7QT: New Riffs on Prayer, Booze, and Logic


 Last call to sign up for my book updates email list if you want to be eligible to win an early review of Arriving at Amen, my book on prayer.  I'll be sending this month's email (where you can enter my lottery) this afternoon. --- 1 --- While reading an article about why cocktails have wound up being so expensive at tony bars, I ran into what was meant to be one of the sillier examples -- an Old Fashioned served inside ice, and I found the cleverness and delight of its inventors so lo … [Read more...]

Asking a Lover for Too-Limited Support

The Last 5 Years Movie

When I hosted a party to watch The Last 5 Years, one of my guests tried to play diagnose-the-heresy with the two leads and claimed that they were both Pelagians, seeing happiness/success/virtue as simply a result of their own efforts.  I disagreed for several reasons, the most important being that I think Pelagians think that a good life is harder to achieve than either Jamie or Cathy does, and that Pelagians see their own weakness as the primary obstacle to their salvation, while Jamie and Ca … [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...]

No Villains, Just Inept Lovers in The Last 5 Years


The Last 5 Years tells the story of Jamie and Cathy's relationship, from the moment they meet, through when they marry, to the moment, five years after they relationship began, their marriage ends.  The musical is a series of sung monologues--Jamie and Cathy each telling the story of their relationship in alternating songs, that cover the relationship's arc from opposite directions: Jamie from beginning to end, Cathy from end to beginning.  Thus, Cathy's first song is set the morning that she f … [Read more...]

Promises No One Asks the Church to Keep [Saints bookclub]

(Sailko / 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.In this week's chapter, Ronald Knox is describing St. Gregory the Great, and roots his sermon in an anecdote of St. Gregory punning on the name of an English captive, Angles, explaining that his true heritage wa … [Read more...]

Love Applied to Charity and Fighting in New Haven

(Ragesoss / Wikimedia Commons)

I'm making speaking appearances in New Haven today and tomorrow, so here's a heads up for students in the area.  Effective Altruism and Caritas Yale Effective AltruistsMonday, Feb 16, 5pmJE Dining HallWhen looking for high-impact opportunities to give, how should we weight the effect that different ways of giving have on the giver?  If you get the most bang for your charity buck abroad, how will you stay engaged with the needs of the people around you and avoid becoming de … [Read more...]

Independence and Injustice [Radio Readings]

many gavels

You can listen to “Fights in Good Faith,” my weekly radio program, streaming today at 5pm ET and tomorrow (Sun) at 1pm.  The episode is now available to download and stream.This week's program is about the systems we build to administer justice, and the ways that these systems lose our trustEvery week, I put up a “Radio Readings” post, so you can track down the books, articles, and, (this week) documentaries that I cite on the show. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m talking about t … [Read more...]