I wanted to be a Jesuit because of beer, sports, and pop music.
Let me explain.
After several years of trying to figure out how I felt moved to live and love in this world, I couldn’t shake the idea of being a Catholic priest. And I knew I couldn’t do it alone; I wanted a community.
Jesuits aren’t known for their beer-making; the Trappists would be better for that. And, while many Jesuit universities have great basketball teams, I was more of a college football fan — and I actually cheered against a Jesuit school.1 And pop music? Jesuits in the U.S. are good at post-Vatican II liturgical music that fills the Gather book,2 but that’s not what I wanted to listen to for the 167 non-Sunday-Mass hours of the week.
Still, I was looking for a religious order that was both holy and human, a group of guys that I could sit and have a beer with and feel completely at home. I wanted to be able to talk about deep stuff, but also watch a game from time to time, and not feel embarrassed if someone caught me singing along to Carly Rae on the radio.
Check, check, check. The Jesuits seemed like a good fit.
Just over three years ago, my friend Paddy called me and asked if I wanted to be part of a new website that would deal with sacred and secular stuff and everything in between.
This sounded perfect. I wanted to talk about religious stuff without appearing like a religious weirdo. I wanted to discuss serious topics but also not take myself too seriously. And heck, I wanted to share my love of spin class and LeBron James and describe all the delightful, ridiculous, and distinctive things about attending a Catholic university.
This week, we at The Jesuit Post celebrate our three-year anniversary. It has been a wonderful ride. This month also represents some significant developments.
TJP was started with the idea that it would be passed down to other Jesuits in formation in order to stay fresh and young, and our recent transition in leadership is a sign that this is happening. I am the first Editor in Chief of The Jesuit Post who was not one of the original founders of the site. Jason Welle and Brian Konzman, our new Managing Editors, joined TJP after its start. Several young Jesuits from different parts of the U.S. and around the globe have recently joined our team.
Much is new, but, of course, much is still the same.
When The Jesuit Post is at its best, we can talk about topics like the attacks in Paris or #BlackLivesMatter but also reflect on the life lessons learned from Bob Ross or the phone calls you get in your 20’s. Some essays are heartbreakingly deep; some listicles are not exactly profound. Sometimes we talk explicitly about God or Church or Jesus; most of the time we write about what it means to be human today.
Rather than knowing in advance where we can find truth or God or beauty, noticing what troubles our minds or expands our hearts or pierces our stomachs with laughter is often where we start.
Of course, paying attention to what’s going on within and trying to reflect on that is only part of the equation. Thankfully, these three years have put us in touch with you, our readers. You have helped expand the conversation we’ve had and have often encouraged and challenged us. Thank you.
If you’ve stayed with us for a while, you’ve probably seen that we Jesuits can be laughably, painfully different.
At the same time, all of us writing for this site are Jesuits — not exactly a representative group. We have blind spots, and our blind spots have their own blind spots. We miss important perspectives. So, please, leave comments, tweet at us, let us know what you are reading and writing. Share with us where you are finding life.
You see, Saint Ignatius always thought we should speak to God “as one friend speaks to another,” a guiding principle not only for our prayer but also for our work with The Jesuit Post.
We look forward to continuing the conversation.
- And now I’m a student at that Jesuit school. The “Holy War” in November will be interesting. ↩
- The Jesuits of the Philippines, however, do some great contemporary music, including a bunch of pop covers. This is one of my favorites; Chris Brown probably didn’t expect that. ↩