On Becoming Catholic

The worst thing I could do would be to lie to you, to myself, about where this all began. I could spin a yarn about my conversion, but that would be either an exercise in historical ressentiment or a tepid cataloging of events and complaints. Yet, should I deign to speak of a “reflective-narrative assessment,” or some such thing, I no longer fall under the yoke of burdensome historicity; and at the same time, I do not ask myself to retroactively justify having made any one decision in particular. With the sort of assessment I have in mind, the expression…

Towards a Thanatocene Spirituality

“In fact, while the climate of widespread moral uncertainty can in some way be explained by the multiplicity and gravity of today’s social problems, and these can sometimes mitigate the subjective responsibility of individuals, it is no less true that we are confronted by an even larger reality, which can be described as a veritable structure of sin. This reality is characterized by the emergence of a culture which denies solidarity and in many cases takes the form of a veritable ‘culture of death’. This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea…

Healing and the Promise: Chapters I-III

Originally published in two installments in 2016. This is an edited and collected version including a final chapter written in mid-2017. Chapter One (June 2016) In the first volume of Marcel Proust’s, In Search of Lost Time, one of the characters introduced is the up-and-coming socialite, M. Swann. He often visited the Proust’s country home in Combray when the former was a child. It was on such a visit to his home that M. Swann responds to an off-color attempt by another character, Proust’s Aunt Flora, to tell him that “she had read [a] note about [him] in the [paper].”

Suffering and the Promise: Chapters I-III

Originally published in three installments in late 2015 and early 2016. This is an edited and collected version. Chapter One The way of the Son of God into the far country is the way of obedience. This is…the first and inner moment of the mystery of the deity of Christ. – Karl Barth In October 2015, I attended a weekend-long retreat in Santa Maria, California, located in Santa Barbara County. My group and I trekked for three and a half hours in remarkably bad traffic to join twenty or so students who belong to UCLA’s branch of Reformed University Fellowship…

The Eschatology of Turkish Delight

 C.S. Lewis narrates the psychology of self-deception in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He presents an ambiguous anthropology that is distinctly non-Augustinian, where deviance and wickedness are divorced from inherent evil: “You mustn’t think that even now Edmund was quite so bad that he actually wanted his brother and sisters to be turned into stone. He did want Turkish Delight and to be a Prince (and later a King) and to pay Peter out for calling him a beast. As for what the Witch would do with the others, he didn’t want her to be particularly nice to them…

Edenic Memory in Morris: Allegory in “A Garden by the Sea”

In a helpful companion, The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Robert Frost, its editor Harold Bloom describes William Morris (1834–1896) as a “gifted lyrical and narrative poet.” It’s an uncontroversial description but perhaps a tad laconic, as is the rest of his two paragraph summary of Morris’ poetic reputation. Nevertheless, Bloom’s selection contains what I believe to be a quite under-rated poem, his “A Garden by the Sea,” reproduced below.