27 Mar 2015

Why?

Oh, the questions we ask you, Begetter of the universe… You, who spun waves and particles into golden light, we question if your hands are big enough to hold us. You, who breathed life into our spirits and our dusty frames, we pause to ask if you care about us. You, whose finger carved words into the dirt, we ask if you care enough to write our stories, to show us what you want from

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25 Mar 2015

When Aslan Isn’t Moving

As I look out my window, the ground is brown with hints of green breaking through. Without doubt, spring is arriving. Aslan is most definitely on the move. Highlighting the changing seasons is the fact that, a couple weeks ago, this same view was a sheet of white.  And it’s this sheet of white that’s intriguing to me. You see, across the road is a tree farm. The owners apparently operate under the philosophy of

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17 Mar 2015

“Call me, Maebe,” or, The Gospel for a Dying Dog

Exhaustion is the best word for it, I think. For several days, I’d been up day and night, sleeping no more than a couple hours at a time, watching over the stray seven-week-old puppy my wife found wandering the Indian Health clinic’s parking lot. The pup was what we call a “rez dog,” one of the innumerable feral mutts that rove the town of Warm Springs, the center of the reservation of the same name.

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13 Mar 2015

Even in the Valley the Stars Still Shine

Deep red light streaked across my kitchen panes yesterday morning. In the fog of sleepiness I thought of the line, “Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning,” then rolled over for a little more precious slumber. When evening came, I honestly have no idea what colour the sky was… I only knew that the red dawn was followed by an evening call. “She’s gone.” Words I had been anticipating for a week. Words I

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03 Mar 2015

Freedom

Freedom, I’m told, is the absence of tyranny. I realized one day that everybody’s got an idea of the kind of freedom they ought to have, mostly inaccurate. History and human nature proves that humans have a strange habit of running straight to tyranny at the least provocation. It’s because we’re mixed up about freedom.  Without comprehending tyranny in its worst form, no one will cling to real freedom. Real freedom isn’t doing whatever we

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27 Feb 2015

The Hidden Drama of Late Winter

For years I’ve dreaded February as one of the hardest months of the year. Maybe it’s because Christmas cheer is by now a distant fog, or because the weather acts like a hard-bitten old man. Maybe it’s because of inner maladies—winter blues and the like. February was my personal season of spiritual crisis for some time. I recently learned that early February is part of the liturgical season of Epiphany. Not having grown up paying

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25 Feb 2015

Waterfall Moments

They say a waterfall is created when the softer under-rock erodes faster than the upper layer. As the soft rock is swept away, the hard rock is left unsupported. Eventually, it falls under its own weight combined with the weight of the water, and the waterfall moves upstream. Once the harder rock is all broken away, there won’t be a waterfall anymore. Just rapids at first, then a swift-flowing stream, then a gentle river. I

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10 Feb 2015

If Marriage was Outlawed Today

If marriage was outlawed today 1 Would you give in And start living in sin If marriage was outlawed today   If marriage was outlawed today Would you take a chance On a martyred romance Or would you give in And start living in sin If marriage was outlawed today   If marriage was outlawed today Would you still propose With a ring and a rose Would you take a chance On a martyred romance

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30 Jan 2015

Thirty

It is getting late, as I tuck in a full day, the wind wrestling its way ’round my cabin. Snuggled under the blankets, I think back on the day… I awoke in the golden arms of the sunrise, a day older. A year older. A decade older. It is not often that these round milestones are placed in our palms, slipped into the pockets of our lives. They are a gift, marking a still moment

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16 Jan 2015

Endings Are Beginnings

Feathery snow traces dark, bare branches—edges clearly seen, crisp in Winter’s garb. Juxtaposed with these stark lines, a low fog tucks my little town into hushed, hazy seclusion. The world wears the physical contrast of things clearly defined and things hidden in the blurred perimeter. New years themselves are the edges of one season blending into another, of one year gracefully giving way to the next in the steps of a great dance. The past

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19 Dec 2014

If God Is with Us, Why Are We Lonely?

“Our two little granddaughters have a sense of community which many adults have lost; people have developed less a sense of community than a loneliness which they attempt to assuage by being with other people constantly, and on a superficial level only…The loneliness, the namelessness of cocktail-party relationships surround us. We meet, but even when we kiss we do not touch. We avoid the responsibility of community.”1       —Madeleine L’Engle   There is

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17 Dec 2014

“He Never Repaid Me In Like Kind”

In A Little Exercise For Young Theologians, Helmut Thielicke warns beginning theology students against abusing their new-found knowledge. This warning was prompted by the Church, which was “concerned very rightly for our spiritual health.”1 The concern Thielicke references highlights the nature of the Church. The Church is not just a collection of people but, in some sense, a distinct organism. At least this is the picture Paul provides when he states that God “gave the

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04 Dec 2014

When My Impact Is Small

At a retreat several years ago, I had the chance to combine a few of my favorite things — great people and making music. Part way through one of our evenings, I pulled out my Mountain Dulcimer, was shortly joined by a Guitar, and we were shortly joined by a group of folks singing along. As we went around picking out hymns to sing though, I began to question the necessity of my contribution. At

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25 Nov 2014

Through the Internet, Darkly

For my birthday, a group of Conciliar Post writers banded together for a brilliant round table discussion on the imago dei. Okay, it was coincidentally on my birthday, not in celebration of it. The round table is a fantastic piece that I commend to your reading. In an unusual twist for the internet, the comments section is also full of edifying dialogue. You should go read all of it and come back. I’m not here

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21 Nov 2014

Childlike Wonder

Chill air makes me pull my covers closer just as my alarm buzzes. I roll over, swat my phone, and snuggle back under the blankets. Then I slit open one eye to see what the morning has brought. Suddenly I am all awake: the sky is grey, but the evergreens are shadowy jade, frosted with feather-flakes of snow. Snow! It is early this year, and cold, and…delightful. I can hear sleigh bells in my dreams,

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20 Nov 2014

On Zombies and Communion

Over 22 million Americans watched the Season 5 premiere of The Walking Dead, making it the most watched cable show of all time. The series, airing on Sunday nights, routinely outperforms Sunday Night Football in the touted 18-49 demographic. The Walking Dead is only the most recent success story in the zombie apocalypse genre. The Resident Evil film franchise has a combined gross of over $900 million worldwide and last year’s World War Z, a

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10 Nov 2014

On Being Annoyed

There are some times in this world when Christ’s demands to love your neighbor make little sense. I am told that I am to be compassionate to those I really disagree with, to “outdo one another in showing honor,” to “bless those who persecute you,” and to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12). I don’t know how else to say it, the vast majority of the time I do not want to do these

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05 Nov 2014

What’s In A Name?

“When I forget my name, remind me.”1 Listening to Andrew Peterson’s song, “Dancing In The Minefields”, I was struck by this line. In particular, the importance of naming jumped out at me. The fact that names are special isn’t a huge surprise. One need only think about how strongly people feel about their own names to confirm this. Feelings aside though, when we look at Scripture, naming often appears to go beyond merely identifying an

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28 Oct 2014

Timelessness Resounding into Time

Become an empty singing bowl, whose chime Is richness rising out of emptiness, and timelessness resounding into time1 Thus Malcolm Guite, chaplain at Girton College at the University of Cambridge, opens his recent poetry collection, The Singing Bowl. In lieu of the traditional invoking of a Greek muse, as poets from Homer to John Milton have done, Guite opens with a prayer for inner silence so that another Spirit, that mysterious third Person of the

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24 Oct 2014

Afraid of God’s Answer

Be willing to be only a voice that is heard but not seen, or a mirror whose glass the eye cannot see because it is reflecting the brilliant glory of the Son. Be willing to be a breeze that arises just before daylight, saying, “The dawn! The dawn!” and then fades away.1 “What prayer are you praying right now that you’re afraid God will answer?” Dark, questioning eyes probed my startled face when my friend

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