Sand in the Gears

The turned back

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Sermons | 58 Comments »

I will tell you something about courage and cowardice. I will speak primarily about men, because I am a man, and because the evil that grieves me was glimpsed by men, and these men turned away their eyes. News accounts from ...

Thy kingdom come

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 Posted in The Sermons | 50 Comments »

I don't think they love their children any less than I love my own, which tells me something about what their lives must be like, to send their babies away. Their children stream northward in droves—as many as 60,000 this ...

Easing the burden

Friday, March 14th, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life | 18 Comments »

"I'm sorry I shot you in the face with my Nerf gun. Do you forgive me?" My son knows he is supposed to ask for forgiveness, just as his brother knows that sooner or later he will be expected to say ...

Children and pornography

Monday, February 24th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off

Some of you might appreciate my latest essay for Good Letters. Others of you may not like it at all. Maybe it's proof that I'm no less angry today than I was ten years ago, when some of you first ...

The world we show them

Thursday, February 13th, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life | 13 Comments »

"Which world do you want to live in?" My oldest son, just days from his 14th birthday, glares back at me. Behind him in the car sit his brothers. Their hands are pressed to their faces. One of them is crying. Caleb begins ...

Past where legs can carry

Thursday, February 6th, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life | 21 Comments »

The day after an amazingly talented actor pushed heroin into his vein and died, I saw yet another study purporting to show that we live in the best of times. It's hard to disagree. Infant mortality and poverty are plummeting. Our ...

The Casserole Dish Manifesto

Friday, January 31st, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life | 2 Comments »

Well, I'd intended for any manifestos I write to be published well after my death, if not to spare my children the embarrassment, then to avert desecration of my grave. In grad school I learned, by way of a miserable ...

The ministering parent

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 16 Comments »

Do you ever look on your children, and wish they had better than you? Back when we were shopping my embarrassingly confessional first book, my agent at the time told me I needed a ministry to accompany it. She said this ...

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 Cost of Calling

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 12 Comments »

Many parents carry within our hearts—sometimes in a cramped and even despairing corner—a vision of what we hope our children will become. This vision lives deeper than our wish that they be doctors or NFL quarterbacks, deeper even than our desire ...

The professor in the home

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 48 Comments »

Every month, money flies from my checking account to the education savings accounts of my children, because I don't want them to become hobos. This is one way I allay my fear the world will eat them up. It's a ...

Imagination destruction

Monday, September 23rd, 2013 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off

The latest Conversations on Philanthropy is hot off the presses, and if you subscribe you'll soon have a copy in the mail. If not, however, and you're just dying to read my review of Anthony Esolen's Ten Ways to Destroy ...

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 ...

The difference between being blessed and being spared

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 Posted in Faith and Life | 3 Comments »

Some of you may like my latest Good Letters post. Here's an excerpt: This quiet slaughter is perhaps the greatest perversion wrought by the devil after the fall. The most innocent among God’s most favored creation, cut down by a world ...

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 ...

Hell and Christmas

Sunday, December 16th, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life | 23 Comments »

There is nothing to be done but weep. Cry out for the children with bodies shattered, for the ones covered in blood not their own, for the ones who didn't die instantly. Cry out for those who fell protecting them. ...

Abandoning children

Friday, September 21st, 2012 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 13 Comments »

The intellectual consensus seems to be that having children is miserable business. This consensus is built on shoddy thinking and shoddier statistics. The latest example is brought to us by Why Have Kids? author Jessica Valenti, who notes that in the ...

Homecoming

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off

Some of you may like my latest essay at Image Journal's section of Patheos, "Coming Home to Fatherhood." Here's an excerpt: "Or perhaps it’s closer to truth to say that nearly everything we do, so long as we love our children, ...

More Light

Monday, February 5th, 2007 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off

They say that the insane and geniuses are alike in that their minds make unusual connections between ideas. The good news is that I may be a genius. The bad news is that insane people often imagine that they are ...

Terrible fathers

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off

I'm sitting in an airport restaurant near three men, three boisterous men drinking at 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. The oldest, who appears to be about thirty-five and dressed like he's twenty, is instructing the others on the tragedy of ...

Three Cowboys

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 Posted in Greatest Hits, The Art of Parenting | 7 Comments »

Last night we went to The Prairie Rose Chuckwagon supper, where they feed you brisket, beans, and biscuits until you pop, and then sing cowboy songs. Caleb and Eli went in their cowboy gear: big hats, shooting irons guns strapped ...

Cleansing

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006 Posted in Greatest Hits, The Art of Parenting | 9 Comments »

I'm the designated bather in our house. Sure, sometimes the wife has to bring it, but on a daily basis, I'm the go-to guy. Okay, I lied a little. We don't wash our kids every day. With the onslaught of summer ...