Showing posts from 2015

Digital Contraception

I wonder if I should just stop there, with that phrase - "digital contraception" - attached to this image, and allow us time to ponder this picture?

In this crowd of "popearazzi", (if I might coin a phrase,) an older woman, face radiant like Moses on the mountain, gazes without obstruction on Pope Francis, who appears to be looking at her. She's not touching him but is clearly touched. The younger woman, hand actually grasping the Shepherd's hand, holds in her other hand a smartphone, through whose 3 x 5 screen she stares at a pixelated image of the actual man five feet away from her. Granted, she too is touched. Both are joyful and smiling, but there is something sociologically intriguing about this image. Which of these two is having an actual, personal encounter? A 'communion of persons' for only a fleeting moment?

I think we all know where this is going. And you may have strong feelings about it.

Some history. Facebook launched 11 years ago thi…

Stumbling on the Way of Beauty

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
- Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring It was a signature grace for me to teach for the first time this summer a new elective course for the Institute; Theology of the Body and Art: The Way of Beauty. This was a five day head and heart immersion into the great transcendental that's synonymous for the God Who is Beauty. He, in His Trinitarian Splendor, first captivated me as a young man and drew me into this Way, through the sounds and scents of the pine woods and streams I'd walked in my youth, through the lives of the saints, the varied writings of authors like Thoreau, Plato, Chekov, Sheen, Lewis and Tolkien. He was singing to me in the music of Van Morrison, John Williams, Palestrina and Purcell. But above all He was drawing me in through the sacramental encounters with Christ in those sweet clouds of i…

Graphene and the Gift of Self

Graphene is the thinnest, strongest material known to man, and was first isolated at the University of Manchester in 2004. Imagine what incredible things could be accomplished with this material! Stronger bridges, buildings, even lightweight but virtually indestructible rooftops for the poor and vulnerable in third world countries who are susceptible to mudslide or earthquake: the possibilities are endless! But according to Bill Gates and a band of scientists, Graphene could serve even a "nobler" purpose: contraception.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding the men that can harness the power of Graphene and morph it with latex condoms a cool $100,000. Dr. Papa Sow, a senior program officer on a HIV research team, said a "redesigned condom that overcomes inconvenience, fumbling or perceived loss of pleasure would be a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty.”
A powerful weapon against poverty? Doesn't he mean against the fecundity of women and the life…

Jesus, the X-Men, and My Boyhood Dream of Flying

Flowing from the unprecedented joy and awe inspired by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in this still ongoing Easter season of the Church, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the five reasons why I believe Jesus was one of the original X-Men (If you are not familiar with the cultural phenomenon of the X-Men via graphic novel and blockbuster Marvel films over the last decade concerning people born with special powers, welcome aboard. It’s fun fantasy that I’m about to argue has roots in reality.) I will then proceed to ponder briefly the awesomeness of Reason #1, which we eagerly await to witness at the close of this Easter season; that is, his ascension into Heaven.

So, the five reasons why Jesus was one of the original X-Men…
1. He could fly.  2. He could pass through walls.  3. He could read your thoughts.  4. He could miraculously heal himself (and others).  5. He could change the molecular makeup of stuff into other stuff (water, wine)
Let’s spend the remainder of this ref…

LUCY and the Longing of the Heart for More

I was a young boy in the 1970’s and 80’s, coming of age in the early days of the movie magic of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas; of galaxies far, far away, of Close Encounters, and hidden mysteries, of Lost Arks and great adventures. I can honestly say my formation and invitation into wonder and transcendence was assisted, however imperfectly, by the films of my youth. St. John Paul II once wrote in 1998 that movies are "the mirror of the human soul in its constant search for God, often unknowingly. With special effects and remarkable images, it can explore the human universe in depth. It is able to depict life and its mystery in images. And when it reaches the heights of poetry, unifying and harmonizing various art forms — from literature to scenic portrayal, to music and acting — it can become a source of inner wonder and profound meditation." I love movies! And I love St. John Paul II.
But let's be honest, as much as a film can form, or even transform the viewer, so …

GUEST POST: A Woman's View of 50 Shades of Grey

On 50 Shades of Grey
By: T Nicole Cirone Wilkinson

I've been thinking a lot about the 50 Shades of Grey issues ever since the book came out in 2012. People started buying it up—the more “prudish” reading it on Kindles so as to obscure the cover, and the brazen ones flaunting it on the beach and the subway; book clubs all over the country featured it as their choice of discussion material (even on the heels of the likes of Reading Lolita in Tehran), and the phrase “mommy porn” was used to describe the controversial book.  Now with the release of the movie (just in time for Valentine’s Day!), I have the same reaction that I had three years ago, when the book, whose storyline turns around what used to be a taboo, marginalized sex fetish, a “whips and chains” obsession of fringey weirdos, suddenly took mainstream culture by storm: WHY?

My first reaction to reading the (TERRIBLY written) book, which I read to see what all the fuss was about was, "this isn’t sex—this is abuse!" I…


I’m sure anyone reading this has already seen Fifty Shades of Grey to the point of saturation; a myriad of images, quotes, stats and rants on their Facebook and Twitter feeds about the “groundbreaking" film that has put sex toys in Target department stores (true story). In case you haven’t heard, it's the tale of a dominating billionaire who seeks to obsessively own a college student, luring her into his sadomasochistic world where her pain brings him sexual pleasure. It opens not on the eve of Halloween as you might expect, but Valentine's Day. Yes, Fifty Shades of Grey is being painted as a love story. However, the dominant color on its palette is still grey.  I don't want to talk about the movie anymore. I don't want to dwell in that murky grey any longer than we have to for the purposes of this piece. I want to make a heartfelt appeal to you all as men and women, first to my dear sisters, then my brothers, about what might be the reason this story has become s…

SEEK2015 and You Shall Find

As you’ve heard many times I’m sure, there are typically two ways of looking at things. You can focus on the bad news, or focus on the good news. If you focus on the bad news, it’s depressing. The path will be dark and full of injustice, leaving you most likely full of angst and perhaps a bit scattered in your vision of the world, and even of God’s governance of it. 

The second way of looking at things is to focus on the good news. Focus on the good (that where there’s life, there’s hope), and your path will be lighter and full of peace, leaving you rich in hope, compassionate, and unified in your vision of the world, and of God’s governance of it.

Now for a test of what your default perspective might be, picture nearly 10,000 college students, over winter break, in a luxurious five star hotel with all of the amenities, in the heart of a major city… for five days.

Bad news? Good news?

Read the rest here!

God in the Nooks and Crannies

If one of the 12 labors of Hercules would have been to clean out our family minivan, the son of Zeus would have failed miserably. The Augean stables pale before the cumulative debris in our Honda Odyssey. The three-headed Cerberus he battled was a puppy before the monstrous mess our three kids, ages 6, 4, and 2 can make if given enough time, Crayola products, and cheesy puffs. How these little ones can accomplish the turning of sandwich bread, sugar-fruity loops, and french fries into atomized bits that somehow permeate and penetrate every crack and crevice of that van is beyond me. Once we get the great minds to work out how a two year old can get an intact potato chip under the sealed hard plastic infrastructure of a car seat, then I believe we can have teleportation figured out within months.

Children have a gift for getting into those places we thought impenetrable and inaccessible...
Read the rest here!