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On Fairy Stories

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 | 0 comments

I want to propose a simple and likely enjoyable remedy to the angst and malaise that is all things Presidential Election 2016. My suggested medicine does not involve serious or satirical Facebook posts, lawn signs, raging editorial pieces, or warnings of impending apocalypse. Instead, I suggest reading fairy-stories. In JRR Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy Stories,” Tolkien defines fairy-stories as “stories about Fairy, that is Faërie, the realm or state in which fairies have their being.”[1] Faërie is the realm of enchantment where not only dragons and trolls (and hobbits) reside, but all the things that enchant us in the created world, “the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth and all things that are in it: tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves.”[2] These stories capture not only the mythical qualities of some other realm, but the wonder-provoking though often ignored aspects of everyday life. Tolkien narrates three ways that fairy-stories provide...

Literacy and Authority in the Classroom

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 | 2 comments

The link in our minds between literacy and virtue runs deep, but that link must be seriously reevaluated if we want to remain in touch with reality (and want to avoid being insufferable prigs).

How to be Thankful

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 | 0 comments

In this post I will ask how does a life of thankfulness inspired by the sacrament help us destroy the envy that seeks to rule our lives.

Are Women Human?

Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 | 0 comments

In 1938, Dorothy Sayers addressed a society of women on the issue of feminism. This address came twenty years after the Representation of the People Act of 1918 which granted voting rights to a limited number of women over 30 years old and ten years after the Representation of the People Act 1928 which granted the same voting rights to women as men. Sayers, a public intellectual and writer, was well versed in the Suffrage Movement and the inequality in all levels of society for women. Those in the audience may have expected an amiable lecture on the merits of feminism in light of the recent successes and continued struggles for the feminist cause. Those expectations, though, would have been shattered as Sayers begins her address: When I was asked to come and speak to you, your Secretary made the suggestion that she thought I must be interested in the feminist movement. I replied—a little irritably, I am afraid—that I...

Hierarchy Without Equality: Structures of Power in Mystical Thought

Posted by on Aug 5, 2016 | 17 comments

Pseudo-Dionysius, the pseudonymous mystical (fl. 5th or 6th century) author best known in the Christian tradition for his contribution to apophatic theology—according to which God is beyond names, beyond being, and beyond knowledge—also sets forth a body of claims of which he thinks we can indeed have knowledge and understanding. In so doing, he not only betrays his own set of guiding principles, but worse, justifies esoteric elitism, and insulates church hierarchy from the possibility of critique. Dionysius’s sins are manifold. First, though he avers that God is beyond all names and concepts, he smuggles in—wait for it—names and concepts for God.[1] His doctrine of God is therefore riddled with inconsistency. God, “the inscrutable One, is out of the reach of every rational process. Nor can any words come up to the inexpressible Good, this One, this source of all unity.”[2] In no respect is God comparable to earthly things, though he is Good and One (which sound like names and...

The Nicene Creed: “one baptism for the remission of sins.”

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 | 3 comments

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series “We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.” I do not remember my baptism, and because regular church attendance was not an essential part of my childhood, it was not until I was 20 that I became concerned with the event. Upon returning to the faith when I was 18, I considered being rebaptized. The evangelicals I spent time with did not seem to care either way. Reflecting on that time of questioning, I suppose I felt like I was missing out on an essential Christian experience—a sort of profound experience that I could easily say was the moment I encountered the divine. I did not know at the time how profound my baptism really was. Paul states that to be baptized is to be buried and raised with Christ (Col 2:12, Rom 6). The cross is the lens from which...