill comes from the Gen Con gaming convention, which is threatening to move to another state. To satisfy gamers, Indiana must choose to crush religious freedom so gay couples don't need to pick the next caterer in the phone book. "Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting … [Read More...]


Tech Website Gets Access to 4.6 Million License Plate Scans

If you drive in Oakland, California, Ars Technica knows where you've been: In response to a public records request, we obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely one of the largest ever publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.After analyzing this data with a custom-built visualization tool, Ars can d … [Read More...]


How I Work: Jeff Miller, The Curt Jester

As a counterpoint to the How I Pray series, I've challenged other bloggers to answer Lifehacker's How I Work questions on their own blogs for a kind of ora et labora thing. Now my uber-techie friend Jeff Miller, The Curt Jester, steps up and shames all geeks with his mad power-user skilz, yo. Jeff was my first How I Pray victim subject, so there's a kind of symmetry in having him here again: What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?In one of the first q … [Read More...]