Prisoners are Calling. Who’s Answering?

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Today, I'm over at First Things to talk about prisons, communities, and cell phones. Until cellphones made it trivial for a well-connected prisoner to reach the outside world, jailhouse policy has usually been more focused on information flowing the opposite direction. Texas is one among many states to have lengthy lists of books banned from prison libraries—Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and Jenna Bush are among the many authors whose works have been proscribed.Jailhouse librarians and rev … [Read more...]

Spite as a Coping Mechanism

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Slate's advice columnist, Prudence, recently fielded a question from a reader who was starting to feel coarsened by zer job.  Ze works in a college admissions office, gets a lot of calls (and sometimes verbal abuse) from pushy parents.  By this point, ze writes: I really am starting to hate people in general. I get satisfaction when a rude applicant calls for an update, and I see that they have been rejected. I can't tell them their decision, though, and they have to wait for their letter. I f … [Read more...]

The Odd Contempt of Impatience

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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 found it interesting that, in this week's chapter, Pope Francis links impatience and hopelessness.  It might be that I'm biased, since impatience is one of my besetting sins, but, at first blush, the two emotions seem opposed.  Impatie … [Read more...]

Very Boring Kinds of Goodness

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I mentioned yesterday that I've not made any exciting changes for Lent (neither giving up a food nor picking up volunteer hours at the local something).  It's not that these might not be good things to do, but I didn't get a very right feeling about them, when I thought it over, and I am trying to do better about only working on the parts of acting morally that are easy for me to turn into rules to implement.Here's a very small, very dull example from earlier this week about the kind of weak … [Read more...]

A Reporter’s Prayer

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My friends have been asking me what I'm doing for Lent, and I don't have much to say.  I deleted an addictive phone game, but that was less a penitential discipline and more an act of self-preservation.  Since my madly-in-love-with-Kant teenage years, I do like rules, but I'm not sure that I'm actually doing anything good for myself by taking on fasting rules (on top of my same-meals-every-day picky eating) or new prayers (especially while in the midst of the St. Louis Total Consecration to C … [Read more...]

What do we choose instead of Light? [Pope Francis Bookclub]

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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.This week's chapter of Pope Francis's Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus ends with two questions to consider in prayer and reflection: Do we pray to God for the grace of conversion?At what times in our lives h … [Read more...]

Auditing “Addictions” During Lent

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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...]


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