Monuments, Racism, Redemption, and Charlottesville: Seven Stories of How Things Can Be between Men (and Women) on this Earth

  This has been an awfully depressing week, with the news out of Charlottesville overshadowing everything. Fortunately, as ever when humanity is awful, there are wonderful points of light that shine through, shedding clarity and lighting the way forward. Here are seven thought-provoking stories and links about race, history, hatred, love, and redemption I came across this week, plus something I wrote that I hope also sheds more light than darkness. — 1 — In a piece of grace, this… Read more

A Litany for Charlottesville

St. Martin de Porres, pray for us St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us St. Antonio Vieira, pray for us St. Benedict the Moor, pray for us St. Moses the Black, pray for us St. Katherine Drexel, pray for us St. Peter Claver, pray for us St. Francis Cabrini, pray for us St Rose Phillippine Duchesne, pray for us St. Marion Cope, pray for us St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us St. Kateri Tekawitha, pray for us St. Isaac Jogues… Read more

I decline to accept the end of man

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? I introduced my son to this speech recently. I think it’s good advice for all of us, whether we are writers or not. We have a choice: stand among and watch the end of man, or remind each other of  “courage… Read more

“The disabled can only create unhappiness”: Why we need to talk about suffering

This morning I watched a L’Arche video about a massacre of disabled individuals that happened in Sagamihara, Japan, last year. The video quotes a letter by the killer in which he says, “the disabled can only create unhappiness.” So, to “spare” disabled people and their caregivers from suffering, this killer, a former caregiver himself, broke into a care facility and killed 19 people, stabbing them in their beds as they slept. His actions are horrific and beyond most people’s ability… Read more

Where I end and you begin: Zen and the problem of Christ

  I have a couple of new posts up at The Personalist Project sparked by an encounter with a Zen priest-candidate who just recently completed his studies. The posts are linked, so please do read both of them! Here’s a taste: I’ve been mulling over a conversation I had with a Zen devotee this past weekend. Much of our conversation was concerned with the similarities between Zen and Christian mysticism, the way each values asceticism, self-denial, and service, the parallels between… Read more

Restlessness and Redemption Suffering (Throwback Thursday)

I’ve slowly been updating links from old, pre-Patheos posts, since the individual page links don’t seem to port very well. Yesterday, I came across this post from two years ago about restlessness and redemptive suffering. The fact that something causes you to suffer is not sure evidence that you need to tolerate it. Suffering is an evil, theologically. It is a privation of a good–all suffering comes down to the lack of goods that we were created for. If you are suffering and you… Read more

Life Is Pain: Carrying in Our Bodies the Dying of Jesus

“Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels… always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.” — from the daily readings for today. There’s a spot on my right leg that’s been complaining since the day, a couple weeks ago, when I decided to swim 400m in one go, despite months of being mostly sedentary. I was kind of sore the next day,… Read more

The Diversity Hollywood Will Never Tolerate

It’s not real diversity to let Hollywood prejudices against old or plain women drive character casting. Read more

The Gift of the Ordinary

My nephew Sammy rang the bell last week. The bell in question is the one installed in the oncology ward of the hospital and rung by patients who have completed chemotherapy. Sammy has been under the care of a paediatric oncologist from the age of four, undergoing round after round of treatments over the last three years. He’s lost and regrown his hair, struggled to regain weight and strength, even as the chemo changed the way once-favourite foods tasted, spent… Read more