Alex’s Pick: “You’re Turning Into John Wayne” by Twin Atlantic Twin Atlantic is an alternative rock quartet hailing from mighty Scotland. At first listen the song seems like an attack on American culture, when in fact the group is preaching a much different message. The band speaks about staying true to where you came from and not imitating something else — “Now here’s a great Scottish theory / Have you lost your latitude and longitude?” This message is reflected in the music video as well. The band had just been signed to a major label and was being sent to America to tour for a year. In the video, they are trapped inside of a display window — an act for everyone to see. They’ll be in a foreign place for a long time (hence the snow and Christmas tree hurling) and fear that they will lose their Scottish roots and identity.
An old saying goes, in order to experience Easter you must go through Good Friday first. According to The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, even superheroes aren’t immune to this tenet. The film provides a thorough examination of the themes of sacrifice and resurrection, two of the fundamental principles of the Christian life.
As followers of Jesus, we are continually invited to participate in his sacrifice on Golgotha in multiple ways, while regularly encountering the joy and glory of the resurrection in our daily lives. These two principles — irrevocably linked to one another through the events of those three days in Jerusalem long ago — provide not only the foundation for the Christian experience, but also for the experience of that hero of all anti-heroes, Bruce Wayne and his alter ego the Batman.
Called to sacrifice
Sacrifice has been a recurring theme throughout Nolan’s trilogy. Bruce Wayne continually struggles with his own desires for personal fulfillment, which are usually at odds with the needs of the people
A Q/A about the right point in a relationship to discuss marriage
When is it the right point of a relationship to start talking about marriage?
When to Discuss Marriage
Dear When to Discuss Marriage,
Simply explaining you are interested in getting married to someone, some day, is a normal part of getting to know someone and can occur as early as the first few dates. My husband told me the first week we were dating he was ready to move forward with the “second part of his life,” letting me know that playing the field was something he wanted to put in his past. But a discussion about marriage between two people who are dating exclusively is a different story. A serious conversation about marriage can create a significant shift in your relationship, so it’s good you are thinking about the right timing.
To begin with, you should definitely be dating exclusively! The fact you are not dating anyone else, and you are not interested in anyone else, should be clear and intentional for both parties. If you find yourself still interested in seeing “who is
As an obsessed fan of professional sports, I’ve noticed an alarming trend over the past few months. There seems to be a new instance of professional athletes not being… well, professional, almost every week.
In the NFL, the New Orleans Saints have suffered the consequences of secretly running a “bounty program” for the last few years. This means that players and coaches would pay players for knocking members of the opposing team out of the game. For example, when the Saints were preparing for a playoff game this past season, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said, “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head. We want him running sideways. We want his head running sideways.”
While Tim Tebow may forgive their sins, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not. He suspended Gregg Williams indefinitely — making a return to coaching in the NFL doubtful. Saints head coach Sean Payton is suspended for the season and starting middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma is suspended for eight games for allegedly offering money to knock players from a
Very few things are actually important to know in real time. Some things are fun to know in real time, like watching live sports or reality show results episodes, but it is rare that our knowing something sooner makes a difference. There’s a very long but fascinating post on SCOTUSblog about CNN’s fumbling of reporting on the Supreme Court decision concerning the Affordable Care Act. In it, SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein says CNN (and for a shorter time, Fox) got the result exactly wrong, stating definitively that the mandate and bill were dead, because of three things. Two — lack emergency procedures and not trusting reliable sources — involve process, but the third is interesting:
treating the decision as a breathless ‘breaking news’ event, despite the fact that everyone knew when the opinion was going to be released
CNN’s treatment of everything as breathless reportage of breaking news is an SNL parody staple. It does so to a point so far beyond absurdity that it is not funny at all. I don’t know if there is a direct correlation, but it seems to me this trend accelerated with the elevation of …
Oftentimes, when I wear one of my sorority sweatshirts or T-shirts, friends say, “You were in a sorority? I didn’t know that,” with a look of surprise. “Why are you surprised?” I ask. They reply, “You just don’t seem like that type.”
Fight it though we try, it’s hard to escape life without having stereotypes or preconceived notions about the groups we belong to. I am certainly not exempt, myself. Living in a large metropolis like Chicago, it’s easy to see someone on the train, learn where someone lives — or even what baseball team they cheer for — and not register some sort of thought. Everyone is, consciously or otherwise, asserting some piece of his or her identity, which is being processed by another. In that sense, I sometimes wonder if we ever truly leave the school cafeteria.
Another category in my life that attracts surprise is that I’m Catholic. This isn’t usually followed by, “You just don’t seem like that type.” More like a slow nod. And silence.
I hate moving. I have moved seven times since I graduated from college. This August, we are moving again. I am vexed. Terribly vexed.
I know that moving can be an adventure. I know that a change often does me good. But, to be perfectly honest, I am anxious. I didn’t realize just how anxious I was until a few weeks ago when our 4-year-old son (the oldest and the self-appointed spokesman/chieftain of the tribe of little ones that inhabit our house) stomped down the stairs into the living room with his arms folded across his chest and proclaimed with unadulterated sass that he is NOT moving to Ohio. This was followed by an emphatic “Hmmph!” as he threw his head to the side in an Oscar-worthy demonstration of defiant indignation. “Why?” I asked him. He stopped. He thought for a moment. “I’m shy of Ohio, mommy,” he said quietly, his eyes growing impossibly large and shiny as he did his best not cry, “I’ve never been there.” Well said.
When I was in college I used to tell myself that after graduation things would settle down and I would no longer be …
A June 30 NY Times Opinionator blog post by Tim Kreider called “The Busy Trap” created a lot of buzz among my friends, shared on Facebook with comments like, “If you read only one thing, ever, read this.” (Sorry, Emily.) A thread of professional jealousy made me want to respond to each friend’s enthusiastic share with the snarky comment, “I refer you to my 2009 column ‘How Sweet To Do Nothing,’” but I resisted. And I wanted to find fault with the post, but I could not. Its main themes are ones I touch on regularly, and it addresses them well…
Despite all of our scholarly and historical research, no one can pinpoint exactly who the human authors of most of the books of the Bible were. The writer we have the most biographical information about is St. Paul (ex: The Letter of Paul to the Romans), but otherwise, the ancient writers gave us very little to no information about themselves as authors.
When the books of the Bible were being written 2,000-3,000 years ago, only a very small percentage of people would have been able to read and write. Of those, even fewer women would have been educated. That is not to say that women couldn’t have written parts of the Bible or contributed to its compilation, just that they would have been in the extreme minority.
Even for those books that are attributed to male names (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Peter, Timothy, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc) we don’t know precisely who the writers were. It was common in ancient times for literature to circulate anonymously and later be attributed to a public figure to give it more clout. Such was the case with the gospels. They weren’t named until several decades after they were written. Of the …
Rather than taking a vacation from church, make church an exciting part of your vacation by celebrating mass somewhere new. While on vacation, make it a point to find an old, popular or interesting place of worship nearby. If you’re in the tropics, search for an open-air church. If you’re vacationing on the East Coast, check out a historical church. If you’re opting for a stay-cation this summer and sticking close to home, visit a new parish in your community. You never know where you will find inspiration!
Rekindle Your Spark
Plan a backyard or beach bonfire with family, close friends, or by yourself! Relax. Roast some marshmallows and make s’mores. When you are comfortable, reflect on aspects of your life where you are succeeding. Congratulate yourself with another s’more! Then, think about what is holding you back. Write down a list of those things that are keeping you from being the person God wants you to be, and throw the list into the fire, burning the paper to mark a fresh start.
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” — Luke 4:16-21 (NAB)
I must confess that I have no stomach for the flaxen-haired, doe-eyed Jesus portrayed in most cinematic adaptations of the Gospels who seems to pout and sulk his way across ancient Israel stopping sporadically to look longingly off into the …
Discerning not to take a job and trusting God with the future
I don’t know too many people who get really excited about job hunting. As a new graduate, I certainly do not look forward to curling up with my laptop on a Friday night to rework my résumé.
I’m in my mid-20s. I have two degrees, and I’m nearing the end of a one-year internship. When my internship ends, I will join countless new graduates searching for their perfect career while trying to be realistic about paying bills.
Recently I was offered an awesome “grown up” job and surprised myself by turning it down even though I have no idea where I’m going to live or work in six weeks. And that’s totally fine with me.
A while back, I heard that a great nonprofit organization was hiring. The position wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but the title was very impressive, and I was passionate about the work the group was doing. So, I figured I had nothing to lose by applying.
Before I knew it, I was in my favorite interview outfit explaining to a panel why I would be the perfect person for this position. Seven hours later, I had …
The pope has made several comments concerning vacations, which were highlighted in a piece on the Vatican Radio website. Whether he’s your spiritual leader or not, he touches on some powerful ideas, so let’s take a look.
Pope Benedict offers two basic goals for our vacation besides relaxation:
spending time with others
spending time with God
It’s one thing to spend an hour or two with a person, or to be with family or a partner all the time in the daily routines of life, but there’s something special (and sometimes challenging) about travelling together. Quality time is a great thing, but the hours of non-quality time during a vacation — in cars, waiting at airports, between events — create a different kind of intimacy.
And as far as what vacation to choose, are you challenged by the pope’s suggestion to spend time with others? Is there a visit to family that you could do instead of that beach vacation which will yield greater fruit in the long run? Maybe not. And not every vacation should be about visiting family. Getaways are valuable too. But it’s worth asking yourself.
It’s obvious how to spend time with other people —
Take this article, for instance. Before typing this sentence, I checked Facebook, Twitter, Google News, and strolled by Time magazine’s website, which I haven’t done in ages. Then, on a whim, I decided to try and make iced coffee out of regular drip coffee, which, after tasting it, made me really appreciate places that do that professionally. Then I thought about making a Pinterest account, decided against it, and paid some bills instead — which of course required my downloading a bill-organizer iPhone app. Which required reading up on the best bill-organizer iPhone apps.
Actually, that sounds more like procrastination than break-taking.
But that’s how I operate. In a couple paragraphs, I’ll need a snack. I can already feel it. And it’s the same way in other areas of my life. At work — like actual work with people who are grown-ups — I have to resist the urge to take “breaks,” which others call “disappearing for about an hour and aimlessly wandering around the neighborhood” or “naps.” When I’m reading, I’ll often read a couple pages, stop, look up at the ceiling to process what I read, …
A story of conversion and lessons learned from living in a suffering community
This year I am a full-time volunteer. I work at a soup kitchen in Scranton, Pennsylvania, as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), a program that allows recent college graduates to live together in spiritual communities and explore the broken spaces of our society. A woman was sitting outside the soup kitchen once. I knew her; she was a regular client, a drug addict, and chronically homeless. She was also educated, with a searching vocabulary, and — a mark of a certain kind of intelligence — a capacity for sarcasm. This time her eye was cut and bleeding, and she had a bruise over her cheekbone. I said, “Should I call somebody, or can I get you something?”
She looked at me and threw out her arm theatrically, like a maiden in distress, and said, “What? Are you here to save me?”
“I’d like to,” I said without guile, retreating into myself, “But I probably can’t.” There was a …
Religion and faith have always played an important role in my life, shaping my views of the world and informing my career path in human rights and peacemaking. Attending religious education as a child and young adult exposed me to the views and teachings of the Church. There, I learned the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. The emphasis on loving all of God’s creatures and respecting humanity significantly shaped my view of the world. Little did I know, the solid foundation of peace and justice in Catholic social teaching would contribute so much to my future career and passion for human rights and peacemaking.
As a child, I wanted to be a writer and was always curious about history, specifically World War II and the Holocaust. How could such atrocities occur? Where was the humanity and respect for human dignity? As a teenager and young adult, I volunteered with various social justice projects in my neighborhood, which stemmed primarily from involvement in my local church. In high school, I joined Amnesty International, a global human rights organization.
Nourishing your soul with regular creative outings
In my column about nonnegotiables, I talked about Julia Cameron’s concept from The Artist’s Way of the “artist date” — where you make a playdate with yourself to do something creatively enriching. While she was suggesting it specifically for people in creative professions, this is a powerful spiritual tool for everyone. I want you to consider making a weekly date with yourself to do something creatively stimulating — two hours a week for a museum, show, or hike in nature, a stroll in a new neighborhood, a subscription to a local concert series.
It can be so easy to go from home to work to gym to home, dividing time between job and chores and other people, looking after the maintenance of our bodies but not our souls, letting week after week go by without any creative activity.
Dates with yourself are spiritually beneficial in several ways. Obviously, you gain enrichment from the thing to which you’re exposing yourself, whether it be art or nature. We all can use more beauty in our lives and most art touches the transcendent. (Of course nature does.)
If you need a little practical encouragement, consider this: