Safe Zones for Secular Students

 My friend Jesse Galef, the communications director at the Secular Students Alliance, sat down with me to do a Q&A about a new project they unveiled: the Secular Safe Zone.  The program recruits and trains teachers, students, and other allies to establish clear safe points for non-religious students to have conversations and ask questions.  Here's the discussion we had: Jesse, can you tell me and the readers a bit about why the Secular Students Alliance has started the S … [Read more...]

In Which I Still Struggle With Pelagianism

I think one of the worst near occasions for sin for me comes whenever I’m nearing the end of my turn in the confessional. I’ve disclosed my sins (some of them easily, some of them blurted out quickly, as though that lessens their gravity) and then the priest assigns me penance.Unfortunately, my kneejerk reaction is usually, “That’s it?!?”When a priest assigns me only a few prayer, or a spot of silent meditation, I feel like I’m getting away with something. Surely he could come up with som … [Read more...]

A Saint for this Season

Yesterday, I had a lot of trouble making it to church for the Feast of All Saints.  All Saint's Day is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics, and it's the feast of all those in the Church Triumphant -- all the saints, recognized on earth through canonization and those unknown to us, but sharing in the beatific vision.Unfortunately, as I'm in a more rural area teaching at a work event, we had to deal with poorly-marked, poorly-lit signs, and spotty GPS to get there.  Around the third time we … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (11/1/13)

  Happy Feast of All Saints!   --- 1 --- This week's quick takes theme is transposition, and there are few people as in love with stories and patterns as Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid and his recent work on analogy: Surfaces and Essences.  In a recent interview with The Atlantic, he talked about what he sees as the heart of human intelligence: Cognition is recognition,” he likes to say. He describes “seeing as” as the essential cognitiv … [Read more...]

Costumes, Constraint, and Chapel Veils

In my high school theatre productions, our director encouraged us to start working on assembling costumes early.  Especially shoes.  Once you had something of your character's, you could start using it to feel less like yourself, and stop doing things by rote.  If you had nothing else, he said, you could put a pebble in your shoe so you were a little less comfortable in your normal stance. I'm on a plane all day, so, since I ended up without the opportunity to dress up for Halloween, I thought I' … [Read more...]

The Ones Who Walk Away from Dresediel Lex

Max Gladstone's Two Serpents Rise, is his second book in the Craft sequence and falls chronologically before his first book, Three Parts Dead.  His first novel took place in Alt Coulomb, a city where at least one god is alive and when and living on the faith of his worshippers.  The new novel, set in Dresediel Lex, is in a city where the gods have been replaced by something a good deal more industrial.Before the Dresediel Lex's gods had their place usurped, they were of the feathered serp … [Read more...]

Q&A with Max Gladstone (Part 2)

This is the second part of my interview with Max Gladstone, the author of Three Parts Dead. You can read part one of the Q&A here, and stay tuned for the review of his newest novel Two Serpents Rise tomorrow.  In Three Parts Dead, you reframed parts of our complicated financial system through a theological lens.  Is there any theological practice that your think the financial world should steal?  Are there any places where the financial world has appropriated priestly qualities wit … [Read more...]