Some Daiquiri Music: “A Todo VAR”

 I am giving a talk and showing some photography on Wednesday (see the poster above) at UBC and, inspired a bit by Alphonso Lingis, I decided to record a soundtrack for it. You can hear it by clicking the image.Here it is: "A Todo VAR."I played drums, bass, and guitars, and all the noises, plus the mix, in one night. I did the old stacking tracks technique. Listen with headphones if you want all the bells and whistles.BONUS:Here it is with the slideshow I'll be using: … [Read more...]

By Their Fruits: A Reply to Rod Dreher

 Rod Dreher's spirited reply to my critical review of his book, The Benedict Option, has run its course. In my first reply, I defended Dreher against certain charges that struck me as being unfair. I continue to stand by them, but in this reply I'd like to move from defence to offence. I won't pretend to be in dialogue with the author, since Dreher has pledged to ignore me from here on out. Before I begin, Rebecca Bratten Weiss has anticipated the main thrust of my argument in her re … [Read more...]

Notes In Defense of Rod Dreher

 My review of Rod Dreher's book, The Benedict Option, has been replied to by the author. I will compose write a reply to it tonight, but before I do, I think it is important for me to mention some reasons why I think Dreher should be defended from some of his critics online right now.Credentialism - I don't care how many degrees or diplomas someone has or doesn't have. MacIntyre, for instance, does not have a Ph.D., and good for him. To put down Dreher for credentialist reasons is … [Read more...]

The Benedict Option: A Critical Review

 Rod Dreher positions himself in The Benedict Option in a way that makes this review require a bit of personal introduction. We both seem to agree that testimony is important.I grew during the 80s and 90s in a lay Catholic missionary family that spent a decade as affiliate members and on-site missionaries with a charismatic covenant community founded in Akron, Ohio. That community used a rulebook, A Cultural Approach to Christian Community, published in 1993 by the founder, Richard … [Read more...]

The Media Treats Trump Better Than Clinton or Bush

As I've said countless times, my media intake began with 90s era Rush Limbaugh and to this day includes a real dose of right-wing stuff. In many ways, hyper-conservative media, from The EIB Network to Focus on the Family, created my basic worldview and, in my case, I don't see myself as having moved very far from its key feature: critique. Every single day from the intro segment to the skit to the commentary, I mostly listened to reasons to not only impeach Clinton, but to damn him to hell as … [Read more...]

On the US Dept of Education

Around the time of the Devos nomination, a lot of people were sharing the Wikipedia-informed idea that the Dept of Education was invented in 1979 and that if we just blow it up then we will lose the federal schooling apparatus. Sorry to burst your bubble, folks, but that story is sophomoric in the sense that it has a death grip on one small fact to the ignorance of all others.The Common School Movement was a Whig party initiative that was passed state to state, but ALL THE STATES passed … [Read more...]

ON PROTEST (AND THOSE WHO PROTEST AGAINST THEM)

I am continually amazed at the conveniently short memory of the vast number of the "political scientists" that post their analysis on social media. The fact is there always have been protests on inauguration day. The scale and degree, of course, varies, but the plain and simple reality is that protest, even destructive protest, is as American as the Boston Tea Party. If there were no protests on inauguration day it would be unamerican and dangerous.Indeed, revolution is one of the few d … [Read more...]

Remember Your Promises: A Note to My Spiritual Elders

You raised me. You taught me. You took my family and gave them a direction. You fed us and sometimes clothed us. You loved me. You promised.The keywords: Orthodoxy, conservative with a small c that started to grow during the Clinton years, fidelity, authority. You swore an oath, and I did too. I still do. Magisterium. Teacher. Rabbi.I loved what you loved, I drank deeply and it was good. God, yes, always Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but also Rome. You led me there and showed it to me. … [Read more...]

Was Baby Jesus a Refugee?

 The infant Jesus we encounter in scripture is a serious and inspiring source of interpretation and celebration. I am not a Biblical scholar, but I am aware of the litany of approaches to the interpretation of scripture, from those that rely primarily on tradition and past authority to those that take a more modern historical approach. I reject none of these out of hand, but I am of course limited to what I know. The text I am using is the New Jerusalem Bible and I will mainly work from … [Read more...]

Socialism Elected Trump!

There are people like Michael Moore who are taking consolation in the fact that Hillary won the popular vote. For one, this isn't exactly true. The only winner of the popular vote was the usual, perennial winner: the apolitical protest non-vote of the disaffected masses, who always don't vote at rates of 40 to 60 percent. Of the 50 percent or so who did vote, Hillary pulled a marginal majority.This uninspiring majority has led a number of internet geniuses to advocate abolishing the … [Read more...]