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Letting Beliefs Go

This morning I read this: A broad group of scholars is beginning to demonstrate that religious belief and factual belief are indeed different kinds of mental creatures. First of all, they have noticed that the very language people use changes when they talk about religious beings, and the changes mean that they think about their…

Fear of Falling

My father was afraid to fall. With good reason: he is 96 years old. Almost a year ago his blood pressure was so low he got dizzy and collapsed. Luckily he wasn’t injured, but he got it in his head—The most important thing is: Do Not Fall. Dad got a walker and wheelchair. He didn’t…

Monday, Monday

Easter Monday is always like the day after Christmas. The party is over. The leftover lamb is sitting forlorn on the counter top; it was not put away last night. The children’s plastic eggs lie empty and raided on the floor. The sun comes in the window a little harsh. That great victory over death…

The Cock Crows

At the heart of the “Greatest Story Ever Told” is a betrayal. No one would call their child Judas. The name is slimed with centuries of condemnation: the lily-livered turncoat who betrayed an innocent man for thirty pieces of silver. We might understand how the crowd could turn on Jesus, but how could someone from…

It Tolls for Thee

Rarely am I so moved. The funeral for my mother-in-law ended. I lined up with five other pallbearers and walked the white coffin to the hearse. We got in our car and waited for the procession to begin. Pam began quietly to weep. There is something startling about the hearse and the coffin, the physicality…

The Power of Simple Touch

He lay there with only his diaper on, my grandson Dashiell. It was seven o’clock, time for his bedtime rituals. My wife, who adores this eight week-old child, is ready to give Dash his massage. She dips her hands in coconut oil and begins to stroke his stomach. She rubs his legs and presses her…

Patches

If you visit the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, you will find a small museum containing some of the most famous relics of the saint. The finest is the patched robe Francis wore to cover “Brother Body.”  It was a sign of his poverty vow, certainly, but a plain brown robe would do for…

The Ones Who Couldn’t Get Out

“How we view the world,” writes John Dear, “depends on where we stand. If we stand with the wealthy we will contemplate the world from the heights of privilege and domination. If, however, we stand with those who are poor and marginalized, oppressed and persecuted, then we shall contemplate the world from the experience of…

“My Old Man”

Today is my father’s birthday. He is 96. I love my father. I always have loved him. Sometimes a boy will go through stages where he does not trust his father, or turns against him so that a bitterness and anger rises in the boy’s heart. That was never true for me. There were times…

Two Notes

There is an old Jewish story that helps prepare us for Ash Wednesday and the coming of Lent. A certain rabbi, seeking to know his place in the world, kept with him two notes. In one pocket he kept a note which said, “For me the world was created.” In the other he tucked a…

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