Art and the Anchor of Friendship

I love this painting, Der Spaziergang, (The Walk) by Marc Chagall. He so beautifully captures the sense lightness that accompanies the feeling of euphoria founded upon love, and the need for the steadying anchor.It seems to me the perfect illustration for this rumination by Barbara Nicolosi on Friendship and the Artist, and how friendship gives spiritual sustenance to our creative friends and family members, who -- left unanchored -- might otherwise live forever in the clouds or "end up … [Read more...]

Powerline Prizes for Better and Worse

Lots of good songs showing up in Powerline's artful debt-ceiling contest. I, like many others, enjoyed this punk rock anthem, "You're Gonna Pay":+ + + + + + + I am much less taken with the exceedingly popular ditty "Don't You See", not so much for any flaw in the song -- it's nice enough; it has a good beat, and the kid singing it has a voice that's pure and true -- but I always get creeped-out when children are used to deliver political messages. Let's be consistent, here, … [Read more...]

When Young Faith is Tested

In his column today, Matt Emerson, who teaches at a Jesuit prep school, expresses concern over the effectiveness of our current religious education programs. Addressing the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, he writes of working through Psalm 46:Those classes, and that day, were sacred moments. There had been an uncovering. In the darkened room, in the mild glow of a projector screen bearing ancient words, I had been given an x-ray of my students' spiritual life. The images were … [Read more...]

The Applause at Mass has to Stop

Katrina Fernandez has one of those posts up that makes you want to cheer and staple to the doors of a church.Kids are already told every day in school their self esteem and self importance is more valued than being literate. Now they get to come to mass and have Fr. Well Meaning reinforce this narcissistic behavior too. Forget that other guy. What's his name. Oh right. Jesus.It was so bad these masses began to embarrass my son. He sang in the choir because it gave him joy and he liked … [Read more...]

Root of All Sin: Selfishness? UPDATED

My column at First Things today is about walking on The Diamond Path, a road some of us learned about as children, after a brazen caper:Flashback, forty-some years: as my friends and I prepare to make our first confessions God is very much on all our minds, as are the notions of sin and shame and forgiveness.Contrary to modern thinking, we six year-olds are not little dopes incapable of comprehending moral concepts. Knowing that we will soon be kneeling in a confessional and facing up to all … [Read more...]

The Parent-Child Thing

It doesn't always flow so easily, or so naturally, especially when the family has been shattered and new people are coming in and out of the framework.When I was 14, two things happened. First, he met a woman, moved in with her, and got engaged. Second, I entered high school. The future he and I had talked about so hopefully became foreshortened; like Tony Manero's, my future was tonight.With startling speed, my father changed from a wise and patient counselor into, well, a crabby and … [Read more...]

Should Kids Surf the Net in Helmets?

Everyone likes to make fun of modern helicopter parents. Get a group of 40-ish men reminiscing about their childhoods and you'll hear things like, "These poor bubble-wrapped Oprafied kids! Why, in my day, we poured ground glass on our pancakes and chewed the dishes like breath mints. After we finished, I'd grab my Kenner stainless-steel tomahawk, my brother would grab his Hasbro single-action Colt Navy revolver, and we'd play cowboys and Indians. Once my dad told me, 'Son, I'd rather see … [Read more...]

Don't shoot the teacher…

Hey, everyone. Max Lindenman here. While the lovely and talented Elizabeth prepares for her pilgrimage to Rome, I'll be guest-blogging for her, or as I like to think of it, acting as her vicar.I found a fascinating opinion piece in today's New York Times. Joe Nocera argues that even the best, most dedicated teachers can't make students learn if their parents are standing in the way:Instead, González comes across as a skeptic, wary of the enthusiasm for, as the article puts it, “all of the ed … [Read more...]

Teen Suicide, Media Excess, Palin and Bullies, Again

A horrible story made even worse by our excesses of media. Try to fully engage and consider this awful story while attempting to ignore the unstoppable video-with-commercials that ABC News plops into almost all of its pages, and which cannot be stopped while in commercial mode.The story is shattering -- two young teenage girls committed suicide together, and yes, bullying once again seems to lie at the heart of their hopelessness:The bodies of best friends Haylee Fentress and Paige Moravetz, … [Read more...]

Is Society Purposely Messing with Boys' Heads?

A very thoughtful and surprisingly moving piece by Anthony Esolen, at Inside Catholic:Why, I wonder, do boys these days get no love? What have they done to deserve their treatment at our hands?Recently, a boy competing for his high school in the Iowa state wrestling tournament chose to forfeit his initial match rather than wrestle against a girl. He spoke about his decision with an admirable reserve and good sense, saying that wrestling could be a violent sport, and that in this case he … [Read more...]