Primer Update and Sneak Peek

My latest book --- A Primer for Philosophy & Education --- was released two weeks ago. Since then, there have been two reviews --- here and here --- posted on Patheos blogs and there are several more to come from Patheos and elsewhere.Entering this crucial third week, I'd like to ask you for your help once again. Anything helps: Facebook liking and sharing, Tweets, and especially personal recommendations to people you think might be interested are all a huge help. In the end, the proof is … [Read more...]

A Sunday Letter: Bikers and Fishing, Rhythm and Harmony

My dear readers,Happy Pentecost! Here's something of a weekend review:Friday I played drums for the opening act and guitar for the headliner --- "Little Bobby and the Storm" --- at a biker charity event in St. Hilaire, MN. It felt very retro. Biker leather and tattoos don't age much and there were not the usual smart phones everywhere. I never knew that bikers like to slow dance as much as they did. The beer was unlimited and the outdoor stage allowed for smoking, so the air was ripe with … [Read more...]

The Womb of Love: A Womanist Manifesto

The Ascension is a soft-spoken Catholic feast about dwelling in a prolonged and reoccurring Advent.More and more, I feel like all feasts eventually collapse on each other, but today the feast of the Ascension feels unique because of its peculiar absence, its anti-climatic and even surprising exit.Birth, Death, and Resurrection is much more straightforward. It covers all the bases and leaves no loose ends.But there's more? Yes, yes, there is. Salvation history is an infomercial.Like the … [Read more...]

Housekeeping, Announcements, Gratitude, Spring

Those who know me also know that I don't keep a calendar, although sometimes I do in one form or another. It's a defensive mechanism. The things I do forget, are simply that. The rest gets done at a regular pace without breathing too heavy down my neck.It's been a long, hard winter. Laura Ingalls Wilder comes to mind. There are no words to describe it properly --- what it does to you. North Dakotans tell me that I got to experience a real winter. I should feel proud or or lucky or something. I … [Read more...]

Philosophy in a Trout Stream

Over the past two summers in rural Indiana, I rekindled my life-long love of fishing. Last summer, just before our trek up north, a student told me about a small river nearby where trout were released and could be caught by special permit. Having grown-up fishing for rainbow and brook trout in southwest Colorado, I jumped at the chance. He picked me up the next morning; I got my trout stamp, and we were off.We arrived and decided to work our way with the current through a section of water that … [Read more...]

(Un)Fashionable Nostalgia

I grew up wearing second-hand clothes. And hating it. Shopping was always ritual in humiliation. The psychology of used clothing, at least when you’re in high school, is all about branding. If I could buy a brand that was popular enough, Goodwill would always outdo Wal-Mart.When I didn’t find the right brand, when the cool clothes just weren’t there or didn’t fit, I'd go for the obscure names and console myself with the conviction that my obscure threads were actually cooler than cool. I suppos … [Read more...]

Mercy for Gosnell, For Us All

I tend to ramble and write down all the details, leaving them fussily thrown about, in piles and pieces and mess, for you to make sense of. A lot of that is by choice, trying to copycat this or that brilliant writer who has true randomness in her prose, a trait that I fiercely envy. But some of it is just the way this stuff comes out. Editing is tough work, mainly because there is a lot of stuff that, even though it's not perfect, it is as good as it will get.On Friday I felt the way I tend to … [Read more...]

“Google Nose” Smells Funny and Familiar: A Sun Blemish

People got offended by Google's choice to feature a sketch of Cesar Chavez today, Easter Sunday. I have very little to say that First Things editor, Matthew Schmitz, didn't cover in his excellent and timely blog post, "Why It's Fitting to Remember Cesar Chavez on Easter Sunday."Those who remain unconvinced, should read "The Passion of Cesar Chavez," published in Crisis Magazine almost a year ago.The lesson is this: if there is an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel, then doing otherwise is, w … [Read more...]

Patheos Prompt: Why I’m Catholic?

Patheos wants to know why I'm Catholic, in 200 words. The most honest answer is this: I don't know---who really knows why they are who they think they are? I don't have evidence or arguments, just a hodgepodge of experiences and feelings and thoughts and circumstances and guesses and doubts and fears and beautiful things and love and my family and pain and suffering and stories and fortune and hope. The better, shorter, and even less satisfying one-word answer: Grace. (You should read Unamuno's … [Read more...]

A Hot Mess: Marriage, Derrida, Nabokov, and Whatnot

I don't really understand what the same sex marriage hullabaloo is about. I can understand it at a personal, anecdotal level. I know a great many people who are upset and concerned and animated about this issue. But I do not have a clear grasp of what is really going on.As a Roman Catholic, I understand marriage as a sacrament. I'm not even sure what it means to be "married" outside of the sacrament of marriage. I guess filing taxes is the only place where it makes some concrete sense to … [Read more...]


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