Sand in the Gears

Archive for the ‘The Sermons’ Category

Lament

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 23 Comments »

When we tucked what remained of that little girl into the earth, I was relieved it was over. I was filled with something that felt like transcendence. We had weathered the storm, we had kept the faith, we had given ...

Which will falter

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 14 Comments »

In the gathered dark freezing rain scaled the limbs, the leaves, and every outstretched thing. We woke to the thrum of a power line fallen, its light so savage we had to shield our eyes. Electric fire inhabited a tree ...

The worldly vision

Friday, March 28th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Sermons | 22 Comments »

(Note: An expanded version of this essay—which attempts to address some of the objections leveled in the comments below as well as at The American Conservative—is over at On Faith.)   I am angry, and so I hope you will forgive me for whatever I ...

The sickness

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 Posted in The Sermons | 33 Comments »

I write this on the day Fred Phelps, pretender to ministry, hater of gays, vitriolic picketer of soldiers' funerals, has gone forth into the Judgement he welcomed for others. In the days leading up to his demise there was talk ...

The Cost of Calling: The Answer

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 18 Comments »

I come now to the question in my heart when I began: what can my sons say to a deceived and soul-sickened world? You might remember the story of a girl murdered that awful day in Columbine. As this story goes, ...

The Cost of Calling: Compromises

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 16 Comments »

What is the cost of a calling? You can be called to be a parent; you can be called to be a plumber. But having a child, or picking up a pipe wrench, is not—in and of itself—to pursue a ...

The Cave of the Heart

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 Posted in The Sermons | Comments Off

Here's an excerpt from my Christmas Eve post over at Good Letters: When I read about the boy hiding under his bed, first inviting the world he knew to watch him die, then hiding from it in that darkened place, I ...

The obscured man

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 Posted in The Sermons, Theology | 31 Comments »

This is not a comment about the reasoning of a Slate essayist, who wrote recently that the white Santa is outdated. This is not a comment about the Fox News talking head who took umbrage, asserting that not only Santa, ...

Eulogy for Mama

Friday, October 11th, 2013 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 13 Comments »

My mother was born on April Fool’s Day, and I know there were times when she felt like the world was playing a joke on her. A more selfish woman might have considered me such a joke. My mother was drawn ...

Good guy or bad guy?

Friday, September 20th, 2013 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 15 Comments »

One of my sons asked about an historical figure, or maybe it was some living politician whom history will soon forget. My son wanted to know whether this man was a good guy, or a bad guy. This is our most ...

On feeling Godforsaken

Friday, March 29th, 2013 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 3 Comments »

Some of you might like my meditation on what Good Friday means to the parent of a dead child. Here's an excerpt: "It is a great mystery to me, how God can know what it means to be forsaken, and because ...

On the separateness of preaching and healing

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 2 Comments »

Preach and heal. This is what Christ asked of his apostles, before sending them out in pairs: "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out ...

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 ...

The Little Pope

Sunday, September 9th, 2012 Posted in The Sermons | 14 Comments »

Perhaps you've heard of Mark Driscoll, the tough-talking young Calvinist in the Pacific Northwest, the one who preaches with his shirt untucked and likes to be called "Pastor Mark" and writes about the righteousness of blow jobs. In a recent blog ...

The outstretched arms

Friday, April 2nd, 2010 Posted in The Sermons | Comments Off

This is the day when sickened, condemned man collided with everlasting Love. "How could He have called us if He had not been crucified, for it is only on the cross that a man dies with arms outstretched?" (St. Athanasius, On ...

Walking vices

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 Posted in The Sermons | 1 Comment »

From Anthony Esolen's "Filthy Rich: The Unnoticed Gift of Trickle-Down Decadence:" "The poor teach us what our vices mean, because we have not the self-knowledge to see through the disguises we ourselves have given them. When we see the poor doing ...

Because faith without works is dead

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 Posted in The Sermons | 1 Comment »

"The Lord approves and commends all our labor. He desires that we wash our souls in tears, wring them out with repentance, press them with compunction of conscience and clothe them with good works"  (Saint Nikolai of Zica)

Because

Friday, January 29th, 2010 Posted in Snapshots of Life, The Sermons | 8 Comments »

This is why I write to you, boys with me, girl who is gone. I write to you because when I am with you, when I look into your soft brown eyes, I do not have the words. They come ...

Be it resolved

Friday, January 1st, 2010 Posted in The Sermons | 3 Comments »

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 ...

Really, Dad?

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life, The Sermons | 6 Comments »

At the end of my workout, I see Stephen Caleb coming down the hall. Inspired that now might be one of those rare opportunities to change his musical tastes for the better, I put my iPod buds in his ears. Simon ...

“A heart without exits”

Monday, December 28th, 2009 Posted in The Sermons | 2 Comments »

"My heart only has entrances. It doesn’t have exits. Whoever enters remains there. Whatever he may do, I love him the same as I loved him when he first entered into my heart." (Elder Epiphanios of Athens). This is a heart, ...

Powerless, powerful

Friday, December 25th, 2009 Posted in The Sermons | 1 Comment »

The writer who has inspired me more than any other, on the birth of the God-child: "But if there is the beauty of what is majestic and powerful, there is the beauty also of what is humble and powerless. Like any ...

Evening contemplation

Thursday, December 24th, 2009 Posted in The Sermons | 1 Comment »

A MEDITATION ON THE INCARNATION BY ST EPHRAIM THE SYRIAN   We confess one and the same individual as perfect God and perfect Man. He is God the Word Which was flesh. For if He was not flesh, why was Mary chosen? And if He ...

On the narrow path

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 32 Comments »

He sees her as we circle the parking lot a second time, an aimless, wandering circle, a time-killing circle while we wait for their mother to finish a bit of shopping. I have already seen the woman -- a girl, ...

Christian conscience

Friday, November 20th, 2009 Posted in The Sermons, Theology | 3 Comments »

Today 148 Christian leaders -- Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant -- signed the Manhattan Declaration, affirming life, marriage, and religious liberty. It's worth reading. My favorite part, I think: "Our rejection of sin, though resolute, must never become the rejection of sinners. ...

The forever yearning

Thursday, November 19th, 2009 Posted in Snapshots of Life, The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 9 Comments »

Yesterday morning Isaiah came to our bedroom, enacting his self-appointed role as Mr. Rise and Shine. He stepped on our knees and ankles and flopped about with sharp elbows until he staked a position between us. Isaac followed. Wife rose ...

Etched in flesh

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 5 Comments »

I must confess that my first reaction, upon hearing about the thug who had his seven year-old tattooed with his gang's symbol, was that the solution seemed pretty straightforward: a bullet under the chin of the sperm-donor, along with a ...

Stumbling

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 Posted in The Sermons | 13 Comments »

You yearn for a holy place because, in the time between waking unable to recall where you are, and drifting again into the half-sleep that is all you've known for the longest time, you stand in the darkness of your ...

Stranger in a land estranged

Saturday, April 18th, 2009 Posted in The Sermons | 1 Comment »

"Give thou me this stranger who from his youth has wandered like a stranger. Give thou me this stranger whom his kinsmen killed in hatred like a stranger. Give me this stranger at whom I wonder, beholding him as a ...

Do you hear?

Thursday, December 25th, 2008 Posted in The Sermons | 1 Comment »

Some of you might appreciate my Christmas post at WORLD.