Sand in the Gears

Archive for the ‘The Artful Life’ Category

It doesn’t come with a parking spot, but it’s still pretty darn nice

Thursday, December 5th, 2013 Posted in The Artful Life | 3 Comments »

The good people at Image Journal have named me their artist of the month. I like being reminded that writers are artists, and I'm honored to be included among the many fine artists—of all stripes—who have been similarly recognized by ...

Against being against epiphanies

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

Some of you may like my latest essay on the Good Letters channel at Patheos. It covers everything from Oliver Stone to a young Whittaker Chambers, with a slight dose of literary criticism mixed in. Here's an excerpt: I’ve been reading ...

Everybody dance now

Thursday, April 18th, 2013 Posted in The Artful Life | Comments Off

Some of you may like my latest essay, "Art as a Common Gift." Here's an excerpt: Imagine that. Millions of people, many of them knowing not the first words of orthodox praise, harboring scant knowledge of theology, yet all of them ...

Elect art

Friday, December 7th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | Comments Off

My latest short story is in the current edition of Image, for those of you with a literary bent. And for those of you bent theologically, in this case, because in my story John Calvin attends a writing workshop so ...

Phineas and Ferb save America

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 3 Comments »

If you agree with me that Phineas and Ferb is the smartest thing on television, and further, that SpongeBob Squarepants is directly responsible for the dramatic decline in American . . . well, everything — then you might like my ...

The heart is loveliest of all

Friday, September 14th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life, The Sermons | Comments Off

This morning and throughout the day I've thought, in the little scraps and spaces of free time, what I might write here. Then I read my friend Lore's latest post, and I realized that there's nothing I can conjure that ...

Exclusive World Premiere Sneak Preview for a Very Select and Discriminating Audience

Friday, September 7th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 2 Comments »

So, some of you know I wrote a novel. Keep your panties on, I don't have a publisher yet. Let me rephrase that: no publisher seeking to make a fortune in paperback and hardcover sales, not to mention audiobook downloads—all of ...

On the passing of Sheriff Andy

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 3 Comments »

My first miserable year in graduate school I got a used television and paid for cable so I could watch four episodes of The Andy Griffith Show a day. My apartment mate, a math whiz with perfect board scores from Harvard, ...

Thin thread

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

Some of you may like my latest essay at the Image Good Letters blog. Here's an excerpt: "Telling a story along that thin thread, however, means abandoning the notion that the world pierces us more deeply, that our hearts sing more ...

Short fiction

Monday, May 7th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

If you're really discerning, or even just slow-witted, or perhaps even if you're one of those people who is slow but imagines he is quick-witted -- a personal fear of mine -- you have probably noticed that I haven't been ...

Movie dads

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 4 Comments »

Some of you may enjoy my latest essay at Image, about fathers in movies. Here's an excerpt: "I want to explain that when you’ve got four boys to cook for and look after at the tail end of a work week, ...

The Christianity of Chris

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life, Theology | 4 Comments »

This is not one of those reflections on the death of Christopher Hitchens, in which the writer labors to bolt his meager little meteor to that man's literary supernova. I've read enough of those to make me retch, if not ...

Almost the End of the World

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 3 Comments »

This weekend I read Daniel J. Flynn's wonderful piece on Ray Bradbury in The American Conservative. I hope my friends who are: a) not American, b) not conservative, or c) none of the above won't be turned off by the ...

Ten Thousand Hours with You

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

I recently discovered a delightful poem by David Kirby in Five Points, and thought I'd share a snippet of it with all of you: ... and you’d think that’d settle it, that the opera lovers of Tallahassee would let go of ...

Truth through lies

Friday, September 23rd, 2011 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

Some of you may like my latest Image essay, which is about writing truth through fiction. Here's an excerpt: "Maybe we have to come at truth sideways, which if nothing else means saying it sideways, which is what I like about ...

On plans set aside

Friday, August 12th, 2011 Posted in The Artful Life | 3 Comments »

It's been so long since I've been here that I almost forgot the uber-complicated password I constructed to keep Chinese secret agents from hacking in and orchestrating the downfall of Western civilization. Because we all know once this place goes, ...

Bad Christians make for bad artists

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 Posted in The Artful Life | 4 Comments »

Some of you might like my latest Image blog essay, "Bad Christian Art," in which I try to connect some of the elements that make for bad art to the elements that make for bad theology. Here's an excerpt: "To know ...

The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 Posted in The Artful Life | Comments Off

You know when you're up against the ropes and you keep your hands by your head and take the hits while you catch your breath and wait for the other guy to make a mistake so you can lay him ...

Book review

Sunday, March 20th, 2011 Posted in The Artful Life | Comments Off

John Wilson, whose work on behalf of art and the Christian faith I have long admired, gives a very kind review of my book in his podcast at Books and Culture.

A New Kindle Owner’s Confession

Friday, February 25th, 2011 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

Some of you might enjoy my latest Image essay, "Confessions of a Gnostic Reader." Here's an excerpt: "You needn’t be theologian or historian to grasp gnosticism: disdain for the flesh, and a faith that there are secret, spiritual understandings that only ...

New reviews

Thursday, January 27th, 2011 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

I've been reticent in gratefully acknowledging some very kind words by two readers of my book. Kevin Holtsberry offers up a gracious review both on his own site and at Redstate. Atozmom, meanwhile, also has some very nice things to say ...

The SitG New Year’s Pop Culture Leave-it-Behind Countdown

Saturday, January 1st, 2011 Posted in The Artful Life | 4 Comments »

This is the time when we resolve to do things differently. I've certainly resolved to do a number of things differently, but most of these are neither here nor there to most of you, and probably little different from your ...

Careful what you pray for

Monday, December 20th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life, Theology | 1 Comment »

“You that cry out so loud for right and justice, Do you mean justice? deed and word and thought Judges in yourselves by one eternal measure Of absolute and incorruptible right? I do not think so. When you call for justice You would make God ...

Book data

Monday, December 20th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | 2 Comments »

For the past two weeks, readers in Chattanooga, Tennessee have purchased more copies of my book than in any other region of the U.S. Which makes Chattanooga my new favorite city.

Top ten

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | 3 Comments »

Image Journal lists Somewhere More Holy in its top ten works of 2010. I love getting delightful news like this at the end of a long day.

Laboring prayer

Saturday, December 11th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

The angel Raphael, speaking of the architect William of Sens as he works on the Canterbury Cathedral, in Dorothy Sayers' The Zeal of Thy House: "Behold, he prayeth; not with the lips alone, But with the hand and with the cunning brain Men ...

Understood

Thursday, December 9th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

"Where misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood." Lionel Trilling, "Art and Fortune," in The Liberal Imagination I need to be reminded of this from time to time, if only to assure that I do not ...

More singing out loud

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

In response to my post about how much I love unexpected public music, my friend Betsy sent me this clip of a food court flash mob. There's something about singing that makes people look more lovely, don't you think? Almost like ...

American writing at its best

Sunday, November 28th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | 4 Comments »

"He sat in the dappled light among the stones. A bird sang. Some leaves were falling. He sat with his hands palm up on the grass beside him like a stricken puppet and he thought no thoughts at all." Suttree, Cormac ...

Finding your communities

Saturday, November 27th, 2010 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

Rebecca Talbot on the artist and church: "Artists sit on the outskirts, perceiving. They are fantastic at deconstruction. Writers can't read a book without deconstructing how the writing works, so it's hard for them not to look at how church is ...