Everything You Wanted to Know About the Birth of Christ (but were afraid to tweet @Pontifex)

jesus infancy narratives

I received a comped copy of this book for review, but have not taken any other compensation  nor was this post subject to any editorial review.  (Besides the eagle-eyed grammar police of the commentariat).I read Jesus of Nazareth:  From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration earlier this year, as part of the two-person book club I set up with the Dominican friar who sponsored me at my baptism.  Although Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives is part of the same project, the two b … [Read more...]

7 Christmas Traditions (12/21/12)

--- 1 --- Since the next Quick Takes will take place after Christmas, I thought it would be a nice time to share some holiday traditions from my family and some from elsewhere.  For example, this tradition was found by a friend of mine who was reading David Graeber's Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology Residents of the squatter community of Christiana, Denmark have a Christmastide ritual where they dress in Santa suits, take toys from department stores and distribute them to children on the … [Read more...]

Three Stories of Forgiveness

gandhi-quote-on-forgiveness

I have a collection of strange tags in my google reader clippings system ("drones," "mary mallon," and "surveillance state"), but, given the events of the past week, I thought it might be appropriate to dip into the "radical forgiveness" file. Nobuo Fujita, 85, Is Dead; Only Foe to Bomb America (Nicholas Kristof, NYT) Mr. Fujita, whose incendiary bombs set off forest fires in Oregon's coastal range, played the key role in a quixotic plan by Japanese military commanders to put … [Read more...]

Trade you a cookie for a charitable donation?

dolphin cookie

Sorry to have been incommunicado the last few day, team.  I was quite busy this weekend with a delightful little project that blog readers who don't know me in real life will hear about Christmas Day, and my family's annual holiday cookie party.This past Sunday was Gaudete Sunday (which I believe is the imperative form of Rejoice!), and I certainly did, both while spending time with family and friends and when, on the train ride back, I discovered a new chapter of Harry Potter and the Met … [Read more...]

7 Hobbit Takes

On the plus side, someone in the theatre greeted me by saying, "Galadriel to meet you!"

--- 1 --- I've been nervous about seeing The Hobbit since I saw this passage in Anthony Lane's review: Instead, before Bilbo stumbles upon the ring, we see it slip from Gollum’s safekeeping, tumble in refulgent slow motion, and, on impact, give a resounding clang. (If Jackson ever films “Othello,” wait for Desdemona’s handkerchief to hit the ground like a sheet of tin.) When you adapt a classic, it's tempting to engage in fanservice ("Hey, look!  It's this moment!  The one you love!").  There' … [Read more...]

Superpowered Feminism

swivel spine

This was going to be a short post, but there were a lot of good women to link to, so just think of this post as an epic crossover.Perhaps it's not intuitive to go to tumblrs commenting on the questionable anatomy of girls in comic books for smart, incisive commentary on feminism and (sometimes inadvertent) misogyny, but man oh man are you missing out.I follow Escher Girls, a tumblr that collects professional drawings of superheroines that have something terribly wrong with them (the tags … [Read more...]

“Give Us More To See”

"But how George looks. He could look forever As if he sees you and he doesn't all at once."

Yesterday, I used Georges Seurat (as imagined by Stephen Sondheim in Sunday in the Park with George) to open up a discussion about the difficulty of pursuing intimacy with God (or, often, other people).  Play!George might approve of my framing a discussion of truth through artifice, since that's exactly how he manages to see and comprehend others in the show.  In "Finishing the Hat" (below), George explains that he can only understand or interact with people from a distance.Entering the wo … [Read more...]


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