Tony Woodlief | Author

Faith and Life

Are you resolved?

I’ve been thinking about what I can resolve to do differently. There’s plenty I could name, but it’s the resolve that gets you, isn’t it? There’s a scene, towards the end of The Untouchables, when Jim Malone (Sean Connery), his body riddled with bullets, wheezes at Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) through blood bubbling up from …

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Prodigal

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 the fold, the newly fitted vessel overflowing. He talked to me as if I know …

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Not home

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 that I love his inquisitive spirit. I tell Eli that I love his perseverance, or …

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Tilling ground

If only busted-up soil can be planted, the flat-tilled earth bereft of rocks before it can yield life, then what of the heart, the hard-hided, boulder-strewn heart of man, of this man? If only the soil of the broken heart will bring forth fruit, then perhaps we ought welcome it, and the tear-dropping rain that …

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Two Anthonys

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 sunfired clouds below and wondered into what wilderness I am once again hurtling, and whether …

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Laboring days

I’ve cut grass and cleaned offices and guarded buildings; I’ve been a grill cook and a college teacher and a karate instructor. I’ve bussed tables and stocked labs and punched numbers; I’ve managed more emotional twenty-somethings than I can count, hired people and fired people and balanced razor-thin budgets. The hardest job I ever had, …

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Loss

I’m on a top-secret mission, storing up little pieces of missives to share with you later, but I wanted to pass along this touching piece by Elizabeth Scalia, in First Things. Here’s an excerpt: A neighbor of mine works as a therapist for Alzheimer’s patients, both high-functioning and low. She recently described one sixty-ish daily …

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Spot of grace

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 light is spilling in or fading away. I looked up to heaven and a …

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Awaiting hope

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 look grasshoppers have. I kept waiting for him to let go, to tumble and topple …

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The missing third

Inevitably, in secularized society, after some particularly heinous butchery there is the news article that might be titled: “Searching for Answers.” In this article the reporter speculates on what might have gone wrong in those two-thirds of the murderer — body and mind — that he must pretend are all that constitutes a man. Inevitably …

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On the facilitation of murder

Reading Bruce Falconer’s article in last month’s Atlantic, about Swiss suicide facilitator Ludwig Manelli, I was struck by a husband’s repeated employment of animal metaphors to justify his wife’s poisoning. “You wouldn’t leave your dog on the kitchen floor when it can’t walk, can’t eat, can’t go outside to the toilet. Transform one life form to another, …

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Blood and mystery

One of G.K. Chesterton’s arguments in Everlasting Man is that the ancient pagans never really revered their petty gods and spirits and magical tree stumps nearly as much as the modern humanist, overflowing with tolerance and reverence for any belief system that distinguishes itself by not being Christian, imagines they did. They knew there was …

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Exclusion of Christ

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 Christ; in the poor brother Christ is knocking at the door.” Nixon notes a …

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Daily dying

John Hinderacker at Powerline (I got there from Instapundit) has this observation about the latest slaughter of Christians in Nigeria: “So where is the outrage? I don’t know what denomination those Nigerian Christians were, but Lutherans are the most numerous Christian denomination in Africa. I’m a Lutheran, but I have never heard a single word …

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To rest

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 the weakest bodies in the name of science have a sickening commonality in human history, …

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