Why I Won't Boycott Target

The man to whom I was pastor, 1988 thereabouts, owned and operated an Amoco service station (long before it became BP Amoco). To his surprise he learned the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), to which he belonged, along with several mainline denominations, had called for a boycott of . . . . Continue Reading »

Good Catholics, Good Citizens

The Catholic love affair with the United States of America is heading into rough and uncharted waters—and not only in this 2016 election cycle, but for the foreseeable future. U.S. Catholics have, in a sense, been there and done that, given that the history of the Church in this country includes . . . . Continue Reading »

Beyoncé and the Fertility of Forgiveness

The most screenshotted sequence in Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade is “Hold Up.” After discovering her husband’s infidelity, she walks down the street smashing storefronts with a baseball bat, finally crushing a row of cars in a monster truck. Viewed alone, the song seems like a simple . . . . Continue Reading »

Rhyme and Reason

Hymns are chimerical critters. Their bodies are made of poetry, and their breath is music. The natural ligature of these beasts is rhyme. But sweet rhyme has fallen on strange times in both poetry and music. In poetry, rhyme is terribly out of fashion. It has come to serve more as a rhetorical . . . . Continue Reading »

Puritans on the Potomac

On a late November evening in 1867, two years after the end of the American Civil War, Celestia Ferris, chief washer-woman at the Bureau of Engraving, organized a prayer meeting not far from the U. S. Capitol. She was joined by a circle of earnest Christians, mostly of the Baptist persuasion, who . . . . Continue Reading »

Inhuman Baseball

Unfortunately, the scene is now familiar to us. The runner on first breaks for second as the pitcher delivers the ball to home. The catcher jumps to his feet, throws a rocket to the second baseman as the runner slides into the base. The play is close, as are so many plays in this game of inches, but . . . . Continue Reading »

Amoris Laetitia and the Words of Christ

The first paragraph of Amoris Laetitia states that “the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people.” Throughout my engagement, however, my desire to marry has sometimes been less than vibrant. To paraphrase my archbishop Cardinal O’Malley, I long for . . . . Continue Reading »

On Not Being Seventy

For the longest moment driving home two days ago, I was convinced that my next birthday, then just days away, would be my seventieth.I cannot think what trick of mind swayed me to that conclusion. True, I have been looking forward to being seventy, perhaps enough mentally to add a year to my tally. . . . . Continue Reading »