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 their j … [Read more...]

For Now We Kill As Through A Glass, Darkly


Meanwhile. over at AmCon, I have a piece on the botched execution in Ohio, where the error not have been inflicting pain, but in failing to hide that suffering from the spectators.  Here's a teaser: There’s no mystery as to why Ohio found itself running low on the traditional three-drug lethal injections. Many of the components of the cocktail are manufactured outside the United States and several international companies have refused to allow their drugs to be shipped to the United States if the … [Read more...]

A Supersubstantial Joy [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 (except this week, because of MLK Day), I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.Pope Francis opened his book with joy, and he returns to it again in only the third chapter.  The word that came to mind, reading this section, was epousios.  Epousios is the word in the Our Fat … [Read more...]

Agape Breaks Down Prison Walls

martin luther king

From the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's sermon on loving your enemies: There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you … [Read more...]

Drawing from a deck of Cards Against Humanity

Image by @bdmcclay

This New Year's, I didn't end up making any big resolutions, but I did wind up writing for First Things on a cognitive reframe that helps me spot actions or behaviors I should cut out of my moral diet. When I review my day in an Examen or if an action catches my attention in the moment, I sometimes like to get a better perspective on my choices by using a reframe. Instead of just asking what I should do right now, I ask what kind of habits this choice is reinforcing. Would I want to sign up for … [Read more...]

Don’t Rely on the State to Legitimize your Faith


Germany's state-run schools all include religious education.  In most districts, students can pick from Catholic, Protestant, or the secular 'Civics' in order to get a grounding in ethics and philosophy.  Recently, one of Germany's states, responding to demographic change, has added 'Islam' to the mix.  After another holiday season of fights over state-sponsored Christmas displays and perennial cases of school prayer,  some American religious activists might envy Germany's casual integration of r … [Read more...]

Taking the Measure of Friendship

muppet christmas carol

My family enjoyed our annual viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol (still the best, still the source of two of my mental images for Harry Potter characters: The Ghost of Christmas Present as Hagrid, The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come as a Dementor).  But there is one lyric in "Thankful Heart" (above) that tends to strike a wrong note with me: I will sail a friendly course, file a friendly chart On a sea of love and a thankful heartLife is like a journey Who knows when it ends? Yes, and i … [Read more...]