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 fin … [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 … [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...]

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 … [Read more...]

The New Evangelization Needs Profanity

So a Pharisee invites Jesus over to his house for dinner. Check out what transpires, from today's Gospel: The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, "Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools!" Damn. Move over, Kobe Bryant: Jesus is the real OG --- Original Gangsta. Jesus was crazy.In many ways, I think he was crazier … [Read more...]

Vote Local, Not Loco: Subsidiarity and Voting

Politics makes us crazy. As true as it may be, the statement should be qualified. National politics make us crazy. Sanity is the exception to the insane rule on the national stage. But not on the local one. Partisanship always dissipates, and many times disappears, at the local level. If this is true, then there should be something deeply unsettling about it. It is reminiscent of my ridiculous post on the exploitation of Catholics by the both national parties. While we get black-out drunk --- … [Read more...]

Faith and Food

Holy Cross Catholic Church, Minneapolis, MN

Happy Year of Faith, everyone!On Monday, I think I raised some eyebrows when I expressed my fear of Latinos becoming "white." For the record: as proud and attached as I am to my Texican Hispanic heritage, I wouldn't mind being any number of other ethnicities --- so long as they're Catholic. (As I've pointed out, until recently, Catholics have been excluded from being considered white.) My fear is not principally racial; it is cultural and religious.Catholic culture is what I treasure and … [Read more...]

We Be, Big Pimpin’ Catholics Down in US of A: The Democrat and Republican Exploitation of Catholics

Certain anti-Catholic Protestants like to claim that the Catholic Church is the "Whore of Babylon," from chapters 17 and 18 of the book of Revelation. Outrageous as it is to think this, there may be some substance to the claim if we substitute the Apocalypse of John with Jay-Z's perverse and misogynistic song, Big Pimpin'. The American Catholic Church is certainly not the Whore of Babylon, but, on the American scene, many of her members have become whores to another Imperial pimp: the American … [Read more...]


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