J.R.R. Tolkien, Fairy Tales, and Cultural Renewal

Recently I was having an animated conversation about literature, hagiography, and storytelling. (Yes, I do have a lot of those). During the course of a lovely evening, someone suggested that we need not more Lives of Saints, but more living examples of sanctity. “No one reads the Lives anyway,” he said. Perhaps he is right. A living, breathing saint should be a far more convincing inspiration than the (sometimes) idiosyncratic retellings of the…

The Sins of the Scientific Method

When I wrote the first version of this post almost five years ago, my friend Jonathan Pageau brought my attention to an unusual event. Pope Francis, during an appearance at the Papal Palace in 2014, had two children release two “peace doves” of purest white. What was initially an “awwww” moment turned suddenly grisly. A black crow attacked one of the doves almost immediately, and in front of everyone. When I first…