“Wonder” and the Paradoxes of Living with a Disability


R.J. Palacio’s young adult novel Wonder tells the story of Auggie, a boy with a severe facial deformity who goes to school for the first time in fifth grade. He confronts fear and bullies, but also makes friends—even with some of the very same kids who initially teased him. I thought it was a beautiful story, for [Read More...]

The Only Really Honest Ones? Addiction and Grace in “Sober Mercies”

I recently reviewed Heather Kopp’s memoir, Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk for the Englewood Review of Books. My review begins: In a recent interview, popular blogger, author, and recovering alcoholic and bulimic Glennon Melton said this: I think addicts are the only really honest ones. Life is hard, and everyone thinks [Read More...]

Do I Love the Bible? It’s Complicated.


Christians like me, who lean left on political and social issues, are often accused of failing to honor the Bible as an authoritative source. As Derek Penwell noted in a recent Huffington Post piece (“The Problem with Assuming Liberal Christians Hate the Bible“), the opposite is often true. We lefties take the Bible very seriously, basing [Read More...]

Resurrection Year: Learning to Live, and Thrive, with Life as It Is Given


Our Western cultural attitudes are not well-equipped for failure. We are a culture of optimists and fixers, holding fiercely to the notion that “pain is gain.” We want to believe that any problem can be overcome, any broken thing fixed, with hard work, a strong will, smart decisions, and hefty doses of modern technology. Christians can [Read More...]

5 Truths About Blogging (IMHO)


As always happens when conflict and controversy and hurt feelings come gushing forth from the normally tame river of words that constitutes my writing life, I have done a lot of thinking in the past few days. I have been thinking about what I wrote and what I meant, about when to speak up and [Read More...]

A Book to Help Us Be Informed Listeners on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


Whether we’re telling stories or absorbing facts (or ideally, doing both), we are called to be compassionate listeners. Dale Hanson Bourke’s book, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct Answers is a vital tool for that endeavor. [Read more...]

I Have a Kid Hangover (But Manage to Write Anyway)

The past thirteen-plus years for me have been one long exercise in welcoming the messy, noisy, needy people who are my children. They make it hard to get anything much done, especially writing. But without them, I’m not sure I’d have much of value to write. [Read more...]

Articulating the Mystery of Faith: Christian Wiman’s “My Bright Abyss”


We Christians are sometimes taken to task for the way that we, when embroiled in difficult conversations about whether or not God exists, chalk things up to “mystery.” Our atheist/agnostic conversation partners see this (rightly, in some cases) as a cop out, as a way of saying, “I don’t really understand why I believe, but [Read More...]