And We Behold His Glory

Most major mythologies say that humanity will end up in either a hades or a heaven. Their destination might be based on merit, usually on wealth, sometimes on whim. But there they go, either through a series of perfection or an interrupting rapture. It’s hard to imagine an ending to the world other than one or the other. This cosmic threshing remains a philosophical option. The mythology lives on.Take, for instance, the first season of HBO’s “True Detective.” Much has been written about the s … [Read more...]

Why Fast?

 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 p … [Read more...]

The Elite and the Elect

College decisions season has arrived, and this year, one student took a very public approach to her bad news. She wrote a letter to the colleges that turned her down and submitted it for publication to the Wall Street Journal. Suzy Lee Weiss’ editorial letter satirically lambasts the college application process. She critiques its preference for applicants who are diverse, do-gooders, or who have helicopter parents that ensure their children submit perfectly well-rounded applications. It is easy t … [Read more...]

What to Do About Dualisms?

 Like many American Christians, I grew up with a bunch of dualisms: we need to scorn earthly things for heavenly things; the body is perishable but the soul lasts; church is sacred in a way the world isn't. In the past few years, I've read Christian writers like Marilynne Robinson and Wendell Berry who have made me question the necessity and even the wisdom of these kinds of dualisms. Robinson and Berry both have a very deep, incarnational sense of the beauty of this world, the … [Read more...]

Minimalism is Good, but Grace Isn’t Cheap

 Minimalism is on the rise— but unless we build our relationships as much as we pare down out possessions, it will fail.Last week, two opinion pieces in the New York Times discussed materialism and the good life in American culture. In his article, “Living with Less. A lot Less,” Graham Hill explains how he overcame anxiety and found happiness by minimizing clutter in his life and concentrating on meaningful intangibles. Jessica Soffer's article, “Staying Sane in Small Spaces,” wasn' … [Read more...]

Take a Break—For Renewal

“Think for a moment about your typical workday. Do you wake up tired? Check your e-mail before you get out of bed? Skip breakfast or grab something on the run that’s not particularly nutritious? Rarely get away from your desk for lunch? Run from meeting to meeting with no time in between? Find it nearly impossible to keep up with the volume of e-mail you receive? Leave work later than you’d like, and still feel compelled to check e-mail in the evenings?”So begins a recent New York Times artic … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins Feels Sorry for Priests

The reactions to this morning's announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will be stepping down have been variously funny, insightful, and annoying. Richard Dawkins has one of the best. He tweeted:He needn't concern himself. As Forbes magazine points out extensive research shows that clergyman is the world's happiest job. Dawkins would be baffled; he might gain some clarity by reading Servais Pinckaers' book The Pursuit of Happiness - God's Way: Living the Beatitudes. For a helpful piece on … [Read more...]