One Question Answered (and Raised Again) by SCOTUS

I love reading Supreme Court decisions and dissents. They are without rival in US public discourse. Even though the court is polarized in many ways, even their predictable decisions must come with reasons. Good reasons, bad reasons, odd reasons, but reasons nonetheless. That alone makes these things an all-too-rare treat.The headlines and spectacles of coverage mostly miss the ways that these decisions not only set legal precedents, but also (and many times more importantly) advance public … [Read more...]

Agonism, Antagonism, and Attitudes About Certainty

I think PEG really hit one nail on the head in his last post of our ongoing discussion on education. He understands, and sympathizes, that social scientific research used to bolster policy and curriculum for schooling today is, mostly, garbage. This fact, he rightly intuits, forces me into a defensive attitude about any unqualified appeal to science. He goes on to present his most careful and thorough to date explanation of what he means by 'science' and shows that there is a tradition of … [Read more...]

Against Best Practices and Unintentional Philistinism

PEG has penned another fine rejoinder to my last, rather tedious, reply. I appreciate his patience and willingness to add details and nuance that, in many cases, have convinced me that my initial critique was, in some ways, unwarranted or aimed at the wrong side of the argument.For instance, I am no longer concerned about PEG’s insistence on method. He has swayed me with his appeal to holism. I would only add the following: holism as a method is not what many methodologists means by the term … [Read more...]

Tupac Shakur, the Real C.S. Lewis, and My Dad: A Review of “Something Other Than God”

"I folded my hands, leaned my head forward, and poured out the most sincere prayer I had ever said, for the soul of Tupac Shakur."This final line of chapter 21, marries the searching and often broken spirituality of hip-hop, in the tragic life of perhaps its greatest and most tortured genius, Tupac Shakur, with the soteriology of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.This is not a slick book of cultural theory, bringing together wild combinations for shock and awe. No. This is a spiritual … [Read more...]

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...]


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