Pulling Off the New Vulgarity

I am cautiously optimistic for Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby, though, like pretty much everyone, I have some hugely unsettled and queasy feelings each time I watch the trailer below:The modern music is jarring, and the dancing looks lewd.  But I think that might be all to the good.  It's hard to manage vulgarity when it occurs in a period piece.  Flapper dresses are so much prettier and more embellished than my jeans and a t-shirt that it's hard to remember that, in their … [Read more...]

Waiting for Enemies to Die

martin luther king

There's an expression I've heard in the gay rights movement as a kind of rallying cry, "Every time you see an ambulance go by, it's either a supporter of gay rights being born, or an opponent dying."  I don't cite this line to single out the gay rights movement; I think most of us feel this way when we're in a fight.  For an example on the other side, look at the way Mark Shea used to call me and people like me 'brownshirts.'  A brownshirt isn't someone you negotiate with, it's someone you ne … [Read more...]

The Gay Marriage Debate I’m Looking Forward To


The Modern Love column that appears this week in The New York Times is written by a woman who found that gay marriage did have a big change on her own marriage: it made her feel more married.  I'll pull a few quotes, but pop over and read the whole thing. For me, marriage-role terminology carried too much baggage of a history I didn’t want. Although I could imagine the pride with which a new bride might have worked the words “my husband” into every sentence 60 years ago, I couldn’t get there mys … [Read more...]

Does Anyone Else Pray for Fictional Characters?

Battlestar Galactica

In a Catholic Mass, the whole ritual is subdivided into two basic parts: the Liturgy of the Word (where we read parts of the Old and New Testaments) and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where Christ offers us his Body and Blood.  During the hinge point, where we move from one part to the other, is a section called named the General Intercessions or Prayers of the Faithful where someone will read out a list of prayer intentions for the congregation.I don't quite zone out during this section, but … [Read more...]

7 Les Mis Takes (1/18/13)

les fiscal 1

--- 1 --- With my Javert medley of posts and the First Things essay on justice of yesterday, I may have exhausted (for the next few days at least) my Les Mis blogging, but, luckily, I've got the whole internet to draw on for this week's Les Mis clipshow.And I have to start with the Les Fiscal Miserables tumblr, which greatly lightened my heart during the fiscal cliff negotiations.  I am totally picking two of my favorites to embed:   --- 2 --- Friend of the blog Y … [Read more...]

What Do We Owe All the Valjeans?

valjean bishop

Since Les Mis seems to prompt endless reprises on this blog, you won't be surprised to find I'm over at First Things today talking about Valjean, Javert, and what we owe to the prisoners in our criminal justice system. When Jean Valjean appears for the first time in the stage musical Les Misérables, he is in the process of being paroled, and he is in an argument with his former jailer. When Inspector Javert barks out “You are a thief,” Valjean replies, “I stole a loaf of bread.” For Valjean, his … [Read more...]

God and the Moral Law in Mormonism

moses icon

After I wrote a review of The God Who Weeps, a book about Mormonism, I told Mormon readers to feel welcome to guest post to answer some of my questions or to add some clarifications.  (Oh, and meanwhile, Joanne McPortland has also written a review talking about the similarities between Mormonism and Gnosticism).   Over here chez moi, Carl Cranney has stepped up to the challenge. Here's how he introduces himself:Carl Cranney is a Mormon, yet is a PhD student in systematic theology at the C … [Read more...]