Sand in the Gears

Not home

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 7 Comments »

On Sunday nights, after I've tucked in the boys, after I've packed my bags for another trip, I write each of them a note. I tell Caleb that I love the way he takes care of his younger brothers, or ...

The pumpkin patch

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 2 Comments »

I think the cook at a local eatery gave me an e coli burger because he didn't like my hat. That's the theory I've been operating under the last 48 hours. We went to the pumpkin patch as planned yesterday ...

Spot of grace

Friday, August 13th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 5 Comments »

I stepped out onto the wet sidewalk this morning and looked up at the sky and tried to see whether the grey clouds were dissipating or gathering tighter, because sometimes on a dark day I just want to know whether ...

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 ...

A father’s waning day

Monday, June 21st, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 3 Comments »

As I write, there are nine minutes left in Father's Day, which is just right, given that every father I know feels like he has so much left to do, and just a scrap of time in which to do ...

Tickle Monster

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 4 Comments »

Tonight I introduced Isaac and Isaiah to the Tickle Monster Game, which I used to play with Caleb and Eli. (And which I write about in my book. Have I mentioned the new book today?) I armed them both with ...

Every day a memorial day

Monday, May 31st, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 4 Comments »

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 ...

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 risen King is love

Sunday, April 4th, 2010 Posted in Theology | 4 Comments »

Leave it to John Piper to devise an Easter message without using the word love. It's from 1983, and to his credit by 2009 he comes up with an Easter sermon that does use the word, though not applied to ...

Deeper than we know

Sunday, March 21st, 2010 Posted in Theology | 5 Comments »

"The Father turns His face away. . .", goes the song. How comforting, then, to read in the 21st Psalm (22nd in the Protestant Bible): Nor has He turned away His face from me; And when I cried out to Him, He ...

Exclusion of Christ

Monday, March 15th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 2 Comments »

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer, by way of Lance Nixon's piece on Down Syndrome and human worth in last month's Touchstone Magazine: "The exclusion of the weak and insignificant, the seemingly useless people, from a Christian community may actually mean the exclusion of ...

Straight to danger

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

Five year-old Isaac decided that he wanted to ride his bike without the training wheels. "They slow me down," he explained. If you knew this boy, you would understand why I was reluctant to give him more speed. But there ...

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)

Because

Friday, January 29th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 8 Comments »

This is why I write to you, boys with me, girl who is gone. I write to you because when I am with you, when I look into your soft brown eyes, I do not have the words. They come ...

To rest

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life | 2 Comments »

Alder Hey Children's Hospital does a small but important and dignified thing in burying the organs its employees stole from dead babies. It is small because babies are small, and the parts of them even smaller, and because crimes against ...

This just in: children aren’t so bad after all

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on This just in: children aren’t so bad after all

Some of you might recall research floating about suggesting that having children reduces happiness. My own point of view has been that immediate happiness is not the point of a fulfilling life, at least not for the Christian. Now I've ...

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 ...

“A heart without exits”

Monday, December 28th, 2009 Posted in The Sermons | 2 Comments »

"My heart only has entrances. It doesn’t have exits. Whoever enters remains there. Whatever he may do, I love him the same as I loved him when he first entered into my heart." (Elder Epiphanios of Athens). This is a heart, ...

On the narrow path

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 Posted in Faith and Life, The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 32 Comments »

He sees her as we circle the parking lot a second time, an aimless, wandering circle, a time-killing circle while we wait for their mother to finish a bit of shopping. I have already seen the woman -- a girl, ...

The forever yearning

Thursday, November 19th, 2009 Posted in Faith and Life, The Art of Parenting | 9 Comments »

Yesterday morning Isaiah came to our bedroom, enacting his self-appointed role as Mr. Rise and Shine. He stepped on our knees and ankles and flopped about with sharp elbows until he staked a position between us. Isaac followed. Wife rose ...

Etched in flesh

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 5 Comments »

I must confess that my first reaction, upon hearing about the thug who had his seven year-old tattooed with his gang's symbol, was that the solution seemed pretty straightforward: a bullet under the chin of the sperm-donor, along with a ...

Parent, heal thyself

Friday, September 25th, 2009 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 4 Comments »

The problem with too many modern commentators on parenting, I think, is their inability to distinguish love from acceptance. This confusion is apparent in Alfie Kohn's New York Times essay, where he writes: "In 2004, two Israeli researchers, Avi Assor and ...

Light beyond daylight

Monday, September 14th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 9 Comments »

We are at the fair, and the sun has disappeared below the treeline, so that the illumination from the rides has become our daylight. We are watching Caleb twirl and spin about in some contraption that his brothers are either ...

Weary

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 Posted in Faith and Life | 9 Comments »

Sometimes the words don't seem like they'll get close to the truth of anything, and so I just stop writing. That's not completely true; I'll write fiction perhaps, because those people in the stories inside my head haven't yet worked ...

Stumbling

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 Posted in Faith and Life, The Sermons | 13 Comments »

You yearn for a holy place because, in the time between waking unable to recall where you are, and drifting again into the half-sleep that is all you've known for the longest time, you stand in the darkness of your ...

Smitten

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

I have just come home, and Eli runs up to me. "Dad, I left you a Boxcar Children book on your nightstand. It's your Easter present." "Thank you," I say. He turns back toward where he has been playing. "Eli," I ...

The Storm

Thursday, March 29th, 2007 Posted in Faith and Life, Greatest Hits | Comments Off on The Storm

The two younger boys crept into our bed in the black morning, driven by a snarling storm. They curled into me, shivering, as if I am a safe harbor. There is no keeping out the storm; this is what I ...

Three Reasons

Thursday, March 1st, 2007 Posted in Snapshots of Life | Comments Off on Three Reasons

Caleb has borrowed my Essential Charlie Parker, and I don't think he's ever giving it back. He likes to listen to it as he falls asleep, and so I hear it drifting down to me from his bedroom, the cool ...

Linger

Friday, February 16th, 2007 Posted in Snapshots of Life | Comments Off on Linger

Valentine's evening, after the rush of work and dinner was over, three little boys gathered around my chair. Caleb and Eli each handed me brown lunch bags covered in heart-shaped stickers. Inside Caleb's was a collection of elaborate cut-out hearts, ...