Two Catholic Pragmatists Walk Into Bar: Illich vs. Montessori

My latest and longest reply to my esteemed Patheos colleague, Pascal Emanuel Gobry.My doctoral adviser and I finally realized, after years of careful but polarizing arguments, that perhaps there was more to our collegial quarrel than the arguments presented. His Mormonism and my Roman Catholicism were, in certain respects, irreconcilable—or at least would prove much more difficult to unravel. I suspect, to a far lesser extent, that some of this might influence the very rich discussion PEG a … [Read more...]

Against Methods: The Arts of the Ordinary

This is another reply to Pascal Emanuel Gobry, in particular to his recent reply to me regarding the radical uniqueness of the Montessori curriculum. * I've recently posted a few sketched-out ideas about the absence of generosity, rooted in fear, that grips the public conversation, especially online. There is so much of it and, tragically, I often find myself in the middle of it. Outrage is a fickle and easy chemistry, one click away from explosion. This is one reason why this exchange with … [Read more...]

What Can Go Wrong With Classical, Great Books, and Montessori?

I've written this post in reply to my esteemed Patheos colleague, Pascal Emmanuel Gobry, inspired by his post today at Forbes and elsewhere.*One reason why I write so little about education here is because I don't want to bore you. Education requires, as Pope Francis recently put it, pinzas (tweezers). This is very frustrating to most people, especially the ones who are concerned about it, but it is this very frustration that often prevents serious understanding.Cheap opinions and … [Read more...]

Listen to the World’s First Augustinian Soul Album!

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On August 28th --- the feast of St. Augustine --- Wiseblood Records will release my first studio LP, Late to Love, a concept album bringing together soul music and Augustine's Confessions. The process has been exhilarating and, most of all, has produced some remarkable music, a testament to the grace of God and fine creative team I am working with. This has never been done before, as far as I know. It is new. Augustinian soul music has never existed before now. At the same time, the music draws … [Read more...]

“Moronic Manhood” at Ethika Politika

My essay on manhood at Ethika Politika is something I've wanted to write for many, many years. In it, I try to expose what I find to be a rather clumsy and insulting (but sometimes hilarious) caricature of manhood that is very popular in some of the Catholic circles I run in.Here's an excerpt: Yes, I want to become a better father, son, husband, and friend, to man and woman alike, as the man that I am, but I’m not sure that I need to watch Braveheart on repeat to do it or keep up with the la … [Read more...]

A Beautiful Teacher: A Tribute to Maya Angelou

I had the opportunity to listen to Maya Angelou on February 28, 2010, at a one-hour talk she gave at Ohio State University. I was nearing the end of my doctoral studies, finishing my dissertation. I'd grown cynical of intellectual celebrity and was a bit seduced, if not confused, by some of the orthodoxies of university teaching fads and ideas.I was prepared to scoff at this larger than life poet and her adoring fanatics.Her presence alone captured my immediate attention and respect and … [Read more...]

The Perils of Private Consensus: Or, In Praise of Mommy Blogs

(Preface)My previous post, "Fear of Generosity," comes dangerously close, I fear, to self-help. It was not widely popular in terms of traffic or noise making, but it seemed to resonate with people. Perhaps there are things that, cheesy or not, sometimes need to be said plainly and in terms that verge on the prescriptive. So be it. If you agree, please continue to tell me and I'll respond by trying to write more of it.In this post, I'd like to outline a danger I've observed in public … [Read more...]

Fear of Generosity

If you speak to someone about something controversial, like abortion or war, in intimate and full confidence, you will usually hear a vastly different story from the one we routinely hear and see in public, no matter what the opinion is or what side is taken. This is understandable. There are real liabilities to being open and honest. Anyone who has told the unvarnished truth many times in public has been punished for it.Liabilities aside, there is still a serious problem: in place of … [Read more...]

When the Soul Gets Blues, The Blues Get Soul

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My socks, underwear, and toiletries are stuffed into two guitar cases and a 1945 tube amp. My pedalboard arrives at the studio tomorrow with my shirts and pants and pedals and cords. My wife and children and I will leave tomorrow morning for the Twin Cities (where they will stay) and from there I'll head to Pittsburgh where Dan Bozek, the studio engineer and producer, will pick me up and take me to Steubenville where I'll be recording my first full-length studio album, Late to Love. I was … [Read more...]

A Hesitant Defense of Cliven Bundy

I've stayed away from the Bundy story until now. It seemed like the latest bit of 24-hour news sensationalism, and I still think it is. Even as I type these words I'm not exactly interested in the whole story. I don't plan to do my homework and could care less what I've missed or what will show up later.I only became interested in the story after the racial remarks Bundy made that were decried by every ideological color on my spectrum of social media. That was what caught my attention.I … [Read more...]


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