May 7, 2020

On Wednesday, two customers in an Oklahoma City McDonald’s shot at employees. They were not practicing social distancing properly; those working under the golden arches told them so, and so—shots fired: The suspects got angry and took out a gun when they were asked to leave due to coronavirus restrictions that were in place, Oklahoma City Police Lt. Michelle Henderson told CNN. Two workers were shot and a third was injured, Henderson said, during “the melee that ensued.” Police told… Read more

May 4, 2020

As with many things we talk about, American discussions of COVID-19 seem limited, limited to a set of dull, partisan binaries. Either one stands for reopening things swiftly (if not immediately) or one prizes the lockdown. The former will say the latter are unrealistic—”we must reopen eventually. Get your head out of the sand!” To those in favor of the lockdown, the prophets of return are at worst hicks and at best calculating businesspeople whose imaginations can imagine sacrificing children… Read more

April 7, 2020

Teaching has brought me back to Nietzsche once again. This is always a revivifying process, a challenge to my faith, my intuited convictions (if that’s not an oxymoron), and every other belief I attest or bear out in my actions. It has, however, led me to consider the extremes possible in this time of rampant extremes. Where there is isolation, there is time for thinking (or its suppression). Perhaps this is all nonsense afforded by too many days spent domestically… Read more

February 14, 2020

A student followed me out of class the other day; he couldn’t believe that I, a Christian, could find Nietzsche edifying, let alone that I kept a painting of him catty-corner from my icons. Around the same time, a Twitter friend asked me much the same question: why look to Nietzsche for faith? My answer is necessarily a personal one—that’s all it can be. What has Friedrich Nietzsche to do with Jesus Christ? The pairing seems impossible, and yet, for… Read more

February 7, 2020

America Magazine is reporting a victory for religious liberty. In essence, an appeals court ruled that religious universities must be left alone; coercion by the state is not allowed, since schools do not receive various federal grants. This is supposed to be a “live and let live” situation, giving religious colleges an opportunity to govern themselves in ways consistent with their traditions: The corollary to this arrangement (no public support) is that the government will leave private institutions alone in… Read more

February 3, 2020

This is the second post in a series I am writing called “Living Saints.” It explores the lives of currently living people whose examples inspire us, those who keep faith alive by demonstrating that the true Christian life can, in fact, be lived. You can find the first post here. “But it is necessary to stress with sufficient insistence that faith is inseparably connected with conversion. It is a break with out life of sin, with the idols and all… Read more

January 23, 2020

It’s winter again and I should have far more of my dissertation submitted than I do; it’s almost time to start teaching, almost time to spend five minutes twirling a cigarette, wondering why, once again, I thought this would be a good idea. Depression reigns now, people say. Our anxieties burn up inside frigid bodies afraid to move. So, we invest in mood lamps; we drink hot chocolate. But not even. Hot chocolate has a Yuletide charm, but that season… Read more

January 22, 2020

Many are self-professedly “progressive,” but default to moderate policies because, as they say, the world is complicated. Sometimes you have to take half-a-loaf of bread; negotiation requires compromise after all. They say they wish they could support policies further to the Left—single payer healthcare, giving away housing to the homeless, huge cuts to military spending—but those won’t go anywhere. And so, we make do. This is no clearer than when speaking about Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Many good liberals… Read more

January 21, 2020

It is, at this point, a truism that the Middle Ages fascinate the American Alt-Right. “Deus Vult” has become their slogan, so much so that the popular video game franchise Crusader Kings has dropped this tagline from its third installment. It is also, at this point, a truism that those so invested in an eleventh-century crusader battle cry get the medieval period wrong. I am not interested in re-adjudicating this conflict; it seems clear that any popular movement, steeped in nostalgia… Read more

December 10, 2019

Life is hard. Everyday we wake up and do it again, coffee in hand moments after dusting ourselves off from a half-sleepless night. We work; we try to pray. But, in the end, each day is often hard. The abstractions of faith dominate most discussions of the religion that’s supposed to keep us grounded. Politics, in many cases, is much the same. Who can retain faith and hope under such circumstances? Who can face down a corrupt, fallen world and… Read more

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