Can’t take communion in the time of coronavirus? Pray. Can’t go to church? Pray. Be persistent in prayer.

How do you do church when you can't go to church? Before the COVID-19 outbreak came to town, I didn't realize how much of my spiritual life centered on going to church. Now, after two weeks of "social distancing," it's causing me to reassess. As usual, my first reaction to social distancing was a wisecrack. … Continue reading Can’t take communion in the time of coronavirus? Pray. Can’t go to church? Pray. Be persistent in prayer.

Short takes and prayers for ‘tireless health care workers, whistle-blowing first responders, rumpled, righteous public servants, empiricism, epidemiology and vaccines’; also for precinct election judges

CDC advisory for Higher Risk & Special Populations, March 6, 2019. Some quick takes on what it might be like to live in a pandemic. At the moment, it looks like I may be getting a little taste of it already -- I'm receiving post-hospitalization home health care, which has restrictions similar to a quarantine, … Continue reading Short takes and prayers for ‘tireless health care workers, whistle-blowing first responders, rumpled, righteous public servants, empiricism, epidemiology and vaccines’; also for precinct election judges

Wisdom from the 1928 Episcopal prayer book, a Jesuit author and a punk rocker-rabbi — with links to common-sense advice on getting ready for a pandemic

Editor's note (March 3). Draft of a post I wrote at the end of February, when it first became apparent the new coronavirus outbreak was about to blossom into a worldwide pandemic. Then, on Saturday night, when I was putting the finishing touches on it, I got sick and was admitted to St. John's Hospital … Continue reading Wisdom from the 1928 Episcopal prayer book, a Jesuit author and a punk rocker-rabbi — with links to common-sense advice on getting ready for a pandemic

Trump’s post-impeachment prayer breakfast caper and the wall of separation between church and state

"[Roger Williams] was saying that mixing church and state corrupted the church, that when one mixes religion and politics, one gets politics." -- John M. Barry, "God, Government and Roger Williams' Big Idea," Smithsonian, January 2012."Something there is that doesn't love a wall ...," Robert Frost, "Mending Wall." My research into Swedish immigration has me … Continue reading Trump’s post-impeachment prayer breakfast caper and the wall of separation between church and state

Theology, shmeology: When is an answered prayer like a kick in the pants?

Picking up on a thread -- more like an internal dialog -- that started last month when I was reading a copy of James Hazelwood's new book, Everyday Spirituality, in the doctor's office. Hazelwood is the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's New England Synod, and he had some interesting things to say … Continue reading Theology, shmeology: When is an answered prayer like a kick in the pants?

John Knoepfle, 1923-2019

John Knoepfle, who died Saturday at the age of 96, was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1999 by Springfield College in Illinois (later Benedictine University Springfield). As the faculty adviser/de facto editor of the campus literary magazine at the time, I obtained John's permission to publish his commencement address to the class of 1999, perhaps … Continue reading John Knoepfle, 1923-2019

Seeking the holy in a trad Irish music festival video from Derry, a 10th-century Irish poem and choir practice at a Lutheran church in downstate Illinois

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpYuSmDbxnA Paddy Callgahan, "Be Thou My Vision," Fleadh Cheoil na h√Čireann, Derry, 2013 So a couple of weeks ago I posted an update on my prayer life, which stalled out recently as I navigated a welter of day-to-day crises, to the blog. And a fellow retired English professor named Elizabeth, who blogs on WordPress at … Continue reading Seeking the holy in a trad Irish music festival video from Derry, a 10th-century Irish poem and choir practice at a Lutheran church in downstate Illinois

Spiritual direction notes — August-October

Copy of an email I sent Saturday evening to my spiritual director. The links are embedded; a couple of minor illiteracies are cleaned up; the paragraphing is endlessly tinkered with (an integral although unnecessary part of my creative process); and a long excerpt from last month's post to this blog on an Episcopal table grace … Continue reading Spiritual direction notes — August-October

Of a gentle nudge from Jehovah, a Scots-Irish folk hymn and a childhood table grace on the interstate north of Lincoln

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRdS5dIVmbM RESIGNATION, "My shepherd will supply my need ..." (Southern Harmony, No. 38) Bob Meeks Memorial Singing at Harrods Creek Baptist Church, Brownsboro, Ky., April 28-29, 2012. Before I get into what I'm about to say, I'd like to state for the record I don't believe the Common Lectionary was designed with me in mind. … Continue reading Of a gentle nudge from Jehovah, a Scots-Irish folk hymn and a childhood table grace on the interstate north of Lincoln