Resurrected Messianic Obama and “Being Apocalypse” – UPDATED

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An interesting resurrection is taking place: the re-emergence of the Messianic Obama theme from the tomb to which it had been consigned.It began rather modestly, with the release of The Gospel According to Apostle Barack. But that was a mere gospel. Jamie Foxx then upped the ante by referring (ironically?) to "our Lord and Savior, Barack Obama!" and today Drudge is featuring this story about a 2009 painting depicting a Messianic Obama who is "The Truth"The truth painting is old … [Read more...]

“Most Important Election Ever” meets the Psalms – UPDATED

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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...]

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...]

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...]

Resistance & Humility Feed Creativity

My column at First Things this week is all about the efficacy of the word "no" in our lives, and how deadening to the spirit and one's own creative juices is can be to hear only praise, and no criticism:Nothing quite so humbles as a tumble, and humility is often the deep place where creativity resides. When a successful artist or writer becomes so insulated from criticism that he never comprehends a failure, or when he has gone a decade or two without hearing the word “no” spoken in his dir … [Read more...]

Reasoning Through a Bone-Deep Faith

My column at First Things this week is a slightly enlarged response to a question I received in an email, from a young man who wrote: “I know the Church puts a high premium on docility, humility and the emptying of self,” he wrote, “but common sense tells me that none of those should involve self-lobotomizing. Please tell me I’m not wrong.”Good heavens, no—you’re very right. While I may not have the brain of an Aquinas or an Augustine, do I seem to you to be in any way conformist or lobotomize … [Read more...]

The Year of Living Anxiously -UPDATED

My Tuesday column at First Things is up. The year is hardly begun and already it seems like it will be an anxious one. Here I take a look at the anxieties born of the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and the deaths of six others:As you read this, those six human beings–mostly anonymous to the world but beloved of their families and friends–are being grieved, waked, remembered, mourned, celebrated and interred. They were murdered at a shopping center, on January 8 by an incoherent, mentally ill … [Read more...]

Ants on Jesus & the Voice of One Man! UPDATED

My Tuesday Column is up over on the home page. Today I am looking at the "Ants on Jesus" story, and the reaction of Washington Post Art Critic Blake Gopnik to poor old Norman Rockwell, whose "art" he hates. (Gopnik likes the scare quotes. He uses them to describe the "hard work" of realism, too!)While I happen to agree with the notion that art, as free speech, should not be censored, I could not help but be struck by the fact that Gopnik is so out of touch with the "common man" he does not … [Read more...]

Reasoned Loyalty; the Tuesday Column

My Tuesday Column is up, wherein I wonder about whether an adult and fully-formed faith should rest upon reason or loyalty, and decide that, well...it requires both:Reasonable Catholicism is reasoned loyalty, or sometimes even loyalty with gritted teeth; it is loyalty that insists upon the application of reason lest its value be questioned. By the same token, intellectualism that is not tempered with loyalty ends up pickling itself in its own ego. Either one, by itself, is incomplete. Both … [Read more...]

The Holy War Over Ground Zero

Perhaps New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg deserves credit, then, for saying straight out, and sticking to his position, that the mosque “is as important a test” of “the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime.” Indeed, he added, “We would be untrue to the best part of ourselves—and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans—if we said ‘no’ to a mosque in Lower Manhattan.”And yet, there’s something in that Bloombergian line that puts one’s back up. Something condescending, super … [Read more...]


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