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About Ian

Another post-Barthian Thomist Midwesterner growing weary of irony and exhausted by scrupulosity. Paradoxically, though, that's only fueled my passion to advertise and commend every fantasticity strewn throughout the cosmos by the One who does all things well. I'd rather talk up a gracious God than chalk it up to my ability. Can you dig it?

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Author Archive
    

    The Acquittal of Our Guilty Pleasures

    Music is always a near-essential for me when I hit the road. But now, more than ever, having a soundtrack to drive to feels absolutely critical. Typically, I have a playlist cued up to inject some presence into the errand I’m running to offset the Leftovers vibe I pick up everywhere I look around.  Sometimes, […]

    Finding Our Way Home to Jesus, Again and Again

    Henri Nouwen’s Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in An Age of Anxiety is the new, posthumous release that’s finding its audience in the disquieting Venn overlap of Lent and COVID-19. Fittingly, the book began its life as a series of talks Nouwen gave during Lent of 1985 as he was discerning what direction to […]

    Alone Together In One Body and Spirit

    Social distancing has reorganized our public life by sequestering us within the familiar spheres we tell ourselves we are comfortable with. But when self-quarantining excludes the normal distractions and opportunities that inhabit our everyday lives, we are forced to reckon with the compromises and loneliness we are usually able to ignore. Long before the pandemic […]

    Death and Life Under the Mark of Cain

    We, the heirs to the devastating dysfunction that was the twentieth century, clamor to hold on to life at all costs. We fear death above all else: it is the emblem summating all our lesser fears. The myriad anxieties which splinter and spoil our experience find their terminus in that most ancient enemy. We are […]

    Love Is Also One of the Things That’s True

    Fifteen years ago this winter my dad drove me up to Madison for the third and final surgery on my right collarbone, which I had shattered earlier that year. (I had front-flipped onto blacktop, accomplishing a football injury while playing basketball. It’s a whole sad, dumb story.) We left home early in the morning and […]

    Are We the Romans?

    I remember purchasing Botch’s We Are the Romans at Earwax on State Street in Madison in October of 2003, and I remember buying along with it Dying Fetus’ latest record, Stop At Nothing. This was a time in which I not only listened to bands with names like Dying Fetus but also took perverse delight […]

    The Weight of Advent: Speak What You Feel, Not What You Ought to Say

    As Black Friday reaches further back in time each year, so as to even colonize the twilight hours of Thanksgiving Day, we in North America are no strangers to the porousness of time. Commercial interests can collapse chronology such that two times can overlap in a way purely linear calendar time can’t countenance; we can […]

    C. S. Lewis: Evangelist of the Burning Heart

    November 22nd is an exciting day for me and for many others as it marks the commemoration of the blessed Clive Staples Lewis in the church calendar. Lewis (“Jack,” as he was affectionately known to friends and family) needs little in the way of introduction: defender of the faith, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, […]

    Curing the Post-Halloween Blues

    Every November 1, without fail, I’m down in the dumps. The moment I wake, I am viscerally aware in the cilia and flagella of my cells that Halloween is gone, having slipped away with the other faithful departed we commemorate on All Saints’ Day. Anymore, even as I’m trick-or-treating with my family, the sadness is […]

    In the Midst of Life We Are in October

    What images come to mind when you think of Halloween? Ghosts? Skeletons? Gravestones? Some Christians cry foul at such “morbid” imagery, but it seems to me this stems from a safely modern, bourgeois outlook. Our older brothers and sisters in medieval Europe most assuredly wouldn’t know what to make of the bland, sterilized Christianity regnant […]

    Memory and the Trauma of History

    What does remembering tragedies like September 11th accomplish here and now? What do we channel in remembering, and what dangers are there in it? “Remembering,” I once heard a minister claim, “is the art of the mature.” I wrote it beside the second verse of Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget […]

    Are Friends Electric? And Is Grace Digital?

    This one’s especially for Andy, Anna, Blake, Caleb, Chris, Jeff, Kristin, Nathan, Reed, and Trevor. It seems like a hilariously ironic turn of Providence that I who have been so deeply suspicious of connectivity through electronic media and its pernicious (albeit often unintended) consequences should find the friends I am most in touch with, most […]

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