The Work of Doing Nothing

“He started out head up and facing me,” my daughter Maggy is saying to me. “But now he’s turned head down, facing away from me. Perfect position.” She was something like six months along. I wanted to know how he (we know it’s a boy in there) makes these turns, gets all lined up. “Oh,”…

Fearless Weirdness

I am a little weird. Aren’t you? I’ve been thinking about weirdness the last few weeks because, in the Christian season of Advent, John the Baptist has appeared. Every year he comes to haunt us with his strangeness—his animal skins for clothing, his grasshoppers for food, his cave for a home, his “repent” for a…

Beware: Inner Peace

I received this alert, and it’s the kind of warning that–in this Advent season–I am delighted to pass on. Symptoms of Inner Peace Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down…

You Shall Conceive and Bear a (Grand) Child

My daughter is having a baby which means that I am having a grandchild. Grandparenthood is once removed. This is a birth you did not conceive. You did not have any choice in this matter. Often parents have to “try” to have a child. They decide that now is a good time to allow it…

Excuse Me, Mr. Buddha

  I spent last week in a monastery praying with Buddhist monks and nuns. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. Every November I take a week of retreat—almost always to a Benedictine monastery. I love to sit in chapel and hear the monks chant the Psalms, to walk the cloister, to sit in the…