Lukewarmness is for Zero Sum Games [Pope Francis Bookclub]

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In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.Apropos of yesterday's post on friendship, this week's chapter from Pope Francis focuses on the "Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth" passage from Revelation 3:16. When dealing … [Read more...]

Why is it So Hard to Find New Friends?

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I wanted to like MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend better than I ultimately did, since Rachel Bertsche makes a persuasive case that we need more archetypes of adult friendships. Unfortunately, although I feel like Bertsche and I are working on the same project, generally, I never wound up caring very much about her specific project.Bertsche has the goal on going on 52 “girl dates” in a year, in the hopes of finding a new best friend in Chicago, her new home. The troubl … [Read more...]

A Poisonous Portrait of Partnership

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In a coda to my series on Lewis, Sondheim, and friendship, I'm back at The American Conservative today to respond to a feature from The Atlantic on polyamory.  Here's a teaser, and you can read the full post at AmCon.  Marital Completionism: A Bad Model for Thruples and Couples Alike Why assume you need to make compromises to achieve connubial bliss?In an article for The Atlantic, Olga Khazan profiles several polyamorous couplesand wonders whether more families should consider open … [Read more...]

Sondheim Symposium on Friendship [Sequence Index]

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In the summer of 2014, I reprised my successful Sondheim Symposium birthday party of two years prior.  In 2012, we watched Company and Passion and argued about romantic love.  This year, we paired Merrily We Roll Along (Sondheim's musical that tracks the collapse of a friendship) with the "Philia/Friendship" chapter from C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves.  (For extra credit, party attendees could also read Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx).We ate thematically appropriate cake (see abo … [Read more...]

Three Models for Intentional Communities of Friends

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This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves.To close out this week's series on friendship, I'd like to recommend three articles on people building intentional communities that make it easier to bring friends to the center of our lives -- a space conventionally reserved for family and lovers.  Looking for a Housemate, Not a Mate, in Later Life - The New York Times Ms. Kilken … [Read more...]

Patterning Friendship on Family

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This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves.When my friends gathered to discuss friendship, we kept reaching for analogies drawn from families -- both biological links, like siblings, and chosen families, like the women who settled down in Boston marriages.  More than once, the people chatting at my party, when looking for a word to describe what a friend meant to them, said, "He's basical … [Read more...]

The Worm at the Heart of the Tower in Merrily We Roll Along

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This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves.In high school, I took a survey history course on the Middle East, which ran in reverse.  We started at the present day, and worked our way backwards, with a sense of suspense to discover the cause of the war whose consequences we had learned in the last lecture.  Merrily We Roll Along follows a similar format, spooling out its story back … [Read more...]


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