Author: Beth Haile

First Sunday of Lent

GN 2:7-9; 3:1-7 PS 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17 ROM 5:12-19 MT 4:1-11 I have always found the prosperity gospel pretty perplexing for a religion that places the crucifixion at the center of the faith. How can we conclude that a God who leads his own son through the passion and cross, and tells us to take us our own crosses and follow, wants us to be rich and comfortable. A more pressing theological concern is how we can conclude the God of the cross wants us to be happy at all? How do we know this God will care...

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Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

In many ways, I did not like the way this book made me feel. I grew up in the land of rednecks, relatively poor but upwardly mobile. My parents held steady jobs and valued education. Poverty was temporary for us. But (and maybe because they were so upwardly mobile) my parents worshipped the bootstrap gospel. They believed fervently and taught us with equal fervor that our destiny was up to us. “Work hard, study hard and you will get ahead.” I believed it completely. I was the teenager reading Ayn Rand, believing I was in control of my destiny...

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Where is the church right now? Where should it be?

A friend sent me this article by David Frum in the Atlantic. “It makes me wonder,” he wrote, “if we are prepared, as a chuch, to help people confront the challenges of the present day. My fear is that we go on with business as usual, worrying about outlawing abortion, getting school ouches, protecting immigrants, and preserving ‘religious freedom’ without ever seeing the big picture — in which case history will someday wonder ‘where was the church?’ Maybe I am overreacting . . .” Frum’s article is about the slow slide to autocracy we see in President Trump, even...

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Class

Following Trump’s election, there was a lot of talk about the “different Americas” that exist simultaneously but have so little contact with each other. Books like Hillbilly Elegy rightly became best sellers because they offered a sympathetic glimpse into a different America: white, working class America. Class by Lucinda Rosenfeld serves a similar function under the guise of a satirical novel. While this is certainly no Hillbilly Elegy, it deserves to be read. Class is a scathing fictional look at the urban upper-middle class. It is not a piece of scholarship. It is not even great literature. But it...

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“We must always be equally vigilant in our welcome of friends”

We must screen vigilantly for infiltrators who would do us harm, but we must always be equally vigilant in our welcome of friends. So declare Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB in a joint statement released yesterday. The bishops write: The actions of our government must remind people of basic humanity. Where our brothers and sisters suffer rejection and abandonment we will lift our voice on their behalf. We will welcome them and receive them. They are...

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