Why Hasn’t Disney Bought the Rights to Jon Sweeney’s New Book on Saint Francis of Assisi?


The book jacket of Jon Sweeney’s terrific (and very readable) book, The Saint Who Saved the Church, says that another of Sweeney’s books, The Pope Who Quit, was optioned by HBO. I’ve got to ask, Why hasn’t Disney bought the rights to Jon Sweeney’s new book, The Saint Who Saved the Church? Here’s why I ask.I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood, with signs of Saint Francis everywhere. There he stood, a child-sized cement statue with a tonsure (that’s a self-imposed bald spot) and a soap on a rop … [Read more...]

Jottings from Assisi on Jon Sweeney’s When Saint Francis Saved the Church


I read this book about St. Francis of Assisi all wrong.I should have read chapter five, Through Personal Poverty, in the Piazza del Vescovado, where St. Francis stripped himself naked and defiantly returned the clothes he had taken (read: stolen) from his father’s shop to distribute them to the poor. Instead, I read chapter five--on poverty--in the basilica of St. Francis, whose grandeur might have embarrassed him, according to Sweeney.I should have read chapter six, By Developing a New S … [Read more...]

Three Nuns

three nuns

Tucked into the second page of the Seattle Times under the heading, Newsline, and subheading, The World, I found this brief note. Nuns killed: Pope Francis on Monday led the Catholic Church’s mourning of three elderly Italian nuns, beheaded in Burundi following two separate attacks Sunday on the convent where they were serving as missionaries. Before we talk about these women, let's turn the page for a moment. I watched in horror over the past monthor two the saga of beheaded Americans, with a … [Read more...]

Ebola, Faith, and Friends of Ours


Yesterday, Anderson Cooper interviewed Nancy Writebol and her husband. Nancy is an American ebola survivor and a missionary, with her husband, in Africa. Her interview is moving--full of realism, compassion, and faith.This interview reminded me of another missionary couple--also with SIM--we've known for more than thirty years. I describe Steve and Mary Hawthorne on page 71 of Inspired: the Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith. I think you should know them, too, because they share a faith with N … [Read more...]

Mark Driscoll Needs a Prophet of His Own


For thirteen years, I've worked at a college that lies a stone's throw from Mars Hill Church, where Mark Driscoll holds court. Now that court is crumbling amidst charges of financial impropriety and abuse of power.Driscoll has said he's changing. No more social media. No more funneling funds to become a best-selling author. No more "angry young prophet.” More accountability to trusted friends.The first three suggestions are absolutely necessary. It's the fourth suggestion--more a … [Read more...]

Golden Boy


Last night was my turn in the food bank, along with Tara. It turned out to be a lovely summer evening, with a steady stream of homeless, mothers and sons, itinerant bike-riders, coming for their paper bags full of canned chili and corn flakes and macaroni and cheese. It was the sort of night that gave us time to chat. Sometimes, it’s so busy, you fill a bag and give a bag and fill another bag. Not last night. It was pleasant. We were comrades—bag-fillers and bag-takers alike—in the fight against … [Read more...]