Graham Greene Reminds Us That Hate Is a Failure of Imagination

"All too late, experience has taught me that we should not evaluate people by their vices but, on the contrary, by what they have kept intact and pure, by what there is still left in them of childhood, however deep we have to search for it." I discovered this quote from French novelist George Bernanos … Continue reading Graham Greene Reminds Us That Hate Is a Failure of Imagination

Meditating on Handel’s Messiah and More: Advent’s Perpetual Preparation for Peace

It is Advent once again.  And "what we must do in all earnestness," writes Hans urs von Balthasar in his Advent sermon "The Future has Already Come," "is to examine things with regard to their eternal content and eternal promise or, even better, allow ourselves to be addressed by the eternal promise that is embodied in … Continue reading Meditating on Handel’s Messiah and More: Advent’s Perpetual Preparation for Peace

Netflix’ Outlaw King: Battle, Betrayal and the Body’s True Beauty

Give me swords clashing and chail mail flashing.  Bloody battles and medieval mystery have captivated my imagination ever since my grandmother refashioned Idylls of the King and Ivanhoe as bedtime stories for my brothers and me. Give me a just cause and an undying love and impossible odds.  Give me legend.  Give me history. Give me heroes … Continue reading Netflix’ Outlaw King: Battle, Betrayal and the Body’s True Beauty

Rembrandt’s Wordless Roadmap to the Soul

"Rembrandt goes so deep into the mysterious that he says things for which there are no words in any language," wrote Vincent van Gogh, who took the practice of signing his own works simply "Vincent" from van Rijn, the 17th Century Dutch Master who identified his work by his first name alone. I last visited the … Continue reading Rembrandt’s Wordless Roadmap to the Soul

Poetry’s Penetrating Power in Five Minutes with the Daily Poem Podcast

 ...I have had too much Of apple-picking: I am overtired Of the great harvest I myself desired. Poetry wounds and and poetry heals.  It lifts the spirit and breaks our hearts. Profound poets offer the gift of contemplation.  Transcendent truth slips into the soul through the simple, solid things poets hold before our eyes. Take … Continue reading Poetry’s Penetrating Power in Five Minutes with the Daily Poem Podcast

Walker Percy’s Last Letter to the NY Times and the Red/Blue Corruption of the American Moral Compass

Two years before his death in 1990, Walker Percy sent a letter to the New York Times which its editorial board refused to print. I stumbled on an excerpt while finishing Baylor Professor Ralph Woods' Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South. "That our national 'newspaper of record' refused to run a plea voiced by one … Continue reading Walker Percy’s Last Letter to the NY Times and the Red/Blue Corruption of the American Moral Compass

They Made Me Take the Mother Down: John Stewart, Mother Teresa and the Power of Song in the Field Where the Angels Dance

He died ten years ago at the age of 68.  He didn't achieve fame at the level of some who admired him, among them James Taylor, Carole King, Lindsey Buckingham, Nanci Griffith and Roseanne Cash. Nevertheless, he remains a highly-acclaimed hero of Americana music, one of the original singer/songwriters to blend folk music with rock.  … Continue reading They Made Me Take the Mother Down: John Stewart, Mother Teresa and the Power of Song in the Field Where the Angels Dance

Scandal and Self-Definition: The Choice Between Fight or Flight

The past few weeks have been gut-wrenching for serious Catholics who must face the reality that the gates of hell had forged deeper inroads into the heart of the Church than our worst fears would have imagined. We wonder how much outrage we can take.  How many unsatisfying platitudes and knee-jerk one-liners we must endure in … Continue reading Scandal and Self-Definition: The Choice Between Fight or Flight

Unselfconcious Icons: The Hidden Power of a Good Example in an Age of Bluster and Bling

On an ordinary day in the Denver photofinishing plant where I worked as a personnel clerk many years ago, one of the department heads came running into the manager's office across the hall from mine. "Somebody just puked in the restroom!" he exclaimed. "The custodian's at lunch and there's nobody to clean it up!" "Who? … Continue reading Unselfconcious Icons: The Hidden Power of a Good Example in an Age of Bluster and Bling

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: How Music Helps Us Rise when All We Want to Do Is Quit

There's more than enough anxiety to go around these days and plenty of places to place the blame.  Plenty of sin, plenty of harm, plenty of reasons to disengage.  Or just give up. A little thing just about tipped me this morning because it arrived after a series of sadnesses and frustrations big and small.  … Continue reading Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: How Music Helps Us Rise when All We Want to Do Is Quit