Brother’s Keeper: A Playlist for Growing a Merciful Heart

Lent can make you appreciate the length of a lived-out 40: Christ's 40 day fast, Noah's 40 day float trip, Israel's 40 days of wilderness wandering. Forty days takes discipline and desire, and it helps to know going in that there will come a point where you might just want to quit. I've found it … Continue reading Brother’s Keeper: A Playlist for Growing a Merciful Heart

Mary Oliver’s Thirst: A Humble Heart Revealed

Poet Mary Oliver evokes the paradoxical quality of living in the "now" and the "not yet." She draws us into a humble yearning. Oliver's spot-on specificity reveals an attentive, light-but-longing heart (see Morning Glories, Beside the Waterfall, and The Hermit Crab). The poet meets us on human dignity's common ground. We listen to the heart of … Continue reading Mary Oliver’s Thirst: A Humble Heart Revealed

Luther and the Little Way: A Gradual Gift from a Catholic Conversion

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation has concluded.  The year provided many occasions for dialog, discussion and defense of each side of the Catholic-Protestant divide. I've been an invested observer, having been received into the Catholic Church over a decade ago after a lifetime as an active Evangelical, but I'm unqualified to spar with theologians … Continue reading Luther and the Little Way: A Gradual Gift from a Catholic Conversion

Rich Mullins’ Musical Legacy May Include Drawing Catholics and Protestants a Little Closer

"There's more that rises on the prairie than the wind." These words still rise in my heart when the majesty of the natural world lifts it. They're from "If I Stand," a 1988 release by Rich Mullins and Steve Cudworth. Jars of Clay covered "If I Stand" a decade later on a tribute album released a … Continue reading Rich Mullins’ Musical Legacy May Include Drawing Catholics and Protestants a Little Closer

Grant Me the Grace to Hurt Like Rich Mullins

I once heard a song on the radio that moved me so much I called the station to find out who the artist was.  The song, it turned out,  was "Boy Like Me/Man Like You."  The heartbreakingly vulnerable voice that had moved me belonged to Rich Mullins. "Boy Like Me/Man Like You" is the second … Continue reading Grant Me the Grace to Hurt Like Rich Mullins

Rich Mullins: We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are

"It only took one little lie to separate you and me. Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are..." One little lie.  One futile attempt to solve a problem with a sin, to create a false reality with deceitful words. Rich Mullins reminds us of love's fragility. "When you love, you walk … Continue reading Rich Mullins: We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are

Listening to Handel While the Nations Rage

The song in my head isn't on Spotify's top playlists, but a simple search provides dozens of versions. Enduringly relevant, the original text (Psalm 2) was written in Hebrew a thousand years before Christ. Its English translation came some 1600 years after him. George Frederick Handel composed the melody, an aria for bass, in 1747. … Continue reading Listening to Handel While the Nations Rage

Choose Something Like a Star: A Christmas Contemplation

Starry skies call those who long for silence: leave the party, the mall, the jingle bell rock, the trivial TV. Step outside. Look up. Robert Frost's 1943 poem “Choose Something Like a Star" speaks to our position beneath the glittering skyscape. Alone beneath the stars the poet addresses "the fairest one in sight." He admires … Continue reading Choose Something Like a Star: A Christmas Contemplation