The Beguine Model for the Benedict Option

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 After reading Laura Swan's The Wisdom of the Beguines, I'm tempted to tell Rod Dreher that the best name for Christians trying to find ways to live in community, inspired by monasteries but outside them, is probably the Beguine Option, not the Benedict Option.It's hard to do too much better than this as a model for finding ways to live your faith with others, in cities, towns, or wherever you happen to find yourself: While some lived with their parents, many beguines used their … [Read more...]

Eve Tushnet’s Great New Novel On Forgiveness And Addiction


Eve Tushnet, the author of Gay and Catholic, just released her second book!  Amends is a novel about addiction and forgiveness (and how both aren't things you can finish dealing with).  I just finished it myself, and I can't wait to be back in D.C. to convene my friends to talk about it (and read aloud some to the passages that were particularly profound and/or hilarious).  Here's how I reviewed it on Amazon: Eve's first novel is excellent. I read it for the first time on a plane and was sorely … [Read more...]

Seeing the World Through Tammet’s Joy

thinking in numbers

Sometimes, when I have a book out from the library, I wind up buying it, and Daniel Tammet's Thinking in Numbers: On Life, Learning, Love, and Math is one that I ordered before I had finished reading it.  Tammet is on the autism spectrum, and his book's title pays homage to Temple Grandin's Thinking in Pictures, and its spirit is very Math Curse.Tammet has mathematical synesthesia, and there's a fun part in his autobiography Born on a Blue Day (which I got out from the library but felt less u … [Read more...]

Read Like Me, Pray (Badly) Like Peter

tot roof talk 1

Turing test results continue tomorrow, and, in the meantime, I've got links if you want to read like me or screw up like Peter.Ethika Politika has a summer reading recommendations feature running, and I've contributed the five books I'd recommend from my reading so far this year.  Includes theology, data visualization, autopsies and this: Helen MacDonald. H is for Hawk. Training a goshawk is the strangest approach to grief I’ve ever encountered. I kept reading excerpts from this memoir to my … [Read more...]

What I Read On My Book Tour

bed of nails

Sorry for the low posting volume, folks -- I've spent the last two weeks in New York City and Boston, doing book talks, radio, science museum trips (ok, that last is not technically related to *publicizing* Arriving at Amen, but it is totally in the spirit of the book), and I've been a little tuckered out.The train trips did give me a lot of time for reading of my own, though, so here's the rundown of what I read while trying to entice people to read my book:Excellent Women - Barbara … [Read more...]

Help me pack books for my trip Down Under!

Make an addition to my bookshelf!

Wednesday afternoon, I'm getting on a plane for New Zealand.  I'll be speaking at the Auckland Eucharistic Convention and doing a Theology on Tap in Sydney.It's a very long series of flights, plus my mom (who's travelling with me) and I like to walk in parks and pause to read when we travel, so I could use some recommendations for what I take on my kindle.Here's what I've already got that I'm planning to read:Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (on loan from the library) Rationality: F … [Read more...]

Learning Fellowship from Mary

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Before I picked up Denise Bossert's Gifts of the Visitation: Nine Spiritual Encounters with Mary and Elizabeth, I had run into a very short meditation on Mary's visit to Elizabeth on a friend's tumblr. the first christian and the first person to make a declaration of christian faiththe visitation is so important. 2 pregnant women, caring for each other, prophesying, acting radically on their faith in god’s power and intention to lift up the lowly, knowing their sons will do incredible thi … [Read more...]