MERRY CHRISTMAS

The blog is presently stowed away for technical reasons.In the meantime, I wish you all a very merry Christmas holiday season.SR … [Read more...]

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I’d Rather Be Whole

Since the release of my album, just over a month ago, I've faced a number of related questions about the identity of this music I've made and, more intimately, my own identity as its maker. Many have wondered how my work as a musician can be reconciled to my work as an academic and a father. Others have wondered about the religious identity of my work, across its various mediums, and have been generous in allowing me to offer a series of difficult answers.In some cases, such as this review by … [Read more...]

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An Incestuous Catholicism

There are three options: (1) participate, (2) participate critically, (3) refuse. This post aspires to be a refusal, but will inevitably become a critical participation.There is an analogy to be made between the large scale cycle of popular news and the tiny scale Catholic blogosphere and various websites and social media. The relationship between the two is twofold: in one case directly, in the other indirect. For one, the news cycle drives a large portion of Catholic commentary, especially … [Read more...]

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Guest post from JD Flynn

This is a guest post from my dear friend JD Flynn.  It is the conclusion of our dialogue about the honorary doctorate conferred by our alma mater, Franciscan University of Steubenville, upon Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA.  You can read my initial post here, JD's first post here, and my response here.  I promised JD that if he wrote his response here, I'd point out that he's smarter and better looking than me.  He is.Sam Rocha is a pretty good guy.  Not all the time, but often enough.  … [Read more...]

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On the Need for Ideological Relativism

One of the more vexing problems with public discourse today is that the keywords being used do not carry the same meanings or usages form one person to the next. The madness that ensues is in many ways to be expected when everyone not only uses terms differently, but also implies and suspects that those they disagree operate on bad faith, ignorance, or both.When words become barriers and dams, they are counterproductive. At the same time, when words are used willy-nilly, they don't help much … [Read more...]

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Late to Love in the Classroom, on the Streets

This past week,  two sections of Hofstra University's Honors College course, "Culture and Expression" --- taught by my dear friend and colleague, Eduardo Duarte (who was also the author of the meditations in the liner notes) --- listened to my Augustinian soul album, Late to Love, as a companion text to their study of Augustine's Confessions. The two classes sent me a number of questions about the album, its composition and content, and its relation to Augustine. I was asked to reply in the form … [Read more...]

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Professor Robert George as a Model of Interfaith Engagement

In the recent weeks of the atrocities in Iraq, there have been few intellectual voices more prominent and wholly opposed to ISIS than Professor Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University.He initiated iraqrescue.org, and has been outspoken in various ways. Professor George is Catholic and it shows in the measure of his response: a classic both/and. George models the ability to both be appalled by ISIS and have deep respect for Islam.This past Friday he made … [Read more...]

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The July Experiment

During the month of July I will try to blog more and less: I will try to blog more frequently, perhaps even posting several posts in a day, but I will limit my posts to five-hundred words or less --- which is significantly less than the usual fare. (Yesterday's post doesn't count because I starting writing it in the wee hours of June.) If this "works" (whatever that means), I may halve the word count for August.The reasons behind this experiment are many, and teasing them all out would be … [Read more...]

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The Apocalyptic Forecast is Yellow

Your regularly scheduled weekly apocalypse, in points:1. Soccer is … [Read more...]

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Reading and Listening to Pope Francis: Priming the Heart and Mind

Reading and listening have become postmodern. The idea of reading with any sense of fidelity has been all but lost. In the news-cycle, we feed on half-digested items like a person who never listens, who only listens long enough to come up with a critical response. I often struggle with this in my own academic work, and also in my teaching. A student once asked me, "What do I read for?" --- my reply shocked him and even me: "Read for the truth, read for what is there."In the aftermath of Pope … [Read more...]

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