Brief Thoughts on the ‘Empire State Tribune’ Hit Piece

The article from the King’s College student newspaper strikes me as pure classist insult. NSA and its students are essentially being criticized on our institution’s resources, and so ultimately on our individual means and how we use them. How dare we not have the resources or even desire to place our college in the center of New York City? But our so-called insularity is actually the opposite of monastic, if one takes note of how many marriages (and subsequent children) are produced in the context of this institution. The point is that here in Moscow a different kind of wealth has been prioritized: the wealth of strong families.

I’d love to see that sort of thing happening in downtown New York, too, but the living costs are obviously too prohibitive. How many young couples do you see starting large families in downtown New York? That would only be possible at a highly selective class status. This doesn’t invalidate the whole project of King’s College; in the abstract, I think it’s admirable to try to move a classical college into the very heart of the modern world. But NSA students and other Muscovites shouldn’t be insulted for having a different level of means or a different vision of what ends their wealth and labor should be directed towards, and we certainly should not be equated with full-on LARPing “knighthood” and “ladyship” colleges.

You’ll notice that the author is happy to bring that up while ignoring the fact that King’s College puts its students into Hogwarts Houses literally named after Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

(pictured: the new york yacht club)


  • Fair, fair, fair, I say as a King’s grad. But I urge this author in particular, one “Mike Jones,” to consider whether he is being called to religious celibacy. He seems–and perhaps it is not my place to judge from such a great distance–a prime candidate for undertaking the great adventure of virginity. After all, St Paul does clearly state that the celibate life undertaken for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven is superior; and I detect that underneath his chauvinistic banner waving for NSA’s many marriages and his offhand remark that those affiliated with the school are “the opposite of monastic” is a very quiet call that he should firmly gird his loins with the angelic chastity belt.

    It would be good, now that it comes to me, to recommend to most of the men of NSA that they seriously consider celibacy, not out of any misplaced devotion to the environment, but rather because their learning and wisdom, so evident to all, could only be perfected by a radical and singular devotion to it. Pray about this, Mike Jones and friends, I urge you.

    I, unfortunately, have been called by the Lord to drink the bitter cup of marriage. Pray for me, please, that I will not lose my convictions to worldly concerns.


    • You are being insincere, but because I’m not exactly sure who or what you are trying to mock, I will answer sincerely. (If I know you in person, I forgive you for not being funny. Don’t worry about it.)

      I have seriously considered a life of celibacy and in the future I would enjoy being affiliated with a local monastery, perhaps as an oblate. The lack of evangelical Reformed monasteries is a problem and to help found one could do a lot of good for lonely young guys who would grow in such a context–perhaps remaining for the rest of their lives, but most likely just for a season before being able to move on and start their own families.

      I am excited about abundant marriages within my community, just as any good man should, and I don’t find that to be in conflict with my own personal interest in monasticism. I do find a lot of delight thinking of St. Thomas and his mystical belt; if God would be so gracious to me as to grant me that kind of protection (in a metaphorical sense, at least!), I would be happy to receive it. But I would also be happy to take a wife. The future is uncertain and I hope to grow in my skills and holiness while waiting for my life path to become more clear.

      You shouldn’t mock prayer, or the earnest seeking of guidance from the Lord concerning the paths of sexual faithfulness.


  • You know very well, though, Mike Jones, that monasticism as a way station between young adulthood and marriage is no monasticism at all. The monastic life is not preparation for chaste wedlock, but a willing acceptance of a holy gift: to live now as you will in heaven where you will be as the angels and not given in marriage.

    Besides, the monasticism you describe is just too boring. Imagine, Saint Francis strips before his bishop begging for the frock, preaches to birds, seers his eyes with a flaming poker to cease his weeping over the death of his Lord–and then marries his high school sweetheart.

    Become like Saint Anthony the Great: fight demons, gird your loins, refuse the glamour of a woman’s body, and vow to marry your cell. Understand, Mike Jones–and be free.


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