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Sarah Coakley, Against “Sweaty Pelagianism”

Why are we talking so much about bodies? Not just Christians, but everyone. Whether it’s our devotion to workouts and dieting, our “gender trouble” and overwrought attempts at sexual ethics, our reproductive anxieties, our reckoning with racial histories, our climate emergency, or some other perplexity, the fleshiness of our lives stands front and center in […]

When the World Calls Them Otherwise, God Calls Them Good

It is a scary time to be raising children. But boys come with their own narrative of misbehaviors. Boys are deemed too intense, too loud, too active. They misbehave earlier and more demonstrably than most girls. They have a much higher rate of diagnosis for challenges like ADHD and mood disorders. They spend more time […]

Salvation by Transaction: On Institutional Decline

Economists, look alive. Transaction Man, the new book from Nicholas Lemann, details the recent history of big ideas, the “master organizing principles for society.” Heady at first blush, the book becomes a keen survey of anthropology and how actual people live and work. Lemann employs “Transaction Man” as a catchall denoting some or all of […]

A Superior Identity

This one comes to us from Blake Nail. Well, Spider-Man has done it again. The recent news of Marvel losing the rights to the character has left many faithful fans distraught. Even when Marvel announced its new shows (She Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight) last weekend at the D23 Expo, the comments on Instagram […]

There’s No Failure Like Success (in the Meritocracy of Performancism)

Every summer our family faces a conundrum. A petty one, to be sure, but it comes up more and more as our kids get older. I’m referring to the swim team question. Usually when a fellow pool-goer asks if we’re joining up, a simple “Nope, not this year” suffices. If pushed, I’ll mumble something about […]

Alchemy in Grief

One of the recurring emotions families experience in the midst of grief is guilt. They feel guilty about “things done or left undone.” They feel guilty about still being alive. When my dad’s mother was dying of pancreatic cancer, he was just a teenager. He once told me how he avoided her room during the […]

Walter Ciszek Did Not Mind Talking About Himself

“The man who is truly humble and very close to God does not mind talking about himself. And so I’m going to talk about myself.” – Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J.[1] The speaker of the above words survived twenty-three years in the Soviet Gulag. He was tortured, sentenced to fifteen years of heavy labor, and all […]

Simba’s Amnesia

This one comes to us from Blake Nail. Nostalgia bleeds through the screen as The Lion King remake plays before me. The CGI is astounding and the story still holds strong. For many, it’s a remembrance of their childhood. A flashback to simpler times. A time forgotten. However, through Simba’s eyes, something else has been […]

Anhedonia and Men Without Chests: The Timeless Grace of Good Memories

It has now been over 23 years since Wallace penned the inimitable words: “Sentiment equals naïveté on this continent [and] cynicism and naïveté are mutually exclusive.” He explained, “What passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human (at least as conceptualized) […]

Right: An Unspoken Sermon

This one comes to us from Alan Jacobs. Anthony Trollope’s novel He Knew He Was Right is, like Shakespeare’s Othello, a story of jealousy. But not really. Its true subject is something far worse, and far more common, than jealousy. And if we understand the real point of the story, we’ll understand something about Christian […]

Death by Numbers

Numbers can seem inescapable. We don’t have to talk bills, debt, or taxes to understand that much of our lives are metrics-fixated: think performance reviews, social media followers, baseball stats, political polls, the number of unread emails or text messages you have (or don’t have) waiting to be opened. Then there are more personal metrics […]

Are Friends Electric? And Is Grace Digital?

This one’s especially for Andy, Anna, Blake, Caleb, Chris, Jeff, Kristin, Nathan, Reed, and Trevor. It seems like a hilariously ironic turn of Providence that I who have been so deeply suspicious of connectivity through electronic media and its pernicious (albeit often unintended) consequences should find the friends I am most in touch with, most […]