Faith and Life

Tilling ground

If only busted-up soil can be planted, the flat-tilled earth bereft of rocks before it can yield life, then what of the heart, the hard-hided, boulder-strewn heart of man, of this man? If only the soil of the broken heart will bring forth fruit, then perhaps we ought welcome it, and the tear-dropping rain that …

Two Anthonys

I’ve been thinking on the incongruity of sharing a name with the saint who went into the desert to wrestle demons and aloneness and thereby work out salvation. I sat at an oval window this morning and looked on the sunfired clouds below and wondered into what wilderness I am once again hurtling, and whether …

Laboring days

I’ve cut grass and cleaned offices and guarded buildings; I’ve been a grill cook and a college teacher and a karate instructor. I’ve bussed tables and stocked labs and punched numbers; I’ve managed more emotional twenty-somethings than I can count, hired people and fired people and balanced razor-thin budgets. The hardest job I ever had, …

Loss

I’m on a top-secret mission, storing up little pieces of missives to share with you later, but I wanted to pass along this touching piece by Elizabeth Scalia, in First Things. Here’s an excerpt: A neighbor of mine works as a therapist for Alzheimer’s patients, both high-functioning and low. She recently described one sixty-ish daily …

Awaiting hope

Somewhere between a speed too slow to get killed and too fast to get away, a grasshopper found himself clinging to my windshield wiper. He wrapped his thin wire legs around black metal and held on with that baleful, narrow-headed look grasshoppers have. I kept waiting for him to let go, to tumble and topple …

Every day a memorial day

Yesterday the Eastern Orthodox celebrated the saints, and today many Americans celebrate fallen soldiers, and in the midst of remembrances of saints and soldiers I find myself thinking on a little girl who fought a great battle, and endured worse than a bullet, and who now watches from the blessed cloud of witnesses. It’s a …

The missing third

Inevitably, in secularized society, after some particularly heinous butchery there is the news article that might be titled: “Searching for Answers.” In this article the reporter speculates on what might have gone wrong in those two-thirds of the murderer — body and mind — that he must pretend are all that constitutes a man. Inevitably …

Blood and mystery

One of G.K. Chesterton’s arguments in Everlasting Man is that the ancient pagans never really revered their petty gods and spirits and magical tree stumps nearly as much as the modern humanist, overflowing with tolerance and reverence for any belief system that distinguishes itself by not being Christian, imagines they did. They knew there was …

Exclusion of Christ

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer, by way of Lance Nixon’s piece on Down Syndrome and human worth in last month’s Touchstone Magazine: “The exclusion of the weak and insignificant, the seemingly useless people, from a Christian community may actually mean the exclusion of Christ; in the poor brother Christ is knocking at the door.” Nixon notes a …

Daily dying

John Hinderacker at Powerline (I got there from Instapundit) has this observation about the latest slaughter of Christians in Nigeria: “So where is the outrage? I don’t know what denomination those Nigerian Christians were, but Lutherans are the most numerous Christian denomination in Africa. I’m a Lutheran, but I have never heard a single word …

To rest

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital does a small but important and dignified thing in burying the organs its employees stole from dead babies. It is small because babies are small, and the parts of them even smaller, and because crimes against the weakest bodies in the name of science have a sickening commonality in human history, …

Be it resolved

I read once that the historian’s admiration for authority affects his assessments of civilizations past — that oppressive regimes, with their monuments to state power, will draw his eye and his imagination more readily than a nation of citizen farmers. That’s probably true for most people; we can’t help but watch the parade’s prancing exhibition of the …

Listen

Wife tells me that when baby Isaiah went for his two year-old check-up this week, the doctor announced that he was to receive two shots. “Two shots!” Isaiah shouted with glee. “Two shots!” Either he thought he was going to play guns with his brothers, or he believed shots is a new kind of candy. …