Three Words to Guide a New Year of Hope

When I told a family member I wasn't doing much on New Year's Eve this time around, he responded, "Yeah, I'm noticing that in a lot of people.  It's an angry time.  Lots of people don't feel like celebrating." I hadn't connected my less-than-celebratory plans with a national mood, but he made me think twice … Continue reading Three Words to Guide a New Year of Hope

Grow Your Family’s Gratitude with The Secret of Saying Thanks

"The world is full of secrets, gentle, shy things that some people know and some don't.  The best secrets are the ones that make us happy, and the best thing about any secret is sharing it with someone else who wants to know..." Read these words with a child and perhaps you'll find yourself the … Continue reading Grow Your Family’s Gratitude with The Secret of Saying Thanks

Neither Share a Reckless Rant nor Post a Mocking Meme: Give Me a Clean Heart

Woke up this morning The whole world was yelling I wish I was dreaming Of all that we've been through. These are the opening lines of "Clean Heart," the first song on the album I can't stop listening to:  Matt Maher's new release, Echoes. If there's anything good coming out of our current climate of division … Continue reading Neither Share a Reckless Rant nor Post a Mocking Meme: Give Me a Clean Heart

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

How to Speak of Easter Hope without Harming the Humble Christ

Swiss painter Eugène Burnand renders the confusion and hope of Peter and John's first Easter morning with such poignancy. They'd learned of the resurrection from some women friends who'd been told by an angel, and particularly from Mary Magdalene, told by the risen Christ himself, to tell them.  And then they ran to see that … Continue reading How to Speak of Easter Hope without Harming the Humble Christ

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 speech.  … Continue reading Need Evidence? Three Reasons to Increase Your Positive Speech

Christian vs. Christian: Stop Tearing Each Other Apart

Even worse than humanity's general tendency to use our tongues as swords is the fact that so many Christians do it to each other. It has always been so, because we are being perfected but few if any among us are perfected yet. But we must not accept this state of affairs.  St. Paul, writing … Continue reading Christian vs. Christian: Stop Tearing Each Other Apart

Turning our Sword-Tongues into Pruning Hooks

The biblical phrase, "beat your swords into plowshares and your spears into pruning hooks" comes from the Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Micah.  It refers to a time when God's justice will reign, when his rule of love is willingly accepted and all is blessed in the acceptance of his truth and grace.  When we're … Continue reading Turning our Sword-Tongues into Pruning Hooks