February 5, 2019

About a week ago, someone in my Eastern Catholic readership forwarded an article from LifeSiteNews concerning whether Catholics should celebrate the Lunar New Year. This acquaintance of mine shared in good faith and asked for comment; being of Newman’s persuasion that academics, unlike journalists, should not be commenting on everything, I ignored it. But like Candlemas on the New Calendar, my absorption into my daily secular life, which includes following the Old Calendar, had me forget that today was the… Read more

February 4, 2019

Halfway into the film If Beale Street Could Talk, I said to myself: this is probably one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. It was, I thought, exactly what a Baldwin novel would look like on screen, the way he’d pace it, how he’d score it. My dear sister Grace Yu agreed, pointing out that it was also less intense that Barry Jenkins’s last film, the award-winning Moonlight. Of those among our friends, I’d say that Grace is among the… Read more

February 2, 2019

When a brother of mine in the Latin Church asked about a week ago if Eastern Catholics celebrate Candlemas, it did not occur to me that it was coming up so soon. I’m on the Old Calendar when I’m here in Chicago, so February 2 doesn’t happen for another two weeks. It dawned on me suddenly last night after Reader’s Vespers for Holy Euthymius the Great that everyone on the New Calendar is celebrating the Feast of the Presentation of… Read more

February 1, 2019

One of the murmurings of discontent that has long followed me from critics of this blog is, I don’t know why his tagline is ‘a face faced by others.’ My favourite dimension of this critique is that it usually comes from Orthodox converts, typically of the kind that comes from evangelicalism, which means that they seem to conceive of Christian education in their parishes as an extension of the Sunday school that they are used to and continue to use all the… Read more

January 31, 2019

On this Feast of the Holy Hierarchs Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, I wanted to share a passage from Rowan Williams’s Arius: Heresy and Tradition that has stuck with me since I read it in the fall of 2008. At that time, I had just gone through a full-scale theological meltdown, having been confirmed as an Anglican on what I now know is the Feast of the Presentation earlier that February. Before the summer of 2008, I was a New Calvinist:… Read more

January 30, 2019

The email came in the middle of Reader’s Vigil, right before the Matins Canon. Classes having been canceled because of the deep freeze that is coming over the Midwest, I decided to take a few days at home to write, which means that I am also cooking and praying. The prayer, which has been surprisingly regular on the hours in the past few days (I am, like most Christians across all of the communions by which we are divided, terrible… Read more

January 29, 2019

There is a dimension to scholarship that is often left undiscussed in the present milieu of quit lit and the woes of academia, and that is pleasure. Certainly, the problem of overwork and the exploitation of labour is an ever-present reality in the academy, the most famous example being a tweet from a professor somewhere in New England saying that a 60-hour work week is short for an academic, and most are logging more. Even I have experienced it, along… Read more

January 24, 2019

About a month ago, I finally got around to watching the classic Hitchcock film North by Northwest. It was late one night after finishing some work here where I am employed at Northwestern University, where of course the daily news magazine is titled North by Northwestern. After seeing it, I suppose I understood why I always felt it was a film that I should see. It is in some quarters regarded informally as the first Bond film, just as From Russia… Read more

January 22, 2019

As this postfeast of Theophany this year continues apace, I recall my first Theophany celebration, which took place in Richmond on the evening of January 5, 2016. I still remember it. It was at the beginning of my catechumenate, which my records indicate began on December 5 the year before. The truth is that I don’t recall being very serious about the catechumenate at that point. It was more of a let’s see how this goes approach. I definitely didn’t want… Read more

January 21, 2019

I wore this shirt for this year’s secular Feast of our Brother among the Saints Martin Luther King, Jr. My father and I acquired this shirt while visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis the summer before I started grad school. On the night he was assassinated, King was in Memphis organizing sanitation workers. His work had developed from his nonviolent work on desegregation in the South to a radical call for ‘revolution of values’ linking the Vietnam War… Read more

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