Year’s End Review

2014. What a year! Looking back, it’s hard for me to believe how much everything changed. I wanted to round up a few essays I read throughout the year that shaped my thinking, inspired me, or weighed heavily on my mind. I also thought you might like to see my favorite picks of my own work. Not all of the pieces I’ve chosen from around the web are from 2014, but I read them in 2014, and in some way or another, they’ll stay with me as tints and flavors of this particular trip around the sun.

Tops from the Web:

Rich Parents Planned This When poor kids become poor adults, what happens to the concern for their well being?

Do What You Love? The labor politics of chasing your dream.

Evangelii Gaudium A tour de force in Christian love.

Ferguson is our Libertarian Moment But in a purely foreboding sense.

Madame Matisse’s Hat  Modernity is outwardness.

The Voluntarism Fantasy Did we ever take care of ourselves strictly voluntarily?

On Not Going Home On the choices you make that seem small until it’s too late.

Nothing Left of the Left Adolph Reed runs up a red flag.

Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain Really excellent look at women in lit.

The Shame of Our Prisons Unmissable consideration of how we treat those in our care.

Death Penalty versus Human Dignity Can one society value both? No.

What Will Happen to All of That Beauty? Gorgeous contemplation of faith, doubt, praxis, community.

Charles Taylor, Saint of our Age. And another one on modernity!

Tops from my Stuff:

Pope Francis’ 2014: Francis had a better year than all of us, I think we can agree. I’ll be discussing this piece on HuffPo Live today at 11:50 EST.

Pro-Life, Anti-Poverty: The more I think about a universal child allowance, the more I support it. Look for another piece on this topic in early January.

Mysticism & Empathy: My contribution to Boston Review’s forum on empathy. Have we lost a place for mystics in our modern world?

Mothers Work: Yes, mothers work. No, we should not create an EITC threshold to force poor moms to work more: they’re already working.

On Being Vulnerable: Life on the internet, as a writer.

Huckabee & Exemplary States: Theories of exemplary statecraft, from medieval kingship to Mike Huckabee.

Mourning in the Age of Skype: Saying goodbye. Related:

Grief for a Friend: Shortly after I left Cambridge, my friend and advisor Father John Hughes passed away unexpectedly, at a very young age.

Child Allowance = Strong Families: Gonna stump for a child allowance until you like it.

Property-Based Ethics: John Locke and the long shadow of liberal property ethics, in the context of post-Ferguson rioting.

Stories we Tell: For Jacobin, a consideration of what went wrong in the reporting of the Rolling Stone UVA case.

Rationalizing Vocation: Motherhood under capitalism.

Thanks so much for being such a stellar set of readers and thinkers. I’m so grateful to write, and so glad to share it with you. I hope everyone has a lovely New Year, and again, thanks for all your support and encouragement over the last year. You’re the best.