The Next Blog

I’ve moved to Chicago… but I’m still writing, taking pictures, and reflecting on the place where I live. If you’d like to follow me via my new blog, here is the link: Diary of a Downtown Priest You can sign up to receive the new blog posts by email by clicking “Follow this blog” at […]

Farewell to Bolingbrook

In a week, the moving truck will come and a crew of Chicago bruisers will load all our earthly belongings into a truck or two and haul it into the city. We’ll leave behind a bed of ripening strawberries, a renovated bathroom that still flutters my heart, a wheelbarrow, four kinds of iris, rampant mint, […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Indian Boundary Line

Old houses have always seemed to me like chapter books of rooms: full of stories about the past, if you have time to read them. There were plenty to explore or “read” in the old Chicago neighborhood where I grew up. The apartments and houses of my parents and friends had well-worn wood floors, carved […]

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 […]

Mint is Impossible (The Mint Project, Part 3)

Mint is in the Bible twice! Who knew? I like to imagine King David, Peter, or Lydia enjoying it in their tabbouleh, but it’s only Jesus who mentions it, when he accuses Pharisees of being overzealous in the tithing of their crops: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected […]

Garden Tour 2015

A few people have been asking me how the garden is this year. Here’s an abridged tour of the Vicar’s backyard from this past spring, and now summer. Last fall, I planted five (5!) different kinds of garlic – each with an obscure name. Here’s my very accurate and detailed planting map: Four of the five varieties produced beautiful, […]

What Do Vicars Do All Day?

Recently, someone asked me, “What about ministry, exactly, makes it so stressful? Is it all the counseling you do for people and their crises?” “Well, the majority of what I do actually isn’t counseling,” I tried to explain. It’s hard to explain the stresses of ministry to someone who can’t imagine it intuitively. Before I could say more she asked, […]

The Mint Project

My bucolic suburban homestead is slowly being taken over by backyard mint. I admit, I opened myself to this invasion when I bought two plants four years ago – one “chocolate” mint, one spearmint – and planted them. Not in a pot. Not in two pots. Not in a window box. In naked, unprotected ground. I planted […]