Fr. Dwight Longenecker2019-05-03T16:24:45-04:00

Welcome to Standing on My Head

I started blogging in 2006 when blogs were something new. I wanted to stand things on their head in a Chestertonian spirit but figured the material was unlikely to get published elsewhere. I was surprised when the blog readership took off, so I kept going– considering it to be a ministry in the new media.

All that archived material from twelve years of blogging is available without charge at Patheos here. Also, all my new blog posts continue to be free of charge at this location. In the Archived Articles section of the website there is much more from years of writing for other magazines, papers, journals and websites.

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Standing on My Head

“A scene is often most clearly seen when it is seen upside down.” G.K.Chesterton

History, Mystery and Meaning

Our pilgrimage vacation took us to one of my favorite places on earth: the ancient Abbey Church of San Antimo in Tuscany (illustrating this post) above the church is the little hilltop village of Castlenuovo dell Abate where there is a simple guest house where you can book a room.  The church is right on the ancient Via Francigena--the pilgrimage route that goes from Canterbury to Rome. We stayed there overnight and the boys hiked the Via Francigena to Montalcino--a perfect Tuscan town perched on a hillside overlooking the venerable countryside. I drove to meet them there and had a

June 30th, 2019|0 Comments

From Norcia and Assisi: Rags and Riches

The photograph illustrating this blog post was snapped from the terrace of our hotel in Assisi, and made me think about the contrast between all the sensual and lush pleasures of life and the austerity of the faith. A pilgrimage to Assisi hammers home the clash in the church and the world between rags and riches--pleasure and poverty. A few days ago we were in Rome contemplating the splendor of Baroque churches and the wealth, power and prestige of Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Today we are in the city of Il Poverello--God's little poor fool Francis. Earlier

June 28th, 2019|1 Comment

A Lesson from the Norcia Earthquake

It has been fantastic to visit with my friends at the monastery of San Benedetto in Monte--the full name of the fledgling monastery at Norcia. When I last visited in the summer of 2015 the monks were ensconced in the center of Norcia town. Their church was the basilica built over the site of the birthplace of St Benedict. They occupied various buildings around the basilica in a kind of makeshift Benedictine monastery. Then the next year the earthquake hit. Hard. Twice. My former student, Br Augustine Wilmeth, who is a monk at Norcia, described how they moved to some

June 27th, 2019|0 Comments

Going for Baroque

Visit a church in Rome and you be confronted with the Baroque. When you come into a church like San Luigi dei Francesci (pictured here) or any number of other churches you are hit with what first seems to us in our barren age--totally over the top extravagance. Huge angels lean over the billowing clouds of heaven. Cherubs cavort on clouds that look like cotton candy. Gold drips from every cornice. Marble adorns every wall. Colorful frescoes fill the empty spaces with passion, pathos and exuberance. "Really?" we are prone to say? The Judas in us says, "This money should

June 25th, 2019|0 Comments

Blogging From Rome

I'm enjoying a vacation-pilgrimage with our two youngest children in Italy. Some time ago I kind of gave up on vacation for vacation's sake. I got bored with the beach and don't do relaxation very well. So, when our son Elias was spending some weeks in Spain on his study abroad program I suggested we meet up in Italy for a vacation-pilgrimage. Theo was free so he decided to join us. We've been having a great time so far. We hit the ground running on Friday evening with three hours in the Vatican Museums. You can avoid the usual long

June 24th, 2019|1 Comment

Beware the Arguments for Married Priests in the Amazon

Notice my headline is not "Beware Married Priests." I have written extensively on this topic over the years. As one of the few married Catholic priests, I guess I have something to contribute to the discussion. Could married men be ordained as priests?  Yes. It is a discipline of the church that can be changed. The arguments back and forth almost always focus on the practicalities: how would we pay them? What about their wives and families? What happens if there is a divorce? Who will look after clergy widows? All these practical problems could be easily overcome. Therefore this

June 20th, 2019|2 Comments

The Ancient Novelty of Christianity

I'm very much enjoying Samuel Gregg's Reason, Faith and the Struggle for Western CivilizationI hope to review it more thoroughly once I've finished with it, but the opening section is brilliant on the birth of Christianity. Gregg's thesis is that Western civilization is the product of Roman Christianity and if that foundation is destroyed the civilization crumbles. In the opening section he discusses the remarkable rise of the church in the first 500 years. Christianity prospered for many reasons which are outlined brilliantly in Rodney Stark's The Rise of Christianity. Gregg comes at it from a religious and philosophical viewpoint. The

June 19th, 2019|0 Comments

Help! I’m Book Swamped

You may not realize it, but books are cheaper than ever to produce. With print on demand publishing the overheads for publishers are plunging. For the most part books are now treated like consumables. This means there are more and more books being produced. Publishers grind out ten or twenty titles in a year where they used to produce half that number. What else is changing? It is harder and harder for authors and publishers to get attention for their books. When only a few books were published the publishers pumped considerable funding into marketing the book. Because they had

June 17th, 2019|0 Comments
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