Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “The act teaches you the meaning of the act.” This is pure wisdom, but we have mostly counseled its reverse. We have tried to teach people the meaning first to see if we might coax them into the act. If we taught people to believe that God calls us to love […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
God is Not Urgent
About now, many of us are looking at our New Year’s resolutions and wondering what happened to our resolve. I don’t care much for resolutions, since they are mostly attempts to arm-wrestle small problems into submission without having to look plainly at one’s life. I like “priorities” instead of “resolutions.” Which reminds me immediately of […]
Where is Your Life Taking You?
Where is your life taking you? That’s the question I heard Parker Palmer asking. The Quaker wise man was being interviewed. “I had to ask myself,” he said, “where my life was taking me, rather than just where I was trying to take my life.” It’s important to try to take your life somewhere. Without […]
Clock or Compass?
We live by the clock. Running as fast as we can, trying to cram in one more thing. We vie with each other for the distinction of being the “busiest.” In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey suggests a different orientation. We ought to live not by the clock but by the compass, finding […]
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 […]