Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead: A Merciful Mind for Our Contentious Time

Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer-prizewinning Gilead is a book for our contentious time. I’d picked up a copy when it first became a best seller, but this year when I went through my shelves looking for books I’d bought but hadn’t yet read, its weathered green spine beckoned. When I broke the book open, Gilead began the … More Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead: A Merciful Mind for Our Contentious Time

Pollyanna vs. Curmudgeon: The Case for Realistic Optimism

I’ve neither read nor watched Pollyanna, but I know I’ve been insulted when someone applies the name to me. When you’ve just been equated with a syrupy fictional orphan, you’ve pretty much been put in your place. I’ll elaborate briefly. “Read THIS, Pollyanna” means “take a look at reality, Happy Pants.” “Back it down, Pollyanna” … More Pollyanna vs. Curmudgeon: The Case for Realistic Optimism

Scorsese’s Silence: A Four-Question Examination of Conscience

Anyone who missed Martin Scorsese’s big-screen interpretation of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence hasn’t had much of a wait for its video release. Having read the haunting novel several years ago, I jumped at the chance to experience the screen version when SILENCE appeared on the marquee of my small-town theater during Lent. I knew its dark … More Scorsese’s Silence: A Four-Question Examination of Conscience

The Fishermen and the Risen Christ: 153 Reasons Why I Love and Believe the Story

The first paragraph of Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It delighted me with its authenticity when I opened the book on a camping trip many summers ago. “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing,” the narrator begins, noting that his father was a minister who tied his own … More The Fishermen and the Risen Christ: 153 Reasons Why I Love and Believe the Story

Annie Dillard: Silence and Speaking Stones

Annie Dillard has long been one of my very favorite writers, with Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and An American Childhood among my most beloved books. Dillard leaves me alive and awake, grateful for each feather that falls beneath my back-yard juniper, for the sunrise glow illuminated through spring-snow icicles on the crab apple branches.  For … More Annie Dillard: Silence and Speaking Stones

Need Evidence? Three Reasons to Increase Your Positive Speech

  Overcoming our negative speech habits is so challenging that it’s tempting to stop working on it.  We fail, and that’s discouraging.  We’re only human, after all. Why keep trying? When our good intentions evaporate and the truth conveyed by saints and scripture no longer inspires, we can always check out what researchers say about … More Need Evidence? Three Reasons to Increase Your Positive Speech