Buck Holler Jan 31, 2020

Ex iis quae mihi scribis et ex iis quae audio bonam spem de te concipio: non discurris nec locorum mutationibus inquietaris. Aegri animi ista iactatio est: primum argumentum compositae mentis existimo posse consistere et secum morari.

This is the opening of Seneca’s second letter to Lucilius, and it moves quickly to an argument for the selective reading of a few books over a less attentive gloss of several authors.

Devin O'Donnell Jan 30, 2020

In That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis tells the story of Mark Studdock, a servile man who ironically comes to realize his true freedom in the limitation of a jail cell. However unpleasant it may be, we have it on good authority that “being at close quarters with death” can actually be good medicine for the soul, especially for the Christian soul. Like Boethius and greater men before him, Mark Studdock receives a great blessing in his incarceration (as he comes to see later on). But how can jail time confer a blessing?

Carrie Eben Jan 28, 2020

I typically expect to be a little depressed in January. It is my least favorite month of the year and misplaced Christmas-season expectations often leave me feeling empty, cranky, and ashamed. It is possible after a cheerful glass of mulled wine I may have jokingly expressed to my family that “Christmas in THIS house would not happen without me. I am Christmas. Just lay me in that manager.” This terrible confession is true.

Austin Hoffman Jan 22, 2020

In one of the most well-known passages of City of God, Augustine describes the ordo amoris, or order of loves. In his characteristic style of inserting brilliant theological observation within historical description, Augustine exposes the superstructure of his theology. In the midst of classical culture, he identified the central problem of humanity not in externals as the Manichaeans nor ignorance as the Pelagians, but in the fallen human will. More than the intellect alone, Augustine understood that we are pulled—compelled—by love.

Elizabeth Do Jan 14, 2020

I am reading Homer. Each day, I pick up the book and think of a beautiful thing I share with all people who read Homer: time to read Homer.

Several things are needful for a contemplative life, and all of them plague me with guilt. For a quiet place, a quiet mind, and a worthy subject, all three, I am deeply thankful. Of their fragility I am sorely aware.

Lee Chemin Jan 6, 2020

Matt strode up to me, wearing one earbud in his right ear while the left bud flopped around against his suit vest. “Do I look like a secret service agent?” he inquired, holding up the speaker on the cord of the earbuds to his mouth for effect. Matt asks this question every Sunday before our church service begins, and I delight in it as a constant comfort, akin to knowing that there will always be green bean casserole with fried onions at Thanksgiving dinner.

John Tuttle Jan 3, 2020

If we look back at dramatized episodes in the lives of the Greek philosophers, we see they bickered frequently. That is how they brought their ideals to the community’s attention—through stories, parables, and argumentation. In Plato’s dialogue Gorgias, a prime example of argumentation, Socrates assaults the ramparts of the practice of rhetoric. Meanwhile, the rhetorician Gorgias and his disciple Polus attempt to keep up a defense of their occupation.

Lee Chemin Dec 31, 2019

“How are you preparing for Christmas?” asks Mrs. Kim expectantly, holding a microphone from the church’s ancient sound equipment. Even before she reaches the question mark, the front of the sanctuary is peppered with eager little hands. Mrs. Kim begins to pick from among the children, who in various states of euphoria cannot wait to share their thoughts. “Making cookies!” squeals Lydia. “Putting up our tree!” smiles Maya. “Elf on the Shelf,” says Jack, sweeping his pre-preteen hair from his eyes and revealing a cool, but not too cool, smirk.

Matthew Carpenter Dec 27, 2019

December is a time of year when teachers (and students) are ready for a break. We have taught for several months and, after grading exams, need to recharge. Discouragement fostered by fatigue could easily set in if not for the hope of Christmas and the anticipation of communing with family and friends.

But what about all those other times of the year when you give everything you have to teaching and it seems like little good comes from it? At those points we need someone to come alongside us and offer encouragement. That’s where Augustine of Hippo comes in.

Jonathan and Laura Councell Dec 23, 2019

When each of us were young, our mothers and/or caretakers instinctively amplified the musical qualities inherent within our native languages. Infants are surrounded by an entirely foreign, complex system of communication. They exist in a state of wonder and we draw on and interact with that state by engaging them with musically creative speech. We exaggerate the natural melody of our speech, and use rhythmic patterns, repetition, simple forms, and catchy tones of voice to increase their interest, comprehension, and connection.