Spiritual direction — January and February

Editor's note -- copy of email sent to my spiritual director this morning, updating and summing up the past month and a half. Posted here, along with earlier updates, so I can tabs on the direction I'm taking as it evolves. Hi Sister -- A quick note to confirm our appointment for 2:30 p.m. Monday … Continue reading Spiritual direction — January and February

Found poem — in a Swedish grammar book I kept in my office at at SCI-Benedictine

Editor's note -- another workshop poem I wrote when I was teaching creative writing at Springfield College in Illinois, which later merged with Benedictine University and was subsequently closed. According to the Academy of American Poets, found poems "take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of … Continue reading Found poem — in a Swedish grammar book I kept in my office at at SCI-Benedictine

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 — take 2: 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 — take 2: When is an answered prayer like a kick in the pants?

Review of John Barry's bio of Roger Williams — 'chopping through four centuries of undergrowth'

Tracy Lee Simmons, "'Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul,' by John M. Barry," [review], Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2012 https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/roger-williams-and-the-creation-of-the-american-soul-by-john-m-barry/2012/01/23/gIQAhjmqnQ_story.html. Excerpts: [Lede:] Last December, when Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee confronted critics who accused him of kowtowing to political correctness by tagging the blue spruce in the statehouse as not a “Christmas tree” but … Continue reading Review of John Barry's bio of Roger Williams — 'chopping through four centuries of undergrowth'

Eric Norelius — Civil War reminiscences (notes & quotes)

Eric Norelius (26 October 1833 – 15 March 1916) was a Swedish-American Lutheran minister, church leader, and author.[3] ... Eric Norelius was born on 26 October 1833 in Norrbäck, Hassela parish, in Nordanstig Municipality, Gävleborg County, Sweden. He received his early education at Hudiksvall's general school. In 1850, at the age of 17, Norelius emigrated to the United States. In May 1851, he accompanied Lars Paul … Continue reading Eric Norelius — Civil War reminiscences (notes & quotes)

Ebenezer Scrooge, Luther's sermons and Swedish-American history: A New Year's resolution (of sorts)

On the way back from visiting family in the Quad-Cities on Christmas Day, we tuned in to the public radio station from Champaign. As we zipped down Interstate 155 from Peoria to Lincoln and onto I-55 toward home, they aired a dramatic reading from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. A 45-minute dramatic reading was the … Continue reading Ebenezer Scrooge, Luther's sermons and Swedish-American history: A New Year's resolution (of sorts)