Absent Grown-Ups: Over-sexed and Material-Worlded to Death

My column at First Things today is about what creates grown ups in the world, and what happens to the world when we resolutely refuse to be raised into it:A psychotherapist friend once confessed to me that she still makes each of her five grown children call her on rainy nights, to tell her they are safely at home. “So many mothers run away from their children or put them in nurseries or go out to work,” Dorothy Day noted, “because they can’t stand . . . the suffering that such love entails … [Read more...]

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Echo Chambers Leave Us too Weak to Fight Idols and Bullies

Since they seem to be recurring themes in my life and my writing, last week I had occasion to again contemplate idols and idolatry and also the way bullies operate. Both idols and bullies play with our psyche, of course, and can do great damage. They are like germs and bacteria that bring disease and make us exceedingly ill, but only if they can first penetrate the immune system.In the case of bullies and idols, this involves a piercing of the spiritual and psychological immune systems. We … [Read more...]

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Digital Field of the Lord: Hoeing the Rows, for the Seeds

In my my first reaction to Benedict's announcement yesterday, I wrote:Listening to some of the inanities coming out of the mouths of cable news anchors, and noting the way they are quickly, predictably, focusing on the "negative narratives" -- one voice on cable anchor is making it sound like the church has just endured 32 years of misery and she imagines "great joy" among "progressive" Catholics and "confusion" among "conservative" ones -- how grateful I am that, thanks to Benedict's … [Read more...]

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“Life, Death, Truth, Governance, Morality, Pheeeh! So What?”

My column at First Things today looks at the remarkable, innovative new theme in our discourse:The repeated thesis was simply this: “so what?”Such a disarming question; the sort of question society has long-regarded as adolescent, arrogant, disdainful, and yes, more than a little snotty. It is a question that conveys a dare in its follow-up, whether spoken or not: “Just what are you going to do about it?”In a three day period, I encountered three variations of this oddly innovat … [Read more...]

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Pastor Louie Giglio and the Chill Wind of Correctness

(image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)Considering the wide media attention accompanying the announcement that laywoman Myrlie Evers-Williams and Atlanta-based preacher Louie Giglio would offer prayers at President Obama’s upcoming inaugural, Giglio’s withdrawal from the podium just two days later garnered little notice outside of Evangelical circles, but it is a story that deserves some attention. So, I'm talking about it over at First Things:For Pastor Louie Giglio, a frequent visitor to … [Read more...]

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I Won’t Label You; You Won’t Negate Me – UPDATED

Continuing what has become and an unintended pattern, I continue with my every-other-week-Apocalypse, exclusively at First Things!Two weeks ago, I was saying, "We will have to become, ourselves, the reality we want to see. . .Let us begin, finally, to understand the true meaning of apocalypse by becoming it—not destruction and mayhem but revelation, as in the revelation of Christ to each other—in these strange and transitional days."This week, I am surprising even myself with the sta … [Read more...]

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Does Church Suppress God’s Will? That’s Wicked, Right?

Like Mark Shea, I too thought the National Catholic Reporter had endorsed female ordination years ago. I actually had no intention of writing about it for my First Things column, today.Yet somehow -- and though I had intended to write more about Calah Alexander and the idea of a Ministry of Succor to young mothers, I ended up at female ordination, asking a few questions about NCR's stand:The overbearing men of Rome, most particularly Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, are depicted as … [Read more...]

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“Most Important Election Ever” meets the Psalms – UPDATED

In my column at First Things today I expose some of the cynicism I constantly battle within myself as my mistrust of all politics and politicians continues apace:Assuming it was ever real, the notion of electoral downtime, of productive governance, mindful that a day’s evils are sufficient thereof and that futures are dealt with as they arrive, appears to be over. So too the idea that one runs for office in order to serve by representing the desires of the voting populace. When they elected M … [Read more...]

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Effective Evangelization Ought to Persuade, not Provoke

A few weeks ago Deacon Greg posted this video, and people are still visiting it and many of them are sending it on to me, believing I must not have seen it, and wondering what I think about the "tolerance double standard" it reveals.Well, here's my response to that, over at First Things:There is no denying that the notion of “tolerance” has become somewhat fluid in the United States over the last decade, or that double standards apply to its application. Just last week, the Boston Globe … [Read more...]

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A Dictatorship of Sentimentalism

In my column over at First Things, today, I recall Ann Rice "quitting Christianity" just about a year ago, and ponder why that might have happened:At the time Rice was writing, we were well into the summer of Tea Party unrest preceding the 2010 elections, and mainstream media were disseminating the usual mean Christian caricatures spouted in any election year. In 2010 patently false claims that Christians hate gays, women, and science had been given new force by the Proposition 8 drama in … [Read more...]

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