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 how. Anyway, here’s my Yelp-like... 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... 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 reparation for our sinful... 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... 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... Read more

The Real Threat to Religious Liberty

Up front, you should know that I don’t intend to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in November. It’s not a tough decision, frankly. I live in the bluest of blue states, Rhode Island, where the only real question is whether the Democratic nominee will go over or just miss the 60% mark. So, although I have deep moral objections to both candidates, it’s an easy call for me: I’m writing in Wendell Berry’s name again. But if I lived in a battleground... Read more

Praying for Miracles

Every summer for the past 19 years, the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City has prayed a “novena of novenas” for justice, peace, and the care of creation. I recently stumbled upon their novena while looking for prayer resources online. This discovery got me thinking: if we all agree that the United States is on the wrong track; that injustice, racism, and violence still permeate our society; that today we are as far from the Beloved Community as... 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... Read more

Turning America Around

In 1976, the evangelical church of my youth celebrated the bicentennial of American independence. Since my dad was the pastor and my mother the music director, my brothers and I were often pressed into service as singers. For our big Independence Day service, I was given the following song, titled “Statue of Liberty,” to sing, which I did with conviction: In New York Harbor stands a lady, With a torch raised to the sky; And all who see her know she stands... Read more

What Wretches Feel: Neoliberalism is dying, we must replace it with something better

“The global economy is not working for the majority of people in our country and the world. This is an economic model developed by the economic elite to benefit the economic elite.”- Sen. Bernie Sanders “The true strength of our democracies … must not be allowed to collapse under the pressure of multinational interests which are not universal, which weaken them and turn them into uniform systems of economic power at the service of unseen empires.”- Pope Francis  The neoliberal... Read more
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