The Deadly Ambiguity of Aphorisms

In all my years of Christian living I've often heard the saying, "God will never give you more than you can handle." Recently I've seen a couple of posts that reject this saying with great force. On the other hand, there are those that insist that it's simply true.The problem here is that we're dealing with a saying, an aphorism, a maxim: a pithy statement of wisdom. The key word here is "pithy": an aphorism is meant to convey a large idea in a small amount of space. It's like an iceberg: … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Time

So you've begun to pursue the interior life. You're learning to respond to the Lord's nudges. Maybe you've even asked Him to help you hunger and thirst for righteousness. So what happens next?It's like this. There's this person you've been bumping into. Maybe you meet them at the grocery store, or in the hallway at work, or at the gas station. And you find that when you bump into them, you have one of those neat conversations that just goes on and on, even though you both really need … [Read more...]

Flannery O’Connor Not Your Cup Of Tea?

So you've heard people talk about Flannery O'Connor and how deeply Catholic she is, and maybe you've glanced at her stories and been repelled. As Tod Worner suggests, try out her collected letters. … [Read more...]

The Pernicious Effect of Corned Beef Hash

This was originally posted in June of 2003.The other night we were having dinner, and James, our going-on-four-year-old, had been given a corn muffin and a dollop of corned beef hash. A small dollop, as he was unlikely to be willing to eat much of it, and while we wanted him to taste it, we didn't want to waste it either.So James gobbled up the corn muffin, and asked for another. We told him he needed to have some hash first. We repeated this several times, as required, and went on … [Read more...]

Woof Guide to Popular Music: The White Collar Holler

And it's oh boys, can't you code it? Huh! Program it right! Nothing every happens in this life of mine, I'm hauling up the data on the Xerox line.Considering that I'm a software engineer, and spend most of my days coding and trying to program it right, I was floored to realize that Stan Rogers wrote this energetic rant in the 1970's. Rogers is best known for sea shanties and the like, but I guess he must have had a day job punching IBM cards and doing data analysis at one … [Read more...]

UPDATED: Listening to God

I've often been told that prayer is talking with God, not talking to God, and so you can't just talk: you have to listen, too. This is usually followed by the suggestion that I spend time just sitting and listening. I've tried that, but it never seems to work out that well for me, I think because it's never been all that clear to me what I'm supposed to be listening for. God's voice, sure. If I'm listening to God then I'm hoping to hear His Voice.But what does God's voice sound like? … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Barton Cottage

As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable and compact; but as a cottage it was defective, for the building was regular, the roof was tiled, the window shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered with honeysuckles.— Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility … [Read more...]

Woof Guide to Obscure Catholic Music: Magisterium

Magisterium is an orchestra of sorts, with full choir, playing original compositions as well as a number of classic standards from every generation. Their members are veteran musicians drawn from every country of the world, much like The College of Cardinals, but Magisterium is a significantly larger ensemble with a great many more releases. Their original choral works are all written in Latin; but most unusually the words are translated and re-recorded in the local language before release in … [Read more...]

Power of Three, by Diana Wynne Jones


A boy, son of the chief of a clan living in a mound on an English moor of uncertain date, beginning to get his growth, and terribly full of himself, finds and kills his counterpart from an enemy tribe of water dwellers in order to steal the ornate golden torc from around his neck.  Along with the torc he receives his enemy's dying curse. His little sister is with him, and indeed inadvertently made it possible for him to find his enemy; and she resolves to undo the curse...and therein hangs the … [Read more...]