review

The Privilege of an Inner Life

I’ve always understood that my education, beginning with my mother’s early tutelage, was a privilege. This week my gratitude—and perspective—deepened significantly as I read, along with a class of college senior English majors, Michelle Kuo’s wise and generous memoir, Reading with Patrick.
mm
April 28, 2018
memoirspirituality

High-Performance Christians

We know what it’s like to be on display all the time, to be ever the responsible example, to be always leading and mentoring and discipling, striving never to fail anyone in the quest to model spiritual excellence. It’s a blessed life, of course—a privilege…
mm
March 3, 2018
spirituality

Supersubstantial Bread

Now that I know about this tradition of interpretation, though, I would like to recover it for us children of the Reformation. I mean, why choose? The term epiousios is multivalent and spacious, wide enough to embrace both meanings, maybe made up precisely to do…
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January 20, 2018
liturgical yearspirituality

Austerity Measures

Bare pots of dirt: that’s my preferred symbol this Advent. Bare trees, dead leaves, winter stillness. It occurred to me the other day, stopping and starting in dense holiday traffic, that we could opt out of Christmas completely. Some people do. We could just skip…
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December 23, 2017
liturgical yearspirituality

Zechariah’s Dream

One night, I dreamed it wasn’t just me. Every other old codger had gone silent. It seemed that any man over about age 50 could no longer speak or write or even type. Not the women, just the men. So weird. Us older guys shuffled…
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November 18, 2017
review

Discovery: A Report from the Final Frontier

I hereby provide a public service by filing this scouting report for those of you wondering whether the new Star Trek series, airing on the subscription service CBS All Access, is worth the investment of your time and money. The answer is: maybe.
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November 3, 2017
silly

Inappropriate Halloween Costumes

Hence, I set all niceties aside and present my suggestions for inappropriate Halloween costumes especially for church people. Deploy these with relish on that most wickedest of holidays, All Hallow’s Eve, and join in the gasp-inducing fun.
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October 20, 2017
arts

Ecumenism, Art, and Hope

One finds good news where one can these days, and here comes some good news for the church: the work of ecumenism thrives in the field of theological aesthetics. Granted, we’ve had to float into a rarefied atmosphere to recover this news, but what’s going…
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October 7, 2017
arts

A World Still Stirred

While prints made from woodcuts and engravings may not offer the immediate thrill of gigantic oil paintings, they do display curious combinations of grotesquerie and piety and, to the patient observer, a fascinating glimpse into the Reformation moment.
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September 9, 2017
cultural commentaryreview

Any Tenderness?

The show’s title makes it sound like one of those silly British slapstick comedies, but no. I would describe it as an historical drama with a loving heart. It has the same historical-immersion appeal as Mad Men, except with wholesome values, lots of babies, and…
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August 26, 2017
poetry

To Love Michigan in Summer

Sumac and scrubby grass, dense-leaved oaks and maples, jumbles of every possible green. Blue spruce, Douglas fir, white pines, red pines, the astonishing symmetry of jack pine trunks in a sudden stand. Dead trees like skeletons rising from swamps. Everything stubby and scruffy and sassafrassy.
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July 1, 2017