15 Sep 2016

Scandalous Sacredness: A Note from the Chaplain Chronicles

I spent a little over a year in a Clinical Pastoral Education program as a Chaplain Resident at a major hospital in North Carolina. Throughout my tenure there my most difficult and emotionally rupturing visits concerned the end-of-life of young parents with teenage children or younger. My parents were monumental to getting through my teenage years. We were close. My confidence, esteem, personality quirks, and idiosyncrasies (although I hesitate to admit it) would probably not

Larry Brown 3
08 Sep 2016

“Do not be afraid” ~ {While Experiencing the Abandonment of God}

I1 am nearing the end of a really beautiful book, called Dimitri’s Cross.2 Right now I am reading the letters he wrote his wife, Tamara, from his first place of imprisonment.  I already know, from reading this book, that he is later sent to Dora, a camp called the “Man-Eater” where Fr. Dimitri is forced to work in horrid, extreme conditions, ages quickly, becomes very ill and at the end, speaks of feeling the abandonment of

Elizabeth Roosje 3
suffering round table
02 Sep 2016

Round Table: Suffering

“Why does God permit human beings to suffer and die?” There is no simple or easy answer to this question. Perhaps the best response is to pray, with Jesus Christ: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Our Lord experienced the groaning of creation (Rom 8:22). He shed immortality and impassibility to take the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), to identify

Various 7
19 Aug 2016

Resuscitated by Art

Does music ever make you see? Does it break your heart or spill hot tears over your lashes? Does music become your voice when you cannot find the words to express your grief, sorrow, or hope? Music paints vistas on the mind—sunsets over mountains, starlight over tawny grasses bent by the breeze, snow on trees, russet leaves kicking up in the dirt lane. Certain songs carry a mood with them—autumn fog and rain, driving under

Johanna Byrkett 4
01 Aug 2016

And the greatest of these is… Faith?

Invariably, soteriological discussions will surface the concept of “true faith”—generally sooner rather than later. Why does James say that we are justified by works and not by faith alone, even though Paul writes that we are justified by faith? Because James wasn’t talking about “true faith.” Why do some people fall away after professing faith in Christ? Theirs was not “true faith.” But what does this term really mean? This question plagued me as a

Christian McGuire 5
22 Jul 2016

Through the Cracks

Violence cracks our world, leaves lives black and blue emptier than when day broke, leaves lives numb and days grey   Shadows crawl stealthily, silently blotting the beauty that our eyes can only see by the sun’s bright rays   Darkness is like a shroud, clothing our dying senses too poisoned to see value in life or how gaping death is   Hope seems like a dream in the inky night, intangible, unreal, a delusive

Johanna Byrkett 1
11 May 2016

Confessions of a Single Mom

You know that feeling of knowing that serious pain is coming and there is no way out of it? Like knowing throughout a pregnancy that labor pains are coming one day and there is no way to make it out without feeling them? The type of situations that you dread but know deep down you’re just going to have to get through them? The ones where trying to think things through and analyze and rationalize

Rebecca Barrett 1
02 May 2016

Anticipation

In a frenzy of thoughts and emotions I wrote the first draft to this piece.  It was written in the eye of the storm, so to speak; that time right after the panicked shuffle to the hospital and right before the final stages of labor kicks in.  There was a small window of time when all was calm and the nurses were tending to my wife and I was able to write out my thoughts.  There

TJ Humphrey 2
11 Mar 2016

Waiting to Rejoice

Laetare: O Rejoice! {Lent Week Four} Here I am— Waiting for God, Not quite ready For rejoicing yet; The shadows flicker, Darkening my soul, Still waiting for The rising sun This dark night —Not wholly black— Sprinkled with stars Streaming on me Diffused silver light, Promises coming Hope, As I wait Here for God I am awaiting With great expectation The rising Son —Myth made real— The glimmering sky Bursting fully alive With glory’s Hope…

Johanna Byrkett 2
04 Dec 2015

Waiting is Not Wasted

Waiting. We do a lot of waiting at this time of year. We queue up to buy gifts—and to mail them. We wait for Amazon orders to arrive in the post. We wait in airports, traffic, and coffee shops. We wait for Christmas break to wrest us from our studies, our work, our loneliness. Sometimes we wait at a tremendous pace, as if filling our days with work or parties or consumer pursuits will make

Johanna Byrkett 1
21 Sep 2015

On Syria and the Virtues of Hope and Charity

Images of drowned children, news of chemical bombs, and devastating stories about refugees flood our media with news of the Syrian civil war. Many Christians have vocalized the same repeated response: surely these are the end times.   I do not know if these are the end times of not; none of us know, only the Father. However, I firmly believe the admission that these clearly must be the end times is a cop-out to

Laura Norris 1
26 Aug 2015

Of Weddings and Little Promises

It was a warm, slightly sticky evening. Sitting towards the front of a crowd of friends and family, I observed the evening shade slowly growing on the mountains behind my friend. He, in his turn, was gazing back our way with (what I could only guess was) a mix of nervousness, fear, excitement, and joy. For, if the title hasn’t already given it away, my friend was looking past the rest of us toward the

Jeff Reid 0
12 May 2015

A Dead Hand Grasping at God

About this time of year a decade ago, on a moonlit highway that snakes south of Santa Fe through hills of juniper and cholla and dirt, a troubled young man drove an old Jeep Cherokee with flaking red paint and a whining A/C. Night had fallen and his headlights, their luminance obscured by a coating of dead insects, cast a faint light on the road ahead. I don’t know if that young man fit the

Chris Casberg 4
06 Apr 2015

What “Unbroken” Can Teach Us About Resilience, Hope, and the Christian Life

  “However dark the night, however dim our hopes, the light will always follow darkness.” While stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific for 47 days, Louis Zamperini reflected upon the words he had heard years previously at an ordinary Sunday Mass. He clung to those words as Japanese planes shot holes in their raft, as a fellow crew member died of dehydration, and as with each day passing the hope of survival seemed less

Laura Norris 0
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
06 Mar 2015

My Journey to Catholicism: Part I

Although this is a very personal story, it is my prayer that anyone reading it will find something that speaks to the human experience of God, and of life itself.1 Let us begin this and every endeavor with thankfulness to the Lord, and a firm desire to advance in love toward others. Regardless of where you find yourself on the journey through life, this journey is invariably and inevitably spiritual. Humanity was made by and

Benjamin Winter 16
18 Feb 2015

Rising from Ruin

Ash Wednesday Reflections   Tonight, ashes smear Across my face From priest’s thumb— Sin’s dark drear Mingled with oil Leaves a smudge On my skin And my soul   Last year’s palms Burn deep upon My flesh and In my memory— All I see Is ashen, grey, Charred remains of Promises and dreams I peer inside At my soul Crumbling to coals Dead and lifeless— Not a spark Or an ember Of élan appears To

Johanna Byrkett 2
06 Feb 2015

Brutality or Beatitude?

“So this is where we are. Ashes, ashes, all fall down. How could I have forgotten? Didn’t I see the heavens wiped shut just yesterday, on the road walking? Didn’t I fall from the dark of the stars to these senselit and noisome days? The great ridged granite millstone of time is illusion, for only the good is real; the great ridged granite millstone of space is illusion, for God is spirit and worlds his

Benjamin Winter 2
13 Jan 2015

The Interview | Movie Review

Much talked about, “The Interview” is pretty straightforward: TV host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen), while planning a trip to Pyongyang to interview dictator Kim Jong Un, are recruited for a covert assassination mission by CIA agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan). The resulting chaos involves puppies, Katy Perry’s “Firework”, tank battles, fake grapefruits, basketball games (a satisfying potshot in Dennis Rodman’s direction) and giant Siberian tigers, among other things. John Ehrett offers his review.

John Ehrett 2
09 Jan 2015

Dare We Hope for the Salvation of All?

1 Timothy 2:1–4:  “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Peter 3:8–9: “But do not ignore

Benjamin Winter 14