Returning the Gift

Idolatry is making too much of a good thing. And this is what makes it subtle and hard to see. Read more

Give the Gift of “Eucatastrophe” this Christmas!

Like so many other people, the works of J. R. R. Tolkien have stirred me deeply. But it wasn’t the heroism, or the cool monsters, or even the magic that produced the effect when I was a teenager back in the early 70s. It was a deeper magic. You may recall that Tolkien’s friend C. S. Lewis wrote about deeper magic in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. When Lucy and Susan ask Aslan how he could come back… Read more

Sloth and the Sexual Revolution

Sloth is the sin of the hopeless. Read more

Christianity is a Record-Keeping Religion

Naturally we’d all like to forget some things: our failures, our sins, our stupid remarks. But we want everyone to know about our successes, our virtues, our good grades. Read more

The Big Short: A Little Reminder

This review was originally published at Patheos February 1, 2016. A year and a half later maybe we should think about its message again. — By 2004 I owned real estate in 3 states, had 18 tenants, and two people worked for me part-time. In 2006 I sold it all, paid enough capital gains tax to support a family of 4 for a year, and sat down to watch the world come to an end. I did pretty well. Really… Read more

Man of the House Reviewed in Chronicles

Things are a bit busy for me these days.  I’m finishing up some edits on a young adult novel for Canon Press; I’m working on illustrations for my children’s picture book so my agent can begin the farming it around to trade-publishers; I’m wrapping up the renovation of one of my apartments. And on top of those things I have the normal work of pastoral ministry to attend to. All this to say, I’m sorry I’ve been a little out… Read more

The Blessing of Stuckness: Pastoral Ministry and Localism

I’m speaking at The Front Porch Republic Conference at Hope College in a few days. The name of the conference is, Localism and the Professions. My contribution is pretty small. But here it is for what it is. What follows is a draft of the paper I will be reading. Professionals profess things. That’s what professionals do. I’m a minister, I’m entrusted with professing the gospel. Professionals should be surrounded by people who pay attention to what they have to… Read more

You Say You Want Community? Yeah, Right.

When everyone says he wants something but no one seems to have it, maybe he doesn’t really want it. Maybe he just wants to be believed to want it. Read more

How to Be a Gracious Pariah

Most of the time it is impossible to know why someone stops talking to you. Is it something you said? Is it something you did? Sometimes it’s one. Sometimes it’s both. Sometimes it is something else. And sometimes you shouldn’t apologize, even when it is something you said or did. But sometimes you should. It depends on a number of things. But even when you should it is impossible to make things right if you don’t know what you did… Read more

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