Parallel Meltdowns at Burger King


There's been a (possibly apocryphal) story flying around the interblags about a confrontation between a man and a child.  In the anecdote, the man is waiting in a long line at a Burger King and becomes more and more frustrated with the tantrum-throwing child in line behind him, who kept shrieking for an apple pie.So, when he finally got to the front of the line, the man bought all of the apple pie snacks in stock, and lingered to watch the meltdown when the mother and kid found out that t … [Read more...]

Happy Churches are All Alike [Pope Francis Bookclub]


In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.We're nearly at the end of the "Letters to the Seven Churches" section of Pope Francis's book, and most of the letters discussed have had an air of fraternal correction.  However, this week's letter to Philadelphia and the discussion t … [Read more...]

“That He Lay Down His Life For His Friends”


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Mass of Solemn Profession of twelve of the Dominican Friars at DC's House of Studies.  This is the moment where they make their permanent promises to remain in the Order.  Earlier in their formation, they make temporary vows to live in community, under the community's rule, but, when those vows expire, they're free to go, unless both they and the order would like to see them become a member of the community until their deaths -- and sort of after, s … [Read more...]

7QT: Flipped Journals, Fake Football, and Finite Tragedy


--- 1 --- I've gotten to coast on my university's JSTOR access for alums, but the NYRB has an interesting proposal to make research journals accessible to anyone:The entire system of communicating research could be made less expensive and more beneficial for the public by a process known as “flipping.” Instead of subsisting on subscriptions, a flipped journal covers its costs by charging processing fees before publication and making its articles freely available, as “open access,” afterwar … [Read more...]

What’s the Difference between Forgiveness and Self-Deception?

repairing vase

An atheist friend of mine recently posted the following question to Facebook (and gave me permission to reprint it here):I don't think I grok forgiveness in the absence of Catholicism. I keep trying to imagine what I might mean if I asked someone to forgive me. I certainly wouldn't ask anybody that they purposefully have poorly calibrated beliefs about me, or that they have emotions poorly calibrated to their beliefs. The best I've got at the moment is "please keep in mind that decision … [Read more...]

Need Draws Out Grace


The miracle of the loaves and fishes is one of the ones that I'd heard before I ever considered becoming Catholic.  But I'd always heard about it in isolation, as just one in a series of extraordinary (but interchangeable) events.  This past Sunday, the story came up in the Gospel reading, but, this time, the story started a little earlier than I expected, which gave me some additional context: When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by h … [Read more...]

The Ethicist Endorses Omertà


The NYT's Ethicist has taken a very strange approach to wrongdoing in this weekend's column.  A student wrote in to say that ze saw a friend take someone's car keys and throw them into a lake.  The friend offered the letterwriter $50 as an implicit bribe in order to stay quiet.  The bribe worked.  Later, someone came by looking for his keys, and the letterwriter kept mum.  But ze felt queasy about zer choice, and asked the Ethicist for his advice.  Here's an excerpt from his reply:It was wron … [Read more...]