The Finest School

“I was graduated from the finest school, which is that of the love between a parent and a child. Though the world is constructed to serve glory, success, and strength, one loves one’s parents and one’s children despite their failings and weaknesses—sometimes even more on account of them. In this school you learn the measure…

Liberty as Domination

“Under the rule of a repressive whole, liberty can be made into a powerful instrument of domination. The range of choice open to the individual is not the decisive factor in determining the degree of human freedom, but what can be chosen and what is chosen by the individual. The criterion of free choice can…

Virtue and Sexism in Purity Culture

One Sunday during the years of my adolescence I attended the morning worship service all by my lonesome. I forget the reason why. I sat down in a pew to the left of the altar, awaiting the start of Mass with the other early arrivers. A few minutes before the prayers began, a young very…

Questioning Faith

(Cross-posted on the Front Page) Asking questions is dangerous business.  I have friends and acquaintances who, after completing an inquisition into their own religious beliefs, forsook their religion, kicked the dust from their feet, and hit the road for a stroll in the sun.  You probably know such people as well.  I know others whose…

Deconstructing the Afterlife

As I get older, watching family, friends and strangers pass into the unknown, I think more about death and my own passage into it.  The more I contemplate this eventuality, the less satisfied I am with speculation concerning the precise details of the journey and the destination.  Whatever awaits me beyond my death, if anything…

Roger Ebert, R.I.P.

Famous film critic Roger Ebert has died.  He could be as scathing as any critic, but he also displayed a passionate love of movies and film-making more warmhearted and heartfelt than most others I read.  Full of wonder and excitement at the new and surprising, he was a solid writer and clever wordsmith whose reviews…

To Fail as a Son

The last time I saw my father I was twelve years old.  Before boarding the airplane that would return me to the home of my mother and step-father, I had sat on the edge of my father’s bed, next to him, upset and uncertain. We were nearing the end of my second six-week visit back…