Starving Laypeople of Devotion in Church

I just wrapped up (and really enjoyed) Eamon Duffy's The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580. One of the themes that jumped out at me were the ways laypeople were pushed aside during the English Reformation. Although Protestant reformers were ostensibly giving power to the ordinary people of the parish (though translations of the Mass and other reforms), by attacking traditional devotions, they cut parishioners off from the kinds of worship they had known and the … [Read more...]

What Free Time Can Buy

Simcha Fisher has a great reflection on why she stopped homeschooling, and what she gained and lost when she sent her kids to school.  This is the loss that most stood out to me: We don’t get to choose how to spend our time. This is the one thing that makes me really miss home school. We don’t have much time or flexibility to do fun or important things together as a family, like go to museums or other cultural events, or celebrate religious feasts in a big way, or have long vacations, or have va … [Read more...]

My Recipes for Scruffy Hospitality

An Anglican priest in Knoxville, TN has a great exhortation to offer scruffy hospitality to friends, instead of keeping your doors closed until you can be a startlingly excellent host.Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more inter … [Read more...]

Audio is up from my Building the Benedict Option talk in Boston

I had a wonderful time in Boston last week, talking about some of our Benedict Option efforts here in DC, and some of my starter kit ideas for beginning to build closer ties in your own community.  (The simplest one: serve one more snack at the end of events, to give people an excuse to linger and chat after a lecture or other structured event).The Church of the Advent has the audio from my talk up now!And they've got the Q&A, too, which is always my favorite part of a talk.  I wind u … [Read more...]

The People I Don’t Learn to Love

After reading my essay on "Both/And Philanthropy," one of my friends told me that there was something I was leaving out of my hybrid approach.  Here's how I said that I balance attentiveness to material and spiritual goods: And when it comes to the fundamental divide between Beer and MacAskill, for my own part, I like to hybridize their global vs local approaches. When I have the opportunity to do something for someone close to me (e.g. defraying a friend-of-a-friend’s medical costs, donating to … [Read more...]

How To Offer Community Without Communion

I'm over at First Things today, talking about why people may want to drop barriers to Communion out of fear of excluding the people who most need strength and support, and offering suggestions for other ways to see, know, and love our pewmates:Communion is often the sign of acceptance that people seek—not just because it’s at the heart of the faith, but because it may be the only form of love that people know how to ask for or see offered at their parish. In many parishes, it’s easy to atten … [Read more...]

Extending Family and Keeping an Honorary Aunt in your Basement

I love this essay by Mikkee Hall ("Why I moved 1,600 miles to live downstairs from my godchildren") on expanding families and supporting unusual vocations to love in the Washington Post.As I hit my mid-30s, I knew it was time to make a radical change. So when my best friend and her husband moved their family of six to Denver, I packed up what would fit in my car, sold the rest and joined them to live in their basement. [...] I live in my friends’ basement apartment with the sounds of four y … [Read more...]


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