Blessed Are the Dissidents

"Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization."- Masha Gessen“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie."- Alexandr SolzhenitsynAs I write this, reports are circulating that Donald Trump, our President-elect, intends to follow through on some of his most divisive campaign promises and actually create some sort of … [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...]

Shelter From the Storm

The truth is, I'm going to be just fine during the Trump Administration. I 'm holding a straight flush: white, male, able-bodied, middle-class, and middle-aged. I have a business of my own and my wife has a solid, well-paying job with a Fortune 10 company. We own our home and have other assets, including investment and retirement accounts. Our son has already been to war and is in no danger of having to go again. Our daughter can rely on us for economic and emotional support. Frankly, there is l … [Read more...]

Radically Catholic in the Age of Trump

For several years now, I've attended daily Mass at St. Clare Church, where the average parishioner could be described as white, old, and well-off. For the first couple of years, I routinely joined other communicants for the Wednesday "Coffee and ..." in the parish center. Eventually, though, I had to stop attending. When someone asked me why I wasn't coming around anymore, my response was "Because I want to think the best of you all." You see, I heard things on Wednesday mornings that would curl … [Read more...]

An Election Day Lamentation: Mourning a Missed Opportunity

 In politics, as in war, there is often only one favorable moment- an opportunity when tantalizing possibilities open up and the very course of history can be diverted in new directions. But these moments, which depend on the convergence of circumstances largely due to mere chance, are fleeting, and must be seized immediately and exploited because they may never occur again.As a result, in the political arena, radical reform is always a project for the bold and the e … [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...]

Passing the Test (for Cynthia)

[An old friend in pain recently emailed me to share some anguish and doubt. (S)he wrote that despite years of intense but unanswered prayer, (s)he had finally failed the test of faithfulness. Most disturbing of all, (s)he commended me on having passed that test, no doubt truly believing that in fact I have. This was my reply. I offer it today for my new friend Cynthia.]Thank you, my friend, for reaching out to share these thoughts with me, for trusting me with emotions so raw and doubts so p … [Read more...]

Novena for Peace: August 29 – September 6, For an End to the Injustice of Exploitation

Join us at Novena For Peace!General Intentions: For an end to the injustice of exploitation. For the redemption of structures that enable the powerful to abuse the Earth, bind women and children in sexual slavery, promote pornography, and deprive workers of just wages. For the spread of an integral ecology that protects nature, promotes the dignity of the human person, and seeks the common good.Particular Intentions: For those people known to us who suffer from exploitation, and in re … [Read more...]

Forget Shea. This Guy Has Anger and Tone Issues

The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  Therefore, whatever they tell you observe and do, but do not do their works. For they speak, but do nothing. They fasten heavy loads that are hard to carry and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with their finger.They do all their works to be seen by men. They make their Scripture boxes broad and lengthen the tassels on their prayer shawls. They love the places of honor at feasts, and the prominent seats in th … [Read more...]

The Novena for Peace Begins Today

Eighty-one days of prayer for justice, peace, and racial reconciliation in the United States. We begin today and end on November 8, Election Day, which also happens to be the birthday of our patron, the Servant of God Dorothy Day.Please consider joining us at any point along the way. This isn't magic. We're not "multiplying words as the heathen do" (Matthew 6:7). We are Christians lifting our hearts and minds to God in lamentation, supplication, praise, and thanksgiving on behalf of our … [Read more...]