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

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    Summer in Omelas: What Are We to Do With All This (Climate) Grief? Part 2

    If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it … Scapegoating, exporting our unresolved hurt, is the most common storyline of human history. The Jesus Story is about radically transforming history and individuals so that we don’t just keep handing on the pain to the next generation. Richard Rohr, “Transforming Pain” […]

    Summer in Omelas: What Are We to Do With All This (Climate) Grief? Part 1

    Our present ecological crisis, the biggest single practical threat to our human existence … has, religious people would say, a great deal to do with our failure to think of the world as existing in relation to the mystery of God — not just as a huge warehouse of stuff to be used for our […]

    An Advent Lament for Burnt-Out Teachers (and Our Needy Students)

    He laughs. He kicks his bright spade in the earth and turns it over. – Andrew Hudgins, “Christ as a Gardener” Being a teacher is easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Midway through my fourth year now at a high-poverty public middle school, I can say with gratitude that it has certainly gotten better—and […]

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 […]

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