19 Jun 2015

Creativity Begets: How Story Inspires

As the cerulean sky bleeds into water-coloured grey storm clouds, my thoughts are somewhere between Middle Earth and Pluto. Ringing in my head is a stunning symphonic melody about Saturn—its strength in Beauty has captured my memory. Reverberating in my ears is the sound of Tolkien’s prose—read aloud to hear the simultaneously earthy and heraldic tones played in his words. Treading the paths of my thoughts are an interesting pair, hand-in-hand. The first is a

Johanna Byrkett 0
22 May 2015

Stars in the Pools

Ridges of foothills rise and swell, then swirl away in the fog filling the valley. Streams of melting hail run off the eaves with the sound of endless rain—and the look of thick snow. My neighbour’s flower box is one puddle of icy water. The gravel parking lot is more like a muddy-red pond than solid ground. All at once, a wave of thunder shatters the air, makes the ground shudder. Lightning flares pink and

Johanna Byrkett 0
15 Apr 2015

Cosmic Communion (Part III)

The Role of Creation in our Journey with Christ: Part III There is a running joke that Orthodox Christians do everything in threes, so this will be my last article under this title.  In the past two articles I have been discussing the unique Christian approach to God’s earthly creation as a sacramental reality: that it can be and is in fact designed to be how we encounter intimate communion with God the Creator especially

Joseph Green 4
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

Johanna Byrkett 4
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

Amanda Hill 1
13 Feb 2015

Splendour in Every Crack and Crevice

The night skies sing the glory of God! Dark and light, clouds and constellations are crafted by his deft hands. Daily they declaim, night upon night they raise a chorus of praise. Even though our ears cannot hear their speeches and symphonies, Still their message of God’s glory and splendour has filled Every crevice and crack in all of the cosmos.   Thus I paraphrased the opening verses of Psalm 19 a few weeks ago.

Johanna Byrkett 2
11 Feb 2015

Jupiter Ascending | Movie Review

The trailers for “Jupiter Ascending” were works of art. I’ve seen a lot of movie promos, but few have grabbed my attention like the artfully composed teasers for Andy and Lana Wachowski’s latest high-dollar project. Despite disappointing reviews, I figured I’d give it a shot – after all, it looked like a nice distraction in the midst of art-movie season (and bitter New England wintertime). Simply put, “Jupiter Ascending” is a hot mess of a

John Ehrett 3
27 Jan 2015

Paschal Moment

Sometimes it’s in the very first bite Sometimes in the smooth savoring Sometimes just after it’s fully consumed But in each action there is that moment Some call it bliss, or perfection, or Heaven Or doing the hokey-pokey, turn yourself around A seventh sense, perhaps, something nous Where it seems the state you are in What you are doing at that instant The crunch and gush and swallow The rush of sensations paused, or Continuing

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 11
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

Johanna Byrkett 6
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,

Johanna Byrkett 2
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

George Aldhizer 2
07 Nov 2014

Wild November Choir

Silent morning—a fog like the ghost Of autumn trees and brush and leaves Rises up to the skies, a wavering host Of spirits climbing to clouds, their winter post.   Farmers are nearly done gathering sheaves And stalks stand like sentinels—grave stones— Encumbered by rooks whose coarse song weaves Harvest into winter, as Earth her life heaves   Into barns and bins. She creaks and groans From the heavy toil of summer, spent, To lie

Johanna Byrkett 0
02 Oct 2014

Rain Glory

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,

Johanna Byrkett 0
10 Sep 2014

The Perspective of Beauty

This fall I have the privilege of serving as a mentor at Summit’s Summit Semester program. One of the lesser benefits of this opportunity is the chance to spend the fall out in the gorgeous mountains of southern Colorado. So far, I’ve taken at least a few minutes each night to step out and look at the stars. Having grown up between Baltimore and Washington D.C., actually seeing stars is something of a novelty. As

Jeff Reid 1
29 Aug 2014

Without Injuring Eternity

  You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, And grace before the play and pantomime, And grace before I open a book, And grace before sketching, painting, Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing; And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.1 ―G.K. Chesterton   Yesterday I woke to a pink, cloud-studded sky. I smiled at the rose-grey dawn and pulled the blankets a

Johanna Byrkett 2
15 Aug 2014

The Fog of Holy Mystery

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “divine mystery”or “holy mystery”? Desert mystics wandering in flowing robes? Gilded saints on chapel ceilings? Clouds of incense wafting upwards in a beam of light? I confess, I have never had even a loose grasp on the mystery of the divine. My ideas were—at best—shadows in my head, nothing substantial enough to imagine even vague images.   Fog and roiling clouds hang low today, giving

Johanna Byrkett 2
13 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part II

This is the second post in a series examining what the New Evangelization within Roman Catholicism can learn from the aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Malick. To read the previous post, click here. This sublime, one should note, is not a kind of masochism. Rather, it is something which catalyzes an awful delight from the passions. On how sensations of pain and pleasure integrate, Burke writes, “The person who grieves, suffers his passion to grow

Ryan Shinkel 0
21 Jul 2014

A Shell Dishabited

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

Johanna Byrkett 0
07 Jul 2014

Social Justice Without the Resurrection Is Dead

In today’s cultural climate, much is thrown around concerning the term “social justice.” Many are passionate about seeing the many injustices and oppressions of this world reversed into true human flourishing, and seeing the way the world is as different from the way the world ought to be. The primary worldview used as the foundation and motivation for this term is a notion of “progress,” fueled by a passion to make the world better. While

George Aldhizer 7