Tag Archives: death

Hell and Vegas

As I write this they haven’t determined a final count of the dead and dying in Las Vegas. How many homes are filled this night with weeping? Too many, is one answer. Not enough, is another. I have nothing to say about the law, except that if opinions about it were limited to those who …

The Paradox of a Good Friday

Christ in Hades

“Keep your mind in hell, and despair not.” This admonition from St. Silouan is appropriate for Good Friday, when most of Christendom commemorates Christ’s descent into hell, where he shatters its captives’ chains. Many modern Western theologians have abandoned this teaching, but even if you reject it you are still, if you are a Christian, …

Legos in the Deep

Like many, I passed this spring through Lent. It felt longer than in past years, because there has been a kind of Lenten work being done within me, it seems, since last fall. Nothing terrible, nothing traumatic, just a gradual scraping away of the soul’s fat, like miserable Eustace when Aslan sinks his claws into …

When He is Silent

A reader whose younger sister recently died wrote me to ask how I endured, during the time of my daughter’s sickness and death, the silence of God. It’s something I’ve written about here and here, and in my book. I’ve talked about “saudade,” a Portuguese word meaning “the presence of absence,” which is how you feel, …

Temple of bones

Every baptism in the Orthodox Church entails an exorcism, as I learned last Easter when I was baptized into the Church. It was nothing desperate and dramatic like some of us remember from The Exorcist; in truth the devil and his minions flee from Christ and the Cross, having been sundered by both. There was …

The sickness

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 among some, who hate him deeply for his hatred, of picketing his funeral. Of holding …

Every day a memorial day

Yesterday the Eastern Orthodox celebrated the saints, and today many Americans celebrate fallen soldiers, and in the midst of remembrances of saints and soldiers I find myself thinking on a little girl who fought a great battle, and endured worse than a bullet, and who now watches from the blessed cloud of witnesses. It’s a …

The weeping Christ

From David Bentley Hart’s First Things article, “Tsunami and Theodicy,” rightly called once again to our attention, in light of recent disasters, by Civitate: “I do not believe we Christians are obliged — or even allowed — to look upon the devastation visited upon the coasts of the Indian Ocean and to console ourselves with …

The Glass Child

If you’re looking for a counterweight to my usual cheeriness, you might get yourself the latest issue of Ruminate, which has my short story, “The Glass Child.” Here’s the opening paragraph: This is the blood, David tells himself. He twists open the bottle and pours its dark content into a blue plastic cup. The label …