The Sanctity of the Airport

  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… Read more

Unceremoniously Insulted

I have been working these past weeks on a Bible study guide (details forthcoming) and it has been a helpful and vexing exercise. It is difficult to assume the position of spiritual guide (being the author) when you are afflicted with uncertainties of your own and contending with common struggles that have been known to men and women throughout all time. Inevitably, I would be put to the test regarding whatever virtue I was exploring at that point. For example,… Read more

The Hidden Life of Clare of Assisi

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… Read more

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

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… Read more

In This Season of Weddings, Remember the Divorced

Ah, Spring ~ the season that inevitably, and rightly, hails a punishing schedule of weddings. The season of wedding bells begins with the earth’s pivot at the vernal equinox and does not relent until we turn the clocks back in the fall. It is a glorious explosion of happiness.  I feel grateful to see so many young people I love and admire sally forth withal in nuptial optimism. Even so, let us remember the divorced people. Weddings are bruising for… Read more

5 Timely Lessons from the Saint of Writers and Pilgrims

Many of you are aware that I am a beloved devotee of St. Francis of Assisi and in fact have written a book about him. There is another “St. Francis,” however, who often gets overshadowed by his wildly popular predecessor. I mean St. Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622), a French bishop whose views about “holy imagination” have benefitted those in the literary trade who also happen to possess spiritual sensibilities. (He has been deemed “The Patron Saint of Writers.”)… Read more

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