Faith and Life

Childlike

Back when I thought I knew something about God, I sought arguments. God is this, and God is not that, and those scriptures you think say one thing actually mean something else, don’t you know. I thought her simple and silly, though good-hearted. Hers was the Sunday School God, the “Jesus Loves Me” God, a …

Silence

Some of you may appreciate my essay at Patheos about the long silent witnesses to Jerry Sandusky’s crimes against children, and the propensity for most of us to avoid the courageous and costly choice. Here’s an excerpt: “We all imagine we’d choose bravely: We’d lead a revolt against the slaver. We’d turn our backs on …

Listing

If you were to write down the names of everyone you trust — truly trust — what size paper would you need? I needed the back of a receipt. There are ten names on this scrap of paper. Ten people I know would never share any of my confidences, never twist the personal things of …

A boy grows

Yesterday was Stephen Caleb’s birthday. He’s twelve, and there are now only 364 days between him and the onset of teenagerism, which I associate — at least among American kids — with sloth and self-indulgence, ignorance and idiocy and all-around brain malfunction, the latter now being scientifically proven at last. We are all of us …

The ladder

Some of you may appreciate my latest essay over at the Image Good Letters blog. Then again, some of you may not. I thought including kittens might make this one a little lighter than much of my recent writing, but oh well. An excerpt: “I bring my sons to the cathedral every Sunday and we …

Friendship

I am rarely humble yet often humbled, which is maybe the surest sign that God has not given up on me yet. I remember, years ago, standing in judgment over a friend who came to me seeking grace. I offered him Bible verses, I lectured him on the stern truths of the Christian sect in …

Good men

Someone told me recently, “You’re a good man, Tony.” This made me think of a James Taylor concert I heard about once. In the hush between sets, someone in the audience shouted, “I love you, James!” Taylor stepped to the microphone and replied, “That’s because you don’t know me.” Do you ever feel some days that …

Gladness

Some of you may appreciate my latest essay at Image‘s Good Letters blog. An excerpt: “. . . I offered him my experience: we accumulate suffering as we grow older, so that the things which once brought us happiness no longer ameliorate the pain. Those things that give us gladness, however, give us even greater …

Incarnate

Some of you may enjoy my latest essay at Good Letters, the Image blog. The title is “In the Flesh,” and here’s an excerpt: “These are the sweeter moments, but the rare ones; more often than not there is tugging at my clothes, usually by hands sticky with jelly or orange juice. They yank on …

Are you resolved?

I’ve been thinking about what I can resolve to do differently. There’s plenty I could name, but it’s the resolve that gets you, isn’t it? There’s a scene, towards the end of The Untouchables, when Jim Malone (Sean Connery), his body riddled with bullets, wheezes at Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) through blood bubbling up from …