Blog

April 19, 2020

Go Tell Them How Much I Love Them

Go tell them how much I love them. Being quarantined, locked in, sheltering in place can have consequences. Fears that we can risk only brief trips outside the safety of our homes, and then do so only when gloved and masked might shake us up enough to erode certainties. Dread of infection and death make our vulnerabilities painfully present each time we look up the rising number of cases in our county. All of these can coalesce and tear away our carefully constructed images of our world and ourselves. Maybe. If you talk with writers about the primary source of […]
April 12, 2020

The Immensity of Sin-His Real Suffering

The Immensity of Sin- His Real Suffering It is impossible to look upon the image of this tortured, disfigured image of the Messiah- the Son of God- without grimacing, blinking, wanting to gaze anywhere but at that. At the visual reenactment of His Passion, we are sickened and horrified. So much so that many of us have removed it from our crosses, altars and churches. This is too depressing, we should focus on his resurrection, we tell ourselves. Even St. Paul tells us that if he had not risen…then our faith is in vain. Conveniently overlooking St. Paul’s single refrain, […]
April 5, 2020

Fear And Faith Intertwine

Fear and faith Intertwine. The two seem to coexist.  Even before His birth, Jesus galvanized anxiety- in His virginal mother and just and righteous adoptive father. The decision of God the Father to send the Word- His Son- in that way and precise manner consumes lifetimes of reflection. And still we barely scratch the surface. Many of the things that are happening today would never have happened if we had been living in that longing, that disquiet of heart which comes when we are faced with God, and when we look clearly at things as they really are. If we […]
March 29, 2020

Tertullian and our dog Seymour

Tertullian and our dog Seymour Tertullian and our Dog Seymour All the angels pray. Every creature prays. Cattle and wild beasts pray and bend the knee. As they come from their barns and caves they look up to heaven and call out, lifting up their spirit in their own fashion. The birds too rise and lift themselves up to heaven: they open out their wings, instead of hands, in the form of a cross and give voice to what seems to be a prayer. What more need be said on the duty of prayer? Even the Lord himself prayed. To […]
March 22, 2020

Conversions: Is Coronavirus An Opportunity?

Conversions: Is Coronavirus an opportunity? Huh? This statement may evoke eye-rolls, grimaces or frowns and maybe whole-hearted agreement with a long ago friend, an infectious disease doc, appropriately enough, who wryly commented during a conversation about the problems in the TMC hospital where we both worked: “Lin, you could be standing in a pile of horse s#%#t and find something good to say about it.” Dr. Terry Satterwhite is a native of North Carolina and despite several decades of working in infectious disease at the medical school in Houston, maintained his distinctive North Carolina twang. When relaxed, as he was […]
March 15, 2020

Knowledge: The More The Better, Right?

Knowledge: The More the Better, Right? It’s a simple question. Until you think about yesterday…and this last week. And all that you now know about the state of the world, spread of the new virus and standings of your favorite candidate in the Democratic primaries. Maybe you are no longer sure that more knowledge and more learning are always good and useful. In fact, perhaps you are becoming aware of the need to manage knowledge. Strange phrase isn’t it? More on that in just a bit. Like many of us insatiably curious humans, knowledge-wisdom- was something I pursued with a […]
March 8, 2020

Buck plus Harrison Ford- What else is necessary?

Remember Jack London’s The Call of the Wild? Most of us read it in junior high or somewhere around there. And many of us can recall vividly the tears evoked by London’s lyrically, evocative prose from his 1903 novel, The Call of the Wild: “With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of […]
March 1, 2020

My Name is Saul is Done!

My Name of Saul is done Finally, your first or maybe fifth book is done. All that work, concentration and discipline over, done! For a time we feel exhilaration, relief and pride. But only for a while. Maybe it will be weeks, days or merely hours but inevitably, we’ll hear that voice, “Now what? It’s Done, Now What? I wrote those words four years ago. And smile as I read them again because this time those lovely feelings of relief and exhilaration came and went so quickly that I barely knew they were there. True because of the challenges looming […]
February 23, 2020
why this useless murmuring?

Belief is Not Enough: The Awful Power and Weakness of God

Belief is not enough: the awful power and weakness of God. “This commandment, that we should love our enemies and forgo revenge will grow even more urgent in the holy struggle which lies before us and in which we partly have already been engaged for years. In it love and hate engage in mortal combat. It is the urgent duty of every Christian soul to prepare itself for it. The time is coming when the confession of the living God will incur not only the hatred and the fury of the world, for on the whole it has come to […]
February 16, 2020

Only Those Who Obey Can Believe-The Cost of Discipleship

Only those who obey can believe. After completing Eric Metaxas’ splendid biography of the German founder of the German Confessing Church, Spy and Martyr, Bonhoeffer, I needed to understand more about this man who understood Christianity in a way that few of us do. To do so, I bought and read Bonheffer’s, book, The Cost of Discipleship. Since writing almost always helps me better understand complicated questions-like these of faith- I wrote an article called Cheap Grace vs Costly Grace several years ago. And thought I had understood this brief, dense book which was written during the shockingly few years […]
February 9, 2020

Taming Our Mammoth- Or Finding Our Authentic Selves

Taming your mammoth…or finding our authentic selves Months ago, when I first read Tim Urban’s funny and whimsically illustrated article, Taming the Mammoth, I was so intrigued by the illustrations and lighthearted banter in his quirky waitbutwhy.com website, that I decided to do a post on his essay. Thus the super cute image of the caveman taming his mammoth. Keeping it for a time when I needed content… like now. Here is Urban’s list of the primary obstacles implicit in finding our authentic selves: Our desire to conform, belong and follow was once an evolutionary adaptation in a culture requiring […]
February 2, 2020

Do You Mind if I Boast About I, Claudia?

Do You Mind if I boast about I, Claudia? Late last February, Amy Lignor of Feathered Quill wrote this in her review of I, Claudia: For anyone looking for one of those easy, cozy reads, this is not it. For someone who is looking for a fantastic plot of the ancient world filled with suspense, romance, and history, this is definitely the book you want. Not only is this a well-researched book that allows the reader to actually feel as if they are walking the streets in Judea and living within this realm, it’s also a book that does not […]
January 26, 2020

How Is Your Heart Doing?

Muslim cultures have an intriguing way of greeting one another: How is your heart doing? The English translation to the Persian greeting, “Hello, how are you?” is “How is your heart doing at this very moment? At this very breath?” Head of Islamic Studies Omad Safi suggests that is what we mean when we say “How are you?” We mean to ask, “How is your heart?” I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. […]
January 19, 2020

The Golden Globes and The New/Old War

It’s been two weeks and yet I am still thinking about Sunday evening’s Golden Globes and the New/Old War. Because I wanted to see the winner of the Best Picture, I turned it on in time to watch Ellen DeGeneres speak about receiving the Carol Burnett award. The award was created last year by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association last year to celebrate “outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen…in celebration of the medium’s ” Golden Age.” The comedienne was understandably overjoyed at the kudos: “From her sitcoms, to stand-up, to becoming a household staple on daytime television, […]
January 12, 2020

Stability

Stability: It’s an interesting noun- the meaning of which became radically different for me once I became a Benedictine Oblate. Many lifetimes ago, I used it to refer to critically ill patients, but as as an  adverb upon naming all the physiologic parameters used to measure the cardiac and pulmonary status of patients, “He’s been stable for the last hour…”. I encountered it anew as a Benedictine Oblate: stability is one of the three promises an Oblate makes upon making her oblation. Stability of Heart – This promise expresses the oblate’s commitment to a particular monastic community. Stability of heart reaffirms […]
January 5, 2020

Stillness Is the Key- Reflections on Ryan Holiday’s Book

Stillness Is The Key is the title of an excellent book by Ryan Holiday. This quote is an example of the deceptively simple wisdom contained in it: The world is like muddy water. To see through it, we have to let things settle. We can’t be disturbed by initial appearances, and if we are patient and still, the truth will be revealed to us. Holiday, Ryan. Stillness Is the Key (p. 47). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. I say deceptively simple because the author’s words sound almost banal…if we are patient and still…the too simple words make it sound easily […]
December 29, 2019

Wonder: It’s Essential Place in Our Hearts

Wonder: It’s essential place in our hearts There was a time when I had this memorized, the words represented truth to my 20 something atheist’s heart, immersed and lost in the sea of the thoughts of others. Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. […]
December 22, 2019

She Was Found With Child

Mary was found with child Now the generation of Christ was in this way. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of […]
December 15, 2019

What Should We Do?

“What should we do? John the Baptist said to them in reply,“Whoever has two cloaksshould share with the person who has none.And whoever has food should do likewise…. Now the people were filled with expectation,and all were asking in their heartswhether John might be the Christ.John answered them all, saying,“I am baptizing you with water,but one mightier than I is coming…” Discriminating among all the conflicting voices clamoring in our ears and competing for our attention is almost impossible. Politicians and newscasters claim unique access to the truth while expressing opinions which sound distressingly similar to one another. In an […]
December 8, 2019

The Shaking Reality of Advent

The shaking reality of Advent Amidst the Hallmark Christmas movies, red bows, tinsel, parties, Christmas music and ubiquitous political clamor, lurks a presence. A whisper deep in our hearts, in our psyches and in our souls. The phrase “the shaking reality of Advent” is not mine, but belongs to Jesuit Priest and martyr, Alfred Delp. A man who chose not to close his eyes to the growing evil around him, Father Delp was the Rector of St. Georg Church in Munich and an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime. Falsely accused of conspiring against Hitler, Fr. Delp was arrested in […]
December 1, 2019

The Civil War and Thanksgiving

The Civil War and Thanksgiving The history of this quintessentially American holiday provokes and challenges each year when I take time to ponder this oxymoron: The civil war and thanksgiving. Can anyone think of a less opportune time to declare a national holiday than in the middle of a war? Specifically a war between Americans? A war with twice the number of total US deaths than in the Vietnam war? Over 40% of the population? And yet, that is precisely what President Abraham Lincoln did. His words are sobering, even awe inspiring: October 3, 1863 By the President of the […]
April 7, 2015

McFarland USA: An Allegory for Our Lives

It’s been a week since I saw McFarland, USA but still within the first five minutes of talking with friends, I find myself exhorting him or her to see this movie. The film is an allegory for our lives, here is why: 
May 8, 2015

Fighting Adam- A 21st Century Look

In the preface to his new book, The Road to Character, author David Brooks states that he wrote this book in order ‘to save his soul.’ Now that is a phrase that one seldom reads from the pen of a New York Times journalist or any other writers for that matter in this media saturated ocean we swim in. It got my attention. Employing the Genesis account employed in a 1965 book called The Lonely Man of Faith, Brooks writes of  Adam 1 as the man who wants to conquer the world versus Adam 11 who wishes to serve the […]
August 4, 2015

Thinking About Thinking

As a recovering bibliophile, I made a promise to myself to read each of the books purchased in the last decade or two and am now making my way through After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre. Despite the density of the philosopher’s prose, reading this book is bringing me back to a place I once knew well: thinking about thinking.  I use the phrase not as sophistry but to go back to the years when we wondered just what is this life really about-my life, your children? And why do you and I think the way we do? Believe and decide what […]
September 21, 2015

The War Room

Prayer as war: the correlation of combat with happiness has long been one which applies to my life. Therefore, a movie about prayer and war was one I knew I wanted to see when my sister Lee told me about it. Fitting,  because the spiritual life  is fundamentally a battle. While in southern California a couple of days ago, I saw that the new movie, War Room, was playing and talked my husband John into going. Despite heavy competition like Johnny Depp’s new movie, we saw War Room Friday night before heading back home on Saturday. Immediately, I was reminded […]