Cathedrals of Learning: A Lament for the Liberal Arts

We built grand cathedrals. The arches and vaults reached toward heaven. Cathedrals of theology, art, literature, history, music. Cathedrals for the growing of souls. But the barbarians came with their budget officers, reducing souls to earning power. They took machetes to theological questions, because they mistook faith for blandly arrogant certainty. They mistook music for … More Cathedrals of Learning: A Lament for the Liberal Arts

Catskill Cabin

Journal entry for May 19, 2021 I sit on a cabin porch in the Catskills.  My news apps are doubtless reporting the day’s count of Covid cases, how many Bush staffers support a new Republicanesque party, the latest protestations of anti-vaxxers, and the number of bombs that fell yesterday on Gaza neighborhoods. But in my … More Catskill Cabin

The Good Samaritan

A man was driving down US Highway 84 from Snyder to Sweetwater when his car broke down. At the side of the road, hood up, he was trying to figure out what went wrong. As often happens in this dry but typically friendly part of the world, a car soon stopped. Three guys approached and … More The Good Samaritan

Joy Again?

Easter came near to us this year with pent up longing. A tentative hopefulness.  After the cancellation of public worship at Easter last year, after the loss of community and paralyzing isolation, having watched the devastation of millions dying worldwide — after all that, in my little corner of the world things are changing. Infections … More Joy Again?

Lamenting to Hope

One-half million people are gone. Our nation has passed a milestone of immense tragedy: 500,000 dead from Covid-19. More US citizens have died in a the past year from this novel virus than died in WWI, WWII, and Vietnam combined. The devastation is unfathomable. And the per capita number of Americans who have perished from … More Lamenting to Hope

Remembering Harry

We are fortunate as young people if we come across that rare individual who takes us under wing, nurtures, and guides us. Of course our parents do that, and their gifts are the most foundational. But I’m thinking about when we leave home and begin to make our way in the world. At such a … More Remembering Harry

Playing at Prayer

In recent years I have discovered contemplative prayer, an ancient practice of praying that focuses on listening to God more than talking. Henri Nouwen has described three kinds of prayer: crying out to God (supplication as monologue), conversation with God (speaking and listening to scripture as prayer), and contemplative prayer.[1]  All three are important, but the … More Playing at Prayer