Letter to My College-Bound Son

Dear Riley, Though this is not the first letter I’ve written to you, this is the first letter I’ve ever written to my son who is leaving home for greater adventures. You’ve always been an Adventurer – full of curiosity, passion, and an incomprehensible cheerfulness about getting up at o’dark thirty. God knows I’ve tried [Read More...]

Doubt, the Great Jeopardy? — First Blush

Doubt is on my mind. It really feels like an autumn topic, I think – best suited for cold winds and browning leaves and dark, heavy clouds. Not a spring topic, which seems like it should be all about cheery faith and warm devotion. But seasonally correct or not, it’s all around me. Perhaps, however, [Read More...]

The Inadequacies of Motherhood

We’re wrapping up the childhood years.  Long ago we moved on from play dates and zoo adventures and Baby Beluga. I didn’t have much time to mourn all that because we were soon deep into baseball games, track meets, driving lessons, and orchestral performances. But now we’ve gone to our last back-to-school night; we’ve sent [Read More...]

Lenten Letdown

The season always starts out with such zeal. About two days into it, I’m beginning to revise my expectations seriously. By now, mid-Lent, I’m barely holding on. Do not misunderstand. It’s NOT that my Lenten disciplines are so arduous. Not at all. It’s just that my very real confrontation with the futility of them disheartens [Read More...]

Ashes and Guilt by Association

I walked into the noon service today, and felt a great sense of comfort at this great annual shift into Lent. The purple cloth over the cross, the silent gathering, the smell of burned palms, the flecks of ash on my nose – these lured me into the quiet and contemplation of a season of [Read More...]

On Earthquakes and Providence

Normal days beg no explanations. Daily life asks no questions that the newspapers, Internet, or personal opinions cannot answer. But natural disasters – earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes – these demand justification. On November 1, 1755, a massive earthquake hit Lisbon, Portugal. Modern geologists estimate it was nearly 9.0-magnitude on the Richter scale. It was 9:20 [Read More...]

Gratitude — a Risky Business

November is the month of Thanksgiving. We’ve exorcised our Halloween personas and we’re suspended between round, orange jack o’ lanterns and round, red Santas. Halloween universally permeates the various religions, but then in December we splinter off into our assorted winter celebrations – Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Advent/Christmas, etc., and, trumping them all, the secular holiday of [Read More...]

God Is Great

Some witnesses to last week’s massacre at Fort Hood say that the shooter cried “Allahu Akbar” before he began shooting. These reports send shudders up the spines of Americans everywhere, both Muslim and non-Muslim. The cry has become inextricably linked to acts of horrible violence and is translated in our deep psyche as, “I’m an [Read More...]

On Patios and Parenting

One evening last week I went out to the patio to start the grill. It had been a dazzling day, hot and blue with a stormy interruption in the late afternoon. Now the evening lay quietly in my backyard, clear and hushed. In the distance, crickets chirruped and cicadas droned. A waning golden light brushed [Read More...]

On Alberta

Perhaps you will roll your eyes at the rigidity of her moral boundaries. Perhaps you will sneer at her narrow-minded understanding of life and purpose. Yet from all accounts, Alberta was also a deeply spiritual and complex woman—prayerful, faithful, loving, and kind. [Read more...]

Private Vice, Public Benefit? A Short and Selective History of Greed

How serendipitous for the Democratic party that the economic collapse is happening so happily under its watch. As President Obama’s chief of staff pointed out, we “should never let a crisis go to waste.” In fact, nothing should go to waste. That’s the whole point. The economic disaster has now been inextricably linked (how did [Read More...]

Tripping the Light Fantastic

I ran across this phrase when it ended up being the answer to a crossword clue about dancing. I wasn’t familiar with it, but sometimes a combination of words strikes me as so serendipitous, so rich in possibilities, that I just savor it for a while, like a hard candy. [Read more...]