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 […]

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 […]

Suburban Cyclology

When I was growing up in Chicago, my dad taught me to ride a bike in the street with the flow of traffic.If I tried that in Bolingbrook I’d get run over.

Dog Walk, March

This is our park, down the street. Everything seems to be blue, brown, and beige in March. Even if it doesn’t look like much, the beagle always smells something compelling about his surroundings. Spring is trying, under there somewhere. There’s still ice on the pond, for now. But it won’t be long, now…

Bolingbrook and Islam

Down the street from St. Benedict – less than a full block away – is a new mosque. “Mosque” in Arabic is “masjid,” which is the word the Muslim Association of Bolingbrook (MAB) uses for its two worship centers in the Village, one on the east side (Masjid al-Islam) and now, one on the west side (Masjid al-Jumu’ah). Note […]

A Talk With The Mayor

This week, I went to Mayor Roger Claar’s annual talk with the Bolingbrook Christian Clergy Association. It’s a nice tradition – it gives clergy a chance to have face time with him and ask questions, and he tells us a lot of interesting stuff about what’s happening in the Village. He’s actually a terrific speaker, and quite funny. […]

The Silo of Poetic Despair

I took these photos a few days ago, meaning to write about a silo down the street from our church. It’s surrounded on four sides: by warehouses, a Lutheran church, an empty lot, and a busy street. The property used to be a nursery (started by the family that used to farm the land?) but the property is now […]

The Suburban Life For Me

I’m going on sabbatical in two weeks (two weeks?!?). We’ll be visiting places like Rome, Jerusalem, and Seattle. It’s hard to promise that we won’t just stay in one of those places, right? Like, isn’t there an Episcopal Church in Rome? Do they have any openings? (Asking for a friend.) And the reason I feel […]

The Lonely Old Sugar Maple

In 1820, before any Europeans had settled down in Barbers’ Corners or anywhere around here, Illinois was about two thirds prairie land – no trees, just miles and miles of waving grasses. Trees could be found in small groves around rivers, streams, lakes, and isolated places here and there. But by 1900, the prairie had almost entirely been plowed […]