[Ancient Faith Radio; December 10, 2008] FMG: Not too long ago, someone mailed me a copy of an article in a magazine called “US Catholic”. This is the November, 2008 issue. And it’s an interview with an author named Donna Freitas. She’s just written a book called “Sex and the Soul”. The subtitle is “Juggling sexuality, spirituality, romance, and religion on America’s college campuses”. In this interview, Freitas talks about the research that she did on college campuses- secular, Catholic, and Evangelical. She herself actually teaches at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, which I think is a Catholic college.
[Touchstone; November, 2008]Just at the moment my first grandchild was placed in my arms, my cell phone rang — and it was Big Idea, Inc., the Veggie Tales company, asking my help in discerning whether to expand into different media. That’s always struck me as a curious synchronicity: my family tree was putting forth its newest branch, and there was the world of children’s entertainment, ready to follow them every day of their lives. But I handed off the child and took the phone call, and after some more conversation said yes to the invitation. They eventually said no to the project, but in the meantime I had the opportunity to observe a lot of talented people working at a high pitch of creativity.
[Beliefnet.com; October 21, 2008] So you think that the existence of suffering proves that there is no God. But can I ask a question? How would you eliminate suffering? What would a world without suffering look like? You have free rein-make it any way you like. Why don’t we start with something specific. People often cite the story told by the character Ivan in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov: parents punished their little daughter for bedwetting by locking her in a frozen outhouse. Ivan cannot accept a God who would let that happen. OK, how would you prevent it? Can you imagine a world where there is no child abuse? Not just that one awful case-there’s no point in stopping only one act of abuse. How would you stop child abuse entirely? Would you make it so that an angry parent could not think of any way to hurt a child?
[Ancient Faith Radio; August 21, 2008] I am in Anchorage, Alaska, a beautiful beautiful place, attending the Eagle River Institute. I am one of the speakers here, along with Fr. Michael Dahulich, who is the Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary. And this is sort of a series of study days that begins every year on August the 1st, and runs through August the 5th, and culminates with the feast of the Transfiguration. After that, many people go down to Kodiak to venerate the relics of St. Herman, and if the weather is fortunate, if the weather is agreeable, also to make a pilgrimage to Spruce Island. So we’re hoping that the weather will be with us and that my husband and I will be able to make that pilgrimage as well.
[First Things, July 29, 2008] Though I’m not very informed about the Intelligent Design debate, the idea sounded inoffensive enough: scientists have not discovered a Designer, and neither can they prove there’s no Designer, so why not leave the question open? But the concept of Intelligent Design was greeted with outrage; clearly, it struck a nerve. When I tried to picture why, I thought of a page in Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat,” one that comes near the end. “Sally and I” have been standing by helplessly while the hatted Cat, with his Thing One and Thing Two, made havoc of the house. The toy boat is in the cake and the cake is on the floor, the rake is bent and mother’s new dress has gone sailing through the room on a kite string. The fish has been trying to warn us, but we have stood by bewildered.
[Ancient Faith Radio; July 3, 2008] Not too long ago, I was talking to somebody about something I thought, and he said, “Huh, that’s interesting. You should do a podcast on that.” So, here I am. I was talking about the phenomenon of what democracy means in America. And I think that we live here, we grew up in it, and we don’t really recognize it because it’s just part of our basic thinking.
[Ancient Faith Radio; May 28, 2008] Today I wanted to touch on a couple podcasts from the past, one recent, one a little longer ago, because I’ve had some other interactions since those podcasts were posted, and it’s given me some more to think about. One is the very recent one, about light and darkness. I got an email from someone who said, You know, I always pictured that before creation, God was in darkness; that darkness came first, because after all, it says that when God was creating the heavens and the earth, in the beginning of Genesis, Genesis 1: “The earth was without form and void, darkness was upon the face of the deep, God said, ‘Let There be Light’, and there was light”. I always thought that since he had to create light, that the first thing was actually darkness.
[National Review Online; May 16, 2008] Every once in awhile, a movie improves on the book on which it is based. In my bold opinion, Prince Caspian , the second Disney film drawn from C. S. Lewis’s beloved Chronicles of Narnia, is such a movie. Criticism of C. S. Lewis is rightly taboo, but facts are facts: Prince Caspian , the book, is a dud.
[Books & Culture, March/April 2008] On the road, shuttling between airports and motels, I sent my daughter an email: “I’m on my way to Branson, Missouri. They say it’s like Las Vegas, but for Christians over fifty.” She wrote back, “I can’t even begin to imagine what that means.” I could; I imagined it would be laughable and hokey. (You could point out that I am a Christian over fifty and should get off my high horse, but I would only blink at you.) This little town of 6,000
[First Things; February 5, 2008] Even if you go around with one or several fingers stuffed into each ear, you will not be able to exclude the words “Hannah Montana” from your field of consciousness. No American citizen is permitted to be unfamiliar with the words “Hannah Montana.” What you are permitted is to be uncertain of what the words mean. Unless you made the decision to have a seven-year-old granddaughter about now, without taking sufficient forethought for the consequences. I’ve resisted learning about the Hannah Montana industry until recently, despite the acquisition of my own seven-year-old granddaughter, herself a Hannah.