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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [Read More…]

David Brooks on Friendship (and Its Benefits)

David Brooks had a great piece at the New York Times last weekend on the social and political benefits of friendship, and how to revive the lost art: Somebody recently asked me what I would do if I had $500 million to give away. My first thought was that I’d become a moderate version of the Koch [Read More…]

Speaking of classic literature . . .

The Book Haven blog has the writer Italo Calvino’s list of what makes a book a classic: 3.  The classics are books which exercise a particular influence, both when they imprint themselves on our imagination as unforgettable, and when they hide in the layers of memory disguised as the individual’s or the collective unconscious. 4.  [Read More…]

Henry James and the YA Debate

There’s plenty of talk these days about whether adults should be spending so much time – as they are – on young adult (or “YA”) novels, or if they need to be reading more weighty books. Over at The New Yorker, Christopher Beha explores what the nineteenth-century author Henry James has to do with all of [Read More…]

What Working With Editors Taught Me About Christ

As an editor, I work with writers – and as a writer, I work with editors, too. I get to see and experience both sides of the equation, and I know from personal experience both that it’s hard to find a good editor and it’s hard to be one. So I enjoyed this reflection on [Read More…]