My Elder Son Reads Everything

Taleb

My elder son, the dreamy quiet planet, has the most curious mind I've ever encountered. He never rejects an idea outright--first he acquaints himself with who and what is behind the idea and then finds out who influenced their thinking and he checks them out too. He will swim in the seas of an idea for a while before deciding whether he accepts or rejects it, and then washes up on the next shore, then the next. His library is formidable, and he is never intimidated (as I sometimes am) by a … [Read more...]

“I love Jesus but Not Religion”

In my youth I did some time embracing the "I love Jesus but not religion," thing, but ultimately, it was unsatisfying; it felt like a glass half-full, and moreover it was way "too easy." And it didn't make sense to me, because Jesus clearly liked religion, himself -- he was an observant Jew and when he healed people he told them to go to the priest, and do what Moses commanded. Then again, I've always loved the sacrament of confession, too, so clearly I feel better when I have to face up to … [Read more...]

Falling in Love with Love

CathPT_GodBlessChild_1

"One has never achieved complete faith. Faith has to be lived again and again in life and in suffering, as well as in the great joys that God sends us. It is never something that I can put in my pocket like a coin . . . The essence of faith is that I do not meet with something that has been thought up, but that here something meets me that is greater than anything we can think of for ourselves . . . The Christian faith brings us consolation, that God is so great that he can become small. And … [Read more...]

SCOTUS Unanimous For Religious Freedom – UPDATED

SCOTUS

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled unanimously in favor of a church's right to be itself, and its freedom to assign its ministries: This is an enormous and timely victory for religious freedom: In a groundbreaking case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held for the first time that religious employees of a church cannot sue for employment discrimination. But the court’s unanimous decision in a case from Michigan did not specify the distinction between a secular employee, … [Read more...]

Tim Tebow: Luke 12:8 or 1 Thess 5:18?

I must admit, I got a mild kick out of this bit on the statistics of yesterday's Bronco game: It's surely all coincidence, but how many yards did Tebow throw for as he led the Denver Broncos to a 29-23 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL's divisional playoffs on Sunday night? Answer: 316. And what did Tebow have on his eye black as he led the Florida Gators to victory in the 2009 national championship game three years ago to the day of his performance in Denver Sunday … [Read more...]

So this Catholic woman and this Pagan Woman – UPDATE

Katrina Fernandez is tired of ecumenism and puts it out there: Ecumenism, or more specifically, tip toeing around the sensibilities of other religions. He finds it elitist a Catholic’s claim of belonging to the One True Church. I suppose this assertion goes against popular belief that all religions have equal measure and are deserving of equal respect. To my dear friend religion is just another personal choice, like who to date or whether to have coffee or tea for breakfast. It … [Read more...]

The Vanishing: Can Faith Fuel the Future?

vienna opera house

Last year I mused over at First Things about Vienna, and how it had seemed, when I visited, to be vasishing before my eyes: A few years ago I had occasion to spend a few days in Vienna. The beautiful city of museums and music remains a favorite but a forlorn one; its charming avenues and architecture and nightly concerts could not fully distract from the sleepy sense of diminishment that hung over the city, like the acquiescence of a cancer patient who has decided to forgo the next round of … [Read more...]

The Primacy and Constancy of Christ-as-Truth – UPDATE

Benedict white

Reading the always-terrific John Allen the other day, I found myself miffed at the notion that some Vatican-watchers think our hard-working Benedict XVI is not engaged enough -- is in fact, a "part-time Pope". At the end of John Paul's reign, Politi writes, the papacy was widely understood to play these unique roles: "Respected interlocutor of the religions of the world, beginning with the other two great monotheisms: Judaism and Islam." "Spokesperson for human rights, beyond … [Read more...]

Tired Benedict Needs our Prayers

benedict tired

(photo source) "Benedict turns 85 in the new year, so a slowdown is only natural. Expected. And given his age and continued rigorous work schedule, it's remarkable he does as much as he does and is in such good health overall: Just this past week he confirmed he would travel to Mexico and Cuba next spring. But a decline has been noted as Benedict prepares for next weekend's grueling Christmas celebrations, which kick off two weeks of intense public appearances. [...] Back at home, however, … [Read more...]

Why Tim Tebow Terrifies – UPDATED

Tim Tebow

Mentioned yesterday that my First Things post today would be joining in on the multitude of words being written about Tim Tebow. Patton Dodd has given a terrific overview of Tebow in WSJ and in his ebook, but I was interested in one small aspect of his phenomenon: how terrifying Tebow must be to those busy elites in politics and media who are so determinedly constructing the ungainly "profits-gained-outside-of-government-or-other-approved-venues-are-evil" narrative and the more subtle but … [Read more...]

Tebow Mania Grows and Patheos helps!

Honestly, he's everywhere I look. Is anyone in America being written about as much as Tebow is, today? Okay, confession time: I'm even writing about him, tomorrow in First Things! Kind of an irresistible subject, really. One piece about Tebow that has particularly strong legs was written by Patheos' own Patton Dodd, and featured in the Wall Street Journal: This combination of candid piety and improbable success on the field has made Mr. Tebow the most-discussed phenomenon of the … [Read more...]

Muppets Mayhem is Misdirection

muppets

Honestly, I haven't been paying much attention. I mean, I love the Muppets but once I stopped having to read bedtime stories in Elmo's voice to the kids, Muppet headlines stopped resonating (although the whole family does very much enjoy rewatching The Muppet Family Christmas Special each year -- a classic, sadly unavailable, anymore). But I'm hearing some suggestions that the new Muppet movie is a covert action by the socialists, hellbent on denigrating capitalism and especially … [Read more...]

Chatting with Fr. James Martin

Between-Heaven-and-Mirth

I love his latest book, Between Heaven and Mirth almost as much as I loved My Life With the Saints (which is to say, a lot) but "Mirth" strikes me as a particularly great Christmas gift, because what heavy-lifting it requires comes with a ready-hand of diversionary wit and humor. It is not scary. You can give it to someone who already has faith -- any faith; the book does not speak exclusively to Catholics -- and they will enjoy it immensely. You can give it to someone who doesn't have … [Read more...]

Fulfilling God’s Longings for Us

sistinegod

We don't often picture God has having a longing for our sake; the image is too startling and goes against the idea of God's omnipotence. Most people would reject an image of God, like a parent watching from a distance, hoping we'll make the right decisions, the best decisions -- grounded in his realities -- so he can be more fully involved with our lives. We think, "God can do anything; if he wants something for me, he'll make it happen." But as we see throughout scripture, and particularly … [Read more...]