Sand in the Gears

The unlovable

Thursday, November 10th, 2016 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 12 Comments »

I guess before you read the rest of this you should decide how you feel about the fact that I didn’t vote for either of them. Nor did I vote for the Libertarian, or the lady who makes Bernie Sanders ...

The dividing line

Friday, September 2nd, 2016 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 13 Comments »

Look, maybe it’s time we cash in our chips. Blow this popsicle stand and buy that cabin in the hills we’ve always talked about. Sink a well, set out the rabbit traps, and settle in for a long-ass winter. Don’t get ...

Backwards in a sideways world

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 20 Comments »

When I was twelve, we were evicted from our house in Florida, a consequence either of Reaganomics or our failure to pay rent for three months, depending on whose story you wanted to believe. We faced a long, hungry drive ...

Death in Charleston

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 Posted in Faith and Life | 18 Comments »

Tonight I made my way home through rain driven from a shrouded sky. It struck the scorched asphalt, and everywhere was steam. I remembered the verse, how rain falls on the just and the unjust, and as I squinted against ...

The turned back

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Sermons | 79 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 ...

Cantering to the gas chamber

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 11 Comments »

A society doesn't capsize all at once; it leans by degrees. It tilts, and the opinion mavens who are its deckhands rush about reassuring everyone that it's the horizon that is at fault. We are finally leveling things, they say, ...

Civilizing the civilizers

Monday, March 31st, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

What happens when you gather thinkers in thrall to scientism, and ask them to list the most important books for civilization? A compendium that includes books on robot sex and immortality, but nothing on plumbing, or farming, or the God ...

Cheaper by the dozen

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on Cheaper by the dozen

There is a difference between being anti-intellectual and being anti-intellect, and this is where Russell Jacoby foundered, in his essay last year about the lack of intellectualism among conservatives. As Peter Lawler notes, it's shoddily done for want of defining ...

An open letter to the weeping conservative

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 5 Comments »

Look, it's not the end of the world, or America, or really much of anything. In fact, it could become the beginning of something. Here are eight reasons you should take heart from what you consider last night's loss. 1. Congressional ...

There’s no program for fixing rotten

Friday, April 30th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 6 Comments »

The thing you run into, when you are in the business of saving the world from itself, is that there is no lever marked: "PULL HERE TO SAVE WORLD." It fascinates me to see intelligent thinkers reason out top-down solutions to ...

Monster parents

Monday, December 28th, 2009 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 19 Comments »

A woman and her boyfriend beat her two-month old baby to death on Christmas Eve in Detroit, and the Wayne County Prosecutor suggests parenting classes might help stem the tide of such abuse. While we lose the traditions and practices ...

Kill your television before it gets you

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 15 Comments »

The average child between the ages of two and five in the U.S. watches over 32 hours of television per week, according to the latest Nielsen numbers. Nearly five hours a day, in other words. Given the greater sleep needs ...

Could have been anyone

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 Posted in Faith and Life, The Art of Parenting | 13 Comments »

The Columbine killers, a new book says, weren't twisted little psychopaths who intended to kill dozens. They were one twisted little psychopath and his pathetic sidekick, and they hoped to kill hundreds. But otherwise they were regular kids. USA Today reports this ...

Movies don’t kill people. . .

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 Posted in Faith and Life | Comments Off on Movies don’t kill people. . .

Recently we all saw the horrific murders at a Belgian nursery. Now there are reports that the young killer made himself up in a fashion eerily similar to Heath Ledger's Joker, and was obsessed with horror movies. Cultured people will ...

Modern madness

Monday, July 14th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Modern madness

A quote from my patron saint, were I to have one, which maybe I do and simply don't realize it: "A time is coming when people will go mad and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack ...

Christian Fiction IV: The Weaning

Sunday, April 15th, 2007 Posted in The Artful Life | 2 Comments »

Well, I let a week of things that pay the bills get in the way of writing my fourth and final installment on this topic, and I think I've lost my steam. Or maybe there's just nothing left to say, ...

Christian Fiction, Part III: Bad Writing Is Evil

Friday, April 6th, 2007 Posted in The Artful Life | 6 Comments »

After I discovered Leif Enger's Peace Like a River, I breathlessly recommended it to my friends. I could barely disguise my disappointment when some said it was "too slow," or "hard to get into." I love them all the same, ...

Christian Fiction, Part II: The Bubblegum Diet

Thursday, April 5th, 2007 Posted in The Artful Life | 10 Comments »

What is Christian fiction? Does Doris Betts's story, "Serpents and Doves" count? In it a dying, guilt-ridden man has a feverish conversation with the Devil that brings him to realize the salvation that has eluded him. Then there's Graham Greene's ...

On Christian Fiction, Part I: Bad Readers Make Bad Writers

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 Posted in The Artful Life | 4 Comments »

There's a debate in Christian writing circles arising out of the perceived difficulty of getting publishers under the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) umbrella to carry more "literary" work. The underlying conflict between literary and mass-market fiction has existed in one ...

All Over But the Crying

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on All Over But the Crying

It appears that Republican control of the Senate now turns on Conrad Burns in Montana, and George Allen in Virginia. I have an image of a desperate Snow White, perhaps not so snowy white any more, pinning her hopes for ...

On Willful Ignorance

Monday, October 2nd, 2006 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on On Willful Ignorance

I'm 30,000 feet above vast stretches of empty American land, thinking about how our legislators want to protect us from Mexicans willing to do the work we're too fat and lazy to do for ourselves, and I'm wishing we could ...