Finding Ways to Let Lent Interrupt

It's been a week since Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, and, if you notice you're having a little trouble remembering that it's Lent (aside from the different colors at church), you might want to take a look through Eve Tushnet's Lent A-Z to see if any of her thoughts are fruitful for you.  Here are two of her comments that I particularly liked:R is for Ridiculous. Sometimes Lent makes you look ridiculous. That’s wholesome. Or you feel ridiculous because you can’t even give up some tr … [Read more...]

On Beyond Valentine’s Day!

I've got two great essays to share now that Valentine's Day is over, and you have to go on muddling through how to offer and receive love without quite so much guidance from Hallmark.  First up, in First Things, Alexi Sargeant has a great piece on dating and courtship, and the kind of deliberate work couples need to do to keep dating focused on its proper end: discernment. An overwhelming amount of the media we consume (from romantic films to television sitcoms) suggests that couples work out t … [Read more...]

My Statistician’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

I've written two pieces at FiveThirtyEight that may be of interest to those of you celebrating Valentine's Day this weekend.  First up:  The Cheapskate’s Guide To Buying Flowers For Valentine’s DayIf you bought your roses on Feb. 10 and took good care of them, you might still have a bouquet to bestow on Feb. 14. (But you’d need a good explanation for why they wilted a day or two later.) You could eke a little more life out of the roses by keeping them in something other than tap wa … [Read more...]

7QT: Good books, fake books, and the best job in the world

--- 1 --- I'm excited about the discovery of gravity waves, and here's the most delightful thing I learned in the process of reading about the discover (via The New Yorker) The LIGO team includes a small group of people whose job is to create blind injections—bogus evidence of a gravitational wave—as a way of keeping the scientists on their toes. Although everyone knew who the four people in that group were, “we didn’t know what, when, or whether,” Gabriela González, the collaboration’s spokesw … [Read more...]

Speaking in Rhode Island tonight & how to have me visit your school

Tonight, I'm giving a talk on my book Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Answer on "Lessons in Prayer from an Atheist Convert" at Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island.  The full logistical details are here, and the event description is: Leah Libresco, a popular atheist blogger whose conversion to Catholicism became a topic of national conversation, will speak to the public at Portsmouth Abbey on learning how to pray (badly). Author of the new book, Arriving at Amen, Leah will e … [Read more...]

Repeating Last Year’s Lent

I'm doing the same thing this year for Lent as I did last year:Giving up jaywalking Trying contemplative prayerMostly on the grounds that both were still frustrating by the end of last year's Lent, so I figure there might be more to learn from both.  Not jaywalking left me on tiptoe at curb, waiting to sprint into the street, which didn't so much fix my impatience as at least make it ridiculous.  Watching the crosswalk on the other side tick down from 30 and finding it intolerable to b … [Read more...]

What Free Time Can Buy

Simcha Fisher has a great reflection on why she stopped homeschooling, and what she gained and lost when she sent her kids to school.  This is the loss that most stood out to me: We don’t get to choose how to spend our time. This is the one thing that makes me really miss home school. We don’t have much time or flexibility to do fun or important things together as a family, like go to museums or other cultural events, or celebrate religious feasts in a big way, or have long vacations, or have va … [Read more...]