Gathering In

In a few weeks, we’ll say goodbye to our house in Tennessee. We bought it back in 2005 after selling our bungalow in Chicago for more money than we could imagine. It was the height of the real estate market, just before the bubble burst. We decided to slow down our lives a little. The kids were small and we felt like the city was closing in on us. The place in…

Context and Spiritual Insecurity

“Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.” ―Thomas Merton This quote comes up in my Twitter feed almost weekly. It always seems to catch me when I’m in a grumpy mood. That said, these days I’m always cranky when I read Twitter. I need to change my feed– or I need to change my habit of checking Twitter. This quote is out of context, and as such, it conveys a terrible message…

Inquiry Seeking Wisdom

The first piece of creative non-fiction I ever had published appeared in Saint Katherine Review. The journal was new and the editor at the time was my friend, Scott Cairns. Back then, though, we didn’t know each other very well, so the fact of our acquaintance didn’t hold much sway. And, in truth, I didn’t send that piece to SKR because Scott was the editor, I sent it because Kathleen Norris was…

Theologians

I’ve been steadily working on this new book that’s due out late next year. It involves reading through the first volume of the Philokalia, one page at a time, and then reflecting on something I’ve read there. It’s slow-going because it’s a meaty work but also because of the nature of my crazy life. Let’s be honest, though. My life probably isn’t much crazier than yours. We all have stuff to do,…

Reflections on Being Patriotic

(This post originally titled “Giving Thanks as a Nation” appeared on Nearly Orthodox November 28th, 2013) Our trip to New York this past summer was a whirlwind. We saw an opportunity to go with very little notice. Dave had a client meeting in the area and the flights were cheap and available. We packed up everyone, made a hasty plan, booked a room and embraced the adventure of it all. With three…

A Word about Suffering

Ok, fine– many words about suffering… A quick search on the topic of suffering brings out the heavy hitters– Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. Helen Keller Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. Khalil Gibran And that’s not even tapping into our massive supply…

Journal Entry: Thought Traffic

There’s an awful lot happening in the world, and that makes my thought traffic terrible. I had to lay down last night and just watch an episode or two of “Chopped” to clear things out. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I think I mentioned not long ago that I’ve been working my way through this first volume of The Philokalia– slow but sure. And while reading, I’ve been putting…