Articles tagged with: story

[26 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

It is quite possible that this post adds up to nothing. But, on this cold-clear day after Christmas, it has two good stories in it, so it is not, I think, a total loss.
I have just finished, two minutes ago, a fine essay by Paul Willis (in his forthcoming book To Build a Trail) about his interviewing the poet Mary Oliver. It is filled with a car-load of revelatory details, including her need to smoke a cigarette just before the event. And it ends with an excellent punch line: “And …

[5 Apr 2013 | No Comment | ]

I’m reading Alister McGrath’s new critical biography of C.S. Lewis (thanks to Mavis for the signed copy!). I was not sure that we needed another bio of Lewis, but am finding it useful and insightful because he engages Lewis’s writing more fully than the other bios, sort of a cross between “the facts” of earlier bios and the account of Lewis’s intellectual development in Alan Jacob’s The Narnian. I recommend it.
One of the ideas McGrath discusses is the distinction in Lewis between “imaginary” and “imaginative.” The imaginary is something “that …

[10 Dec 2012 | 2 Comments | ]

[Following is another excerpt from a book I’m finishing up, The Skeptical Believer: Telling Stories to Your Inner Atheist. (It will be available in January and I’ll probably post if for free on this website.) The italicized words WITHIN parentheses is the voice of my Inner Atheist, who comments freely throughout the book on what I say. Non-italicized material within parentheses is plain old me speaking.]
We are always coming in on something that is already going on.
Eugene Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous
and wait for the …

[1 Mar 2012 | 2 Comments | ]

One of the most common questions for (and among) Christians, members of a supposedly “exclusive” religion (which I think is bunk), is “What about those who never hear of Jesus?” or, in another form, “What about people of other religions?” It’s a respectable question–sometimes asked out of sincere concern, but often asked as a way of deflecting Christianity’s truth claims. Respectable and worth discussing, but also highly theoretical and abstract. Good for people who like to debate.
When I think of this question, I also think of this rejoinder, “God only …

[13 Feb 2012 | No Comment | ]

I have in recent months been surrounded by people who have good reason to want to know what is going to happen to them and to those they care about—involving health, life and death, jobs, relationships, eternal fate, and so on. This is one (among many) of the story elements in our lives. Our lives unfold to us like a story (because they are a story) and, as when reading or hearing a story, we want to know how things are going to turn out.
There is a ‘page turner’ quality …

[19 Jan 2012 | 5 Comments | ]

I am in my home town–Santa Barbara, California–these last three weeks of January. Trying to write, sometimes with a warm sun on my back. Following is what I wrote the day  before yesterday. Another rough cut from the ongoing work-in-progress The Skeptical Believer:
Faith is not made up, but it is made. Which is why it does not bother me to call faith a fiction, as long as you let me control the definition of fiction (the one who controls the definitions usually wins any argument).
If you think of fiction only …

[4 Jan 2012 | No Comment | ]

Reflecting on the rapidity with which your whole life can collapse (in the context of living in Stalinist Russia where you could be an average citizen one day and in the concentration camps the next), Solzhenitsyn says the following: “The Universe has as many different centers as there are living beings in it. Each of us is a center of the Universe, and that Universe is shattered when they hiss at you: ‘You are under arrest.’”
It was true for Solzhenitsyn who was called in from his post as an artillery …

[7 Dec 2011 | One Comment | ]

(What follows is a continuing reflection on the deaths of Jamie and Pamela Pierre, as in previous postings.)
The room is maybe five feet by ten feet, an enclosed porch actually. It was Pamela’s inner sanctum (for better and worse). It has a couple of chairs, a computer on a tiny desk, books stuffed high and low, and tall piles of magazines, clippings, and printouts from online articles of all kinds. It’s where she went to think and search and smoke and read and think some more and smoke some more. …

[8 Nov 2011 | No Comment | ]

Have you noticed that when you learn a new word, you start noticing it everywhere? Same when you write a book. You obsess on something (not literally) for a few years, start seeing the world through that lens, and then catch echoes of that way of thinking in the newspaper, overheard conversations in the mall, and in Seinfeld re-runs.
I’m happy to say that my book came out a couple of weeks ago: Creating a Spiritual Legacy: How to Share Your Stories, Values, and Wisdom. During the short time since it …

[11 Jul 2011 | No Comment | ]

This blog post is an excerpt of a work in progress–The Skeptical Believer: Telling Stories to Your Inner Atheist. Both the skeptical believer and the inner atheist make an appearance in this excerpt and throughout. See the “In Progress” part of the website (under “Writer”) for another excerpt.
“Those who believe in God but without passion in their hearts, without anguish in mind, without uncertainty,without doubt, without an element of despair even in the consolation, believe only in the God idea, not God himself.” Unamuno
“Tell it to your children, and …