Sand in the Gears

Archive for the ‘The Sermons’ Category

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.

What would you lose to gain everything?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 Posted in The Sermons | 6 Comments »

I had to fly last week, and while in the air I read Wendell Berry's Home Economics. I couldn't decide if that was ironic or fitting or both. I rose in the darkness, first at home, then on that cold ...

On what happens next

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 Posted in The Sermons | 6 Comments »

It seems churlish not to say something about what has happened in this country that less than a lifetime ago could not guarantee every black man his right to vote. If nothing else we can be thankful that the world ...

The inner dark

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 Posted in The Sermons | 1 Comment »

"I mean if I have any inclination at all, or you, to start being whatever in God's name it means to be a 'child of God' -- and let's say there is no argument for having such an inclination, but let's ...

A Confession for the Modern Conservative Christian

Monday, October 27th, 2008 Posted in The Sermons | 12 Comments »

Yesterday I led our church in a prayer of confession, and enough people asked me for it afterward that I figured I ought to type it up from my notes: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us -- sinners all. We ...

On the Unhappiness of Parenting

Friday, July 18th, 2008 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 11 Comments »

Newsweek reports on recent research indicating that contrary to popular opinion, having children makes people less happy, at least until the children leave home. This will no doubt please the happily child-free, who seem to have a thriving set of ...

A Father’s Creed

Thursday, June 19th, 2008 Posted in Snapshots of Life, The Sermons | 6 Comments »

"Dad," Eli asks me in a whisper, "why did Abraham kill Isaac?" We are in his bed, looking out at the darkening sky and listening to crickets. In his bed across the room, our Isaac is already asleep, a lamb ...

On Graduation and All The Rest of It

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 Posted in The Sermons | 10 Comments »

This time of year always brings to mind my own graduation experiences, which are paltry. I was valedictorian of my high-school class, but several teachers, administrators, and other denizens of public-school officialdom felt it best that I not speak. My ...

Saudade Saturday

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008 Posted in The Sermons | 4 Comments »

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday doesn't prompt much consideration. It's a nothing day, wedged between man's greatest shame and our greatest hope. To the people who had followed Jesus like fools through the land and across the ...

Forgiving Christians

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 Posted in The Sermons | 21 Comments »

As best I can remember, my first publication was in the high school paper. It was an editorial, of course, and it was funny and mean and wrongheaded. I've put words into the public domain for 23 years since that ...

The Dividing Line

Monday, January 21st, 2008 Posted in The Sermons | 8 Comments »

When I was a boy, my mother would sometimes let me fall asleep on her bed while she watched television. I would drift between sleep and wakefulness, my thoughts penetrated by the sound of Johnny Carson's chuckle, or the earnest ...

Faith Waiting

Monday, November 5th, 2007 Posted in The Sermons | 15 Comments »

Today is one of those bullet-dodging days. You've had those, right? A day when you will learn something about work, or a relationship, or your health, or perhaps the health of someone you love more than yourself? I think of ...

Where is God?

Friday, October 5th, 2007 Posted in The Sermons | 17 Comments »

We sing because Isaac felt left out. Caleb practices piano, Eli the violin. I sit with Eli as he practices, pushing his fingers to their proper positions, helping him with rhythm, chastising him when he claims a sudden injury that ...

Snow in Blacksburg

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 Posted in The Sermons | 10 Comments »

It was a scene we've witnessed before, from the safety of our living rooms and offices: a school building that has become a slaughterhouse, and scores of police officers arrayed outside, waiting for . . . something, for orders perhaps, ...

Good Friday

Friday, April 6th, 2007 Posted in The Sermons | Comments Off on Good Friday

And so they led him up the hill, and they nailed him to a cross, and they watched him bleed and die. From Frederick Buechner's Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC's of Faith: "What was brought to completion by such a ...

The Striving

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | Comments Off on The Striving

I'm learning patience from the lady who is teaching Eli how to play the violin. She is a long-time public school music teacher, the kind we wish or imagine still ran things there, kind and competent and able to talk ...

Nice Church

Monday, February 19th, 2007 Posted in The Sermons | Comments Off on Nice Church

An acquaintance once told me about a wealthy benefactor in his church, a man who likes to point out that he "isn't one of those Bible thumpers." He just believes that it's a good thing for families to go to ...

A Glass of Water

Friday, February 9th, 2007 Posted in The Sermons | Comments Off on A Glass of Water

Several people asked me yesterday if I had heard the news that Anna Nicole Smith was dead. It was as if the whole world had been there to see her collapse, and had no one left to tell, which is ...

Home

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 7 Comments »

Something inside draws us home. Last year, two swallows built a nest on the narrow ledge above my front door. We tried to shoo them off, used a broom to sweep away their construction a few times, but they just ...

Intentions

Tuesday, April 27th, 2004 Posted in The Sermons | 2 Comments »

"Only too soon personal experience and the experience of others teaches how far most men's lives are from being what a man's life ought to be. All have great moments. They see themselves in the magic mirror of possibility which ...

Leadership and Playrooms

Thursday, March 11th, 2004 Posted in The Sermons | 8 Comments »

Did I ever tell you about our house in Wichita? It was a beautiful, three-story, 1912 box colonial, with hardwood floors and the kind of molding that our nation has forgotten how to produce. The den had a fireplace of ...