The Tale of the Prodigal Son is the quintessential Lenten parable—always found right at the midpoint of the season as if to say, “Have you come to your senses yet? Ready now to make the turn toward your Father?” In recent years, many have argued it should be titled the Parable of the Loving Father to keep the emphasis on God’s mercy rather than our wrongdoing. But in studying the parable anew this particular Lenten season, I was struck by a number of commentaries pointing out that it should be read as the Tale of the Elder Son since the plot builds in such a way to focus less
So here is some great news: #Rules_of_Engagement has only been out less than a week and already it is so popular that the movie and television rights have been purchased, and a thriller version of the content is now available. Who could have guessed my book would be so well received so very quickly… like almost before it even hit the shelves… like maybe before it was even written?
I want to assure you that no animals were injured in the preparation of this reflection on "The This-ness of These Days" which is more than Jesus can say regarding the gospel episode upon which it is based. In the story of Jesus’ encounter with the “Gerasene demoniac,” 2000 pigs drown and we are left wondering, “What exactly is the meaning of this odd tale?” In their reading of it, Augustine and Aquinas both conclude—curiously—that it indicates Christians have no obligations toward animals. But I suspect they ma
How do I know for certain the earth is older than six thousand years? It’s not like I was around at the dawn of creation (though some morning when getting out of bed I feel like it). How do I know for certain that it wasn’t really Antifa members dressed as Trump supporters? I wasn’t there. And even if I was, I could have been fooled by the actor next to me. How do I know for certain that the election wasn’t fraudulent? I couldn’t personally watch every vote be counted.
My nephew Rique Ray is an amazing artist. Only 9 years old, he’s already an expert at Garfields, Charlie Browns, and “Ducks with Dice.” But this drawing—completed just a couple weeks ago, after apparently a few too many days (months?) at home—captures better than anything else I’ve seen the “space” that so many of us are living in right now. That sense of being squeezed more and more until our true colors begin to bleed out. For many the squeeze is physical or financial. For others its more mental or emotional. Whatever the source, any more pressure and an eyeb
When I was a senior in high school, I starred as “Thad” in a rousing rendition of the 1980’s musical Cotton Patch Gospel. Didn’t know Thad was one of Jesus’ disciples? Maybe didn’t even know Cotton Patch Gospel was a thing? That’s all beside the point. The point is: The first act ends with a peppy tune called, “We’re Go’in to Atlanta for the Hoedown.” It’s a bit of an ear worm.
Yesterday was such a sweet day. Thanksgiving always is. It actually began the day before when two of my brothers and two of my nieces gathered on Zoom to bake our family’s traditional tart cherry pie together. Flour dusting computer keyboards in four different states. It was great messy fun. And the festivities wrapped up last night with my husband and I Face-timing our son on the opposite side of the country while we ate outside on our patio and watched the sunset. Yup – beautiful.
As a Catholic preacher and educator, I care a whole lot about pursuing truth. It’s the heart of my job description. I also care a whole lot about freedom of speech. When people have the chance to talk openly, we get more information about how things look from varying perspectives. Learning can happen. So, pursuit of truth and free speech go hand in hand. Decouple free speech from the pursuit of truth, however, and you are looking at a disaster.
As I write, I am well aware that we are at the end of a wearying and difficult election season in which many of us have become deeply invested. For me, that investment has included voting early, trying to share articles that I think might be helpful to others, and doing a whole slew of Zoom workshops and retreats on Aquinas and the virtue of truth. Yes, I know that last one might be an odd way of expressing one’s commitment to good citizenship and I’m not sure how great the impact has been in the present moment. But in working with teachers and preachers around this topic now
Kinda like having a lightning rod strapped to your head, isn’t it? This trying to talk about truth right now? At dinner. In the office. In front of a classroom. Standing at a pulpit.