March 8, 2016

These are the final words in the first vision of Hadewijch of Brabant (fl. early 13th century). After she is whisked up into a heavenly garden and experiences the fruits of divine mystery, God leaves her with these words: “give all, for all is yours!” Reading this command yesterday (and for the first time), I was struck, struck by the profundity couched in such simple language, overawed by the essential nature of the Lord’s words, hidden beneath of veneer of… Read more

March 7, 2016

Even among devout Catholics, it’s not uncommon to hear about the “damage” caused by the pope’s occasionally diplomatic language. While not those who would call him “Bergolio” or lambaste the Novus Ordo (for a particularly remarkable example of that, see here) as such, they represent a certain sort of traditionalism that is wary of things not clear-cut, almost Scholastic in their desire to pick out and propound subtle and varied rules. For them, and for many, this pope is not… Read more

March 6, 2016

(The following contains spoilers. And while I hope to keep them mild, if you haven’t seen the film, but plan to do so, I do not recommend reading on)   By and large, The Witch, Robert Eggers’ eerie directorial debut, has been read either as a feminist tale of socially-induced self-designation or a creepy reassertion of the chilling, as opposed to the violent, in the horror genre. Neither of these is wrong, but both miss what, for me as a… Read more

March 3, 2016

Non-Trump voters do not get Trump: this goes for Democrats, Republicans, most analysts, my colleagues, and just about anyone within my professional universe. He’s considered an anomaly: somehow pulling together GOP and Independent voters from across the political spectrum, challenging the evangelical Cruz and the business-as-usual Rubio. His fast-talking bravado has even his enemies voting for him, sometimes precisely because they think his reign would be so apocalyptic, it would necessarily wake America from its neoliberal slumber. A recent collation… Read more

February 29, 2016

If you haven’t seen John Oliver’s methodical takedown of Trump, I recommend you check it out. Oliver believes we ought to rename him “Donald Drumpf,” because A. that was once his family’s name and B. because his power stems from his name, which emanates wealth and power. He’s like some video-game boss: find the weak spot and hit till he drops (or rather drumpfs). Oliver’s shtick could be funnier, but it might show us a way forward when it comes… Read more

February 28, 2016

(This post is part of a series. Parts one and two can be found here and here). So far, I’ve detailed how Nietzsche cleared the ground for my faith journey and how Kierkegaard started to edify something on the empty plain of my soul. Obviously words cannot exhaust my personal path, but I’d like to take this final installment to focus on a Catholic (for once), specifically Julian of Norwich. As I’ve hinted previously, systematic theology has more-or-less failed to… Read more

February 27, 2016

  (This post is part of a series. Part one can be found here). If Nietzsche cleared the ground for my Christianity, sweeping away bland liberalism and all other manner of modern panaceas, Søren Kierkegaard convinced me that only Christianity could fill the void (as if it could be filled in this life). Plainly put, Kierkegaard’s writing speaks to the modern (and post-modern) experience of fragmented loneliness. As the great opponent of Hegelian systematizing, his writings display a typically Scandinavian… Read more

February 25, 2016

Today and for the next day or two I’ll focus on my journey to Christianity, with specific references to the events, thinkers, and ideas that guided me along the way. With faith, I hope doing so will acquaint readers with that journey while guiding me along the befuddling and treacherous path that is bearing the cross. I was baptized, and that’s about it. We never attended Mass, not even on Christmas and Easter. All of my catechesis and the later… Read more

February 24, 2016

If you’d asked me a year ago, I’m not sure I could’ve envisioned myself writing this piece, not because I never thought I’d read Marx, but because what I found was incredibly different from my expectations. Raised in a mostly secular, but still generally politically-conservative, post-Soviet environment, the idea of going near Marx was scandalous. As I became religious, the father of Communism seemed less odious (because I was no longer beholden to the strictures of American political ideologies—liberal and… Read more

February 22, 2016

  We’ve officially passed St. Valentine’s Day, and, single as I am, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on love, on what it is we desire in, from, and through others in that all-encompassing concept: love. The Greeks offer us three varieties (I omit storge here): eros, philia, and agape, loosely defined as passionate love, friendly love, and universal-divine love (though none of these definitions exhausts the Greek sense). In the Symposium, Plato’s Socrates (recounting what he has learned from… Read more

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