Understanding Low-Literacy Cultures: My Living History Tea Experiment

I'm home sick today with something normal for a change, sore throat, which means I have to get into the box of Korean teas a friend of mine keeps me supplied in, because I have awesome friends this way.So here's something: I never really understoood low-literacy cultures.  I'd read about kings who could barely read, or not at all, and I'd scratch my head and think, "Um, how does that work?  I mean, what did he do with his library card?"  When I'd think about people going through life not read … [Read more...]

Something Beautiful for Lent: Cultivating God’s Garden by Margaret Rose Realy

The book I've just finished reading is Margaret Rose Realy's Cultivating God's Garden Through Lent.  I'm going to concede it took me a long time to open this one, because I had several stupid book-fears:That the book would be tied to the upper Midwest's seasons, and would be all out of sync for a southern gardener. That the book would be too nice for me.  Margaret is a really nice person. That I wouldn't like it, and that would be awkward, since Margaret and I are writing fr … [Read more...]

50 Shades of Arousal Disorders: BDSM and the Moral Life

If you browse among the purveyors of sex toys, which you most emphatically should not do, among the offerings you'll find all the regalia of oppression and humiliation.  BDSM as a variant on traditional women's porn as sold at the grocery store didn't come out of nowhere.   Long before the intelligentsia were conflicted in their literary analysis by the clash between "cutting edge" and "terrible writing", the neighbors were busy acting out sexual fantasies straight from the annals of Amnesty In … [Read more...]

Evading the Useless Fairy Through the Miracle of Central Heating

I periodically give the friends and relatives a health update, which I don't usually publish here.  But thermostat settings, everyone wants to talk about that, right?   So everything is holding steady, which is good.  Miracle drug still doing its miracle thing.  I got hold of a fitness tracker this winter and have started watching the daily exertion count, which makes it much easier to manage my activity level, but also maybe a little more depressing (she said buoyantly).  Basically the pace of … [Read more...]

Satan Ups His Game: Supreme Court Declines to Protect Secrecy of Sacramental Confessions

Bad news for human souls: The US Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of the case in which the Louisiana Supreme Court called for a priest to break the seal of the confessional.UPDATE: Simcha Fisher explains why there are other, better ways to protect victims of abuse.To bring you up to speed on the implications, here is why this is such a travesty, and what we can expect as a result of this ruling.If you prefer your theology brought to you by Alfred Hitchcock, here's my … [Read more...]

Racism in the American South Today

In 1988 I moved to a small town in South Carolina, not far from where my paternal grandfather had grown up. In enrolling me at the local high school, among other paperwork my parents had to indicate whether they did or did not permit the principal to administer corporal punishment. Also, in those days they kept records of the racial balance in every classroom.On the day of the census in 1990, my homeroom teacher faced an awkward situation: The form called for a tally of the number of white … [Read more...]

The 2nd Commandment is Like It: The US Bishops Face Their Boko Haram

In thinking about the massacres in Nigeria, my train of thought ran like this:How can anyone bear to be associated with this?  I was thinking about the whole Muslim world.  You want to be part of this? No. Of course not.One of the rare pleasures of being me is that thus far every faithful Muslim I've gotten to know has been a gentle, God-loving person.  The kind of person who would have nothing to do, ever, with the atrocities of their coreligionists.We on the outside of the Mu … [Read more...]


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