Episode 15 Maxims, Aphorisms, Truisms: Distilled Wisdom or Enemy of Thought?

Go on Etsy and you’ll find quotations of all sorts emblazoned on pillows and painted on canvases. Doug and Caren talk through our culture’s fascination with wise or motivational quotations.

What function do they serve? After an epigraph from Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, we delve into the good and bad. What is the relation of the deep wisdom of the Beatitudes, for example, and a vacuous contemporary slogan? What need in us do these sayings serve?

On the troubling side, are these thought-provoking or a substitute for thought? Do they encourage or thwart dialogue? How might they serve for indoctrination and social control? We end with our Top 10 Quotations.

Show notes:

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Episode 14 Mary, Mother of the Church; a Memorial Reflection

On this inaugural Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, Doug and Caren reflect on the significance of this day and the importance of Mary’s place as Mother of the Church. A Marian poem from Gerard Manley Hopkins provides our epigraph.

We deal with some of the things that seem strange in the eyes of our non-Catholic brethren. This Lady, first of disciples, whose “Yes” made it possible for all of us to say “Yes” with her. We consider her unique place in salvation history and the life of the early church and the ways our devotion to the Mother always leads us deeper into the life of her Son.

Show notes:

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Episode 13 The Fiction of Flannery O’Connor: Revelation

On Caren’s 50th birthday, she and Doug talk over Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Revelation.” What is the purpose behind O’Connor’s strange characters and often disturbing situations? What makes for the moral blindness of the good and upright folk such as Ruby Turpin? A look into the violent regions of grace in one Catholic writer’s vision. We end with our Top 10 O’Connor Tidbits.

Note: occasional background noise issue fixed and audio replaced (still has Bartleby barking through part of the Top 10, but it’s his show too.)

Show notes:

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Episode 12 Failure Is Not An Option; It’s An Essential

Doug and Caren talk about the pain of failure and ways to grow through it. Failure is inevitable, whether our daily failures in love and virtue or truly catastrophic failures, such as the loss of a marriage or career. We talk through the psychological, social, and spiritual impact of failure and how we can begin to recover and grow.

Milton’s Satan provides our epigraph from Paradise Lost. We close with our Top 10 Ways to Grow Through Failure.

Show notes:

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Episode 11 Food in Film and TV

Doug and Caren talk over the significance of food in film and TV, whether in a ‘food film’ proper, a scene, or a TV show. After Caren tells us a bit about the Indy 500 prep and the joys of succotash, we get into the endless appeal of food movies.

How does food reflect the nature of man as a rational animal? What does it do to ground film in the lived experience of daily life? How is the status of food raised and restored to its proper place through art?

Our Top 10 Food Movies allow us to get into some particular films in the last third of the show.

Show notes coming.

Episode 10 The Case for Real Books: E-books Don’t Burn

Doug and Caren talk over the advantages of physical books vs. e-books. A soliloquy from Shakespeare provides our epigraph (in honor of his birthday). Kindle and other e-books provide some advantages, but at what cost? We weigh the heft of physical books, in terms both sentimental and metaphysical. Finally, our Top 10 things you can do with a real book that you can’t do with an e-book.

Love to hear your thoughts on this, whether you’re an old-school bibliophile or a Kindle fan.

Show notes:

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Episode 9 Walker Percy: Lost in the Cosmos and the Dilemma of the Self

Doug and Caren talk Walker Percy and the vagaries of the self in our age. We focus our discussion on Percy’s immensely entertaining Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book after an epigraph from his novel The Moviegoer. We touch on what brought about our predicament, a few of Percy’s non-selves, and a glimpse of the way forward. Our discussion includes other novels and his essay “The Loss of the Creature” in passing. Lastly, our Top 10 Ways to Fight Malaise.

We’ll come back to Percy more than once. This episode just gets us started.

Show notes:

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Episode 8 Personality Profiles: Tool, Diversion, or Trap?

Caren and Doug talk over our culture’s obsession with personality profiles and the instruments to construct them, ranging from “What’s Your Hogwart’s House?” to Myers-Briggs and Big Five Factors. We also touch on StrengthsFinder, Gretchen Rubin’s Four Temperaments, and the Five Love Languages. What drives our fascination with these, at the personal and institutional levels? What are they good at identifying and what do they distort? More important, is the whole enterprise misguided? Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book provides the (delayed) epigraph.

Show notes (these will be fun):

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Episode 7: The Fiction of George MacDonald

Dr. Bethany Hebbard joins us from Austin to talk about the fiction of George MacDonald, the father of modern Christian fantasy. Bethany provides us with with an overview of MacDonald’s career, setting the biographical and historical context. We focus our discussion on MacDonald’s wonderful short story, “The Light Princess.” In the Top 10, Doug and Caren recommend some books for younger readers.

Show notes:

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Episode 6: Entering the Church at Easter

This Holy Week, Doug and Caren reflect back on their own entry into the Catholic Church at Easter and offer some advice to those preparing to be received this week. G.K. Chesterton provides our starting point. We recall the wonderful strangeness of the Catholic world to a convert’s eyes and give our Top 10 recommendations for those entering the Church.

Show notes:

G.K. Chesterton’s classic essay, “Why I Am a Catholic”

Great Catholic voices: listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz here.

Bishop Robert Barron has become a force for evangelization with his Word on Fire videos. Give his podcast a listen.

The Laudate phone app has everything a Catholic-on-the-go needs.


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