January 18, 2012

Two recent posts by friends have me revisiting a philosophical equation that troubles me even more than the ones I struggled with in Algebra I (both times): the original Grecian Formula, placed in the mouth of Sophocles by Plato, that Beauty = Goodness. When I first encountered the Symposium, as a (very, very) late-life Humanities major in the Antioch degree-completion program thencalled The McGregor School, I had already been as infused with, even pickled in, the Beauty Equals Goodness trope… Read more

January 16, 2012

The essence of faith is that I do not meet with something that has been thought up, but that here something meets me that is greater than anything we can think of for ourselves. ~ Benedict XVI, God and the World You wouldn’t think that the news that Hostess, the company that makes Twinkies and Wonder Bread, is filing for bankruptcy would trigger a fit of theological reflection. But as someone noted in the comments box of one of the… Read more

November 27, 2011

First Advent always seems to catch me wrong-footed, as the Brits say. Its cool, austere, reflective purpleness follows too hard on the heels of Thanksgiving abundance, like the reverse of Hamlet’s observation about the funeral baked meats coldly furnishing forth the wedding banquet. Advent I is a melancholy Dane of a Sunday anyway: all that tryptophan not yet walked off, the Black Friday nonsense still taking us to the roof of the Temple to show us what wonders would be… Read more

April 12, 2011

I hate the periodic table. Or I thought I did. That yellowed chart flapping in front of the chemistry lecture room in the “new building” (circa 1934 or so, as opposed to the really old 1906 old building) of Immaculate Heart High School in Hollywood led directly to my having to hear, for the past 40+ years, “Whaddaya mean, you weren’t in Honors?” Indeed, I entered high school as a freshman in 1964 in Honors–and that lasted precisely the month… Read more

March 22, 2011

It all started when I ran into a hermit at a party.Turns out it’s not as incongruous as it seems. “I’m a hermit, not an anchorite,” Friar Rex patiently explained. (I heard his name, initially, as Friar X, which was beyond cool.) He’s a diocesan hermit in the Franciscan tradition–a new-as-of-the-late-80s canonical expression of consecrated life in the Church, one that developed While I Was Away. (See Canon 603.) Diocesan hermits profess vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to a… Read more

December 24, 2010

This week I performed an ecclesiastic U-turn, formally coming back home to my Roman Catholic roots after a sojourn in the Anglican Communion. It’s not a journey I can explain–like many journeys that happen this time of year, including the completely inconvenient trek to Bethlehem described in the Gospel of Luke that kicked off the whole business. I have few regrets, but one of them is surrendering the sense of ownership that Anglicans worldwide (even renegade Episcopalians) feel toward the… Read more

December 21, 2010

Tis the season when Christians collectively bemoan the commercialization of the holy day, reminding ourselves of the importance of turning away from the retail rat race and putting Christ back into Christmas. Yesterday, though, while tuning one ear to the Christmas muzak playing in one of my favorite coffee establishments (as it has been playing incessantly for a month now, in every part of the public square) it occurred to me that this commercialization is actually putting Christ and Christianity… Read more

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