Uncategorized

Disappointed in a Disappointed Jesus

Dear Luke, Thank you for sending me your manuscript. I’ll try to respond honestly, as you requested. Those lyrical opening chapters: fantastic. Beautifully paced, full of poetry. Along with Zechariah and Mary and Simeon, I was dazzled by angels visitant and wowed by prophetic utterances,…
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April 13, 2019
Uncategorized

Psychoterratica: New Words for a New Earth

English has always been a hungry language: it readily devours words from other languages and from inventive word-crafters, assimilating new words into its own rich, varied vocabulary. English never seems to lose its appetite for new morsels, borrowed or fresh. These days, in response to…
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March 30, 2019
Uncategorized

Does Theology Make Us Passive on Climate Change?

“Does ‘image of God’ make us lazy?” I jotted this in my notebook earlier this week, between phrases like “hinge point in history” and “geophysical tipping point.” I was listening to a lecture by Kathleen Dean Moore, a moral philosopher, nature writer, and environmental activist.…
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March 16, 2019
Uncategorized

Please Stop: Calvin Seniors on Vocation

Next time you encounter a college senior, you will inevitably be tempted to ask, “So what’s your major?” and “So what are you going to do with that?” Before you utter those words, please stop. Be gentle. Think of something else to ask. Why? Because…
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March 2, 2019
Uncategorized

Blizzard, Looking Out

Morning, west window The sky feels oddly bright, considering the snow thickly falling in clustered flakes. The wind gusts, whirling flakes into powder, snowglobing my backyard vista. For a moment, a cloud of white obscures the trees, the neighbors’ backyards, the whole world. I exist…
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February 2, 2019
Uncategorized

On Shaving and Shaming

Earlier this week, Gillette dropped a new advertisement called “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be.” Well, you would think they had dropped a match in a puddle of gasoline. Using all the slick production values a $17 billion corporation can muster—including a lush musical…
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January 19, 2019
Uncategorized

Legacy Sorting the KonMari Way

I couldn’t even watch one whole episode. The first season of the new Marie Kondo television series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, dropped on Netflix this week. Obviously, Netflix timed this premier to capitalize on our New Year’s ambitions before they fade into Februarian disappointment.…
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January 5, 2019
Uncategorized

Advent in the Twilight

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. -- Gen. 1:2 I’ve been enjoying darkness this year. Not minding the winter darkness is a helpful survival skill in Michigan,…
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December 22, 2018
college life

How To Achieve Syllabus Efficiency

On a typical day, I prepare to teach three different texts for the three courses I’m currently teaching: Shakespeare, Early British Literature, and introductory creative writing. This seems inefficient, don’t you think? What if I could prepare only one reading for all three courses?
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October 27, 2018
spirituality

Dwelling: A Scriptural Survey

Some quick work with online tools surprised me: the Bible is full of dwelling, from the Pentateuch to Revelation—at least in English. It turns out that dwell is one of those rich, Anglo-Saxon words that composts together several related concepts into a fertile loam.
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October 13, 2018
cultural commentary

The Weight of This Sad Time

Shakespeare is right to show us that there is no guarantee of reward for choosing integrity and mercy. Over against the example of his sources, Shakespeare eschewed a reparative ending. In Shakespeare’s final scenes, the noble among the younger generation pay a heavy price for…
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September 29, 2018
artsspirituality

O Rejoice in All Your Works

The red planet and seed pods: an odd juxtaposition. But as I padded quietly through the gallery, it seemed to me that what the two exhibits have in common is the way they, like those two scripture passages, invite us into altered perspective.
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September 15, 2018
cultural commentaryspirituality

True Forms

Part of my fascination, I suppose, is that we are talking about a face here. The article nicely rehearses the significance of the human face while visually explicating the devastating destruction of Katie’s. What’s compelling here is the idea of coming face-to-face, so to speak,…
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September 1, 2018
memoirnature

Pitcher’s Thistle

What is the value of a thistle? We don’t entirely know. I suppose God does. I suppose the little prickler gives praise to God in its own thistly way, just by being itself in cooperation with other nearby creatures being themselves. Is that enough for…
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August 18, 2018
naturereview

Climate Fiction: Three Vectors

As you spend a few last hours this summer in your Adirondack chair under a shady canopy of leaves—with that feeling of autumn’s imminence causing you to contemplate decline, aging, and the end of civilization—you might consider distracting yourself with some “climate fiction.” Sometimes short-handed…
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August 4, 2018
spirituality

One Day on the Mount

But amid all your advice about clothes and food, I notice you’re saying absolutely nothing about government corruption and malpractice, ongoing racial hatred, mass incarceration, resurgent misogyny, torqued-up geopolitical tensions.
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July 21, 2018