God’s Extras


Extras. That's what it was called. It was a simple enough title and premise. Between 2005 and 2007, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (the bright minds behind the original British series, The Office) created, wrote and acted in this clever and discomfiting series about a pathetic actor, his dim-witted actress friend and his hapless agent. The aspirations of these three were simple and naked. They wanted to make it big in the acting industry. They wanted to strike it rich. No longer did they … [Read more...]

The Bittersweet Life in the Trenches


 "Remember, Tod, life is in the trenches." - DadI remember it quite clearly when he said it. And it hit me hard. My dad was sitting across the table from me at a Burger King. My stepmom was sitting next to him. We had just walked away from a Sunday church service that was the culminating event of a weekend non-denominational retreat known as "Teens Encounter Christ". While I had always heard good things about this retreat, my personal experience was simply stunning. From Friday … [Read more...]

A Lullaby from God: My Lunch with Bruce Springsteen


Lunch was about to begin. And I was hungry. Working in an internal medicine clinic, I cherish the opportunity to leave the stresses and concerns of patient care behind for an hour and commune with my dearest friends. Within ten minutes, three or four of us are packed in a car en route to our regular haunt to eat. Our initial conversation is peppered with towel-snapping humor and self-deprecating stories. However, within a short time we invariably find ourselves exploring issues of faith and … [Read more...]

Manning, Brady & the Little Secret of the Big Game


"Say, I've been thinking..."That's how it began...To all my married male friends out there, you know what it means when your wife utters these four words. Something big is about to happen. Perhaps what follows the pause is something like, "It's time to start looking for a new house" or  "Let's undertake a major landscaping enterprise" or "We need to purge our house of the junk that you, dear husband, have kept for too long.". Yes. When my wife (like so many other wives out there) begins a … [Read more...]

Not Missing the Sacramental Journey: Hilaire Belloc’s “The Four Men”


"And I said to myself , inside my own mind: 'What are you doing? You are upon some business that takes you far, not even for ambition or for adventure, but only to earn. And you will cross the sea and earn your money, and you will come back and spend more than you have earned. But all the while your life runs past you like a river, and the things that are of moment to men you do not heed at all.'" - Hilaire Belloc, in "The Four Men"     And so the journey began. In the brilliant tale, "The F … [Read more...]

G.K. Chesterton & The Impotence of Nightmares


 "It is not always wrong even to go, like Dante, to the brink of the lowest promontory and look down at hell. It is when you look up at hell that a serious miscalculation has probably been made." - G.K. ChestertonIt was simply an essay written for the Daily News. It really could have been routine. Yet nothing G.K. Chesterton ever wrote was "routine". This essay was terrifying. It was called, "The Nightmare". It was dusk and Chesterton found himself reading in the garden behind his … [Read more...]