Disposable Pleasures

When my children see a movie they like, they want to see it again. Immediately. And again. Same with stories and books and most of life's pleasures."Read it again!"I love going to the movies. Always have. There is something about the whole ritual of movie-going. Add to that, I can afford to go, and get a drink and popcorn if I want to, when not too long ago I couldn't.This is what being rich is for me. Able to eat out and go to movies. Order pizza. Fishing, when it's warm. … [Read more...]

A Hellish Wit

When I see a billboard or bumper-sticker that reads "HELL IS REAL," I usually smile and wonder what, exactly, the person behind it is trying to convey. I also think the same thing when I overhear (or oversee, on Facebook) conversations about how important it is to believe in hell, sin, Satan, and eternal damnation these days. Even the more sophisticated debates and books, on soteriology and Von Balthasaar et al, strike me as being somewhat hard to parse out in terms of the real objective of th … [Read more...]

Boredom is Laziness

We live in a culture of boredom. It may seem odd that, within the most overstimulated society in human history, there is such rampant boredom, but I am not sure that this is quite as odd as it seems. These apparent --- and delightful --- contradictions are riddled across the flux of  life, in all of its forms.The real question is simpler and more direct. What is boredom and what can be done about it?Here is the situation: My two sons are generally occupied without interruption, but they … [Read more...]

When Prayer Goes Wrong

I think I fasted on Saturday. It didn't feel very penitential, but I was also very busy and didn't have much time to do a good job. But I did the basics. Followed the rules.I was teaching a course in Fargo, an hour south of Grand Forks, for a doctoral cohort of school administrators. The reading for the day was Marx.I like to pray for things with Gethsemane in mind. Job, too. I can only imagine the apostles, praying to God, begging for their Rabbi to be spared. They didn't understand, … [Read more...]

Christ, the Prisoner: Webb on Von Balthasar and Prison Ministry

  Stephen Webb has written a short and powerful reflection on Christ's descent into hell at First Things today. The post reads in the style of a testimonial homiletic. Short, imaginative, rooted in scripture, and personal. Moving, too. Webb begins by disputing Von Balthasar's thesis in  Mysterium Paschale through his own alternative reading of Christ descending into hell as a prisoner. A preaching prisoner.He writes, Jesus, after all, was condemned as a criminal and died between two cri … [Read more...]

An Aesthetic Critique of Youth Ministry: Miley Cyrus vs. Bonnie Raitt

MARC BARNES' CRITIQUE OF YOUTH MINISTRY has, predictably, gone viral. Today there is a measured and intelligent response posted at Fr. Robert Barron's site, The Word on Fire, written by Fr. Damian J. Ference.This back and forth reveals many studious and sophisticated things: church documents and properly understood Catholic teaching and tradition. The important stuff.The only thing I will add to that discussion is this: there is no reason to assume that, if parents are the primary ed … [Read more...]

Father Z Equates Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 with Nazis UPDATED

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, also known (and hereafter referred to) as "Fr. Z," will surely dispute the claim of this headline, however, this post will show that the proposition "Father Z equates Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 with Nazis" is true, by examining the words used by Fr. Z in today's post at his web log, "Your Excellencies? REALLY?!?"Fr. Z's post begins with the YouTube video (below) of a large group of Catholic Bishops, dressed in ecclesial attire, rehearsing hand movements to an upbeat re … [Read more...]

Why I’m Not Writing About the Trayvon Martin Case

The easy, short answer is that I don't have time. It really is that simple, too simple. Unclear.I worry that some of my more critical readers have confused the difference between simplicity and oversimplification.Of course things often reduce to a simple core reality. At the same time, these simple things can rarely be accounted for with "simple" talk. Perhaps silence is best. But that leaves much to be desired, too, sometimes.I value clarity as a form of fidelity. For me, to be … [Read more...]

Criticizing Criticism and The Blue Evangelization: A Rejoinder

Read this first. This post is about that post. +++ It is not my first time being (mis)understood as a curmudgeon, provocateur, and a snob. I'm sure it won't be my last and I am not proud of that. I'm actually quite ambivalent about it. Polemics are a refuge for me, I feel at home in a debate. It comforts me. But I also grow weary and bored of the routine. More than anything else, debate is a routine. At best it is a subtle dance, at worst it is an exercise in shame and humiliation --- not … [Read more...]

Why Serious Catholics Should Hate Catholic Stuff

I love Mexican food.Bordertown street cuisine, Tex-Mex comfort food, and Southwestern red and green chiles and sopapillas...Tacos al pastor, tortas, elote (en vaso), carne guisada, frijoles a la charra, CABRITO AL PASTOR. I love the drinks, the tamarindo, the key lime, cilantro, the salt. Heat that actually isn't too hot.Mariscos, fresh.Una coca bien fria --- a Coca-Cola in an ice-cold glass bottle.The soups: from a clear, crisp fish soup to a beefy sopa de res. Or the sp … [Read more...]


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