“We’re All Bastards.”

It was the middle of the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings. My dearest friend in the world had taken me and some guys to see Will Campbell, in his writing cabin in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. We drove down to Campbell’s favorite barbeque pit, a cement block 12 x 18 building with four tables and no customers. [Read More…]


Pentecost was yesterday. My favorite Christian holy day. While it’s not the shiniest, or the loudest, or even the most significant (some would say) theologically, it’s still my favorite. Pentecost has great elements: fire, heat, light, freedom, wind, caring, and preaching. But best of all, Pentecost has the Holy Spirit.   [Read more…]

Mothers Deserve A Break

Mother’s Day has just passed. Families around the United States gave their mothers flowers, beautiful handmade cards, and breakfast in bed. You know what else they gave mothers? Primary responsibility for their children, including financial and caregiving responsibilities. You know what they didn’t give mothers? They didn’t give them access to affordable childcare, extra family [Read More…]

There Are No Enemies

I’ve just read the amazing story of Martha Mullen, who arranged for the body of the elder Boston bomber brother’s body to be buried in Doswell, Virginia. It’s a courageous act, after all the controversy that burying Tamerlan Tsarnaev has created. [Read more…]

Coming Up For Air – New Book, New Job, More Writing.

It’s been a while since I blogged. So I thought I’d do a quick update to catch you up on the goings-on in my life. [Read more…]

Ashamed No More: A Review

The essence of bravery is being without self-deception. However, it’s not so easy to take a straight look at what we do. Seeing ourselves clearly is initially uncomfortable and embarrassing. As we train in clarity and steadfastness, we see things we’d prefer to deny—judgmentalness, pettiness, arrogance. These are not sins but temporary and workable habits [Read More…]

Home Again

Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. Son, son, you have been mad and drunken, furious and wild, filled with hatred and despair, and all the dark confusions of the soul – but so have we. You found the earth too great for your [Read More…]

Rape Babies Are a Gift from God

I know. It’s a terribly tasteless title. But I’ve laughed all week at a comment posted at the LATimes on one of the first articles about Todd Akin. The commenter wrote, “‘Rape Babies are a gift from God. —I’m Todd Akin, and I approved this message.” But the message is so much more deep than [Read More…]

Elvis Is Dead

…And I don’t feel so good myself, as the late great Lewis Grizzard said. In 1977, on August 16, I was living in Memphis, Tennessee. It was the summer before 4th grade. We lived in a small townhouse that we couldn’t afford to heat in the winter, but it was the summer. I remember the [Read More…]

Constrained By Your Own Parameters

Betsy Carter writes: It’s easy to feel constrained by your own parameters. You look at your parents and the house in which you grew up and think, that’s it: These are the things that define my life, why bother to try and break out of them. As I look at my life, today, I’m identifying [Read More…]