Mallory Ortberg Interviewed Me About Converting

If you've come here from the Toast, and want to know more about my conversion: you might like the series of three posts I wrote before my baptism (which rely heavily on musical theatre).  You might also want to take a look at my book, Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Answer, which talks about what happened after I changed my mind -- once I thought Catholicism was true, how did I learn to think with God in prayer, instead of just thinking about God. And, for al … [Read more...]

Covering Religion Surveys as Both a Catholic and a Statistician

I'm over at First Things today, to talk about how I cover religion statistics as both a Catholic and a journalist (two roles both oriented toward truth).In a way, these religion surveys remind me of the perennial studies of how few Americans believe that the earth goes round the sun, that evolution shaped human development, that vaccines don’t cause autism, etc. Each of those questions touches on something objective, just like questions about sin do—they’re a measure of how widely a fact is k … [Read more...]

Hosting a Hamilton Listenthru

If you've been enjoying listening to the Hamilton cast album, I definitely recommend hosting a listenthru party.  I had about 30 friends over this weekend to hear the whole album together, and we all had a great time.We started the afternoon with the rule "No singing along, and, if you can't stop yourself from mouthing along, try to do it unobtrusively" but, as we got into it, that became "Ok, sing along to choral exclamations and maybe a bit of lipsync" to, eventually: "TOTAL DANCE PARTY FO … [Read more...]

Happy Halloween from Me and Yorick!

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Extending Family and Keeping an Honorary Aunt in your Basement

I love this essay by Mikkee Hall ("Why I moved 1,600 miles to live downstairs from my godchildren") on expanding families and supporting unusual vocations to love in the Washington Post.As I hit my mid-30s, I knew it was time to make a radical change. So when my best friend and her husband moved their family of six to Denver, I packed up what would fit in my car, sold the rest and joined them to live in their basement. [...] I live in my friends’ basement apartment with the sounds of four y … [Read more...]

I’m headed to CA for the Convinced premiere!

If any readers live out by Orange County, CA, or have friends who do, I'll be there this Friday for the premiere of Convinced, a documentary about converts to Catholicism.Convinced includes interviews with a number of converts to Catholicism, and the one I'm most excited to meet in person is Holly Ordway, the author of Not God's Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms, who is like me insofar as she's a curly-haired, argumentative atheist-turned-Catholic who fought her way into the f … [Read more...]

The Pitiful Princedom of Hannibal

At First Things, Alexi Sargeant  has an interesting take on the kind of evil on display in the tv show Hannibal.  (Note: I don't watch the show -- too brutal -- so my experience of it is mostly gifsets shared on tumblr; I do love the showrunner's previous show Pushing Daisies). So, I recommend the essay as a whole, but I'm just going to riff on one particular part of it.In Sargeant's view, Hannibal is a Lucifer-like figure, but not the kind that tries to overthrow all rules and pretends to se … [Read more...]