Sand in the Gears

Legos in the Deep

Friday, May 1st, 2015 Posted in Faith and Life | 2 Comments »

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 ...

Which will falter

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 16 Comments »

In the gathered dark freezing rain scaled the limbs, the leaves, and every outstretched thing. We woke to the thrum of a power line fallen, its light so savage we had to shield our eyes. Electric fire inhabited a tree ...

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 the virtue of not being special

Thursday, January 16th, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life | 47 Comments »

"I have a sense," I once told a counselor, "that I'm supposed to do something great." He sat back in his chair and smiled. "Oh yeah. Everyone has that feeling about himself. Especially in this country." I was deflated for weeks. My ...

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

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 Posted in Fatherhood, 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 obscured man

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 Posted in The Sermons, Theology | 31 Comments »

This is not a comment about the reasoning of a Slate essayist, who wrote recently that the white Santa is outdated. This is not a comment about the Fox News talking head who took umbrage, asserting that not only Santa, ...

Crafted

Monday, December 9th, 2013 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 49 Comments »

My mother died while I was at the beach and so while my children spent their days on the shore, I spoke by phone with the many professionals who position themselves between the living and the dead. My thirteen year-old wanted ...

How we talk about good and evil

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 Posted in Faith and Life | Comments Off on How we talk about good and evil

Those of you who caught my first essay, in which I argued that the layman no longer has adequate language to discuss good and evil, and who did not subsequently spit out your coffee while sputtering with outrage, might appreciate ...

Sheep and wolves

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 10 Comments »

Because I am a father I think about the parents of that boy torn to pieces, of his sister whose leg was taken. I think about those parents in Newtown, whose biggest Christmas purchases were coffins for their sons and ...

Everybody dance now

Thursday, April 18th, 2013 Posted in The Artful Life | Comments Off on Everybody dance now

Some of you may like my latest essay, "Art as a Common Gift." Here's an excerpt: Imagine that. Millions of people, many of them knowing not the first words of orthodox praise, harboring scant knowledge of theology, yet all of them ...

Hell and Christmas

Sunday, December 16th, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 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. ...

Childlike

Friday, November 30th, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life | 5 Comments »

Back when I thought I knew something about God, I sought arguments. God is this, and God is not that, and those scriptures you think say one thing actually mean something else, don't you know. I thought her simple and ...

Question of the day

Monday, November 26th, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life | 5 Comments »

Maybe you are like me and you are like most of us and so you imagine that your looks and your brains and your accumulations matter. Sometimes this works well for us, because if nothing else we can imagine the ...

Thin thread

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life | 1 Comment »

Some of you may like my latest essay at the Image Good Letters blog. Here's an excerpt: "Telling a story along that thin thread, however, means abandoning the notion that the world pierces us more deeply, that our hearts sing more ...

Listing

Sunday, March 4th, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life | 7 Comments »

If you were to write down the names of everyone you trust -- truly trust -- what size paper would you need? I needed the back of a receipt. There are ten names on this scrap of paper. Ten people I ...

The Christianity of Chris

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 Posted in The Artful Life, Theology | 4 Comments »

This is not one of those reflections on the death of Christopher Hitchens, in which the writer labors to bolt his meager little meteor to that man's literary supernova. I've read enough of those to make me retch, if not ...

A boy grows

Sunday, February 12th, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 5 Comments »

Yesterday was Stephen Caleb's birthday. He's twelve, and there are now only 364 days between him and the onset of teenagerism, which I associate -- at least among American kids -- with sloth and self-indulgence, ignorance and idiocy and all-around ...

Valley’s Light

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Greatest Hits | 22 Comments »

This morning I drove past the house where she died. The light today is the way it was then, a light that doesn't warn you how peace comes at a cost this day, how once she's sleeping she won't wake ...

Heaven presses in

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 13 Comments »

I was asked to speak to some graduates last week, and so I spoke to them about finding their place in the world and about endurance in the face of suffering and about decisions that once we make them can ...

Good men

Friday, April 29th, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 5 Comments »

Someone told me recently, "You're a good man, Tony." This made me think of a James Taylor concert I heard about once. In the hush between sets, someone in the audience shouted, "I love you, James!" Taylor stepped to the microphone and replied, ...

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 ...

Possibility

Friday, January 28th, 2011 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 7 Comments »

My work with non-profits over the years has given me the opportunity to sit down with a number of philanthropists. I'm just now flying home from visiting Tucson, Arizona, where I met with several people who have led very different ...

Intentional heart

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 16 Comments »

I started a garden last summer. It went to weeds, and then the weeds grew parched under the relentless Kansas sun, and then they withered and died. I traveled more than I'd anticipated, and when I was home other things ...

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 ...

On suffering

Monday, January 10th, 2011 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 6 Comments »

If you believe God loves His children, and then you suffer something terrible and tragic, you have to face head-on the question: Is there God? Close on its heels comes the second query, just as hard: Why does He sit ...

Prodigal

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 9 Comments »

Last night I had a drink with a friend, and he told me about his transformed life. He didn't call it that, but there it is, and here he is, the prodigal son returned, the lost sheep brought home to ...

Two Anthonys

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 3 Comments »

I've been thinking on the incongruity of sharing a name with the saint who went into the desert to wrestle demons and aloneness and thereby work out salvation. I sat at an oval window this morning and looked on the ...

Awaiting hope

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 5 Comments »

Somewhere between a speed too slow to get killed and too fast to get away, a grasshopper found himself clinging to my windshield wiper. He wrapped his thin wire legs around black metal and held on with that baleful, narrow-headed ...

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 ...