Conversations with Consequences

Conversations with consequences. A few weeks ago I was staying up on Lookout Mountain, a rangy ridge that runs through the southeast, bordering Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. For fifty years the northern tip, looking over Chattanooga, has been the home to Covenant College, a liberal arts school brought into being by Presbyterians, Scottish Calvinists with a longing for a college reflecting their deepest hopes for the next generation. In the late 1960s Francis Schaeffer began to be read by a generation… Read more

A Common Calling

“We don’t fall in love and then get married; instead we get married and then learn what love requires.” For most of my life I have been thinking about “what love requires,” and specially so in light of my marriage to Meg. What is plain to me is that a long-loved love requires a common calling. Not of course that husband and wife spend life together every day in every way. A vocation of heart and mind is not the… Read more

The Way We See, and Why

“When we describe, we do so as active agents whose intentions and moral character pervade our descriptions.” So wrote Greg Jones in Transformed Judgment: Toward a Trinitarian Account of the Moral Life. For some years now I have thought about his insight into the human heart, into the way we see, and the why of the way we see. On September 15th I spoke about seeing to the annual Physicians Prayer Breakfast, a gathering of doctors of all sorts, who come together from throughout Fairfax… Read more

Our Questions, Our Callings, Our Committments

It was a Donegal year.Before 1972 I’m sure that I never heard the name, but before the year was out, I had seen a Donegal in Pennsylvania, and another on the western coast of Ireland. Very different places, but the first an echo of the second, clearly a way for the Irish immigrants who made their way to Penn’s woods to remember who they were and where they had come from. That summer I lived in Pittsburgh, my first ever try at… Read more

The Stories We Live By

Most of yesterday I found myself living within the world of William Wilberforce, which has been a habit of my heart for a long time. Simply said, I have chosen to think about life in light of his hopes, his commitments, his longings— and plan to keep at that until I can’t. in the morning I met with my neighbors and friends, Todd Deatherage and Mark Rodgers. Years ago we chose to live by the credo of the Clapham community of Wilberforce… Read more

A Prayer for Labor Day

A prayer for labor, for the loves and the longings woven into the very work of our work. “O Lord and Maker of all things, from whose creative power the first light came forth, who looked upon the world’s first morning and saw that it was good, I praise you now for this light that streams through my windows to rouse me to another day. I praise you for the life that stirs within me, I praise you for the… Read more

Head and Heart and Hands

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” From C.S. Lewis in “The Abolition of Man,” his only truly public square monograph, in which he critiqued the loss of humanness in the progressive educational reforms of Britain in the 1940s. In… Read more

Remarkable Joy, Remarkable Sadness

Sadness and joy.  Sometimes we read something, and it simply jumps off of the page. Most of 20 years ago I began reading the Lenten meditations of N.T. Wright, and these words caught my heart.  “We discover that the story of Jesus’ ministry is not only the story of what he did in history, but encompasses also the vocation that comes to us in the present: that we should be, in the power of the Spirit, the presence of Jesus… Read more

Longing for Something More

Some evenings simply mean more.  Like one from a few weeks ago when Meg and I had dinner on Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. We were there for the Kindlingsfest, a wonderful hope that has become incarnate over eight years, celebrating imagination, intellect, and faith among a remarkably diverse group of people from all over the U.S. and Canada.  Yes, there were poets and painters, singers and songwriters, novelists and playwrights, but… Read more

Over the Shoulder, Through the Heart

Over the shoulder, through the heart.  For most of my life I have thought about the ways we learn, about the ways we are formed as human beings, our habits of heart shaping who we are, and who we are shaping what we do. This past weekend I watched this very closely, drawn in as I was to the visions and hopes of four friends, artists each one. For years I have known Charlie Peacock, Mako Fujimura, Bruce Herman and Cam… Read more

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