A Radical Flips His Whig, or Observations on a Perpetual Convert

wig

Father Dwight Longenecker really has got it made. He’d be the first to tell you just how much of a crazy ride it’s been, and how much he’s grown over the years. From his humble beginnings as a brainwashed fundamentalist Evangelical to reaching the Billy Corgan-level Roman Catholic blogger-star status he has today, it seems like that his conversion story is the gift that won’t stop giving. Considering just how often he mentions it on his various blogs, it’s also clear that Fr. Dwight is really quite simply in awe of this path he’s trod, and wants very much to share with you this awe he feels (helpfully distributed into no less than five different testimonials! Get ’em while they’re hot!). I mean, Evangelical Dwight probably only had one conversion story, whereas OS Fr. Dwight 2.1 has conversion stories. Yep. That’s right – plural. Apparently the Roman Catholic church is so much more superior to other denominations that even your testimonials get an upgrade, like Papal bull hormones spurting through a syringe into your spiritual bloodstream.

But just in case you couldn’t get enough Fr. Dwight from his numerous bios and testimonials, he also has several books he’s authored for sale on his website, many of which are tailored for the aspiring Roman Catholic convert in all of us. He’s even got a nifty little Screwtape Letters knock-off series for those of us who just don’t find C. S. Lewis, ya know, Christiany enough. While reading Fr. Dwight’s contributions to Christian culture, one is reminded of  the comedy sketch from the show Portlandia where Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein depict Etsy-esque crafty-types who can’t resist “putting a bird” on everything – except, in Fr. Dwight’s case, instead of a bird, it’s a Papal Seal.

Now, before you assume that the main point of this article is to deride Fr. Dwight for using his conversion to Roman Catholicism for financial gain, I must clarify. There’s really nothing wrong with wanting to make a buck. Plus, if your Patheos-hosted blog will even let you put your Pay-Pal information right on your front page, I’m not going to belittle you for scooping up some dough to keep your five blogs running. As Fr. Dwight will make very clear, he’s a sucker for tradition, and the Roman Catholic church has a very deep and long-standing tradition of using their religion to make some dough. Some of Rome’s most famous  adherents were known for this kind of wheeling and dealing, for the Seat of Pete’s sake!

Continue reading

Papal Insecurity

main_1500

Toot the horn, bang the drum – Pope Francis is in town, and he’s got something to say. Because, like any self-styled intellectual you meet at your friend’s weekend party, Papa Frank has an opinion about everything.  It seems like he even has opinions about his opinions – and everyone else loves to dissect his opinions.   All of this, to him, seems like it’s worth a chuckle and a shrug. But to his critics, he’s an arbiter of destruction, a loose cannon, an anti-pope. He’s a socialist, a Marxist, a liberal. Or, from his followers and admirers, Frankie is a model of charity, a friend of the down-trodden, a breath of fresh air after almost eight years of stuffiness and Emperor Palpatine-esque brows under Benedict XVI. For some, Pope Francis’ ascent to the Seat of Peter wasn’t just announced with white smoke and a hearty “Habemus Papam!” but with Flyin’ Padre Pio and the Blue Angels sonic-booming over the Vatican, sprinkling the ecstatic throng with confetti and free Fit-Bits.

Continue reading

Childhood: a Requiem, or Slender Man Unbound

image

“Don’t be afraid, I’m only a little kitty cat,” said twelve year old Morgan Geyser as she stabbed her friend, Bella, over and over, damaging several vital organs. Morgan and her friend Anissa (who was present for the attack) led the desperately wounded Bella deeper into the Wisconsin woods and left her there to die. Lisa Miller, reporting on the stabbings over a year after (they occurred on May 30, 2014 – Miller’s article came out last Tuesday) in New York Magazine Online, describes Morgan and Anissa’s post-stabbing activities as such: “[T]hey wandered around Waukesha [WI] for a couple of hours, crying and singing and wilting in the heat, until they were picked up by police as they sat in the grass near an entrance to the interstate.”

Continue reading