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Sexual Puritans in an R-Rated Culture

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in America, Culture, Culture War, Dan Savage, Homepage, Homosexuality, Pop Culture, Power, Sex | 2 comments

As you probably know, Christian and I interviewed Dan Savage on our most recent episode of Drunk Ex-Pastors. For those not familiar, Dan is  a gay-rights activist as well as the nation’s most well-known sex-advice columnist. Going in, we pretty much knew that the episode would make some people uncomfortable. We were right. I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice it to say that our conversation focused on sex in general and homosexuality in particular, and it featured just about everything you can imagine a discussion like that including. And true to form, some of our more conservative and Christian listeners disapproved. In a word, they thought it was distasteful and icky. Here’s the irony: Many corners of the Christian church have leaders who clamor for relevance, for a seat at the cultural table, and for a chance...

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All the World’s a Stage Office

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Coffee, Culture, Homepage, Starbucks, Technology, Work | 2 comments

Those who go to Starbucks regularly (as I do) surely know that they can be obsessed with creating a mood, a vibe, an overall feel for the establishment. They purport to be a “third place” beyond home or work, a community hub where ideas can be bandied about and discussed. But I have noticed a disturbing trend over the past couple of years: More and more of the Starbucks coffeehouses I frequent are abandoning one vibe for another, more specifically, they are clearing out the big comfy leather chairs to make room for long rectangular work tables. Instead of leaning back and crossing your legs to read, you now lean forward to plug in and work. In fact, you couldn’t lean back if you wanted to since the work stations don’t have chairs, they have stools. I guess Starbucks...

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Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 in Caitlyn Jenner, Culture, God, Homepage, Humanity, Love, Pop Culture, Sex, Sports | 10 comments

I realize Caitlyn Jenner has been discussed ad nauseam by this point, but I would like to weigh in from a slightly different angle. I fully recognize that in some rare cases a person’s sex may not comport with their gender identification. For example, hermaphrodites (or “intersex” people) who were born with both sets of genitalia simply have to live with whichever decision their doctor made at their birth regarding their future maleness or femaleness—the physician decides that their body should be female regardless of his not knowing (or being able to know) how his patient will feel about this decision when she grows up. There is no doubt that this can, and certainly has, caused great suffering for those who feel trapped in the wrong body. Still, these are murky waters, and discussion of this issue can be...

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Fake Plastic Selves

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Culture, G.K. Chesterton, God, Homepage, Humanity, Masks, Power, Protest, Questioning Authority, Rebellion, Thomas Merton, Worldviews | 19 comments

One of the most unfortunate phrases in the English language is “He’s only human.” The assumption lurking behind it is that humanity is akin to weakness, like a crutch, and is therefore something to be ashamed of. I touch on this in the book I am currently writing: A proper Christology reminds us that receiving heavenly grace does not force upon us an entirely new operating system or delete everything on our human hard drive, but affirms all the good stuff that we have downloaded previously (even providing the occasional update when necessary).   I am reminded of G.K. Chesterton’s response to those who would seek to dismiss the Church’s liturgical feasts and festivals due to their being of pagan cultic origin: “They might as well say that our legs are of pagan origin. Nobody ever disputed that humanity was...

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Of Mysticism Sacred and Secular

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Catholic Church, Culture, God, Homepage, Humanity, Love, Miracles, Mysticism, Worldviews | 18 comments

I was recently watching HBO’s new documentary on Scientology, Going Clear, and was astounded at how so many wealthy, powerful, and seemingly intelligent people have bought in to L. Ron Hubbard’s bizarre and sci-fi inspired vision of the world. 75 million years ago some god called Xenu transported a bunch of humans to earth in a spaceship and dumped them into volcanos? Really? And Maverick from Top Gun  buys into this shit? But it quickly occurred to me that any system of beliefs — including the Catholic one to which I hold (albeit poorly) — is equally bizzare-sounding at first blush. God became a man and died and rose again from the dead? Really? And Riggs from Lethal Weapon  buys into this shit? The fact is that the only reason any belief system sounds reasonable to a person or a society...

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“Now I’m Just Turning Tricks….”

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Culture, Homepage, Humanity, Masks, Money, Music, Pop Culture | 7 comments

I have been a fan of Bright Eyes, and of their lead singer/songwriter Conor Oberst, for a little over a decade. Despite his being a bit off his game when I saw the band live (drunk), and despite his not having the best voice out there (understatement), his powers with a pen are admirable to say the least. And as a writer myself, I’m a sucker for a good turn of phrase. One of my favorite Bright Eyes songs is “Soul Singer in a Session Band” (see the link below). I know, I know: The title is a bit clumsy. But it paints an evocative picture, one of a vocalist-for-hire who has so much more emotional depth to offer than the standard fare at the weddings and other gigs he plays: “I was a hopeless romantic, but now I’m...

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Podcast #10: Free Whiskey, Bad Teachers, and Sex Education

Posted by on Oct 5, 2014 in Alcohol, Culture, Education, Entourage, Homepage, Podcasts, Rebate Cards, Sex Education, Whiskey | 0 comments

In this edition of Drunk Ex-Pastors, Jason and Christian enjoy their first taste of sponsorship, and love it. (Probably because it tastes like Whiskey.) Christian recounts how his family’s recent vacation to Hawaii caused some problems for his daughter at school which opens up a discussion about education in general and how to keep their kids from becoming mindless drones. A listener’s message moves the conversation from education in general to sex education, which causes some disagreement between Jason and Christian. Perhaps it’s because Jason doesn’t have all the years of parenting experience that Christian has, or perhaps it’s because Christian’s years of parenting experience have caused him to become jaded. You’ll have to decide. After a short unintentional rant against Capitalism, they end with an homage to Entourage. Listen to Podcast #10: Free Whiskey, Bad Teachers, and Sex...

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Podcast #4

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Beauty, Culture, Hell, Homepage, Humor, Podcasts, Pop Culture | 1 comment

Episode 4 of Drunk Ex-Pastors  is now available to download and stream. In this edition of the podcast (which is perhaps the most  entertaining and least  substantive one yet), Christian and I kick things off with a shot of 100 proof Southern Comfort, and then ramble semi-coherently about everything from the volume of Christian’s vomiting to whether one of us could kill the other without getting caught, and from the silliness of “paying it forward” to whether girls who look like their fathers are more attractive than those who resemble their moms. And for the first time we take listener feedback and address one of our detractors. Also, we drink way more than...

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Slave Prices Reach New Lows

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Culture, Homepage, Money | 4 comments

Often, stores I shop in offer me “credit,” or more accurately, “debt.” If I’m simply willing to go into a little bit of debt, I can get 10% off my order! Sometimes, just a, “No, thank you,” will end the conversation, but often the decline is followed up with, “No? You don’t want to save 10%?” Of course, this is asked in front of a line of people, so now you look like an idiot because, hey, this lady is offering you 10% off your order and you’re saying no. What’s wrong with you? Who wouldn’t want 10% off their order? Must be nice to have that kind of money to not care about 10% off your order! Store credit used to be reserved for stores that sold big ticket items, such as furniture stores or kitchen appliance stores....

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Podcast #2

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in America, Culture, Culture War, God, Homepage, Humor, Justin Bieber, Movies, Podcasts, Politics, Pop Culture, Power, Questioning Authority, Racism, TV | 2 comments

Our second podcast is now available for download. In this episode, Christian and I discuss the shooting of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen who was shot in the back and head by a white police in Ferguson, MO, last week; we explore the issue of whether people on the right are more ideologically driven than those on the left, who tend to be more pragmatic; we roll up our religious sleeves and dig into the nuts and bolts of the Rapture and its accompanying apocalyptic doomsday prophecies (during which hilarity cannot but ensue); and I complain about Hollywood’s over-sensationalizing of bathroom murders, while Christian moans about pushy salespeople and how they not only make him feel heartless but also cause him to publicly lament his years and years of poor...

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