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A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma...

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    At the Edge of Civilization, Part 3

    At the Edge of Civilization, Part 3

    Here is the final installment of a three-part series about my recent retreat at Gethsemani Abbey in rural Kentucky. A tiny shrew was clinging to the inside of the novitiate screen doors, trapped in the house! I took her up and she ran a little onto my sleeve and then stayed fixed, trembling. I put […]

    At the Edge of Civilization, Part 2

    At the Edge of Civilization, Part 2

    Here is Part 2 of a three-part series about my recent retreat at Gethsemani Abbey in rural Kentucky. The moon was beautiful, dimly red, like a globe of almost transparent amber, with a shapeless fetus of darkness curled in the midst of it. — Thomas Merton, The Other Side of the Mountain: The End of […]

    At the Edge of Civilization, Part 1

    At the Edge of Civilization, Part 1

    In this wilderness I have learned how to sleep again. I am not alien… I close my eyes and instantly sink into the whole rainy world of which I am a part, and the world goes on with me in it. — Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable The Abbey of Gethsemani (alt. spelling) is […]

    40 Years in the Wilderness: God's Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) - Part 3

    40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) – Part 3

    This is the third and final installment in a series on the music and spirituality of Bruce Cockburn. You can read Part One here, and Part Two here. Act III: Uncertainty and Spiritual Drift (1987-1999) In my mind, the first two “Acts” in this narrative arc of Cockburn’s career represent two different forms of certainty or […]

    40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) - Part 2

    40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) – Part 2

    This is the second in a 3-part series on Bruce Cockburn. To read the first part, go here.  Act II: The Struggle Against the Darkness of the World (1980-1986) Three dramatic changes occurred in Cockburn’s life around 1980: (1) his 10-year marriage to Kitty—which had included the birth of their daughter Jenny in 1976—ended in divorce, […]

    Snatching Defeat from the Esophagus of Victory

    Snatching Defeat from the Esophagus of Victory

    I. Y’all, I’m going to be real with you: last Thursday night, I experienced something that made me feel more intensely depressed than I have felt in a really, really long time. What happened, you ask? Did someone I love pass away? Did I lose my job or break up with my girlfriend? Did I […]

    40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) - Part 1

    40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) – Part 1

    This is the first of a 3-part series on Bruce Cockburn. The unproved assumption of [the] very common mountain analogy is that the roads go up, not down; that man makes the roads, not God; that religion is man’s search for God, not God’s search for man. – Peter Kreeft, Fundamentals of the Faith Our […]