What I Read On My Book Tour

bed of nails

Sorry for the low posting volume, folks -- I've spent the last two weeks in New York City and Boston, doing book talks, radio, science museum trips (ok, that last is not technically related to *publicizing* Arriving at Amen, but it is totally in the spirit of the book), and I've been a little tuckered out.The train trips did give me a lot of time for reading of my own, though, so here's the rundown of what I read while trying to entice people to read my book:Excellent Women - Barbara … [Read more...]

Good Fights, Like Good Friendships, Are A Long-Term Promise


Monique Ocampo runs a series of interviews with Catholic women on Wednesdays and I'm her guest this week.  I've posted a snippet of our discussion below, but you can read the full Q&A at her place.How do you balance working in news with apologetics? Most of the time, there’s no balancing act at all — I don’t write apologetics at work; I cover statistics-heavy facets of the day’s news.  The biggest way that my faith impacts my writing is that I try to reflect on the effect my pieces will … [Read more...]

Concussion Tests and a Voting Mess [538]


Here's the roundup of what I've been working on at FiveThirtyEight over the last week:  The ‘One Person, One Vote’ Case Relies On Statistics That Nobody Has The plaintiffs are challenging the usual method (counting total number of people living in a district) and are asking that states use the total number of eligible voters instead. The trouble is, we don’t have robust statistics on the number of eligible voters. If the Supreme Court were to set new standards for districting, we would … [Read more...]

Letting Prayer Lead from Self to Other

cry woof

Tonight I'm speaking in NYC at First Things at 6p.  I hope to see some of you there or next week when I do a Theology on Tap in Boston on June 2nd.As part of the Patheos Book Club, I got to do a Q&A with Will Duquette about Arriving at Amen.  Will's a great guy, a third order Dominican and the kind of person who titles his blog "Cry Woof! And let slip the dogs of whimsy..."Here are a few excerpts from our conversation:  Cry Woof: Your use of the examen started out narrow and even … [Read more...]

The Publishing Milestone that No One Mentions

pg 45 meme

This might be the most exciting thing that's happened to me in the midst of launching my first book.  Last week, I reposted one of those perennial facebook memes:Since I was reading The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr, I typed up the appropriate page 45 sentence: To use an image that is more organic, we might diagram restorative justice as a flower. My friends added quotes of their own, and then one of them posted this! The request for light in the second part of the … [Read more...]

Accidental Stylites and the Benedict Option

Luke the Stylite / Wikimedia Commons

This weekend, I'm hosting an in-person discussion of "the Benedict Option" -- ways for modern Christians to root their faith so that they can wind up living it more fully and more joyfully.  Rod Dreher is the biggest promoter of the idea, which takes its name from the Benedictine monasteries that acted as centers of Christian faith, both for the monks that lived within them and (more relevantly for me!) the lay communities that sprang up in the shadow of the monasteries.  These ordinary people h … [Read more...]

Running the (Terrible for Catholics) Numbers on Conversion


The Pew Religious Landscape Survey gave the chance to write some code and run the numbers on religious churn, retention, and conversions for my day job at FiveThirtyEight.  Here are a few highlights: Evangelical Protestants Are The Biggest Winners When People Change Faiths The numbers presented by Pew help describe current patterns, but they don’t tell the whole story of which denominations are most attractive to people who might be looking for a new one. Gain and loss numbers can wind up sk … [Read more...]