The Compassion of Telling the Truth


This post first appeared in slightly different form in April of 2004. Since then, the blog post I was commenting on has disappeared, and I'm now Catholic rather than being a rather evangelical Episcopalian. The main point, however, remains.Lynn Sislo (the link has decayed) comments on an article about a young preacher who has been charged with heresy by his denomination. It seems that the preacher has been teaching that non-Christians might still be able to go to heaven; the … [Read more...]

The Leaving of Liverpool

"The Leaving of Liverpool" is one of the "Irish" tunes I've been listening to quite a lot, and have been learning to play on the whistle. I put "Irish" in quotations, because it isn't really Irish; it's a sailor's song, and was collected in the wild (so to speak) twice, around 1885, by two different Americans. It concerns a sailor embarking on a long sea voyage to California from Prince's Landing Stage in Liverpool, lamenting not the leaving of Liverpool but the leaving of his own true love. … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Zeal and Resolve

Carrot stared straight ahead of him with the glistening air of one busting with duty and efficiency and an absolute resolve to duck and dodge any direct questions put to him.— Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms … [Read more...]

Writing the Scene

the 5% solution

I've got a character, John St. Cloude, captain of the freezer ship Our Lady of Loreto; a sequence of events, the voyage to S'Mary's World; I've even got a title, always an important point for me, Watchman for Daybreak; yet I can't seem to get started.Part of it is simply lack of time: we went away for President's Day weekend, sharing a rental unit with another family; being present to family and friends is not conducive to writing fiction. Saturday is usually good writing time, but today … [Read more...]

UPDATED: I’m a Catholic Techie!

Says so. Right here.Every week Sarah Reinhard does a Catholic Techie interview at, and this week it was my turn. If you want to read Sarah saying nice things about me, by all means go take a look. Plus, you get to see me sitting in a teacup.UPDATE: Now, with link! … [Read more...]

Review: The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman, hero of Graeme Simsion's novel The Rosie Project, is a professor of genetics at an Australian university. He is also an "Aspie"—a person with Asperger's syndrome. One of the hallmarks of Asperger's syndrome is that certain aspects of social interaction that come naturally to most of us and that we handle without even thinking about it have to be learned and applied explicitly. They observe us, and make hypotheses, and draw conclusions, and (if so minded) try to live accordingly, s … [Read more...]

What’s Your Conception of God?


It's hard to discuss things fruitfully when you don't know what you're talking about.I'm not speaking here of out-and-out ignorance, of people pontificating on subjects of which they know little (although there's plenty of that going around, and I'm sure it was ever thus, and that I've contributed to it in my time). I'm speaking of something more subtle: of two people in dialog using the same words but meaning different things by them. Such hidden disagreements can generate quite a lot of … [Read more...]

Persevering in Prayer

One of the hardest things to do in the interior life is to persevere: to keep going, to keep praying every day, especially when, for some reason, we miss a day.  It's only natural.  If you're learning to play an instrument, and you don't practice, you don't want to face your instructor; and if you continue not to practice, you'll soon not be taking lessons.But the fact is, you're sometimes going to miss a day.  Sometimes you'll just not feel like it, and you'll go with that; other times yo … [Read more...]

On Starting a Blog War

Sarah Hoyt has some interesting remarks on how to conduct yourself in a blog war...most of which sound like good ideas for discourse in general. Things like knowing who you're talking to. Knowing what you're talking about. Attacking ideas, not individuals. Supporting your argument rather than appealing to what everybody knows (because it is probably wrong).I have no interest in starting a blog war—I am not a controversialist—but the points she makes are worthy of note. … [Read more...]