Auditing “Addictions” During Lent


Paul Graham, the founder of YCombinator (a start up incubator) has an essay that makes a very appropriate meditation for Lent. In "The Acceleration of Addiction", he writes: The world is more addictive than it was 40 years ago. And unless the forms of technological progress that produced these things are subject to different laws than technological progress in general, the world will get more addictive in the next 40 years than it did in the last 40. The next 40 years will bring us some … [Read more...]

If Only Angels Would Prevail: The Ballad of Sweeney Todd

sweeney lucy

The Pope Francis bookclub post will run on Wednesday, since the chapter seemed apropos for the beginning of Lent. In a time when Hollywood is producing gritty remakes of well nigh everything, it might be appropriate to look back at one of my favorite works on how to live in an irrevocable corrupt world.  Today, at Ethika Politika, I'm discussing the tragic love that the Demon Barber of Fleet Street still bears the Moral Law in Sweeney Todd. Bond’s Sweeney, when confronted by bloodshed, … [Read more...]

Forgiving is Not Endorsing


Before he passed away, Pope John Paul II entrusted a number of his personal letters to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, his secretary, and asked him to burn the letters after the pontiff was dead. Not only did Cardinal Dziwisz fail to carry out the pope’s wishes, he is now releasing the edited papers as a book. The Cardinal is releasing the private notes because he finds them spiritually lovely, not because there’s some very exciting secret or scandal contained within. But, for me, the most … [Read more...]

Getting Sex Ed from Literature


Just to follow on from yesterday's AmCon post about the importance of the liberal arts (and the ensuing discussion over here), I wanted to get a little more specific with a case study. Health classes and sex ed are usually taught in a just-the-facts style.  Here's some slides of various unpleasant diseases, here's a poster assignment to make on various drug subtypes, here's a guide to ways to decrease your chance of infection.  These are certainly germane, but they're hardly the fullness … [Read more...]

Starving for Communal Spaces and Communion

vanishing bench

Over at AmCon today, I've got a piece up "Starving for Communal Spaces" and here's how it opens: A man walks into a business establishment and pays a small sum of money for the use of their premises. He’s slightly furtive about it, and the proprietor would probably deny the nature of the service provided, but the gentleman is seeking companionship, and doesn’t have anywhere else to go. I’m not describing the kind of tawdry hotel that rents its rooms by the hour, but a coffee shop or a … [Read more...]

Apathy Can Feel Like Energy from the Inside [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. I'm reading this book one chapter at a time, so I keep being surprised every week to find out that the latest chapter is still on joy.  This chapter is grounded in his own experience as a priest, and the opportunities to … [Read more...]

Here’s your job. Don’t get too comfortable.


I really enjoyed the article in Jacobin Magazine on the hidden (and harmful) assumption of the exhortation to Do What You Love, and I've expanded a little on their analysis for AmCon.  You also may get a sense of one way I was ill-suited to San Francisco culture (aside from not enjoying being relaxed).  Here's a teaser from my essay: "Don't Love Your Job. Love People" Instead of going out into the world and building the rest of their lives, employees are encouraged to find a way to adapt … [Read more...]