Author: Kelly Johnson

This is a good time to be alive.

By the end of the summer, I found myself thinking, frequently and with relief, at least I’m not likely to live to 2050. At least I’ve already lived most of my life.  At least I won’t be here that much longer.

So when I was asked to offer a reflection for the start-of-year prayer service for faculty and staff, I realized that there was one thing I needed to say, for myself. This is a good time to be alive.

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What is the “culture of death”? Demanding everyone stand on their own two feet.

Concerned to focus on the “culture of death” as we head into another tortured election season? Call out the cultural disorder, not the individual red flags that pit Catholics against one another. Society exists so that we can love one another as an aspect of our loving God– not so that we can avoid being a burden to each other.

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On Christus Vivit: It’s Not Going To Be that Easy

On Wednesday, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit. The document includes familiar themes of Pope Francis’ writing: advocacy of openness as opposed to a stale defensiveness; emphasis on joyful encounter with the person of Jesus; and attention to realities of violence, poverty, and empty indifference. But at points in this document, I’m sad to say, Francis’ beautiful notes ring hollow for me. The problem is that appeals to openness and inclusion, even to the beauty of the encounter with Jesus, are not adequate responses to the profound objections to church teaching I hear  from my college-age students.

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A very small defense of romance

In a culture as lonely and anxious and distracted as ours, we are starved for tenderness. We gulp down whatever anodyne versions of it can be mass produced: rom-coms and new outfits, jewelry and alcohol and porn soft and hard. We cannot accept the moment as just a moment, because we fear there may be nothing else good for us. Our despair is the lie that poisons this small gift.

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