I made the mistake of introducing myself to Philip Roth by reading one his later work. Indignation, a 2008 novel, drew on some of Roth’s familiar themes—Jewish identity, American identity, relationships—but it had none of the spark I was hoping for. It felt like an older man’s attempt to imagine himself back into first love. […]
Come to the Eastern Shore of Virginia two centuries ago and more and you would have found Methodist preachers traveling their circuits in pairs. It was the normal way in the early days of our denomination. Going solo was the exception. The first American Methodists formed their clergy by sending them straight to ministry with […]
There are so many ways that a story of addiction can go wrong, especially when it is narrated within a framework of fall and redemption. On one level, the stories are so similar that we feel we can trace the arc before opening the cover—the prelapsarian idyll, the first hints of trouble, the descent into […]
Recently I had the opportunity to write a story about the Australian brushfires for the great FaithLink resource. The main essay from that curriculum is now up on Ministry Matters. Come for the spectacle of the fire. Stay for the musings about how we’ve killed nuance and the opportunity to really see what we’re seeing. Click here.
My piece on visiting Appomattox Court House is up on the blog of StreetLight Magazine. Click here.
It’s hard to say, even 370 pages later, what the yellow house means to Sarah Broom. As a substantial structure about which to tell a story of a place, it’s not much to look at—a shotgun house in New Orleans East, ultimately ravaged by Katrina and razed to the ground. For most of the second […]
In honor of Carson McCullers’ birthday: I could be difficult like Carson McCullers. I could drink too much have wild fantasies about what the next exciting trip would be believe that I deserved to be loved and doted on love inordinately but badly treat those around me with indifference All because of genius—charge it to […]
For me, it happens when I go to the Twitter feed after some recent ‘problematic’ event or statement has hit the news. Immediately the folks I have chosen to follow, ‘influencers’ among them, stoke the little fires of irritation I might have felt and before long lure me into the Twitter-sanctioned indignation I should be […]
David Bentley Hart’s book about hell, That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation, is brief, which is appropriate since hell is not something a Christian believes in, strictly speaking. Belief, in the creeds, is reserved for real things like a God who creates from nothing, a Christ who dies for the forgiveness of […]
It’s been another good year for this Heartlands site. The number of views has almost doubled and we have had a number of good connections with and reviews from other sites. Below you’ll find the Top 10 posts from the year along with some other notable posts in the realms of books, interviews, and poetry. […]