7QT: Agreement Theorems and Exponential Suprises

captain marvel

--- 1 --- I loved this NYT piece on an Italian street whose residents created a private facebook group to get to know each other better.Mr. Bastiani took a chance and posted a flier along his street, Via Fondazza, explaining that he had created a closed group on Facebook just for the people who lived there. He was merely looking to make some new friends. In three or four days, the group had about 20 followers. Almost two years later, the residents say, walking along Via Fondazza does not fe … [Read more...]

Gateway Drugs to More Ethical Lives

(roujo / flickr)

A while ago, I mentioned that I'd found [X]-adjacent to be a helpful category when the X in question was bad.  E.g. rape-adjacent sex (unclear consent) may not break any laws or result in anyone feeling violated, but it makes it harder to identify predators, and it's good to avoid sex that falls in this grey area.  Catherine Addington extended the idea to brutality-adjacent policing in an essay at AmCon.And I wondered whether there was a flip side of [Y]-adjacent actions, where Y was a good t … [Read more...]

The Beguine Model for the Benedict Option

(wikimedia commons)

 After reading Laura Swan's The Wisdom of the Beguines, I'm tempted to tell Rod Dreher that the best name for Christians trying to find ways to live in community, inspired by monasteries but outside them, is probably the Beguine Option, not the Benedict Option.It's hard to do too much better than this as a model for finding ways to live your faith with others, in cities, towns, or wherever you happen to find yourself: While some lived with their parents, many beguines used their … [Read more...]

Starting Conversations During Francis’s Visit

ewtn francis

Last week, I was a guest on EWTN News Nightly to talk about ways to have good conversations with non-Catholics that might be sparked by Pope Francis's visit (plus a bit on the perennially popular topic of comparing the two most recent popes)  As usual, my general rule is to start conversations in the way that you'd want a non-Catholic, who wanted you to leave the faith because they willed your good, to start them with you.  … [Read more...]

Dissenting Catholics Expect The Church Will Change

pew chart

Pew has a big report out on American Catholicism, and I've got a piece up at FiveThirtyEight about the optimism of Catholic dissenters:Although dissenters are often tarred as “Cafeteria Catholics” who pick and choose from among the church’s teachings, without much thought for the whole, the dissenting Catholics that Pew surveyed seemed fairly confident that the changes they support will wind up being viewed as orthodox and applicable to everyone. On every controversy that Pew included in its … [Read more...]

7QT: Math Haikus and Deaf Musicals


--- 1 --- When I was googling things like "two people looking at each other," trying to find a picture for my post on why "You're perfect!" and "I love you!" aren't the same sentiment, I wound up discovering this word. Mamihlapinatapai: a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to suggest or offer themselves There's a little more at the wiki page. --- 2 --- If you're trying to express other important truths … [Read more...]

A Good Marriage Isn’t A Mutual Admiration Society

(publicity still from Taylor Swift's "Style")

In the middle of a column on married couples ineptly supporting single friends, Sara Eckel had a weird model of what happy and healthy relationships look like:Couples are weird. Relationships — happy ones, anyway — put you a strange bubble, a closed loop of positive reinforcement. “I love you!” “I love you, too!” “You’re the best!” “No, you’re the best.” And so forth. It’s like Fox News, except in this case, the propaganda re-circulates between your party of two. The mutual adoration ca … [Read more...]