Is noodling on the dulcimer a spiritual discipline? English folksingers nudge me to try it after this ‘festering boil of a year’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGThVwKowks "Sweet Bells," Yorkshire pub carol performed by GreenMatthews Instead of New Year's resolutions, I'm dealing with hunches and nudges this year. Besides, I know myself and most of my resolutions don't make it past the first weekend in January. But hunches? Sometimes I act on them, and lately I've had several clamoring for my … Continue reading Is noodling on the dulcimer a spiritual discipline? English folksingers nudge me to try it after this ‘festering boil of a year’

Canned fish at Christmas, the ‘most charitable construction’ and Luther’s catechism: Notes on a Norskie heritage

Editor's note: While I was looking for other posts to link to my year's-end spiritual formation review, I came across this draft. Apparently I started it just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit town, and I never got back to as my concerns and priorities shifted dramatically. It looked like it was worth salvaging, so I … Continue reading Canned fish at Christmas, the ‘most charitable construction’ and Luther’s catechism: Notes on a Norskie heritage

Advent festival at Sewanee: ‘Comfort, comfort ye …,’ but there’s a catch: We’ve got to act on the things that give us comfort

Screen shot from Sewanee's website. Click HERE to watch video of this year's Festival of Lessons and Carols (on YouTube) ... and HERE for bulletin with lyrics. One of the silver linings to sheltering in place during the Covid-19 pandemic has been re-establishing connection with old friends on social media ... and, through them, nostalgia … Continue reading Advent festival at Sewanee: ‘Comfort, comfort ye …,’ but there’s a catch: We’ve got to act on the things that give us comfort

Quotes from Eric Norelius: Pietist Norskies in Chicago and Swedes in Minnesota

D R A F T Excerpts from Early Life of Eric Norelius, a Lutheran Pioneer, 1833-1862, trans. Emeroy Johnson (Rock Island: Augustana Book Concern, 1934. "a Norwegian chapel that stood out on the plain on the north side. The service was conducted by a former acquaintance of mine, Mr. Rasmussen, who had been in Columbus. … Continue reading Quotes from Eric Norelius: Pietist Norskies in Chicago and Swedes in Minnesota

Notes on a review of an important new book about Faulkner, the Civil War and race (with a tangent on grad school in English at UT-Knoxville in the ’60s)

What Faulkner recognized was the ubiquity of such struggles over identity and their centrality to the American experience—the way that the question “Who am I?” is always connected to the question “Who are we?” -- Casey Cep, review of Michael Gorra, The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War, The New Yorker, Nov. 23, 2020 I … Continue reading Notes on a review of an important new book about Faulkner, the Civil War and race (with a tangent on grad school in English at UT-Knoxville in the ’60s)

Reflections on prayer in the parking lot of a walk-in clinic during a time of pandemic

It's a perfect late fall afternoon, blustery with tufts of white cloud scudding past in a blue sky. Temperature in the 40s, but enough sunshine coming through the windshield that I don't have the car heater on while I'm waiting in the HSHS PromptCare walk-in clinic's parking lot on MacArthur. This is how we do … Continue reading Reflections on prayer in the parking lot of a walk-in clinic during a time of pandemic

A Jesuit, Martin Luther and a statehouse reporter walk into an elevator … surviving the aftermath of this year’s election

Tennessee State Capitol, Nashville (Wikipedia) In an online election-eve article titled "Jesuit tools to help you survive the election (and its aftermath)," Fr. James Martin, SJ, laid out some tips for America magazine readers on "navigating the rough emotional waters over the next few days, weeks and perhaps months or years." Naturally enough, they come … Continue reading A Jesuit, Martin Luther and a statehouse reporter walk into an elevator … surviving the aftermath of this year’s election

ROFLMAO — what would Luther’s 95 Theses sound like in an corporate office email memo to all staff?

Luther posts the 95 Theses, by Ferdinand Pauweis (1830-1904). Wikimedia Commons. Posted today to the "Daily Shouts" section of the New Yorker's website, a humor piece by Patrick Crooks, a contributing writer who also describes himself as a "Creative thinker. Strategic problem solver. Administrative professional." He's certainly creative, and he's obviously written an administrative office … Continue reading ROFLMAO — what would Luther’s 95 Theses sound like in an corporate office email memo to all staff?

After the tumult, a moment of peace … and a moment for peacemakers

St. John's Episcopal-Lafayette Square in background. Business Insider, Nov. 7, 2020. It's been quite a week for peacemakers! Sunday, Nov. 1, was All Saints' Day, and the assigned gospel reading was the version of the Beatitudes in the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Including this (which isn't in Luke's version): "Blessed are the peacemakers, for … Continue reading After the tumult, a moment of peace … and a moment for peacemakers

Notes on an election-day article about Lincoln, the better angels of our nature and the book of Job

https://www.facebook.com/133051906718090/photos/a.1509816089041658/3741315792558332 On the same day as Tuesday's election, the Jesuit magazine America published an article I thought was singularly appropriate to the occasion. It was what we used to call a "think piece" in the newspaper business, an essay by a divinity student and political activist on what comfort -- if "comfort" is the right … Continue reading Notes on an election-day article about Lincoln, the better angels of our nature and the book of Job