Expiration Date: A Short Story

This is an experiment. This is only an experiment. If this were not an experiment, you would be given further instructions. As it is, you’re on your own. **** The twirled tissues screwed up into my nostrils make it difficult to breathe, but at least my nose isn’t running anymore, down around my lips, salting [Read More…]

Finding the Way, and Loving the Journey

(A Book Review) As someone who has lived in a one-mile radius for thirty years, the idea of life as journey requires some imagination. Yet the journey image, or the notion of life as pilgrimage, has a long and venerable history because it resonates with each of us, no matter the external structure of our [Read More…]

Mean St. Francis

I’ve never seen a St. Francis statue like the one that sits in our back yard amidst the periwinkle, under the embrace of the Loving Tree. He doesn’t look anything like the one I’ve posted here. My St. Francis is a bit alarming. His super-sized hands hold a bird that, despite its stone composition, fairly [Read More…]

When Your Children Climb Volcanoes

Volcanoes are not a part of my world. They do not fit with bike rides, I-25 traffic, weeds in my lawn, or Safeway. They do not fit between the pages of the book I’m reading. Volcanoes and I coexist in a world of mutual ignorance. Can we each continue to pursue our realities—me with my [Read More…]

Becoming Neo-Pascalian: Praying Like Elijah

“What a long way it is between knowing God and loving him!” (f. 377) Ultimately, Pascalian spirituality is about that “long way.” Pascal wrote to an audience that was full of knowing about God. A thoroughly Christianized society, shaped by the rhythms and rituals of Christian practice, trained at least nominally in Christian truth, even [Read More…]

Becoming Neo-Pascalian: Setting Our Hearts

I’ve been reading my way through the Old Testament again and have reached the sad, sad beginning of the Great Brokenness. The tales of David—hero and king, poet and warrior, man of passion and lover of God—are really the sort of stories that blockbusters are made out of. Long chapters of his life, rich both [Read More…]

Remembering Papa, Barely

As a nine-year-old, living in a different state from my Papa, I was fairly unmindful of him; he was more mythic than substantial. Even my memories of him are blurred around the edges, only coming into focus when I look at photographs of him. Tall, lanky, small wire-framed glasses, an ever-present pipe with that sweet [Read More…]

Becoming Neo-Pascalian: Diminishing Your Passions or Increasing Your Hunger

In our last Neo-Pascalian conversation, I indicated that fragment 418 held yet another clue to the business of make-believe faith. There he addresses the one who “seeks a cure”—who recognizes his or her unbelief and wants to remedy the situation. That, I suggested, indicates the all-important role of desire. If you recognize that you are [Read More…]

A Trilogy of Celebrations: 1 + 1 + 1

As a child, I only got two religious holidays—Christmas and Easter—and even then, they were minimally observed. That is, the language and meaning of the historical event was there, but the communal ceremony and physical expression and creative experience was missing. Sometimes Evangelicalism seems to unconsciously embrace a subtle form of Gnosticism in its rejection [Read More…]

If I Hadn’t Had Children…

Mother’s Day is usually a day on which other people in my life think nice things about me (I hope), or I think of my own mother (always), and yet, perhaps this year it’s time to reflect on just exactly what on earth has happened to me. There are those mothers who anticipated the delights [Read More…]

My House: God’s Favorite Place on Earth

(A Book Review) “Living after you have died is strange.” So Lazarus tells us. An understatement, don’t you think? Living before you have died is sometimes very strange, so after you’ve died has to be far weirder. Not many people get to tell that story. In God’s Favorite Place on Earth, though, Lazarus (via Frank [Read More…]

Becoming Neo-Pascalian: The Second Step Toward a Make-Believe Faith

I want to begin this part of the conversation acknowledging a comment to my last post about a sense of need. Nick astutely writes: My big problem with “God shaped hole” arguments is that it seems to me that I would have to accuse an awful lot of people of living in, at the very [Read More…]


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