Using Goodhart’s Law to Find Happiness

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My parish kicked off its Adult Sunday School (taught by Dominican friars) this past week with a class on happiness. We started off going through a discussion of all the things happiness is not (wealth, power, fame, honor, etc) and I liked some of the reasoning given about how you could recognize these as not quite the answer to "What will make me happy?"I already knew the way the answer worked for things like wealth, power, influence, etc -- these are instrumental goods.  People only want … [Read more...]

Speaking on the Benedict Option in Boston & Two Questions

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I'm in Boston tomorrow night (Jan 12) for a Theology on Tap on the topic of Accidental Stylites: The Benedict Option and the American ChurchI'm going to talk about the Benedict Option movement (ways for modern Christians to root their faith in community and friends so that they can wind up living it more fully and more joyfully) in theory and in practice.  Lots of people are talking about “the Benedict Option” these days — from the man who coined the phrase (Rod Dreher), to the guys at Mo … [Read more...]

Books on deck for me in 2016

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According to my Goodreads account, I read 260 books this past year (that comprised a total of 81.203 pages).  And sixteen of those were books I specifically set out to read in last year's Books on Deck post.Overall, I think it worked out great to make a list of books I meant to get around to, even if I missed six of the ones I put on my list.  It helped give some urgency to the books I kept meaning to read, in general, but never picking up -- I finally had a reason to let them (sometimes) pre … [Read more...]

My version of the ball drop starts 1600 feet in the air

Over at FiveThirtyEight, I did a little high school physics math to see how high you'd have to start to really drop the New Year's Eve ball.  And what would happen when it hit the ground.The ball drop in Times Square happens too slowly for my taste. Just before midnight, the LED-studded ball will inch down its pole at a speed of 1.2 feet per second. That’s slower than the CDC-defined moderate walking pace of 3 miles per hour, or 4.4 feet per second. Call me a woman of exacting standards, but … [Read more...]

Lewis, Chesterton, and Card on Our Tolerance for Mystery

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I had the pleasure of speaking at Doxacon (a scifi/fantasy convention for theology nerds) in November, and the audio of my talk ("Chesterton, Lewis, and Card on Worldbuilding and Our Tolerance of Mystery") is now available for streaming!  Here's the prècis: When a reader picks up a fantasy or science fiction novel, he or she trusts the author to reveal enough of the new world and its laws to be able to follow the stakes of the plot, but not so much as to wind up closer to a DnD rulebook rather t … [Read more...]

Praising the Little Way of Pratchett’s Heroes

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As the year comes to an end, I've written an appreciation of Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series, who passed away this year, for Aleteia.  He wrote fiercely moral characters, several of whom were icons of ethics for me.But the kind of sin that Granny talks about isn’t an indulgence in something harmless, luxurious and secret. And it’s not the world-shaking evil of a monster or a murderer. It’s a seemingly small rejection of creation and the particular place our fellow people have … [Read more...]

“The Opposite of Kicking People In the Shins” and more from my Crossroads talk

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I had a great time visiting the Crossroads Cultural Center last night to talk about my conversion and the witness my friends offered me.  And now they've got the video of the talk up!Part 1:Part 2: And they've got the Q&A up too!Part 1:Part 2: … [Read more...]


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