Gratitude Lessons

Gratitude is dull because we always give thanks for the same things. For instance, going around the circle at Thanksgiving dinner, my various family circles always say: family, friends, health, home, a job, nature… Every November, people in my Facebook feed list things they are thankful for every day of the month. Again, like clockwork: family, friends, health, home, a job, […]

Fall in the Neighborhood

Fall photos, taken mostly while walking the dog around our neighborhood. The farm where our vegetables come from – Green Earth Institute, and the head farmer, Steve Tiwald, who greets us every other Tuesday when we come by for our pick-up. Arugula, having been inspired by its neighbor, mint, taking over a garden plot (this stuff has amazing […]

Keep Death Always Before Your Eyes

Today, at 9:39 a.m., someone shot an office worker and then shot themselves at a warehouse office between my house and my church, here in Bolingbrook. The news went out at about 11 a.m. I was at St. Benedict, meeting with a parishioner. I’m ashamed to say this, but I didn’t feel sad, or scared, […]

The Liesborn Prayer Wheel

This pen-and-ink drawing was found on the inside of a medieval Gospel book. The book dates from 980, when it was commissioned for a well-to-do convent in Germany. The drawing is probably not original – it seems to have been added later. It reminds me of a labyrinth but really it’s more like a puzzle or […]

Advent in Narnia Open House

First, we filled the narthex (or lobby) of St. Benedict with artificial Christmas trees! We had lots of help – people loaned us their trees, and a few volunteers helped us set them all up and “fluff” the branches! When guests came, the first thing they saw was a “forest” … and Mr. Tumnus and […]

The Mosque Next Door

I wrote an article for The Christian Century about our church’s growing relationship with our Muslim neighbors here in Bolingbrook, a relationship that means a lot to us, but that is also as ordinary as any suburban worshipping communities who happen to be neighbors. “…we visited the congregation’s Eid al-Fitr festival, held at the end […]

Suburban Brutalism

Suburban architecture is not, for the most part, very remarkable. But here in Bolingbrook, Oak View Elementary School begs to differ. It looks like a big concrete box, yes; but in my opinion, it is actually a classic example of Brutalism, a modernist style based in raw concrete and pioneered by the architect Le Corbusier in […]

Book Launch Open House!

Dear readers, You are invited to come celebrate the new book with me next month… Book Launch Open House Sunday, September 20, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. The Church of St. Benedict, 909 Lily Cache Lane, Bolingbrook There will be door prizes, Turkish Delight, and a few characters in costume (Thank you, Dave & Carly!). Bring […]

Empty Churches

I have a melancholy, hopeful love for abandoned churches. I visited this one last winter, meeting one of our Bishop’s staff to pick up some used furniture, cassocks, and hymnals for St. Benedict. The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany was built in 1885 and closed in 2011. It’s located in the medical district of Chicago, just west […]

Images of America: Bolingbrook

I bought the book Images of America: Bolingbrook at Village Hall last week. It was put together for the 50th anniversary of the village this year. I was pretty excited to look through it – but I couldn’t help but notice that there weren’t as many images of people of color as I was expecting. This may be because when […]