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

(mrsapplegate / flickr)

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...]

Beginning the Benedict Option Today

(photo by Eisodia Monaxh)

I got to hear Rod Dreher and Ken Myers (of the Mars Hill Audio Journal) discuss the Benedict Option this weekend at the Tocqueville Forum.  At least 200 people turned out, so, when it came time for questions, I wanted to make sure to ask something that would help us all do something in the near term (rather than rely on Rod to make another visit to draw us all together again).I asked both speakers what they would recommend that people in the audience do now (either this week, or, if … [Read more...]

The Beguine Model for the Benedict Option

(wikimedia commons)

 After reading Laura Swan's The Wisdom of the Beguines, I'm tempted to tell Rod Dreher that the best name for Christians trying to find ways to live in community, inspired by monasteries but outside them, is probably the Beguine Option, not the Benedict Option.It's hard to do too much better than this as a model for finding ways to live your faith with others, in cities, towns, or wherever you happen to find yourself: While some lived with their parents, many beguines used their … [Read more...]

Workplaces Make Terrible Monasteries

(Wikimedia commons)

I'm a little late to the discussion of Amazon's treatment of its white collar workers (I've been on vacation in CA), but I really liked Matthew Schmitz's take on the company at First Things.It sounds like Amazon works really hard to filter its employees for people who are willing to give most of their life to the company, and that winnowing process can include harsh treatment of people with other commitments, but isn't necessarily intended to result in a workforce living in fear of … [Read more...]

When People Offer Me Their Weaknesses As Strengths

leo hole

I still haven't mentioned my favorite thing that happened during the discussion I hosted on the Benedict Option.  In the final half hour of the conversation, we restricted the topic a little.  First, people were going to name resources that they had, which might be useful to the group.  Then people would basically make wishes ("I wish I had people to pray the Liturgy of the Hours with during the work day" "I wish I had people to volunteer with" etc.).  People were encouraged to name wishes that t … [Read more...]