If there is one thing that modern people are surrounded by, it’s music. Radio for the car (if you’re not plugging your phone into the speakers), streaming services for home and office, music piped through coffee shops and shopping centers – it’s not that difficult to live with a steady diet of music. In my own experience, spending the last month and a half in the middle of nowhere highlighted just how much music I
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.” (Matthew 19: 13-15)1 About once a quarter, Pastor John, a towering figure with grey hair and rosy cheeks, corners my
Imagine Dragons begins their song “Demons” by painting the scene of a hopeless man in the cold, watching the cards fold. The only saints he can see are made of gold rather than flesh and bone. All that is good is extinguished from his life and he can turn nowhere for help because the problem lies with the demons inside… But what if the saints were clothed in sinews and skin? What if they had
Yet again the eaves are drip-drip-dropping, and thunder throbs above the clouds. Rain scent falls, hushes the neighbour children, breathes its sweetness in at my open windowpane. Pattering droplets sing their song slowly today, and my heart is glad. Glad for slow rain to cool the day. For dark clouds brooding over the mountains, so I might see their creases and lines differently, like an ever-changing face on those long-standing rocks. If you ask me,
As an adult who’s spent the last year of his life writing and revising a Christian novel he helplessly describes as a “rock n roll zombie comedy,” I’ve wasted a considerable number of hours pondering that psychic disturbance we call funny. What is funny? What is it made of? Does it get good mileage on the highway? I’ve come to the conclusion that at the core of the best and the purest of humor and
Think for a moment of the most famous friendships in history and literature. What names come to mind? For me it is always King David and Jonathan; Frodo and Samwise; and Anne and Diana. In my own life there are nearly a dozen soul-knit friends, kindred spirits, whom God has seen fit to bring into the dark places when all other lights go out. Usually they come singly, but sometimes in pairs. Always they bring
On a typical day, I find that the hospital smells a bit like the last moments of my life are being wiped up by a janitor with a clean rag and a gallon of disinfectant. Today, it smells less like finality and industrial cleaner and more like an outhouse. This is because an uncapped and not-quite-empty urine jug is about a foot beneath my nostrils. When I asked the patient if he wanted to pray,
“When Hugh and I went on a trip to Russia I almost didn’t get a visa because our travel agent put down my occupation as writer. Writers think. Writers ask questions. Writers are dangerous. She finally persuaded ‘them’ that I write only for small children and was not a threat. In any dictatorship writers are among the first to be imprisoned, and vocabulary is quickly diminished and language deteriorates. Writers, if their vocabulary is not
My wife and I finally got around to “binge-watching” the immensely popular TV series Breaking Bad on Netflix. I was initially reluctant to watching this show given my general skepticism to all pop culture phenomena. I assumed this was just another “shoot em up” excuse to glorify sex, violence, and drug abuse. However, as I quickly found out there was much more to this particular show. The drugs and violence of Breaking Bad, in fact,
Robert Isaac Logie was born during the late half of the twentieth century in the Midwestern United States. His friends called him Logie. When he was seven, the Sunday School teacher from his parents’ church taught him about the Genesis account of creation. That day, his class learned about the snake, the apple, and the fall. Logie thought God seemed a little too upset about the whole apple ordeal. I mean, he could remember plenty
God willing, we all recognize that the marriage and the development of relationships are incredibly significant. Social creatures that we are, human beings are drawn toward loving and meaningful companionship, and for many, thoughts about love, marriage, and relationships begin to blossom at a very early age. Among the more conservative and liturgically oriented Christian circles I find myself traveling through, the way young people ought to approach marriage and romantic relationships is probably one
Rest is important. This may seem too obvious to need stating, but then again, some of my good friends will be surprised that I put rest and important in the same sentence. My personal sleep practices notwithstanding, the psalmist indicates that rest is part of God’s design for us when he says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives
At times, I feel within me a burning conviction of the truth of something that is at once more difficult to put into words than the doctrines of my Christian faith yet as clear as crystal to my soul and my seat of “knowing.” When I feel this way, it is time to sit down in front of pen and paper and muddle through until I can capture a solid thought from the elusive world
The rumble of thunder reverberates off the foothills. Damp pine scent laces the air. A trio of squirrels seek refuge in the spruce that touches the sky with its tip-top branches. This is the stillness of the very first Summer Saturday–my day of solitude and sleep, of caramel-filled chocolate and endless mugs of PG Tips. It is a fairy sort of daylight, ripe for reading Phantastes or Lord of the Rings. I can see sunlight slanting
“When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut, Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs? When, when, Peace, will you, Peace?–I’ll not play hypocrite To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but That Piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?”1 Peace can be such an erratic thing. One moment present, the next, somewhere else.
In the beginning there was light, and this light became life for mankind. From divine nostrils to feldspar veins was life breathed, and in the blood contained. In the blood. A body mystically woven from magic and mud exploded into action: pumping, cycling, consuming. Communing with an entire garden of food, air, and fluid. Taking into itself by some parasitic act of sorcery the entire physical universe and rewriting it as flesh.
Once upon a time, there lived a young princess named Beth. She was a daughter of the King, not by natural birth, but because she was chosen out of thousands to be brought into THE KING’s house. The King had completed all of the formal adoption procedures from the technical paperwork to paying the highest possible price to call the young girl his own. But he hadn’t stopped at that. He gave her His name.
Seven years ago, some of my friends got into a bit of a dispute with the powers-that-be at my college. (I have been told I have a gift for understatement). The nature of the dispute was incredibly personal, of the sort that is impossible to bring to anyone’s attention without making oneself intensely vulnerable. Talking to the dean of student life meant opening up to her judgment and allowing her to see things that were
Noisy chatter clutters the lobby. The porch overflows with sound, seeping from every crevice of the hotel, like grapes, crushed. And I? I feel alone. Wearing the mask of a smile, while my soul wrestles with the Fall. I slip out into the rain-cooled air, the cloak of night hiding me from peering eyes and piercing laughter. How many times have I sat in a crowd of persons, even those I know, and felt
I never imagined myself writing the following sentence: I am a bit like Gollum. No, I don’t mean that I have a funny cough, proclivity to use the word “precious”, or frequently talk to myself (though, some might disagree on that last point). Nor am I trying to draw an abstract analogy about wrestling with sin nature. No, Gollum and I have similar passions, which Tolkien superbly describes: The most inquisitive and curious-minded of that