The Examined Life by Bryan Cones

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Work ethics
We lay off teachers and nurses while we hire for prisons, casinos, and fracking. This is progress?

Believe it or not
Pope Francis' generous approach to atheists got the world talking—and we should be glad it did.

An oscar for the poor
Oscar Romero, now back on the path to sainthood, was called to conversion by ordinary Salvadorans.

The secret death of bees
Unlike today’s humans, bees rock at living in harmony with creation.

Ear to the ground
Will Pope Francis listen to voices calling for change in the church?

Famous last words
Pope Benedict’s final act may be one of his best gifts to the church.

Back to the drawing board
The religious landscape is shifting. Don’t hunker down—get creative.

Brokenness in the body
The church needs to open its doors to the broken bodies of Christ.

God willing?
When tragedy hits, think twice before claiming what God intended.

Advance bishop
Moving a bishop should be more than an ecclesiastical game of chess.

Death becomes us
It’s time to resurrect Catholic wisdom about the art of dying.

The devil in the details
We shouldn’t let sensationalized crime become an occasion of sin.

Guilt by dissociation
The human cost of the war on terror burdens those who fight it.

Women on a mission
When the church gets you down, you can always serve the poor.

My friend the abuser
Am I to judge a mentor and friend only by his greatest sin?

Look who's talking
What’s so odd about talking to God over a cup of coffee?

Tunnel vision
Is the demand for ideological purity harming service to the poor?

Kids these days...
Maybe it’s time to let generations X and Y have their say.

Don't get comfortable
Lent’s 40 days should disturb our consumer complacency.

Stay of Execution
With a common commitment, Catholics could make the death penalty a thing of the past.

A good fit?
Church teaching on gay and lesbian people must reflect their dignity as God's daughters and sons.

You're cut off
New rules in two dioceses make communion from the cup an endangered species.

Put faith in your vote
Election Day shouldn’t be a time to leave our faith at home.

Roadtripped
Life’s unexpected twists and turns need time to reveal the lessons they offer.

Veggie tales
Much like Merton and de Mello, peas, carrots, and beans make great spiritual masters.

The buck stops where?
The biggest question in the sex abuse crisis is why some bishops still have their jobs.

Women and children last
Would we so willingly cut programs for the poor if we knew them by name?

Bad call
The U.S. bishops’ recent action against a popular theologian has some Catholics crying foul.

Blessed are you
How do we honor a pope whose complexities are still fresh in our memory?

Boxed in
Lent is a good time to ask whether the stuff we hold on to is actually holding us back.

Judgment call
A bishop’s authority cannot replace the graced conscience of the baptized.

Change we can believe in
Church teaching is the same always and everywhere—except when it isn’t.

Dig in
It’s OK if you don’t like beets. There’s a dish for every taste on the Catholic table.

Mass disruption
The new translation of the liturgy will speak volumes about the church that prays it.

America the anxious
Only our better angels can guide us to interreligious understanding.

Will the center hold?
The church as we know it won’t last if its broad middle begins to shrink.

Problem children
Mother Earth can’t take much more of her human offspring’s hell-raising.

Pastoral discretion advised
Law must always be tempered by mercy if justice is to be truly served.

Take your time
For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Too true to school
The sex abuse crisis should teach us that it takes more than a seminary to raise a priest.

Don't forget the flowers
Bad news about the church can be a good opportunity to remember why we’re here in the first place.

What's your sign?
Though the cross reigns over Good Friday, Easter's mystery needs a symbol of its own.

Certifiably Catholic
Our place in the church isn't determined by politics or policy.

To eternity and beyond
Forget about terrestrial matters for a moment and think outside the blue planet.

Mind the gap
Which path do we choose when the twain of experience and church teaching don’t meet?

Season's Greetings
If we're going to invite disaffected Catholics to come on home, let's also warm up the welcome they're likely to receive.

Use your inside voice
The high pitch of pro-life advocacy could heed some old-fashioned parental guidance.

Marriage of convenience
Catholics should find a way to welcome couples whose paths to the altar don't go straight down the center aisle.

Priests off the pedestal
A holy-card priest is not the best patron to lead 21st-century ministers into the future.

Non-parishable goods
The value of a faith community can't be crunched on a balance sheet.

Watch your steps
Mass could use the hard dose of reality offered by those recovering from addiction.

Above and beyond the call
U.S. women religious deserve better than the nunsense of a Vatican investigation.

Commencement duress
Catholics shouldn't let single-issure politics deprive us of our hard-won place at the heart of America's democracy.

How green is your faith?
We should honor God the Father by caring for our Mother Earth.

Fast break
Lent is a good time to call time-out on our First world feeding frenzy.

Proceed with caution
Now is not the time to rush World War II's pope to a place among the beatified.

Positively pro-life
Catholics must focus on the battle for hearts and minds to be succussful in the effort to end abortion. 

Morality check
The global fight against HIV and AIDS requires all the means at our disposal.

All in favor?
There’s more democracy in the church than you might think.

A more perfect communion
Christians can manage to be the one church of Christ without agreeing on everything.

Bring ‘em on
Catholic institutions should play host to this year’s electoral contests.

Gag order
Pumping up priesthood at the expense of lay ministry is no way to renew the church.

Mea maxima culpa
Among the many victims of the Iraq war have been our own fellow Catholics.

Make it personal
Millions have headed for the exits without getting the best of what we have to offer.

Lab partners
Instead of shooting rhetorical spitballs in the other's general direction, boosters of both science and religion should start sharing a desk.

Start spreading the Good News
The first (and most ignored) rule of preaching the gospel: "Know your audience."

Here comes everybody else
Our color in the Crayola box of "flesh tones" shouldn't determine our place in the church.

Not all roads lead to Rome
The diverse challenges of a struggling world need local solutions from a flexible church.

More than words
Rather than threaten our Christian faith, exploring the language and spiritual practices of other religious traditions may instead make us better Catholics.

...And what we've failed to do
The abuse crisis will never be over without a full confession and a freely given absolution.

Semper ubi sub ubi
If you don't understand that, you're gonna love the new, old Latin Mass.