Whose Favour Are You Seeking?

Faith, Photos
A piece of design work I've done. You're welcome to use it for whatever you like, so long as you credit it back to me!

A piece of design work I’ve done.
You’re welcome to use it for whatever you like, so long as you credit it back to me!


Truth, Sainthood, and Suffering


Peter KreeftThere is only one reason why anyone should believe anything: because it’s true.

CS Lewis and Mere Christianity (talk), Peter Kreeft


[Become a saint] not by giving up your desires, but by giving up the ‘you’ in your desires! It is simply like giving God a blank cheque.

– Peter Kreeft


The Church is big, and rich, and free… Yes, just like ancient Israel. And if God still loves his Church […] he will soon make it small and poor and persecuted, just as he did to ancient Israel, so that he can keep it alive – by pruning it. If he loves us, he will cut the dead wood away, and we will bleed, and the blood of the martyrs will be the seed of the Church again. And a second spring will come, and new buds – but not without blood. It never happens without blood, without sacrifice, without suffering. Christ’s work, if it is really Christ’s work and not a comfortable counterfeit, never happens without the cross. Whatever happens without the cross may be good work but it is not Christ’s work, for Christ’s work is bloody.

Culture War (talk), Peter Kreeft

Tolkien and Writing for Children – from The Nerd Machine


» Tolkien and Writing for Children from The Nerd Machine, by Kevin Rigdon.

“As the bar gets lower and lower, lazier we become as a culture, and the fewer significant stories we have. We miss out looking for nuance and significance. We learn less and less about ourselves, our culture, our history, the histories and cultures of others. All because of this system of categorization. If you’re a parent, or going to be, do your child a tremendous favor, encourage them to read, not just the grade appropriate stuff. Expose them to stories that they may have to work a little to get through. In doing so you will open the world to them.”

Check out the full article here.

The Top 100 ‘Pictures of the Day’ for 2012


This is why I love photography.



After the positive reception from last year’s Top 50 ‘Pictures of the Day’ for 2011, the Sifter promised to highlight the top 25 ‘Pictures of the Day‘ at the end of every quarter, eventually culminating in an epic Top 100 for 2012.

That time has come! Below are the top 100 POTDs for 2012. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time out of your day to check out the site. May you continue to be inspired, educated and entertained by our beautiful planet and all that inhabit it.

*Please note the photographs themselves were not necessarily taken in 2012, they just happened to be featured as a POTD this year. The pictures are also listed in reverse chronological order. There is no ranking amongst the photos 🙂

Enjoy! And stay Sifty my friends



Chicago Skyline

Photograph by Robert Elves…

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Battle of the Myths: Game of Thrones vs Lord of the Rings


versus34_zpse3c67725Tolkien vs Martin.

Aragorn vs Joffrey.

Gimli vs Tyrion.

In my mind, not much of a battle. But vox populi (‘the voice of the people’) would probably disagree. Game of Thrones is undoubtedly the biggest book-TV combo ever, and is currently one of the most popular TV shows in the world. Lord of the Rings, on the other hand, is not really in current pop-culture (besides the Hobbit films, which aren’t on the same level) and the books are nearly 60 years old.

Game of Thrones, in case you’ve been living in a bubble, is a fantasy series ( the books written by George RR Martin, the TV adaptation by HBO) filled with violence, power-hungry leaders, betrayal, sex, manipulation, and a hundred other dark things. It’s hailed as a ‘great modern myth’ which will overthrow the ‘fairytale’ Lord of the Rings. I heartily disagree; but don’t take my word for it. Here’s an excerpt from a brilliant article by Rowan Light about the conflict between these two epics:

There are no clear “goodies” in Westeros. Characters are honourable or treacherous depending on the day of the week. Good guys finish last and those who cling to noble principles are manipulated and/or beheaded. We sympathize with immoral characters like the incestuous Lannisters, Varys the Eunuch, and an assortment of murderers, rapists, and sadists. Nothing is taboo.

Tolkien’s G-rated narrative, critics argue, has burdened the fantasy genre with a “Disneyland Middle Ages”. Martin is more meaningful because he is morally ambiguous.

Although he is an admirer of Tolkien, Martin notes that “the whole concept of the Dark Lord, and good guys battling ugly guys, Good versus Evil … has become a kind of cartoon.” Fantasy doesn’t need any more Dark Lords or hideous enemies, because “in real life, the hardest aspect of the battle between good and evil is determining which is which”.

In this moral fog there is no room for nobility and beauty. “Of all the bright cruel lies they tell you, the crudest is the one called love”, Martin wrote in his 1976 short story “Meathouse”. But the “realist” fantasy is limited to the basest dimensions of human experience. It’s like reading a newspaper which only features articles about Ariel Castro the Cleveland rapist, al-Qaeda suicide bombers and waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay. It is hard to imagine anyone wanting to live eternally in the brutal and sadistic Westeros. […]

Is Tolkien really less realistic, though?

Tolkien bridled at the idea that his Free Peoples were unequivocally good and flawless: “sloth and stupidity among hobbits, pride … among Elves, grudge and greed in Dwarf-hearts, and folly and wickedness among the ‘kings of men’, and treachery and power-lust even among the ‘wizards’”, as he pointed out.

Nor is victory ever certain. There is a haunting sadness in The Lord of the Rings, which with the fall of Beleriand in the Silmarillion, was misunderstood by critics as being defeatist. In fact, his work does features torture and the brutality, as well as hints of rape and slaughter, especially in his saga The Children of Húrin. I would argue that his depiction of evil ranks amongst the best in fantasy literature, even though it is understated. Buttering your evil with savagery and depravity does not necessarily make it more terrifying, or even more convincing. […]

All enduring literature is realistic, because it reflects the truth of the human condition for generation after generation. My hunch is that Tolkien, whatever the critics say, will still be sitting on the throne of fantasy in a hundred years’ time while George Martin will be dismissed as the practitioner of an early 21st Century fad for grimy pessimism.

So what do you think? Will Game of Thrones be remembered as brilliant fantasy breakthrough? Or will Tolkien remain as the rightful king?

Check out the full article here.

‘big words and windows’


Here’s an excerpt from big words and windows, a post by Fr John O’Connor, a Catholic Priest in the diocese of Christchurch, NZ.

The language we use in church is often an obstacle for good people. A sermon flowing with words like adoration, beatific vision, catechesis paschal mystery and dogma may be thoroughly orthodox and inspiring to the theologian, but it will probably not touch the hearts of the worshippers at a parish Sunday Mass.

These big words are important since they are the windows to essential knowledge of our faith. The big words are our linguistic short-cut, our method for conveying all that scripture and tradition teaches us about each aspect of our faith.

Therefore it is important that when we use these words, we also provide the meaning in an understandable, accurate and attractive form. At times, for a particular audience, we might speak about (for example) the “incarnation,” without using the word itself. Our hope is that with good catechesis there will come a time when the simple use of this big word will remind the hearers of the full meaning of the incarnation of Jesus. The word will be the window leading us to recall the full significance of the event of the incarnation.

Read his full post here and check out his awesome blog food for faith.