About Elias Crim

A native Texan, Elias spent several good years studying classics and medieval Italian at UC Berkeley before wasting several more years in financial journalism around Chicago. He has written for the American Scholar, the American Conservative, the Washington Times and the Chicago Observer and is the co-author of a textbook on character education. He briefly published something called The Armchair Historian. None of his three teenage daughters display an interest in the Greek and Latin classics thus far. He and his family reside in leafy Valparaiso IN.

Why You Should Read (and Listen to) Sam Rocha

Not long after Pope Francis' election in 2013, we friends around Solidarity Hall began to sense that some of our fellow Catholics were just not getting this new Argentinian guy. We decided to collect some essays, partly "translating" Francis for an American audience and also speculating on how we saw the coming years of his papacy. Somewhere I had heard of a youngish but talented Patheos Channel blogger, Sam Rocha, and we asked him to contribute something.Sam obligingly sent us an essay … [Read more...]

Catholic Artists Getting Re-enchanted

Like some hack sportswriter who skips the game but writes his piece by listening on the radio at home, I offer here a report on last week's Trying to Say God conference at the University of Notre Dame, despite the fact I couldn't make it there. (Family unexpectedly came in from out of town.)Happily, I was able to listen to some of the presentations posted as audio files on SoundCloud, courtesy of that estimable Patheos blog, Sick Pilgrim, whose proprietors (Jessica Mesman Griffith and … [Read more...]

Find Your Own Calcutta

Myself I've never met a saint of the Church and I've only met one person who ever knew a prospective saint. (It was someone who knew Dorothy Day well.)But we all need to meet more of them, even if it's only in the pages of books like Fr. James Martin's My Life with the Saints, now out in a 10th anniversary edition.The author picked out sixteen of his favorite saints (including saint-in-the-making Dorothy Day) and interestingly wraps bits of his own life story around his mini-biographies … [Read more...]

Roasting Marshmallows at the Apocalypse

[A review of Nothing to Vote For: The Futility of the American Electoral Process, by Daniel Schwindt]One of the more misguided, even destructive projects of our hyper-merchandized culture is the labeling of entire generations into Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, etc. As though our society needed yet another mechanism for dividing ourselves from each other, especially via stereotypes based on shopping. As an example of the crudity of these generational labels, I offer the example of my … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Deal: Privatizing the Presidency

Dispossessed of jobs and their dignity for a generation now or more, the Trump voters are glowing as they await what they were promised: nothing less than the reversal of a great tidal wave of economic history, the one popularly referred to as globalization or offshoring or free trade.As their unlikely tribune of the plebs, they have elevated a man with businesses in 18 countries, including Trump-branded hotels in India (2), Istanbul, Uruguay, the Phillippines, South Korea, Panama, Rio de … [Read more...]

Lights Coming Back on in Gary

I knew my involvement in civic matters in northwest Indiana would eventually take me to Gary, about 25 miles from my town of Valparaiso. As I’ve driven along Interstate 90 heading to and from Chicago, I’ve often peered down from the expressway into the city’s empty streets and dilapidated neighborhoods. For many long-time residents of the area, the town’s very name is an epithet for a landscape of failure and fear where it’s thought that no one stays who can find a way to leave. I admit I have no … [Read more...]

What I Saw on the Porch

In temporary relief from the ongoing telenovella of our impending national election, we habitues of the Front Porch Republic met up last weekend at the architecture building on the campus of the University of Notre Dame for a daylong celebration of "place, limits, liberty." These annual shmoozefests are always a delight, given the wonderful mix of temperaments and the high degree of literacy displayed everywhere. Amidst a certain Spenglerian gloom, hilarity is always breaking out, I dunno quite h … [Read more...]

Rediscovering the Golden String

Dear reader, be advised this will not be a standard book review. I have before me a review copy of Michael Martin's new anthology, The Heavenly Country, An Anthology of Primary Sources, Poetry, and Critical Essays on Sophiology. I want to respond not in a scholarly fashion--I am not that much of a scholar--but in an amatory mode, i.e., that of the amateur of these ideas. And as to the relevance of this review to our mission here, I think Dorothy Day's statements of her particular debt to … [Read more...]

Dumb Things I Used to Believe

Having come into the Church as a convert on Easter Sunday, 1986, I am what’s called a JP II Catholic. I remain one, although I would have to explain that adjective differently today, thirty years later.Before Saint John Paul the Great came to prominence, I had already made a summer visit to see up close his country’s great cultural adversary, the U.S.S.R. Given my political views in those days, my travels made it clear to me: we were winning the Cold War, Reaganism was the right way to fight … [Read more...]

A Saint for a New Socioeconomic Order

Saints, G.K. Chesterton once pointed out, are an antidote to whatever the age neglects. Such figures restore the world to sanity by exaggerating whatever it has overlooked.In today’s world of Trumpism, our little band here at the Dorothy Option is arguing that a large dose of Dorothy Day is long overdo for American society. But just as Chesterton juxtaposed brilliantly St. Francis and St. Thomas, the more to underline their complementarity, so we might propose a figure (also with a cause for … [Read more...]