Ignorance: A Blessing

There are some things that I know with certainty. The sum of two and three is five. All mothers are women. A triangle has three sides. My back hurts. I am currently writing a blog post and trying to think of another example that doesn’t sound too trite. I think most would agree that the degree of certainty which I have about these things is so high that I cannot not know them. On the other hand, there are many things that I cannot know with certainty. Some of these things are fairly … [Read more...]

Like a Child

As the oldest of seven kids, I’ve done my fair share of wiping dirty faces, checking for closet monsters, and speculating as to why the sky is blue. But I also grew up in a church that encouraged “child-like faith.” In that church, this phrase was often shorthand for, “We don’t have answers for this, but having questions and worrying about it shows a lack of faith.” Sometimes “this” was a problem the Church has struggled with for ages, such as the problem of suffering, but … [Read more...]

Winter’s Humbling

Cuttings of yellow forsythia bloom on my coffee table as March threatens its last (fingers crossed) snowstorm... Finally. I confess a sigh of relief at the resurgence of sunshine, warmth and colors other than brown, gray and white. Winter's grip on the Earth is growing weak in the face of spring's insistent return, yet its bleak work has primed me for the impudent  joy of crocuses blooming beside melting snowdrifts. Like winter's firm discipline has prepared the tired earth for sprouting seeds, … [Read more...]

The Language of Narrative and the Recovery of Metanarrative: Part One

In the closing chapter of C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet, (the story of Dr. Ransom’s adventure in Mars) the narrator explains that it was Dr. Ransom's idea, instead of publicizing this adventure in terms of fact, to relate it in the form of fiction: "It was Dr. Ransom who first saw that our only chance was to publish in the form of fiction what would certainly not be listened to as fact." The narrator goes on to quote Dr. Ransom: "...what we need for the moment is not so much a … [Read more...]

Religious Experience as an Assault on Autonomy

  There's a fascinating discussion going on right now about the nature of religious experience, which was kicked off by Ross Douthat and has come to involve such diverse writers as Noah Millman and David Sessions. Douthat's initial post was about an aspect of Charles Taylor's A Secular Age. One way to read Taylor is to say that people in a secular age have the same fundamental experiences as people in our religious past and simply interpret them differently. We experience the same … [Read more...]

Why Fast?

Christ in the Wilderness- Ivan Kramskoy- 1872

  For as long as I can remember, my dad has fasted every Wednesday and Friday – eating nothing but bread and drinking nothing but water. At a young age, the very prospect of fasting seemed not only daunting but ludicrous. Human loves exist to attract us to the things that are good for us. And food is obviously good. Why would you want to deprive yourself of it? The most obvious answer to this question is that you may want to abstain from eating for health reasons. But this very … [Read more...]

Blessed Are the Homesick: Hospitality for Mobile Millennials

dinnerwcurrys

The independent rootlessness of emerging adults presents potent opportunities for the practice of hospitality.  Shana Tovah! It was Rosh Hashanah in Washington, D.C. I unexpectedly found myself on my neighbor’s patio, ringing in the lunar New Year with a small gathering of his Jewish friends. Everyone was in his or her twenties, a bipartisan collection of government staffers, advocacy workers, and writers. California. Georgia. New Jersey. Everyone was from somewhere else. Our … [Read more...]


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