February 26, 2021

Long ago, when people could gather together, in a friendly neighborhood place that could have doubled for “Cheers,” I wrote this poem. Read more

January 30, 2021

Being a hermit is hard. It was hard, as Merton’s story shows, even for a man who had vowed to devote his life to living in a religious enclosure, desired and felt called to find deeper intimacy with God in silence, and had the support of his superiors and colleagues and the affirmation of his belief system. Why should we assume it would be any easier for any of the rest of us? Especially since I think probably 95% of the people who have become hermits by virtue of COVID are not actually called to the eremitic life. I’m an introvert who has worked from home for almost a decade before COVID, and I am going stark raving bonkers over here. Read more

January 11, 2021

I wish I actually knew how to live a faithful political life in this earthly city without choosing the elite condescension of the Left or the unthinking obedience to national symbols of the Right. Read more

December 28, 2020

What we need, I think, is not a bifurcation between “real” and “online” life, but an awareness that all life is real life. Some kinds of real life are just more painful than others. Read more

December 6, 2020

This has not much to do with money or economics. It has something to do with vocation, and quite a lot to do with the common good. Read more

November 7, 2020

This is my childhood’s paradox: we had no fear that asking all the classic theological questions (why do bad things happen to good people? what was the world created for?) could lead to atheism. Our God was large enough for religious doubt. But being the sort of person who would fit in at a New York party? That was religious suicide. Read more

November 3, 2020

Most gestures are empty gestures. Voting might be a gesture. Read more

September 2, 2020

There is no logical, or sacramental, or doctrinal connection between the persistent dryer ball that unaccountably made its way into the Ash Wednesday service and the pandemic that somewhat more accountably made its way into our selves, our souls and bodies, our hearts and minds, our streets and stores, our restaurants and our theaters, and our churches. But there seems to be a metaphorical one. All these long months, I feel like I’ve had this lost dusty thing in my pocket. Read more

August 8, 2020

You couldn’t do any better if you had designed a virus precisely to take out all the things most constitutive of human community – live theatre, music-making, dining together, worship. Read more

August 1, 2020

There is nothing that could be calculated to make the exact subset of American citizens who are mad about having to wear a mask madder than being told they might be a source of contagion. Read more

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