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...]

Christian Book about the Holocaust Banned from Charter School? Probably Not.

Last week, a news story made the rounds about a charter school system banning Corrie ten Boom's classic memoir The Hiding Place from their libraries. It sounded like a prime example of persecution, even in a small way. But not so fast, says Alan Noble at Christ and Pop Culture - let's get the story straight: The sad thing here is the abuse that this charter school is getting online because of this “report.” Commenters are trolling the school’s Facebook page, calling down damnation upon them and … [Read More...]

A Tale of Two Political Dramas

Last week at Christianity Today, I wrote about political dramas (with special attention to Scandal and Madam Secretary), and what they teach us, and why it matters: It's important to note the bent of our political shows, because not only do they say interesting things about our national psyche, but they shape that psyche. They shape how we approach our engagement with politics. They shape our future as a society governed by the people. And they shape it far more tellingly than any speech or reas … [Read More...]

Learning to Love Your Job

Over at The High Calling today, Bob Smietana writes about learning to love your job, in a post apt for a Monday, and a couple who's managed to wed their love of music-making with their passion for social justice and bringing women out of prostitiution: Then there’s the sheer joy of making music, whether it is during a jam session in the living room or during a gig.“Music has been something that has enriched our lives far beyond the idea that I am going to get up and do something on stage and peo … [Read More...]

Anthology: the Power of Words

Over at The High Calling, Alia Joy has a lovely meditation on the power of words and stories: I can’t imagine living in a world where words couldn’t speak to me and rewrite my truth, and I suppose my dad couldn’t either. I don’t know what causes some souls to hunger and ache to know, but he surely did. He wanted to know, or maybe to be known. Don’t we all want that just a little bit? Don’t we all want to understand ourselves and to be understood? So, my dad found solace in books. He read himself … [Read More...]

And Speaking of Friendship . . .

Particularly situations in which friends can be made, as David Brooks wrote about in yesterday's post: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, does something very interesting along these lines - though a recent battle between the retailer and a major publisher is souring the relationship: Every fall, Mr. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, hosts Campfire, a literary weekend in Santa Fe, N.M. Dozens of well-known novelists have attended, but they do not talk about the abundance of high-end clothing and … [Read More...]


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