Thoughts on Lent 8: Read Well, and with a Notebook

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By Wendy MurrayI write in notebooks meaningful passages from books I read. I have volumes of these notebooks that include passages from the works of large-souled thinkers and dreamers, including George MacDonald, Thomas Merton, Albert Camus, Frederick Buechner, Annie Dillard, Isak Dinesen, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Donne, William Shakespeare, Francis de Sales, Henri Nouwen, James Merrill, G. K. Chesterton, St. Augustine, Anthony Trollope, William Maxwell, Willa Cather, E. M. Forester, Graham … [Read more...]

Remembering Mister Rogers and the Light He Left

Mister Rogers

By Wendy MurrayFred "Mister" Rogers died on this day 11 years ago. I interviewed Fred "Mister" Rogers in October 1999 for a cover story in Christianity Today (March 2000).  The assignment proved a highlight in my career. And, as time would have it, it was the last major feature article written about Fred Rogers before he died in February 2003, 10 years ago last month. It was also the only feature article to peek into the spiritual side of the Neighborhood, to explore the belief system of … [Read more...]

When a Poet Dies the Music Stops; When An Irish Poet Dies the Music Flies

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Irish poet, Seamus Heaney -- esteemed, brilliant, humble, plaintive and true -- crossed o`er the hoary sea today. He died at 74 in Dublin after a brief illness. He was known for many poems; he won the Noble prize in literature and has been globally recognized as Ireland’s greatest poet since William Butler Yeats.Michael Longley, a Belfast poet and close friend of Heaney, recalled chatting with Heaney over whiskey and beer earlier this month at a western Irish literary festival: "He was a w … [Read more...]

The Sanctity of the Airport

PrioritySeating

 Only in an airport are human beings compatriots in a netherworld of suspension, neither here nor there. They are on the way. An airport is the in-between space where an eccentric confluence of human specimens are reduced to a common ilk, though traveling methodologies could not be more diverse. I stood in a check-in line recently behind a large woman in a kaleidoscope sarong, her hair braided tightly and effusively about her crown, with painted fingernails grown so long they curled … [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...]

For Suffering: A Prayer

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For Suffering May you be blessed in the holy names of those Who, without you knowing it, Help to carry and lighten your pain. May you know serenity When you are called To enter the house of suffering. May a window of light always surprise you. May you be granted the wisdom To avoid false resistance; When suffering knocks on the door of your life, May you glimpse its eventual gifts. May you be able to receive the fruits of suffering. May memory bless and protect you With the … [Read more...]


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