Recent Posts

Another Southern Writer Finds Love in the Ruins: A Review of Kevin Powers’ Latest

The opening paragraph of Kevin Power’s new novel, A Shout in the Ruins, is perhaps the finest beginning to a book I’ve read since Flannery O’Conner blew open the universe in the first paragraph of The Violent Bear It Away. Like that gem, Powers’ opener is all mood and tantalizing hooks that spark a thousand […]

What You Need to Know to Care for Your Clergyperson (Even if That’s You)

Some of the advice that Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell and Jason Byassee have for clergy is very straightforward. “If you’re really tired and wondering whether you should work more or go to bed, don’t wonder—just go to bed!” (157) Excellent tip. Back from my nap now, I’ll go on to say that other advice in Faithful […]

Joy Comes In the Morning: A Review of Christian Wiman’s Poetry Collection

“Joy: that durable, inexhaustible, essential, inadequate word. That something in the soul that makes one able to claim again the word ‘soul.’” (xxxvii) Last year two books from Christian Wiman made their way to my reading stand. If nothing else had happened in the literary world in 2018, those two works would have been enough. […]

Long Arcs and Stumbling Blocks: A Break Down (Because) of General Conference 2019

It took two weeks of explaining before I broke down trying to get through one more rundown of what happened in St. Louis.* Of course, I felt the pain of it even while I was at the General Conference. The Tuesday night it ended I stayed up late writing notes to former seminary classmates and […]

Before I Take The Next Breath: A Sudden Response to General Conference 2019

No one should be held responsible for what she or he writes in the 24 hours after a cyclone like the one that just tore through The Dome in America’s Center. So I’ll hope you’ll extend me that grace as I offer, before taking the next breath, some initial thoughts and reactions to the Called […]

Cemetery of Beloved Memory: Meeting Paul Escamilla at General Conference

I once heard Paul Escamilla give a sermon in which he talked about a family cemetery in the Southwest borderlands. It was so rich that I felt I was walking the grounds with him, lingering over memories and sensing a deeper Spirit, one that binds us together across boundaries of time and space. Yesterday I […]

Because You Are More Powerful Than We Imagine – A Final Prayer Before General Conference 2019

Because you are more powerful than we imagine in our Pelagian fantasies, Because you are always more ready to dance than we are to follow your lead, Because you choose contingency over certainty and the added gifts of incarnation, intimacy, and the open door, Because you will still be watching when we turn our heads […]