Used to be that the people you knew, that you heard the most, were the people you knew in three dimensions. Friends were friends and you joked with them, helped them, failed them, got old with them. They may have moaned about you in private, but they had that privacy in which to complain. Grownups learn that people posture, even to themselves and that a public statement, considered and careful, may be more sincere than some smack talk in private…. Read more

Nothing could be worse than a fat tyrant, widely viewed as mentally incompetent, weak, and behind the times. Right? Ask the French. Today they killed their King and the bloodshed did not stop until ended by a meglomanical tyrant who plunged much of the world into war. Louis XVI was proclaimed Citizen Capet, revolutionaries are never much on history, and lost his head. One might mourn only briefly, he was not much of a king, if one did not know… Read more

Some church leaders are wonderful, but intimidating. Some might want lunch with Saint Augustine, but I would be afraid of looking like I was enjoying it too much. Gregory the Great is great, but a very powerful personality. That is why I am glad there is a church leader who was given and kept the name Euthymius. Yesterday when praying, and reflecting on the saint of the day, I realized  that his name must mean something like “happy hearted” and… Read more

Beauty is needful always, but just now deeply. God help us, but we need the hope that comes when we see beauty. Flashy men can distract from the loveliness, the brilliant, but the soft beauty of the garden endures.  The wise go to the garden and talk there with God. The American poetic genius, Anne Spencer, is the beauty America always needs, but often ignores. She was centered, happy, yet realistic. Truth telling includes not just the bad news, but… Read more

His name was Clement: student of the apostles. He saw a good thing go bad, a good church founder, and he knew what to do.  What makes a good community go bad? We do not have to guess because church history has been teaching us the answer since the start of the church. Clement did not have to guess what the apostles meant in the New Testament. He had talked to them. Joyous news: we can read the students of… Read more

This boy was born in luxury we can hardly imagine and died covered in lice. He was never crowned king, and ended abused and tortured in prison: Louis XVI, the lost king of France. Oddly, there is much to learn about his story regarding the limits of history, the power and limits of science, and the depravity of humans in the name of liberty. If Venezuela has not proved to you that revolutions are horrible, read about the French one…. Read more

This is a review of a book, not of the President of the United States. The book is The Fire and the Fury by Michael Wolff (electronic copy: Henry Holt and Company, 2018). I have no way of knowing whether all the details in it are true, though when Slate calls it “shoddy journalism” one does not have much hope. Slate is not friendly to this administration and has no reason to dislike a book that attacks Mr. Trump. Whenever one can check the facts, one… Read more

4 A little learning did not help me, but when forced in graduate school to think hard, my life changed. If the result of our education is only to gain power to do bad, then we have failed to be truly educated. Instead, learning should make character better. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. It was all there in the Bible, but it was reading Plato in my mid-twenties that got through to me. I had not… Read more

School is expensive, choose wisely. Read more

Donna Brazile is the kind of person who might like a good word, even from me. Why? If you secure enough in your own competence, as Brazile is, then you do not mind mixing it up with opponents, even brutally, and will take any support you can get. We surely disagree on more than a few important issues, but Brazile has written a must read book: Hacked. My disagreements with her are obvious: she is too libertine on sexuality, has… Read more

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