Suffrage as Nihilism: Voting is Dead

I've seen and heard an election dogma that can only be described as pure, unadulterated nihilism. A complete void of being. It goes as follows: "it doesn't matter who you vote for, the only important thing is that you vote." Another version plays with words a bit: "the only wrong choice is not to vote."How clever!The implication is clear: who or what gets elected isn't important; the only thing that has importance is that someone, anyone, gets elected. It may not even matter that anyone or … [Read more...]

Mary in the Moon

An apparition: Egg-shaped moon, Haloed, with soft, cloud-prism edges Dissipate; alone now. Resplendent shining white, Holy lasers lacerate In four, six, twelve directions. Bare fingerlings reach, sprawl Whilst man-laid brick outlines the bottom edges. Hail Holy Queen, Lady of night shadows' sorrows. Pray for us, Mother of God. Mary in the Moon, tonight. … [Read more...]

Dead White Guys at First Things

Today, I'll refer you to as essay that came out today at First Things: Dead White Guys.The essay is autobiographical, sharing some of the perils of the academy and the predicament of late modernity in the West. Here's an excerpt: I learned—primarily from white men—what a wretched thing my newly acquired Western canon was. And how disempowered I had been at the hands of Homer, Augustine, and Dante. Doing the very thing I once thought was the path to socio-political empowerment, I came to find ou … [Read more...]

“Sts. Augustine and Monica, the Head and the Heart,” a lecture.

Yesterday I alluded to the relationship between the head and the heart.Here is a lecture I gave this past summer on the same theme, within Augustine's Confessions, at the Catholic Church of Saint Paul, in Ham Lake, MN.It follows along with this text, below. I. This talk will introduce St. Augustine's Confessions by making a somewhat bold claim: St. Monica is the sine qua non of the book, the character without which there is nothing at all. This claim asks us to imagine Augustine confessing … [Read more...]

When the Well Goes Dry

In my life, there is always writing to do. Along with teaching, it's my primary craft. It can be executed as well as the imagination and work and skill that bears it out, like anything else. But sometimes I run into a serious problem. The problem is deeper and more profound than a mere handicap of sorts: sometimes the well goes dry.This is not the same as suffering from an empty head. This is not something petty, like "writer's block." Ideas abound, always. The well is in the heart, not the … [Read more...]

“Don Juan as Moralist,” a talk by David Bentley Hart

Last week's posts (here and here) on the profane, gangstas, and the New Evangelization evoked a little bit of outrage in my inbox. I suspect much of that was the product of misunderstanding and the presumption that my claims were not very serious. If you want to see a substantive, albeit characteristically indulgent, treatment of the matter, watch this talk by DBH, below. It shows, among many other things, the incredibly sterile and unimaginative state of late modernity, clamoring for a profane, … [Read more...]

20 No More…

It is 11:25 pm in Grand Forks, North Dakota. My folks are in town. Got here today, from Texas. I turn 30 in just over half an hour. Lame as it may seem to spend that time writing to a few friends and perfects strangers, I am writing to myself, mostly. Most of my writing is a confessional exercise, a form of vain, public therapy posing as public admonition and unpious piety.Everyone is asleep. My Dad and I went to the movies tonight. We both love the theatre and cinema, but there's no time to … [Read more...]

Mormons vs. Catholics: College Football Gets Religious

I played rugby at Franciscan University of Steubenville for four years. At the time, we were competing in the division II Allegheny conference. We played Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and even faced Penn State and Ohio State in tourneys or friendly matches. Since then FUS moved to division III, where it's become the premiere small college rugby football club in the nation.We weren't well-trained in the art of rugby, most of us had never played until college, but we were very well conditioned and … [Read more...]

My Man Luke!

Today is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. I've always been most partial to John, but Luke is a very, very close second. Two things stand out. No surprises here, just reflections:1. Infancy Narrative. Luke describes the Incarnation in a very ordinary way. Through story. Whereas John describes it in esoteric mysticism, Luke lays it bare in narrative. And what a narrative it is! The Magnificat alone is worth the price of admission. It is a beautiful story. It's effects stand alone too. … [Read more...]

More Stuff on Gangstas

***A note concerning terminology: there is a difference between 'gangsta' and 'gangster.' The former is an expression of a spirited person, someone who is "cold-blooded," "ice-cold," who doesn't crack under pressure. The latter is a member of the mob or a genre of films like Scarface, starring Al Pacino with machine guns and cocaine. They're not unrelated, but they're most certainly not synonymous. Please, more stuff on gangstas. That’s serious. A real sense of what’s important, and a composure s … [Read more...]