Starting Conversations During Francis’s Visit

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...]

Desiring Abundance of Life, Not Just Absence of Sin

Ben Kuhn has a great post up on strategies for inviting (and retaining) new kinds of people to a group that you run.  Ben is writing specifically about effective altruism, an interest of mine, too, but I think his thoughts generalize pretty well.Hands down, this was my favorite thing that he said: Get interested in other people’s experiences. Don’t try to convince them to “become an EAer;” try to get them to convince you of something. Figure out how their perspective can add to effective alt … [Read more...]

Why Not Refer to ISIS by an Epithet?

Patheos doesn't have any site-wide style guide for bloggers, but, over at The Friendly Atheist, Terry Firma announced a style change that will apply to that blog, specifically.  The contributing bloggers over there are going to stop referring to ISIS as ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State, or anything else except Daesh.Here's the passage Firma quoted from the Boston Globe to explain the decision, interspersed with his own comments:The term “Daesh” is strategically a better choice because it is … [Read more...]

Life Lessons that Can’t be Taught at College’s Scale

In Ethika Politika, Margaret Blume explains why she's preferred her studies at Notre Dame to her undergrad years at Yale, my own alma mater.  Yale has distribution requirements (Writing, Science, Humanities, Quantitative Reasoning, etc), but no single course is required -- your math credit can come from econ or astronomy or set theory.  Blume found that the Chinese menu course of study left her and some of her classmates feeling ungrounded: Yale’s system, which does not include theology and is b … [Read more...]

Cultivating Openness to Truth During Fights [Radio Readings]

You can listen to “Fights in Good Faith,” my weekly radio program, streaming today at 5pm ET and tomorrow (Sun) at 1pm.  And the episode is now available to stream (and download!)This week's program is adapted from a talk I gave at St. Dominic's in San Francisco on "Cultivating Openness to Truth."  Thanks so much to the parish for hosting me and to the parishioners and guests for asking such good questions -- those questions are what informed the last segment of the show today.Every w … [Read more...]

A Fired-Up, Fusty Witness to Christian Faith [Saints Bookclub]

In 2015, I'm reading and blogging through Ronald Knox's collection of sermons on Christian exemplars, Captive Flames: On Selected Saints and Christian Heroes.  Every Monday, I'll be writing about the next portrait in the book, so you're welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.The first sermon in the book is on Saint Cecilia, who Knox sees as a model for ordinary Christians, who may feel they have no particularly saintly challenges to face.  He contrasts St. Cecilia with St. Cath … [Read more...]

“You Shouldn’t Say That…” as a gift, not an attack

I'm at The American Conservative today, talking about the legitimacy of campaigns for civility and condemnations (not de jure censorship) of extreme and/or offensive speech:The Case for Civility Campaigns After Charlie Hebdo Arguing that campaigns for civility, against catcalling, against graphic sexual content in the public sphere, against “microaggressions,” differ only in degree, not in kind, from the Charlie Hebdo murders requires casting every cultural war as an exercise in annihilati … [Read more...]