Dear Rich

(Part of my series Letters to Dead People) Dear Rich, It was twenty years ago today that you left this world for our Father’s house. A car accident of all things (is that what you get for wanting to “go out like Elijah”?). I didn’t know at that time, nor would I have cared. In…

Advent is Not Christmas

The season of Advent is directly related to the season of Christmas, but it is not Christmas. Christmas itself begins Christmas Day and lasts for twelve days, followed by the also-related season of Epiphany. Often, we confuse Advent for Christmas itself. It’s easy to do with manger scenes, Christmas trees, festivities, and such things. There’s certainly…

The Artist-Pastor Identity Crisis, Part 2

I was talking with a coworker recently. An English major when he was in college who loves writing stories and reading Dostoevsky, he is now studying at the seminary in order to hopefully plant a church overseas someday. We spoke of stories we liked and environments that seemed to inspire us, like gothic buildings and…

How Advent Saved Christmas

I hate Christmas. The stress, the materialism, the consumerism, the deception, and the overall empty, kitschy, humanist messages unsettle me. Then came Advent.

Changing the World

I have developed a certain tendency to use the phrases “changing the world” or “taking over the world” when speaking with creative friends. I usually leave this without any particular explanation, a seeming little absurdity thrown into a comment or conversation, but I actually mean what I say. I fully intend a lifelong conspiracy with…

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday beings Passion Week (or Holy Week). The primary event the day commemorates is Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem on the Sunday before he was crucified.

The Shadows of Advent

I have never been entirely comfortable with the bright colors and bouncy music that pervades the stores, radio stations, and even churches this time of year. Maybe it’s my own somewhat darker disposition, or maybe there is something about this season that is supposed to have a hint of darkness.

Great Art: The Sojourn Split-EP

Jamie Barnes and Brooks Ritter have crafted two EPs that would stand alone as great works, but as a complete album they stand as a masterpiece and an important milestone.

An Attraction to Loveliness

“It is this attraction to loveliness that lies at the heart of nurturing soul.  God has made us to be drawn to the beautiful.  So often the divide between children who have full souls and those who don’t lies here with the pursuit of beauty.  The serious pursuit of beauty, for both children and adults,…