Against Obsessive Sexuality

From Web Exclusives

For the March issue of First Things, I wrote an essay called “Against Heterosexuality.” In brief, my argument was that the concept of sexual orientation is not historically inevitable, not empirically accurate, and not morally useful. The heterosexual-homosexual dichotomy is counterproductive to encouraging the virtue of chastity, so we Christians should do our best to eliminate “gay” and “straight”—especially “straight,” actually—from the way we think and talk about sex, always with prudence directing us as to the particulars. Continue Reading »

Against Heterosexuality

From the March 2014 Print Edition

Alasdair MacIntyre once quipped that “facts, like telescopes and wigs for gentlemen, were a seventeenth-century invention.” Something similar can be said about sexual orientation: Heterosexuals, like typewriters and urinals (also, obviously, for gentlemen), were an invention of the 1860s. . . . . Continue Reading »

Some Millennial Frustration with America’s New Evangelization

From Web Exclusives

I have an awkward confession to make. When I hear American Catholics cheerlead the New Evangelization, I’m sorry to say, I become very skeptical very quickly. As they unpack their bold vision for evangelical reform, I start feeling a lot like Mugatu, who, in an exasperated breakdown at the end of the 2001 film Zoolander, famously exclaimed, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” Continue Reading »

Sexual Disorientation: The Trouble with Talking about “Gayness”

From Web Exclusives

In the wake of Pope Francis’ virally circulated airplane interview, orthodox Catholic writers from every corner of the blogosphere have united in defense of our Holy Father, against the bizarre and ignorant statements of the popular media. Whether attacking the Times et al. for skewing the story to advance their own agenda, or complimenting the pope for using an unsuspecting press to help him broadcast Gospel truths, almost all such authors have agreed in insisting that there was nothing contrary to doctrine in the matter of our pontiff’s remarks. On this point, I certainly agree as well. “Judge not” is hardly foreign to Christianity… . Continue Reading »

The Dominic Option

From First Thoughts

Along with a couple members of the First Things editorial staff, I was blessed to spend this past weekend on the gorgeous Maryland coast. The occasion was the first annual Fare Forward Summer Symposium. In case you missed the First Thoughts and While We’re At It write-ups a while back, Fare . . . . Continue Reading »

Love God and Do What You Will: Avoiding Over-Devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Discernment

From Web Exclusives

In so many Christian contexts today, it is almost impossible to avoid hearing about the importance of discerning one’s “personal vocation.” This label, apparently, is meant to denote the specific calling God gives to each individual, through which each is to live out his own particular call to holiness. Yet this language reflects only a half-truth. We are indeed meant to follow the will of God in all that we do. But such popular talk of one’s “calling” also betrays a crucial misunderstanding of discernment, a cardinal error that is entirely foreign to the great tradition of the Church… . Continue Reading »

Peace If Possible; Truth At All Costs

From Web Exclusives

“Peace if possible, truth at all costs!” Thus heralded Martin Luther half a millennium ago, and let no man accuse him of failing to practice what he preached. Of course, whether or not a Christian agrees with Luther’s particular interpretation of truth will determine whether he is a Catholic or a Protestant. But less obviously and perhaps more interestingly, whether or not a modern American agrees with Luther’s principle”that despite the very real goodness of peace, truth trumps it each and every time”will in large part determine whether he is a conservative or a liberal… . Continue Reading »