A Pragmatist, an Aquinas Scholar, a Pentecostal Catholic, and a Grandma Walk Into a Bar…


The movement from the sublime to the mundane always feels like a fall, even if it's not. After the retreat I felt like a drink, and decided to go ahead and stop in at an open-house party where I hoped I might experience just the slightest hint of earthly inebriation to keep the buzz going.It was a going away party for a childhood friend named Gabe, who was packing up his small business as a music producer to join a large studio in California.I had hoped to see some school friends at the … [Read more...]

Called by Name: A Fierce and Fearsome Theology of Woman

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I went to a retreat Saturday morning, which I was ambivalent about attending, mostly because I worried I'd be sitting in a chair all day feeling hungry. Weak coffee and stale donated bagels are sort of a stubborn fact of women's retreats, and I don't stomach either well. I faced a bagel and a V-8 from my brown bag every day for lunch throughout grade school because I packed my own, and now I avoid them. As it happened, I missed the bagel moment of the morning by dragging my feet, and by lunch … [Read more...]

Seven Quick Takes: People of Faith Making Beautiful Things


 It's Friday, oh short and sweet day. I mostly have links to share. And as always, thanks to Jen for hosting Quick Takes Friday.1.First, our kitchen is finished, for the most part.Here's the before picture: And here's the after picture with the cabinets and flooring my husband made:  For more pictures, a closer look at what happened in between, and how my husband operates as a woodworker, see here.I've been meaning for some time to cr … [Read more...]

Cosplay Saints: Unmasking the Path to Holiness

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* My bad memories don't bother me much. They're tucked away back there somewhere, but mostly out of mind. It's my good memories I've spent half my lifetime trying to overcome.All of high school, and most of college are in the vaults, but every time I listen to Gregorian Chant, I'm back in 1997 putting on my plastic headphones and tape deck to go for a walk along the Thames river near Port Meadow, happily anticipating that around any bend in the path I'm likely to run into a pub, a church or … [Read more...]

Book Recommendation: “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down”

Wow. Good book to read if you're looking for one: "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" by Anne Fadiman. A child from the Hmong immigrant community in Merced, California presents at the County Hospital with a severe form of epilepsy. Due to cultural differences, failures in translation between the medical community and the child's family, and constant misunderstanding about the roles of medical intervention and traditional Hmong spiritual healing arts, the child's life and health go … [Read more...]

The Pleasures of Non-Ownership


We've been the beneficiary of many generosities this summer while my husband renovated the kitchen. Any time he kicked up dust, I'd schlep off to Mom and Dad's with the kids, ask what's for dinner, throw our laundry into their laundry pile, and dirty some more dishes.As things stand, there is no possible room in the inn for ingratitude, and whenever I detect it in myself, I'm pretty repulsed by it. If it's hard to be away from home for extended periods with six kids, it's even harder to have … [Read more...]

Make the Hole Bigger, and Eventually, It Disappears: Finding God in the Kitchen Renovation


 This has been a beautiful summer. The kids think it's been boring, but if this is boring, I don't think anything could satisfy them.We've been to Michigan. We spent a couple weeks with siblings and cousins at Mom and Dad's. We had about a week of rest. And my husband has renovated our kitchen.He began over a year ago, milling boards of quarter sawn white oak for our floor. He cut tongue and groove into each one, stacking the pile in his work shop to rest until the appropriate … [Read more...]