Happy Birthday PG Wodehouse

If I am very sad, I turn to the complete Sherlock Holmes for soothing reading. If I need to laugh, I read PG Wodehouse. If you do not know him, get any book he wrote, especially any book on the genial Wooster and his butler Jeeves. These are not stories of great meaning, but of [Read More…]

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Two Johns: Hagee and Steinbeck

America is good at producing original personalities and at least two of them are named John: Hagee and Steinbeck. Steinbeck would have loved writing about Hagee. I don’t know if Hagee would enjoy Of Mice and Men.  John Hagee is nobody’s idea of a careful theologian, but he is a well known, and in some circles, [Read More…]

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A Pearl Not Worth Anything

Jesus told a story about a man who found a pearl of great price and sold everything he had to get the pearl. He gave up something of less value for something of greater value. John Steinbeck gives his characters a pearl of great monetary price in The Pearl and the pearl destroys the happiness [Read More…]

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My Summer of Steinbeck: Religious Bigot?

California was the Texas of the twentieth century: the land of opportunity and growth. It was also a place that exploited many of the people who came for the promise and that is not so different either. This summer was my summer of Steinbeck. He was a writer who understood promise, disappointment, exploitation, and the [Read More…]

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As Good As You: Redemption is Possible… Even for Me.

I have not lived as good a life as Hope. Generally, with far less going for her, she has made better choices and so she has fewer regrets than I do. One way to deal with this truth is to deny it. My sins were more obvious, but after all, Hope has . . . [Read More…]

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What Jane Didn’t Tell Rochester

Jane Eyre is a manual for Christian romance and anybody in love should read it. The lessons in it are many, but here is an unexpected one: the lover tells the beloved what he needs to hear and not always what he wishes to hear. Jane and Rochester initially are separated by God and Jane’s obedience [Read More…]

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Lesson in Loving Well: Never, Ever Be St John Rivers

If you wish to be in love properly and have not read Jane Eyre, stop now. Read the book. If you are still reading, then you know that the worst moment in the book is when St John Rivers proposes to Jane Eyre. This proposal comes from a man who is called to a hard ministry in [Read More…]

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Learning from Fiction: What is wrong with fundamentalists and atheists?

The man who cannot learn from fiction because it is not literally true is like the man who cannot watch an event on television because it is not “literally” before his eyes. He is missing the truth in the representation of reality. Fiction has taught me as much as n0n-fiction. That Hideous Strength, Jane Eyre, the myths of Republic, and [Read More…]

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Lessons in Leadership (I): Steve Jobs

I am reading books on leadership with a group of friends at HBU and we began with Steve Jobs. Walter Isaacson is a better writer than Jobs’ a topic and at times the gap between talent and the subject’s pretensions shows in the book: Jobs was less consequential than he believed and Isaacson struggles to do more [Read More…]

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Middle March Advice from Middlemarch

It is the middle of March, so I am reading Middlemarch. This plan has been much more cheering than the year I studied Julius Caesar during the Ides of March. Middlemarch may be the best novel written in English, though perhaps not. Unlike Pride and Prejudice, the novel meanders and it does not sparkle with [Read More…]

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