On Simplifying

Early September is one of a handful of “new years” that many of us use to orient or mark time. The beginning of another academic year is experienced as a new beginning for many, particularly those with kids. January 1 is another, obviously. For Christians, the First Sunday of Advent would be yet another, as […]

Turn Out the Lights

So today I’m setting out into some unfamiliar territory. This summer will mark seven years in my present pastoral role, and my church has generously offered me a three-month sabbatical. I’ve seen friends and colleagues take sabbaticals over the years and always wondered what one of these actually looks and feels like. I’m about to […]

What if the Sky is Falling?

I received two pieces of rather severe correspondence before I poured my first coffee this morning. One was an online response to something I had written here that was picked up by another website. I had portrayed God as too merciful, I had ignored some of the more severe things Jesus said, I had failed […]

Songs Written On Leaves (Or, Lament for a Ludibrium)

I just came across one of the best inadvertent definitions of blogging that I’ve seen in over ten years in the game, and couldn’t resist sharing it. This is from the preface of David Bentley Hart’s new collection of essays, A Splendid Wickedness: The truth is that essays of this sort—composed sometimes in haste, always in connection […]

Wednesday Miscellany (On Words)

Can we use your post? Over the last week or so, I’ve received three emails from various publications asking permission to re-publish something I’ve written on this blog. These requests are the new normal in a publishing context where words are ubiquitous and cheap, where content is increasingly accessed rather than commissioned. There are so […]

If I’ve Told You Once, I’ve Told You a Thousand Times

You must not judge what I know by what I find words for. — John Ames (in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead) Given the heavy themes of recent posts, it occurred to me that perhaps we could use some lighter fare around here. I could, at any rate. And what better way to accomplish this goal than to compose […]

Thursday Miscellany

You know the drill, by now. “Miscellany” means fragmentary, unrelated mind scraps hastily assembled and lumped together for your reading, um, pleasure? —- I’ve talked to enough pastors over the years to know that I’m not unique in saying that I have some ambivalence toward the whole “visitation” thing. Some pastors are born for the task […]

Tuesday Miscellany

A few disconnected and thoroughly disjointed musings for a Tuesday afternoon… — Here in Canada, it’s the morning after a federal election. And, like the provincial election in Alberta back in May where the NDP party swept aside a Conservative party that had been in power for roughly forever years, the result was equally shocking. Gone is the […]

Questions and Answers

Among the more delightful and rewarding tasks of managing a blog is dealing with the blight upon digital existence that is spam. My blog platform’s spam settings are usually pretty reliable, but occasionally either a legitimate comment is labeled spam or something gets through that shouldn’t. The sheer volume of spam seems to have dramatically increased over the 7+ […]

On Oprah’s Tea and Other Flood-Worthy Inanities

I was sitting in a local Starbucks this afternoon when I saw the most absurd thing in the history of humankind: a big glossy advertisement for a product called an “Oprah Chai Tea Latte.” Alongside pictures of what I can only imagine must be very tasty delights indeed (iced or hot) was a (larger) picture […]

All That Life Threatens to Steal

I read an article this week about the death of handwriting and how a whole generation of kids will grow up with bad to nonexistent penmanship skills due to the proliferation of technological devices that they master before their tenth birthday. I read another one about how we retain far more of what we write […]