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

Christ’s Naked Humility vs. All Our Cloaks and Crowns

When Jesus looked at lilies, He saw beauties fit for contemplation. “They don't toil or spin,” He pointed out, “but even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as one of these.” One greater than Solomon had spoken. From eternity, He was “clothed in light as with a garment,” yet the Virgin's fiat gave … Continue reading Christ’s Naked Humility vs. All Our Cloaks and Crowns

Human Praise: The Tempered View of Christ

Very early in John’s gospel (2:23-25), just after the wedding at Cana and the first cleansing of the temple, we read that “many believed in [Christ] when they saw the signs that he was doing.” Those must have been exhilarating days for the disciples who first left everything they had to follow him. Numbers seem … Continue reading Human Praise: The Tempered View of Christ

Flannery O’Connor Exposes Our Judgmental Hearts, Preparing Us for Grace

If there was a scripture haunting the protagonist of Flannery O'Connor's "Greenleaf," it was Romans 14:10. For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Religious without humility, Mrs. May--a widow intent on protecting her land--would offer a resolute, "I've worked, I have not wallowed" in the presence of her Judge. Then there's … Continue reading Flannery O’Connor Exposes Our Judgmental Hearts, Preparing Us for Grace

Beyond the Résumé and the Eulogy: Virtue, the Little Way

It was almost 20 years ago when I entered the small-town high school gym and found a seat with a good view. The seniors waited in cap and gown for a slightly off-key band to begin "Pomp and Circumstance." And the banner above the platform proudly proclaimed, "The question isn't are we ready for the … Continue reading Beyond the Résumé and the Eulogy: Virtue, the Little Way

Confessions of a Cannonball: An Invitation to Hunger for Humility

New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks published a remarkable book in 2015, one whose theme speaks to a gnawing hunger in my heart. The Road to Character was a gift from a dear friend.  "I could tell just from listening to the introduction," she wrote in the letter that accompanied the gift, "that this … Continue reading Confessions of a Cannonball: An Invitation to Hunger for Humility

Frustrated with the Gift of Gab? Consider the Word-Smart Strength Behind It

An author who confesses that her childhood nickname was "Chatty Kathy" is someone I know I'll appreciate. In 8 Great Smarts:  Discover and Nurture Your Child's Intelligences, Dr. Kathy Koch presents the multiple intelligence theory of Dr. Howard Gardner in an accessible guide for parents wishing to help children understand and grow their natural strengths.  … Continue reading Frustrated with the Gift of Gab? Consider the Word-Smart Strength Behind It

Innocence: A Light and Sparkling Treasure

Innocence, the light and happy state of purity, beckons on days of winter wonder. We may bundle our bodies in fleece and down-filled polyester, but freshly fallen snow can expose the heart's longing to shed its weary weight. An inner stripping of pride and pretense allows the soul to open and delight in all small … Continue reading Innocence: A Light and Sparkling Treasure

Counteracting the Big Me with Two Frogs and a Toad

Humility is a beautiful, elusive quality, a virtue that's fallen completely out of fashion. Google its definition and you can ponder a graph showing the word's diminishing use in our language from 1885 to today. A century ago, we talked a good deal about humility. Today, not so much. Because I read to young children … Continue reading Counteracting the Big Me with Two Frogs and a Toad