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Happy Easter: Paint the Damn House in Hope

The other day our daughter did the math and realized that she will not have her long hoped for kindergarten Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. This is a time-honored tradition in our household. As people who give communion to newly baptized babies, it is perhaps the closest she gets to a First Communion she will […]

Compassion, Connection, and the Singular “With” of the Gospel

“Now we have the privilege of seeing what only God can do.” – Ray Ortlund, quoting his friend Alfred Dickson Our eight-year-old woke up the other morning beside me, because that is our life right now, and in his half-asleep haze murmured, “This is the best time.” He was talking about that moment, which is […]

Things My Grandmothers Taught Me That Are Helping Right Now

It is perfectly acceptable to save .02 ounces of macaroni and cheese in a Cool Whip container with a tin foil top. There’s nothing wrong with constantly having a pound cake in the house. There’s nothing wrong with elastic waisted pants. Children can watch hours of television and still feel loved if you offer them […]

Faith of Our Mothers

We’re living in unprecedented times. At least that’s what everyone is saying. And it’s true. There’s never been a time in our history when this many people have been using Zoom to make conference calls. But this is not the only time that people have faced catastrophic circumstances. The world has been a scary place […]

Monsters of Hope: Parenting in a Pandemic

We are entering week two of quarantinacation with our two young children, and it is hard. Initially I over-functioned. I spent an obscene amount of money on books and art kits. I set up a printer so we could have actual math worksheets. I yelled the “F” word while trying to set up the printer. […]

Fathers, Nightmare Clowns, and a Pity Still More Vast

Shia LeBeouf wrote Honey Boy during rehab in 2017. The screenplay unearths the damage of a troubled childhood and his riven relationship with an abusive father. Complexifying this quasi-biopic, LeBeouf plays the role of his father, fictionally named James Lort. Lucas Hedges and Noah Jupe split time as his son Otis, the grown and adolescent […]

The Best Penitential Season Ever, Or, A Lenten Kinship with the Devil

This year, my Lent was going to be the greatest in the history of all penitential seasons. I wanted to do something manageable that might make a big impact on my overall life: I had decided that I would go to bed every night at 9:30pm. This seemed achievable and wise. Not overly spiritual or […]

If You Sat in Front of Me at Church, I Apologize

If you sat in front of me at church this past week, I apologize. The song we were singing was “Hope Has a Name,” by River Valley Worship, but my version sounded more like this: Hope has a name, His name is Je… shhh, I’m trying to sing the song My Savior’s cross has set […]

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 […]

A Cat Called Soul

After only a couple of dates, we got on the subject of pets. I am a dog guy. My romantic interest had already met my hyperactive little puppy. I told her that, growing up, my best friend was a Golden Retriever named Lucy. She commented that her father always said not to trust a man […]

The Body and the Coffin

This one comes to us from Kurt Armstrong. A few years ago I built a coffin for my father-in-law Walter. I made it with oak plywood, the oak a nice veneer, the plywood strong and stable so it wouldn’t warp or twist or cup. I built it, stained it, and varnished it, and I kept […]

The Sins of our Fathers: Disease and Low Anthropology

Dr. Gabor Maté’s When the Body Says No was published 15 years ago, when I was in 7th grade (sorry boomers). At that point in my life, I had given my childhood very little critical thought, except that I should for sure have a later bedtime. In my mid-twenties, I find myself thinking about my […]