As a child, I heard a lot about the end of the world—the mark of the Beast, the demise of America, the million-man army that would spread destruction over the face of the earth. Things were going badly wrong, they said, and soon the sun would be darkened. And being an earnest child, I went about gathering fears and confirmations of doom and storing them away like cankerous fruit.Read More ›
Most of the light in the universe is invisible to the human eye. We see an estimated .0035% of the electromagnetic spectrum, and that estimate is based on what we can measure with current information and technology. The eye takes in a tiny fraction of what is real and present. Or, stated differently, the scope of what we cannot see is vast.Read More ›
You would have laughed to see it—that mound of walruses piled on the Russian coast. Laughter was my first inclination. I wondered when a male walrus would begin an awkward mating dance or heave his bulk at a pesky seagull. I was waiting for the comic soundtrack, the thumping of a tuba, when I began to understand. This was a story of suffering.Read More ›
“Jesus didn’t come to change God’s mind about us. Jesus came to change our minds about God.”—Richard RohrRead More ›
There’s a certain kind of loneliness that comes of never being asked the right questions. Many of us go years at a time subsisting on questions like How’s the job? and How are the kids? Even the slightly superior How are you? without a foundation of relational intimacy and plenty of time to dig in, can be glossed over as easily as a question about the weather.Read More ›
I had not meant to think on dancers
No, nor womanhood
I meant to write of summer,
Goodness, and the love of God.
Long ago, in the quiet of our mothers’ wombs, the snow began to fall. Blood and water and food came into our bodies and nourished us. Endorphins washed over us, along with surges of cortisol and adrenaline. An invisible womb of emotion surrounded us, too, an atmosphere of fear or bitterness or rage. We breathed that air, and the snow fell.
I was standing in the parking lot of our little Valrico, Florida church when a man from the congregation came up to shake my hand. His expression was earnest, his voice impassioned, when he said, “I pray that one day millions of people will hear your voice.” It was an extravagant compliment, and kindly meant, but it was a dangerous thing for a teenager to hear.
Two scenes stand out in memory: one a place of beginning, the other a place of understanding. In the first, a nineteen-year-old girl sits alone in her car on a summer afternoon, while the boy she loved walks away. She is hurting, and the feeling of rejection is intolerable. She is disgusted with herself, so she uses her pain as a catalyst for change—she will finally take control of her health.
Heading south from Salt Lake City, you can drive for hours without seeing anything but rocks and scrub. The road is straight and flat, and the darkening April sky closes down on you like the cover of an old hardback. Read More ›
This summer, the recommended reading list for my church community includes titles like The Rule of Benedict (Chittister), St. Francis of Assisi (Chesterton), and Establishing a Rule of Life (The Trinity Mission). We’re considering what it means to create a personal culture of faith by establishing a “rule” for living. For some, this looks like a detailed list of activities to be done every day, week, month, or year (like those who choose to live under Benedictine or Franciscan rule). For others, though, it’s simply a matter of deciding how we’d like to invest our time and resources and translating that into everyday life.
“Heaven’s kingdom realm can be compared to the tiny mustard seed that a man takes and plants in his field. Although the smallest of all the seeds, it eventually grows into the greatest of garden plants, becoming a tree for birds to come and build their nests in its branches.”
It could have been any sort of day, the day when the seed was planted. I imagine, for I know the sensation, that the seed felt like a splinter grown infected. The heat and tenderness of the spot made it almost intolerable. It had to be removed.