The Hidden Life of Clare of Assisi

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The hidden life of Clare of Assisi (119-[something] to 1253) is forever bound to that of Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), though Clare was a force unto herself who cast her own light and left a unique echo. I have already written a book about Francis (A Mended and Broken Heart, 2008, Basic Books) and have now turned my thoughts to Clare--the medieval feminine expression of Francis' spiritual vision. She has a lot she can teach today's women because she was -- as Hillary Clinton recently … [Read more...]

Why We Need Julian Assange

Julian Assange at the center of the storm of our time

  Nancy. Ben. Suzanne. Carol. Chris. Larry. Jon. Aleesha. And Matt. These are the people I have spoken with on my Verizon phone in the past two weeks -- the last two being a representatives from Verizon. I called Aleesha, who referred me to Matt,  to try and determine if my phone number and its associated records was among the tens of millions that have been surveilled by court order by the National Security Agency (NSA). (Aleesha and Matt had no information about it and asked if I was … [Read more...]

Try a Little Madness ~ From Nonfiction to Fiction

I paint my characters: The sweet Honduran boy named 'Paco' he knew no other way to make his point than to use bad words. What is a writer to do?

I am the author of several nonfiction volumes and one novel. It was the latter, however, that tested my mettle, both as a writer and as a Christian. One of the reasons--perhaps the primary reason--writing true fiction is so difficult for people of faith is because you have to be part-insane to do it well. Creativity, whatever its form, comes to full flower only on the edge of insanity. That is scary for the writer or artist. What is one to do with the confluence of forces that seem stronger, … [Read more...]

Advice to Newlyweds from a (Divorced) Pastor’s Wife

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I have had the privilege and shared in the glory of seeing two of my beloved nieces (sisters) get married this past spring, their respective nuptials separated by 9 weeks. (I salute my sister who pulled off these weddings with grace, hilarity and originality.) My gift to them was a letter of "advice," written at length,  over a period of weeks, with much thought and prayer. At first I thought being divorced disqualified me from rendering such advice. When I said as much, one of my nieces … [Read more...]

May Lunatic(s) of the Month ~ The Gas Pump Singers

With apologies to the reader for posting this a day late: P & L Lunatic of the Month (May) is: The Gas Pump singers: Monifa and Will Sims for their hilarity, spontaneity, and demonstrating the indomitable human spirit … [Read more...]

The Weight of Mortality

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The jury in the trial of Jodi Arias could not come to a consensus about whether or not to sentence her to death for the brutal, rage-filled murder of her one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander. It was a sordid affair that ended in what jurors, in the verdict phase, determined was a calculated "especially cruel" ambush of Alexander. Arias stabbed Alexander repeatedly as he stood naked in the shower after the two had shared the bed. He died fighting for his life, incurring 27 stab wounds, until … [Read more...]

Why Benghazi Matters: Part 3 ~ An Open Letter to President Obama

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Dear Mr. President, I had intended to write you yesterday but felt tired. I am still tired, and becoming more so, even as I write you today. I can only imagine how tired you must be. First, let me say, I am not a registered Republican and I am troubled by your assumption that concerns about Benghazi arise only from “the Republicans.” Regardless of party affiliation, or lack thereof, I remain alarmed by what I see happening and not happening at the highest levels of government under … [Read more...]

Why Benghazi Matters: Part 2

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During the recent “whistleblower” hearings before the House Oversight Committee, information rendered by non-partisan, career diplmats (now referred to as "the Benghazi Whistle-Blowers"), Gregory N. Hicks, Deputy chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya; Mark I. Thompson, Counterterrorism Bureau Deputy Coordinator for Operations; and Eric Nordstrom, Libyan Regional Security Officer;  starkly contradicted the version of events presented and perpetuated by the State Department and the … [Read more...]

Why Benghazi Matters: Part 1

Ambassador Chris Stevens abandoned into the hands of his assailants

I am compelled to write about what happened in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. On that day radical Islamic elements mounted an orchestrated attack on the fledgling American Consulate there (the Embassy itself is located in Libya's capital, Tripoli) in which four Americans died: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, State Department information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Though eight months have passed since the incident, it remains unresolved. … [Read more...]

Kierkegaard’s Trial of Faith

Image Copyright © 2013 Benjamin Zoba. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

This week marks the bicentenary birthday of the Danish Christian philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard (May 5, 1813 to – November, 11 1855). He is well-known (among those who know of him at all) for such classic works as Fear and Trembling and Sickness Unto Death. He was an odd duck, but true in his faith. He wrestled with its most visceral implications and died prematurely, exhausted from the test. He was depressed. His unstable childhood prepared him ill for the greater challenges of "real … [Read more...]