Leaving Bolingbrook

Last fall, I became “Rector” instead of “Vicar” of St. Benedict, but I left this blog title in place for artistic reasons. This spring, I am bidding a fond farewell to The Church of St. Benedict and Bolingbrook, but now I’ll really need to change the title. And the whole focus, really. I wasn’t looking for a new position, but […]

Mildew and Mystery

This is the view from a third story window in the church where I grew up. I went to a funeral there a few weeks ago. It was the first time I’d been back in years. I got there early and decided to walk around a bit, up and down the stairs and halls. It was like walking around […]

Holy Week: Dog Walk

Early spring is tough. A parishioner once said to me that it is an ugly time of year because it’s about “shaking off death.” Holy Week falls into this space, easily. Bare. Ugly. Broken. Bleak. For all that subdivisions were designed to be ideal places to live, there is a haunting, lonely look about them. They match the spareness of […]

Calling God “Mother”

In college, I learned to call God, “Mother.” I didn’t stop using “Father,” “Spirit,” “Christ,” or one of my favorites from St. Francis, “Brother Jesus.” A few times, I tried to call God “Sophia,” which is the Greek for “wisdom” and can be seen vividly in Proverbs 1, 3, and 8. But “Mother” felt more natural for me. The two predominant names for God in […]

On “Aloha”

Adam and I just got back from 9 days in Hawaii. It was… amazing. We stayed on the remote side of Maui in a rustic little cottage with an outdoor shower, propane fridge and cooktop, cold water sink, and just three tiny LED lights. A compost toilet was down the path, with separate seats for #1 and […]

Book Review: Two Manuals for Dying

I wrote a review for The Christian Century of two companion books on dying by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, a professor of medical humanities at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. Her two books are both beautiful and uncomfortably practical guides to facing an approaching death – your own, or that of someone you love. Here’s an excerpt from […]

Ashes To Go: In The Joliet Herald-News

St. Benedict and I were in the Joliet Herald-News for offering “Ashes to Go” for the fourth year yesterday, Ash Wednesday. I was glad to work with the reporter and photographer – they “got” what we were doing and did a wonderful job capturing the day. Donna Ialongo, our Priest Associate, and I got to […]

Ministry of Silly Lenten Book Titles

I’ve been working on ideas for a new book of devotions for Lent (not based on Narnia this time). I’ve received wonderful ideas from many of you – keep them coming! I’ve noticed as I make notes, do reading, research, and brainstorming, that it’s easier to come up with ridiculous titles for books than serious ones.  Monty Python has a […]

Pretty Little Minister

“Well, aren’t you a pretty little minister? How old are you?” The grey-haired piano tuner had met me on the steps of the church, in the small New England town where I was serving, so I could unlock the big wooden doors and he could tune our grand piano. Bristling, I told him: “Twenty-four.”  Then […]

Book Review: Jeanne Bishop’s Memoir of Forgiveness

Last spring, I missed the chance to tell you about a book I reviewed for The Christian Century. Jeanne Bishop’s sister was murdered at home by a stranger, but as the years passed, Jeanne felt called by God to forgive, pray for, and finally to meet, her sister’s killer. Her journey is almost unbelievable, but my Christian walk and […]