Hell and Vegas

As I write this they haven’t determined a final count of the dead and dying in Las Vegas. How many homes are filled this night with weeping? Too many, is one answer. Not enough, is another. I have nothing to say about the law, except that if opinions about it were limited to those who …

Excursus

If you’re starting here, you might care to first read my new Wall Street Journal op-ed about the ruckus over Confederate monuments. If you started there, then welcome to here. I assume you’re either pleased or outraged or puzzled. Me too. About a lot of things. So I don’t have a structured narrative for this …

Since it’s commencement season, I’ve put together a draft address in case I get a last-minute call

I’d like to thank Debtwell University for this opportunity to address your student body. Furthermore, I want to express my deepest hope that your original speaker overcomes [FOOD POISONING/ IRS DIFFICULTIES/ SUBPOENA/ ETC] without undue complications. [PAUSE. MAKE EYE CONTACT. SQUINT AS IF DRAWING ON A WELL OF DEEP WISDOM, BUT NOT SO HARD THAT YOU …

The Paradox of a Good Friday

Christ in Hades

“Keep your mind in hell, and despair not.” This admonition from St. Silouan is appropriate for Good Friday, when most of Christendom commemorates Christ’s descent into hell, where he shatters its captives’ chains. Many modern Western theologians have abandoned this teaching, but even if you reject it you are still, if you are a Christian, …

In my dying time

So I’ll just begin with an admission that I know it’s crazy and macabre and most certainly narcissistic. What I’ve been doing in my essays lately, however, is forgetting, for just a little while, that someone might read them. Just to see what happens. To push the boundaries and whatnot. And when I set aside …

Single-minded

Maybe you’ll like my latest Image essay, about the struggle for single-mindedness among we sophisticated, double-minded types. Here’s an excerpt: “The soul will follow the body,” is how Fr. Stephen Freeman summarizes a point made by the Christian monk Evagrius in the fourth century A.D. Do what is right, and your resistant soul will learn. …

Letters to camp

My youngest boys, Isaac and Isaiah (10 and 7), depart today for a week-long summer camp, which is a cause for excitement on their part, and quiet trepidation on mine. “Keep your money in a stinky sock,” I advise them. “If somebody picks on you, that’s the opportunity to forgive and turn the other cheek.” I …

Legos in the Deep

Like many, I passed this spring through Lent. It felt longer than in past years, because there has been a kind of Lenten work being done within me, it seems, since last fall. Nothing terrible, nothing traumatic, just a gradual scraping away of the soul’s fat, like miserable Eustace when Aslan sinks his claws into …

The beast without

“Isaac’s being a jerk,” my seven year-old, Isaiah, says about his older brother. They have been sledding over new-fallen snow. “Why do you say that?” “Because he keeps knocking me off my sled.” “Why do you think he did that?” I ask. I’ve been trying to help my children consider how sometimes they incite one another. “Because …