Receiving Fraternal Correction from Non-Catholics [Saints Bookclub]

(Nic McPhee / Flickr)

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 (kinda), I’ll be writing about the next portrait in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.In this week's chapter of Captive Flames, Roland Knox discusses the stories of King David and St Edmund of Abingdon in parallel, as a lens on how Catholics should live as exiles in the world and how they … [Read more...]

Anselm Lived at the *Wrong* Scale [Saints Bookclub]

(Wikimedia Commons)

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.Reading Ronald Knox's sermon on St Anselm, I was reminded of my own confirmation saint, Augustine.  In Augustine's time, priests sometimes detoured to avoid cities that had a bishop-vacancy, out of fear that the … [Read more...]

Contemplation and Comment Moderation for Lent

(US Navy / Public Domain)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent -- the season of preparation for Easter.  The whole church fasts from meat on Fridays, during this season, and individual Catholics usually make personal commitments to give something up or take something on as a discipline this season.In Lent and in any other time, I sometimes like to review what suggestion other people make to me that I most frequently ignore, and, thus, this Lent seems like a good time for me to take a look at contemplative … [Read more...]

Learning the Dragonslayer’s Laughter [Saints Bookclub]

World War I recruitment poster (public domain)

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.In his sermon on St. George, Knox focuses primarily on why England would choose this saint as its patron, and what this reflects about England itself.  It makes sense that Knox looks past the saint at what the c … [Read more...]

When Public Religion is Rare, It Gets Weird

(A Corpus Christi procession in Sanok from Wikipedia Commons)

 Although every Saint Patrick's Day, streets shut down for a quasi-Catholic-related march, the American St. Paddy's Day has about as much to do with Christianity as it does with Ireland these days, and is mostly an excuse to dress up and drink.  A lot of public festivals have been watered down in this way.  And the ones that remain strongly tied to a particular religious identity tend not to be public.  For example, I once attended Mass at a parish that did have a Corpus Christi proc … [Read more...]

How Small a Promise Can a Vocation Be?

fork-in-the-road-muppets

 I'm looking forward to hearing Eve Tushnet speak about her book, Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith, tonight at the Catholic Information Center in DC.  And that means it seems like a good time to blog about her book one more time.In November, I hosted a book club for Eve's book, and a lot of our discussion was focused on Eve's expansive use of the word "vocation" and how this more generous concept could inform our lives.  In the most re … [Read more...]

Discussing Continuing Conversion & Prayer with Mark Shea

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Last week I joined Mark Shea on his radio show to chat about my conversion, and my forthcoming book on prayer, including what I described as "probably a non-heretical approach to lectio divina," which was originally inspired by the advice my vocal teacher gave me when I kept messing up Sondheim's "Good Thing Going."  She'd tell me, "You're singing the note you want to sing, and Sondheim's going to give it to  you, but not yet."You can hear us talk about how I adapted that advice to scripture … [Read more...]


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