Why I Couldn’t Put Down Sohrab Ahmari’s From Fire by Water

I read it in two days. I'd received an email notification that Sohrab Ahmari would be the first guest on this summer discussion series. I wanted to know more about him before listening to the conversation with the author, editor and essayist. My husband and I were going camping and I relished the thought of … Continue reading Why I Couldn’t Put Down Sohrab Ahmari’s From Fire by Water

Picture Book Biographies: Childhoods of Self-Discovery Lead to Meaningful Lives

"Play the real way." I can't identify the moment I noticed that when the children I counsel in my rural school told me about a game they liked to play they no longer meant tag or UNO or imaginary pirates, but a favorite video game. I do remember suggesting a board game as a fun … Continue reading Picture Book Biographies: Childhoods of Self-Discovery Lead to Meaningful Lives

Hillbilly Elegy’s Window into Addiction and Disfunction Rings True

Back in 2017, Bill Gates included Hillbilly Elegy among his summer reading recommendations. Having come from an advantaged home in Seattle, Gates said he reads memoirs like this to understand another side of America. "Through deeply personal stories like these, 'Hillbilly Elegy' sheds light on our nation's vast cultural divide — a topic that has … Continue reading Hillbilly Elegy’s Window into Addiction and Disfunction Rings True

Nazi Prison New Year: The Integrity of Alfred Delp

"It is difficult to sum up the year now ending in a few words. So much has happened during this year and yet I cannot see what its real message is for me, or its real achievement....Hardship and hunger and violence have intensified and are now more shattering than anyone could have imagined." With left … Continue reading Nazi Prison New Year: The Integrity of Alfred Delp

Contemplating Christmas Cards with Thomas Merton

Two days before Christmas in 1949, Thomas Merton returned to his room in Kentucky's Abbey of Gethsemani and opened his mail. He had received a postcard bearing Fra Angelico's golden rendering of the Annunciation, the moment when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with the invitation to bring God into the world through her own … Continue reading Contemplating Christmas Cards with Thomas Merton

End 2020 on the Path to the Ever-Ancient, Ever-New Normal

Remember when email was fun? How simple it was to "shoot" a greeting to a friend, receive a pithy reply and close your inbox feeling content and connected? I now have three inboxes and I approach each of them with trepidation. Even my personal inbox is more like Pandora's box than a friendly greeting gatherer. … Continue reading End 2020 on the Path to the Ever-Ancient, Ever-New Normal

A Thanksgiving Children’s Book for Weary, Grieving Hearts

COVID-weariness is a thing this Thanksgiving. In my little corner of the world it shows itself on the faces of parents, children and teachers navigating the yo-yo of school closures and re-openings as we monitor the number of active COVID-19 cases in our county, our valley and our state. It surfaces in my father's voice … Continue reading A Thanksgiving Children’s Book for Weary, Grieving Hearts

Two Songs for the Election-Anxious Soul

"These are the times that try men's souls." -- Thomas Paine Phrases like "these unprecedented times" and "these challenging times" have become cliché as, amid pandemic and pandemonium, the next president will be decided. My father, whose parents survived the Great Depression, whose boyhood memories include World War II and who can tell you all … Continue reading Two Songs for the Election-Anxious Soul

Take HIM down? Saint Junípero Serra and the Persistent Question of Christ

You might be able to aquire a public education without hearing about the Christian foundations of orphanages, hospitals and universities, of the faith that underpinned western science and inspired the abolitionists to work for the end of slavery. You may never have heard about the Christian recognition of the image of God in people of … Continue reading Take HIM down? Saint Junípero Serra and the Persistent Question of Christ