Trading in Black Friday for Good Friday

One of Lent’s gifts to me is the painful realization that my default behavior is set on “Black Friday.” Here’s what I mean. It’s as if I’ve camped outside Target at 4:59 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving every day, poised and ready to run when the doors open at 5:00 a.m.—“Get out of my...

Embraced by the Crucified One

When we try to pray, God often beats us to the punch and prays in us, offering us gifts of quiet assurance, challenge, and consolations that appear to come out of nowhere. God recently gifted me with an image of saving grace that was born of God’s good Spirit touching my imagination and creating in my...

Putting Up with Pretend Crosses

I played the victim on Ash Wednesday. Early that morning I discovered I couldn’t get online, and I spent a frustrating hour fixing it, before devoting the rest of the morning to working on a new book I’m writing. I figured I’d have lunch and then put everything I’ve written so far in...

Computers, Candy, and Distractions

Some friendships seem timeless, even a little eternal. After all, don’t we all reconnect with some people we haven’t seen in years, and after 10 minutes or so, it’s as if the intervening years never happened? This happened to me recently when I drove to rural Iowa to see a Trappist monk and a...

Wrestling His Last Steer

With all due apologies to animal rights activists, I was transfixed by an obituary I read in the New York Times for Pete Burns, 85, “a retired competitive bareback rider, bull rider and steer wrestler.” Although he grew up in Chicago, he discovered rodeo sports while attending the University of...

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