From the Hand of the Sculptor: Gib Singleton

An art form that has captured my interest in recent years is sculpture.  There is something about the ability to craft a freestanding, three-dimensional object out of raw material that fascinates me. Any piece of art is, no doubt, born of the ability to imagine another world, but to nurture something that occupies our own space in height, breadth, and depth is born of a very specific genius. I am also struck by the hands-on nature of it all.  Unlike… Read more

Washington “National” Cathedral

I love it. It’s a great space. I worked there for three years.  We shouldn’t be spending federal money to repair it. But according to the Los Angeles Times, Mayor Vincent Gray is seeking 15 million dollars in Federal Emergency Management funds to help the Cathedral make the repairs needed after an earthquake rocked the limestone perched high above our nation’s capitol. Why not? One: the separation of church and state Far too many interpret the freedom we allow for… Read more

At Rest in the Sanctuary of the Soul

My thanks to the folks at Patheos for an invitation to participate in an on-line roundtable devoted to Richard Foster’s Sanctuary of the Soul.  Foster issues a fresh invitation to journey into God through meditative prayer. Exploring the way in which Scripture, icons, silence, and other practices can serve us on that journey, Foster succeeds in teaching us to pray without losing sight of the real invitation: a life of intimacy with God in Christ.  The post that follows is… Read more

Sing a New Song

I have the privilege of serving this year as chaplain to the Dallas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.  I gave the brief homily that appears below at the opening convocation.  I have posted it here, for whatever value it may be to organists, other musicians, vocalists, and those who simply love music.  Psalm 96 Worship in the Splendor of Holiness Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his… Read more

9/11: A Loss of Innocence?

Reflecting on the events of 9/11, one veteran journalist called the events of that day “a loss of innocence.”  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the primary connotations of the word innocence (from the Latin, innocentia) are: 1. Freedom from sin, guilt, or moral wrong in general; the state of being untainted with, or unacquainted with, evil; moral purity. 2. Freedom from specific guilt; the fact of not being guilty of that with which one is charged; guiltlessness. 3. Freedom… Read more

How is it with your soul?

This week marked the beginning of a new academic year.  As in years past, I have spent a few days describing the nature of our spiritual formation program to new students. Over a decade ago the program looked very different from the one we have today.  We relied on outside facilitators.  The student experience varied greatly.  And oversight for the program was assigned to someone whose primary responsibilities lay elsewhere.  The program was also required for certain degree programs, but… Read more

The “Life in the Real World” Excuse

I work in both churches and the academy.  And, from time to time, people will preface their response to something I’ve said with the words, “Well, if you worked in the real world…” Frankly, all those comments demonstrate is how little people know about the church and the academy, where (as the saying goes) “the politics are so dirty because the stakes are so small.”  Both institutions could really afford to be a little less real, if by “real” what… Read more

Sleaze, Slant, and Assassination

The New York Times can’t stop reporting on “The News of the World” debacle.  They run two or more “news” articles a day and throw in an editorial — just in case the editorializing isn’t finished.  They devoted only one article to the work of American Bridge and stuck to “just the facts.” Aaron Fielding quietly stalks his prey — Republicans — with his video camera, patiently waiting for a political moment worthy of YouTube.  At 27, he is a full-time… Read more

Signs and Wonders

Nothing I said in What God Wants for your Life got me into more trouble than the chapter on signs and wonders: Don’t you believe in miracles? Don’t you believe that God is active in the world? Don’t you believe in the power of prayer Yes…but I don’t believe that signs and wonders are necessarily indicative of the will of God.  Sometimes the exceptional is just exceptional. For example: I made a major move in employment some years ago —… Read more

The Casey Anthony Trial

News of the Casey Anthony trial has been hard to avoid.  Every major news outlet has devoted space to it. The BBC World News Service ran an article just moments following the verdict in an effort to account for the reasons this trial had received so much attention.  In summary, here are the reasons offered by Washington correspondent Tom Geoghegan: One, given the elements of the story it was too big to ignore. Two, the story had “’cultural equity.’”  Once… Read more