Strange Gods at the Seminary!

seminary talk

If you are on Long Island on September 13, consider swinging by the beautiful Seminary of the Immaculate Conception -- which gave us Father Michael Duffy -- and saying "hi!" I will be there discussing Strange Gods, Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life (now with study guide!) and sharing some ideas, and chatting.If time allows, I might also do a first-ever reading of an excerpt of my new book, Little Sins Mean a Lot, which comes out next spring.Immaculate Conception Seminary was part of … [Read more...]

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Strange Gods & Small Groups: A Match Made in…Heaven?

Twitterpraise

I'm looking forward to using this book with my students this year. We belong to a very small English speaking group in our parish in Göteborg, Sweden. Two of my students have made their Confirmation already and two of them will be making it in the Spring. I think your book will be a huge asset to me and my class and help further our discussions and our learning. -- Sam E.I am in the process of prepping my annual Suggestions for Lenten Readings, but on the advice of a few friends, I'm … [Read more...]

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Ann Coulter’s Strange God Renders Her Blind

strange gods cover tilt

Others tell me it is "schtick" meant to "make us think" but if that's what Ann Coulter is serving up with her "charity begins at home" number, she's doing it badly. Leading people into productive thought shouldn't involve dragging them through a toxic swamp, where all sorts of rank and dubious detritus may become attached to our thinking.Writes Coulter:America is the most consequential nation on Earth, and in desperate need of God at the moment.And how does she think Americans will … [Read more...]

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Garlic? Honey, I’m like buttah. Like BUTTAH!

You know...all fat and salty!Anyhow, back in September I did an interview with Jonathan Merritt at the Religion News Service, talking about idols and the pope and whatnot, and today the piece has dropped:Pope Francis craze may be idolatry, says Catholic writer Elizabeth ScaliaElizabeth Scalia claims to be a shy person, happy to hang in the background. But the popular Catholic Portal editor at Patheos, writing as “The Anchoress”, doesn’t shy away from offering opinions as strong as ga … [Read more...]

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“Strange Gods” heads into 3rd Printing, with Study Guide!

strange gods cover tilt

I know, I know, I haven't done my "comprehensive" list of good reads for Christmas, or my annual Christmas Gift Ideas post -- they're coming, I promise -- but first let me share this because I'm having a bad, overwhelmed day where all I can do is fight on Twitter and quote T.S. Eliot, and announcing this makes me feel better!Coming soon, a third printing of Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, with a Study Guide included (as they say) "by popular demand"!That's cool, … [Read more...]

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“I. Am Not. A Hoo-er. I. Am Not. A Hoo-er…”

hooercrop

Pope Francis said he wanted us to make a mess.Golden Voiced Dan Sealana has built a whole radio show out of that idea and taken The Mess to the airwaves in San Antonio, Texas.He's smart, he's fun, he's a little puckish, which I liked when we settled into a chat a few days ago, and not just to talk about Strange Gods.Give a listen. Toward the finish, you'll discover what the header of this post is about, even though -- beyond the rest of it -- I really didn't mean to say that I would … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis and Strange Gods: “A Meme on the Rise”? – UPDATED

I'd generate a meme, if I knew how...

Yes, we've been joking for some time about how Pope Francis and I appear to be in some kind of mind-meld on the subject of idols -- he talks about them almost every single week, and brought them up in his encyclical, Lumen Fidei*. In today's homily, Pope Francis really hit hard on the theme:Once again, the liturgy of the Mass elicits from Pope Francis a reflection on the traps that punctuate the life of faith: To become an apostle of one’s own ideas, or a devotee of one’s own well-being, rat … [Read more...]

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Are we making an idol of the pope who warns against them? UPDATED

Pope likes my book! Heh.

I can't think of modern pope who has so explicitly, and so frequently, warned us against the creation of idols; he mentioned idolatry early-and-often in his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, and has exhorted against succumbing to it so frequently that the joke around here is: he's in a mind meld with Scalia. And of course, the other joke is this:Even when the crowds cheer him at his audiences, Francis reminds them, "cheer for Jesus, not for me"And yet, as I write this morning in the … [Read more...]

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Remarks to Catholic Marketers, Shop Owners

photobombingpope2

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet and talk with members of the Catholic Marketing Network at their annual conference and trade show. The show is always delightful -- walking amidst a convention hall of Catholic wares, tsotskies and books is my idea of a very good time, indeed, and of course, I also got to photobomb the pope!And of course, there was the wine-and-cheese book-signing sponsored by Ave Maria Press, which was great fun and looked like this:The conference … [Read more...]

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What is the Sin? It is in the Self, the Idol

Reflecting on Lumen Fidei over at First Things, Nathaniel Peters writes:. . .an unexpected word does appear in Lumen Fidei: idolatry. As is characteristic of his evangelical boldness, Francis notes that in the story of the golden calf, “the opposite of faith is shown to be idolatry.” Faith demands a kind of patience. It requires us to abide the hiddenness of the God we long to see. The pope notes Martin Buber’s definition of idolatry, which he in turn took from the rabbi of Kock: “Idolatry is … [Read more...]

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