Enamel Trinitarianism

The church of St. Servatius in Siegburg, Germany has a treasure room full of medieval art and relics. Among the artifacts is a portable altar crafted around the year 1160 by the workshop of Eilbertus of Cologne. Eilbertus was a master craftsman of Romanesque metalwork and enamel decoration, a sturdy artistic medium which withstands the [Read More…]

On the Road with the Noonday Demon

There’s a great deal of gold to be found in the writings of early Christian monastic communities. I like to think of the Desert Fathers, who retreated to the barren places of Egypt in the third century, as spiritual sleuths investigating a brand new phenomenon – the Christian life. And in the course of their [Read More…]

A Mind Curved in on Itself

“So, what are you working on?” she might ask. This is how these grad school parties go. “Sin,” I would invariably reply—sometimes saying a bit more, to make the pill go down smooth. Other times I’d utter just the one word, knowing the potential for a good, awkward laugh. Though at one point I thought [Read More…]

Ashes and Life

This summer a neighbor of mine died. I had gotten to know Jim and his wife, Teresa, during the last ten years I’ve lived on their street. I had the privilege of offering a tribute at his memorial service. The service was unlike any I’d ever been part of because instead of burying his body, [Read More…]


We are all past, present, and future. While our lives may be bound in the present, what constitutes our “who” has come before, and will be. I am myself, my mother’s child, my child’s mother. The intricacy and interdependency of human lives and human relationships are as complex as time itself, and authors who manage [Read More…]

An Empty Wardrobe

I’ve made it a habit to avoid movies starring Johnny Depp. There are many things I can put up with in an actor, but that special Depp brand of unctuous sex appeal is not one of them. After one last shot with the first Pirates movie, I pulled the plug on Depp, that is, until [Read More…]

On Being the Local Church: A Musing

Last December I helped plant a new church in La Mirada – Anglican Church of the Epiphany (ACE). Not only did I help plant it but I am the pastor of the church too. Needless to say life has gotten quite busy in the last seven months. I have pastored churches in the past, during [Read More…]

No Suspense: Justice Scalia and Gay Marriage

My guess is that Antonin Scalia has newfound sympathy for Terry Lee Collins, that hapless anti-hero of the 2001 crime caper, Bandits. Chagrined at the predictable shenanigans of his co-conspirators, Terry carps, “You know the hardest thing about being smart? I always pretty much know what’s gonna happen next. There’s no suspense.” For the last [Read More…]

Schleiermacher was Wrong

As I celebrated the graduation of the Torrey Honors Institute class of 2013, I took some time to think back on significant times I had shared with them. I thought of the Christmas party at my house their freshman year and the camping trip their sophomore year, when we read the entire Divine Comedy around [Read More…]

“You Are Opening the Doors to Every Demon” (Barth circa 1935)

Around 1935, Karl Barth developed a style of speaking and writing that cut through a lot of atmospheric confusion and obfuscation. He found this new tone of voice for two reasons:  first, it was 1935, and the crisis in Germany was becoming impossible for the world to keep ignoring. As a (Swiss) professor teaching in Germany [Read More…]