On Beauty

The older I get, the less I understand the meaning of beauty, even though it is also true that I more desperately depend on it than ever. I think it used to mean that the world was friendly, that if I could capture a beautiful sunset or the angle of the sun illuminating the leaves of a tree, that somehow I had found meaning and grace because I was known by someone, somewhere. But as I have gotten older, beauty causes a heartbreaking alchemy of sadness and ecstasy, as if beauty always demands an … [Read more...]

Ecospirituality Workshop

I am very excited to offer an ecospirituality workshop with Rev. Tom Goldsmith in Montana this summer. You can learn more about the center and the workshop at http://www.ehec.utah.edu/. I hope you will consider joining us! … [Read more...]

On Loving Enemies, Fictional and Real, or Marilynne Robinson 2.0

According to the essays of Octavio Paz, finding unity not despite but in our differences is the ultimate quest of a democracy. And it is also the ultimate quest of literature, which practices this work of communion in language. A metaphor builds a bridge between two unlike things and holds them together in relationship to produce a new meaning or a new unity, without, paradoxically, destroying or diminishing their differences. What generates new meanings is precisely a metaphor’s refusal to pass … [Read more...]

A Visit From Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson is at it again, having just published a new book of essays entitled When I Was A Child I Read Books. Before I write some commentary directly about the book (which I am still finishing), I thought I would describe my encounter with her back in October of 2011 when she came to Utah for the Utah Humanities Council Book Festival. This was not the first time we had met, but it was for me unprecedented access to her. Part of this included a public interview with her in Salt Lake. … [Read more...]

Restoration of All Things 2.0

You can hear a recent interview about the previous post on BYU Radio at: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/67069813/George%20Handley%20-%20The%20Morning%20Show%20-%20BYU%20Radio.mp3 … [Read more...]

Restoration of All Things

(This essay appears, with beautiful graphics, in the Provo Orem Word online at http://www.provooremword.org) In 2004, my colleague Lance Larsen and I found ourselves across the table from the novelist Marilynne Robinson who had agreed to an interview while visiting the campus of Brigham Young University. Her novel about her home in northern Idaho, Housekeeping, exemplifies as well as any novel I know how indispensable great art and a home landscape are to each other. Lance asked her about … [Read more...]