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...]

Junger’s Hunger, And Ours

A couple of years ago, I took some members of a large Rwandan refugee family to a St. Vincent de Paul store nearby. I was accompanied by a Rwandan friend and translator, Jeanette Akimiyimana, herself a refugee who has been in the United States for ten years. As we pulled away from the triple decker where the family had been placed, Jeanette began to chat with one of the teenaged girls in Kinyarwanda, the principal language of Rwanda. Before long they were laughing and the pace of conversation had … [Read more...]

Preparing for President Trump

What I’m about write is not an exercise in partisan advocacy. I belong to neither of the dominant political parties in the United States, which I consider to be two dead ends in the same blind alley. Nor do I belong to any other party. Nor do I consider myself a member of the Right or the Left. Nor do I appropriate for myself meaningless labels like liberal and conservative.No, this is not a partisan statement. But it is deeply political. The notion that any thinking, believing, and p … [Read more...]

Book Review: “Called to Community: The Life Jesus Wants for His People”

I write today for the purpose of recommending “Called to Community: The Life Jesus Wants for His People,” the latest book from Plough Publishing. Edited and introduced by Charles Moore, with a foreword by Stanley Hauerwas, “Called to Community” is an essential collection of 82 essays and perspectives on the broad themes of a call to community, forming community, life in community, and engaging the world through community.Plough Publishing is an arm of the Bruderhof (“place of brothers”), an A … [Read more...]

The Fire This Time (Revisited)

This essay is adapted from the original which appeared at Vox Nova on August 23, 2011.Driving through Watch Hill, a wealthy neighborhood perched atop a promontory that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean from the town of Westerly, Rhode Island, one might be forgiven for thinking that all is well in the Republic. Here, handsome families stroll the covered walkways of the village, past high-end realtors’ offices, upscale gift shops, and charming restaurants. Expensive sail and motor boats bob on t … [Read more...]

Substituting Charity for Justice

 In an address delivered today, Pope Francis observed that, "The just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labour is not mere philanthropy.  It is a moral obligation."There is also a passage from Benedict XVI's Caritas in Veritate that runs as follows: Charity goes beyond justice, because to love is to give, to offer what is “mine” to the other; but it never lacks justice, which prompts us to give the other what is “his”, what is due to him by reason of his being or his … [Read more...]

Gaudi’s Last Walk, a Poem by David Gordon

                                                                Come early tomorrow, Vincente,                                                                 so we can make more beautiful things.You say goodbye precisely at five thirty, Same as always, time measured Like timber and stone.Precision and habit, joists of beauty. Patience and ritual, trusses of art.You walk with a dog-eared Gospel In one pocket; in the other,Nuts and seeds to sustain your shrinking frame. At Ca … [Read more...]

Why you might not want a ‘strong work ethic’

We've all heard about how important it is to cultivate the illusive Work Ethic. And it seems it should be as "strong" as possible--moderation is not a virtue in this framework.But what exactly is the Work Ethic? Max Weber defined it by citing Benjamin Franklin who said: "Remember, that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labor, and goes abroad, or sits idle, one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that … [Read more...]

The Importance of Slow Architecture

I've not been to Las Vegas since my high school Latin group stopped there briefly on the way back from the Junior Classical League convention up in Bozeman. But I take it the new resorts look much more glamorous than their original models in Europe, Egypt, wherever. For some tastes, Paris in Nevada trumps (forgive me) Paris in France, even at 50% scale.It's been remarked that theme parks can offer a kind of childlike introduction to a more grownup understanding of civic beauty, of an a … [Read more...]