Sand in the Gears

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 ministering parent

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 Posted in Fatherhood, 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 ...

On false compassion

Monday, March 4th, 2013 Posted in Theology | 7 Comments »

The challenge when debating a liberal Christian is that he is bound by neither Scripture nor tradition but sentiment. He is therefore free to embrace both sin and sinner, and thereby appear more loving, more magnanimous, than his opponents. This magnanimity ...

More than bread

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on More than bread

When we don't think we can control some things we take charge of what we can. This is why the functionary fastidiously maintains a constant distance between his stapler and his tape dispenser, and why the abused child has a ...

On sugarcoating

Friday, September 23rd, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life | 36 Comments »

I realized this morning that part of the reason I haven't written here in so long, the reason I balk at the thought of it, is that I got the most hate-filled letter I've ever received, back in July, in ...

Sanctuary

Thursday, February 24th, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 21 Comments »

Sometimes I am overwhelmed, as I stand with my sons in the cathedral, by the feeling of safety. It's not something I ever felt in church as a child. In those days I felt out of place. I thought I ...

Ritual and vision

Friday, January 14th, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 5 Comments »

When I was a little boy, I was a pagan. Like our ancestors who had lost sight of God, yet saw visions of him in the luminescent peace of a harvest moon, or the spine-rattling fury of a thunderclap, I ...

The found faith

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 5 Comments »

Faith is this knowing in the center of you that will not leave. It has been to you a light that guides, light that illumines the worst of yourself, weight that steadies, weight that holds you where you do not ...

The found church

Monday, July 12th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 3 Comments »

Church is light streaming in, mingled voices, the expectation -- sometimes against all experience -- that this time God will meet you here, or at the very least, that you will leave your miserable ways long enough to meet Him. It ...

On the excommunication of a child

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, Theology | 24 Comments »

I remember, the day they told us our three year-old daughter would die, sitting on her hospital bed, Celeste and I together, holding her and weeping. We never really knew despair, I don’t think, until that day. We held Caroline ...

The new Conservatism

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 29 Comments »

Mickey Edwards explains why he didn't go to CPAC, the annual Conservative self-lovefest, arguing that the traditional conservatism of America has been supplanted by a state-aggrandizing European-style conservatism. I'm not sure if the shift is even that intellectual, or if ...

Hospital, not courtroom

Monday, February 15th, 2010 Posted in Theology | 1 Comment »

"Did you commit sin? Enter the Church, repent for your sin, for here is the physician, not the judge. Here, one is not investigated; one receives remission of sins."  (St. John Chrysostom)

Be it resolved

Friday, January 1st, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 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 ...

The Nightmares

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007 Posted in Faith and Life | 13 Comments »

Sunday night brought a nightmare, one I used to have as a child. In this nightmare you are awake, it seems, and you can see the bedroom as it will be when you finally do scream or gasp yourself from ...

Easter Day

Sunday, April 8th, 2007 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

We stood in church and sang the hymns, the boys with their shirts tucked in for once, me in a tie for once. Caleb had written on his notepad: "He is risen. He is risen indeed. Eastre Day. Amen." We sang ...

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 ...