What to Eat for Lunch

And for fun, on a Friday, so you can determine now to make good choices next week: you probably already know that what you eat for lunch affects your productivity the rest of the day. So what should you eat for lunch? The Harvard Business Review has answers: Unhealthy lunch options also tend to be cheaper and faster than healthy alternatives, making them all the more alluring in the middle of a busy workday. They feel efficient. Which is where our lunchtime decisions lead us astray. We save 10 m … [Read More...]

Watching Well: Developing the Intellectual Virtue of Curiosity

I'm writing a series of articles for the "Reel Spirituality" project at Fuller Seminary's Brehm Center, and the first one was published last week. In it, I explored how and why we might develop the intellectual virtue of curiosity through watching TV and movies: That is, I believe that being good watchers— that developing good habits in watching movies and TV shows—can form us into more virtuous people in general. In particular, I'm starting to understand how we can develop some of the cha … [Read More...]

Dear Siri

In the New York Times this past weekend was the touching story of a boy with autism whose best friend became Siri (the automated "assistant" built into Apple's iPhone): Gus is hardly alone in his Siri love. For children like Gus who love to chatter but don’t quite understand the rules of the game, Siri is a nonjudgmental friend and teacher. Nicole Colbert, whose son, Sam, is in my son’s class at LearningSpring, a (lifesaving) school for autistic children in Manhattan, said: “My son loves gettin … [Read More...]

Living the Good Life: Rowan Williams on Marilynne Robinson

This was an exciting week for book lovers, as Marilynne Robinson's latest novel, Lila, was released to much acclaim - even from people who weren't huge fans of her previous novels: the National Book Award-winning Housekeeping or the Pulitzer-winning Gilead and its follow-up, Home.In the New Statesman, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wrote about Robinson's fiction, and how it is not just a collection of stories set in Christian America but a political and ethical proje … [Read More...]

Your Work Is Not as Important as You Want It To Be

At The High Calling, Marcus Goodyear reviews Called, the new book by Fuller Seminary president Mark Labberton. Your work, he proposes, is not as important as you want it to be (and that's good): This little book calls the entire faith and work movement to task, reminding Christians to focus on the First Thing. My career, my success, and my productivity are not elements of my primary calling. A Christian's calling is not a personal one, but a shared calling with other Christians to something v … [Read More...]

Ordinary Mornings

At Art House America, a beautiful reflection on ordinary mornings from Allison Gaskins: The coffee pot steams and hisses at me like a surly teenager. Is this an early morning rebuke or a salute of some kind? Tentatively I suss my emotions: is the nagging fear there today? Does dread rest heavy on my shoulders yet? Shake them, shrug it off, don’t give it a resting place today. Do I feel that nameless weight and sense the clouds moving in? Not yet. I am momentarily weightless standing here in th … [Read More...]

Is Your Ambition Holding You Back?

At 99U, they're asking if your ambition - contrary to intuition - could be holding you back: Most of us aren’t short on ambition. We all want more wealth, more success, more accolades, more everything. The ones that succeed in life and in business are the ones that have figured out how to deal with their ambition, harnessing it for good rather than letting it lead to jealousy or inertia. The reality is that there’s only so many hours in a day, and more importantly, so many hours that our bodies … [Read More...]

Saint Fred

Who doesn't love, and miss, Mr. Rogers? At The Curator, Vesper Stamper writes about the beloved show and its creator: Booking flights to Europe—does anyone have any SAS Airlines horror stories? The Waldorf educational philosophy pinpoints the end of a “fantasy worldview” right at about age six or seven, which is why, in that model, formal education in didactic subjects like reading are only hinted at until after this “awakening” has taken place. We find this line between “real” and “imagined” to … [Read More...]

The Habit of Dinner

At The High Calling, Kimberlee Conway Ireton wrote about the habit of dinner-making - and the gift of that habit: I have been making dinner for my family since I was ten years old, only back then I made it for my sister and my parents, and now I make it for my husband and our kids. Thirty years of daily dinner-making is 11,000 meals. Sometimes, the dailiness of this habit feels like a burden, or even a curse—the way the quotidian often does. Some days, I think I will scream if I have to do it a … [Read More...]

The Tiresome Gift

Over at Relief, I wrote about Augustine's Confessions and Christian Wiman's My Bright Abyss, and small gifts: It’s beautiful, then, that two books by two men from opposite ends of history can speak to one another, and to us, so well, in so many ways. Wiman’s book, despite its subtitle, seems sometimes ancient; Augustine’s feels intriguingly modern. One way they talk to their readers is this: we spend much time delighting in “the little things” these days. Cooking and design blogs and accessible … [Read More...]

Elevating Dinner for One

I read Tamar Adler's lovely book An Everlasting Meal in graduate school, and I still return to it, so I was delighted to discover that she's now writing a column for the New York Times. In her first essay, she writes about elevating dinner for one: For a happy life, Montaigne wrote, we “should set aside a room, just for ourselves, at the back of the shop” — a refuge, mental if not physical, where our liberty is ours alone and our conversation inward. I like to think he meant us to include a care … [Read More...]

Just Slap Something On It

The Paris Review blog has a wonderful, tiny little excerpt from Vincent Van Gogh's letters about what to do when the blank canvas (or page or whatever) is staring back at you menacingly: Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility. You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselv … [Read More...]

Vocational Liturgies

Over at The High Calling, James K.A. Smith explores what it might mean to develop rituals that help us better pursue God in our vocations: If we want to pursue God in our vocations, we need to immerse ourselves in rituals and rhythms and practices whereby the love of God seeps into our very character—is woven into, not just how we think, but who we are. This is one of the reasons why worship is not some escape from “the work week.” To the contrary, our worship rituals train our hearts and aim o … [Read More...]

Living My Family’s Legacy

At Good Letters, Caroline Langston writes about what we inherit from our fathers and their fathers: The sins of the fathers may indeed be visited upon the children, and upon the children’s children, until the third and the fourth generation, but there is more to inherit than that. My grandmother, Irene, whom I grew up calling “Big Mama” was born 1902 on Dunbarton Plantation (or was it Stonewall?) in Holmes County, Mississippi, the eldest of eight daughters of a not-rich cotton planter—whom, I h … [Read More...]

Repairing the World

A lovely, deep essay from Steve Garber over at Art House America on repairing the world: But I also remembered one very snowy night in December some years ago with a houseful of friends there for his annual Sanacostia party when a group of guys with masks came in with guns in their hands and violence in their hearts. Hearing the worst words that anyone should ever hear, David’s and his friends’ lives were threatened, and their belongings were stolen. No one left that night feeling very merry abo … [Read More...]


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