Live the Questions this Advent with Sally Read’s Annunciation: A Call to Faith in a Broken World

I don't want sentimental piety at Advent; I crave a seeker's authenticity and a contemplative's conviction. I welcome Sally Read's voice at any time of year, and Advent isn't the occasion that produced Annunciation: A Call to Faith in A Broken World. It's just that Annunciation is the best book of its kind I encountered … Continue reading Live the Questions this Advent with Sally Read’s Annunciation: A Call to Faith in a Broken World

Not-Sorry’s Not Worth It, but Sorry-Plus Is a Beautiful Move

Some say it started with a hashtag. It took off in the Twitterverse and inspired songs by punk rockers Amen and pop phenomenon Demi Lovato. The punchy one-liner even found its way into a successful ad series for the ever-delectable Reese's peanut butter cup, in which a snarky male voiceover extols Reese's with in-your-face bravado, … Continue reading Not-Sorry’s Not Worth It, but Sorry-Plus Is a Beautiful Move

Arguing Religion and the Search Engine of the Soul

I used to teach the art of argument to college freshmen. We read classic texts on the great questions of the centuries and debated our views in passionate discussion laced with laughter and an occasional angry flare. Students then constructed written arguments clarifying their thought and defending their positions. Essay by essay, they honed their … Continue reading Arguing Religion and the Search Engine of the Soul

Small People and Places Shine in Wendell Berry Film Look & See, Now on Netflix

As summer came to a close this year I found myself reviewing its moments with gratitude for small wonders. There was the little backyard garden my husband coaxed to abundance and the lichens and shimmering insects that caught my eye on mountain hikes. I recalled with affection the pride I felt watching my colleagues who … Continue reading Small People and Places Shine in Wendell Berry Film Look & See, Now on Netflix

Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan’s Beatitudes for a Political Leader

"Put not your trust in princes," the psalmist advised long ago. People didn't choose their leaders back then, so they were, on a material level, absolutely beholden to a king's whims for good or ill. The psalmist reminds them of the human tendency to view the world from a material point of view only, forgetting … Continue reading Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan’s Beatitudes for a Political Leader

Loathing and Hopelessness, Juice and Joy: Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Secret Sorrow

"Outwardly I think I am employed to what is of no or little use," Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote in his journal just months before his death. "I was continuing this train of thought this evening when I began to enter on that course of loathing and hopelessness which I have so often felt before..." I … Continue reading Loathing and Hopelessness, Juice and Joy: Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Secret Sorrow

The Tao or the Wow: How Ancient Texts Rehumanize the Heart

The tension in many a good story centers on a hero's struggle, as opposition mounts, to remember his identity or to recall her mission. Succumbing to Sirens and Circes is perilous and treasure greater than victory awaits the unwavering. In Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, for instance, Meg Murry's mission is to rescue her … Continue reading The Tao or the Wow: How Ancient Texts Rehumanize the Heart

Castles, Catch and Kairos: Relearning Play in an Age of Digital Distraction

I once asked a kindergarten boy if there was anything he'd like me to tell his mom, who'd asked me to call her after a counseling session with her son. "Tell her to get off the phone!"  he snapped with a bitterness that took me by surprise. "What?  You mean she talks on the phone a … Continue reading Castles, Catch and Kairos: Relearning Play in an Age of Digital Distraction