A Reluctant Christian

I don’t know whether I can be called a Christian. I don’t believe in the divinity of Christ. At least, I don’t see his holiness as anything different than my own. Or different from yours. Or from the effulgent heart in each of us, even if occasionally dulled. What I…

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The Pursuit

It is so easy to get caught up in all the chasing. There are the goals and dreams and aspirations. We pursue a vision, or our aim, or any other number of respectable things.  To swing, as the poet said, “the earth a trinket at my wrist”. But after the…

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Mercy

Are there virtues that we forget? Personally or as a culture? Ones that simply fade like the faces on ancient Roman coins? For Aurelius, Clementia – mildness, gentleness, mercy – was one of the noble virtues. A nine-year-old girl travels all night by train with one suitcase and an orange.…

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Absence and Return

For several years, I have been loosely involved with an online Buddhist community. About a year ago, I began to get more active and made some commitments to the group. I was going to meditate more. I would be more mindful in my eating. One night each week, I would…

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Be Ordinary

In his poem “Born Yesterday”, Phillip Larkin looks at a new born baby and wishes, not that she is beautiful or smart or talented, but that she is ordinary. There is great value in our just being. There is something essential about remaining attentive to those around us, whatever the…

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Hugging the Horse’s Head

In January 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche went insane. Armed with metaphor, irony and aphorism, the German philosopher carved his influence deep into 20th century culture, criticism, literature and psychology.  Freud, Mann, Yeats, Richard Strauss and countless other artists and thinkers were shaped by the “first Immoralist”.  In popular culture, Nietzsche was…

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Throwing Bullets on the Fire

When we first moved to the place I would come to call home, a boy, five years my senior, knocked on the door to meet his new playmate.  He introduced himself, spelled his last name, and every weekend and summer we played: Sometimes in the woods pretending we were soldiers…

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Having Been Asked Whether To Get A Dog

A good friend of mine recently asked whether he should get a dog. Relatives and well-wishers were all offering advice, the good and the bad that we have all heard before. They would talk about unconditional love. Regardless of how your day went, whether your wife was mad at you,…

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Whatever Happened to Conner MacBride?

Peer Pressure, Friendship, Manliness

Thoughts of peer pressure bring a parent’s worst fears to mind: sex; drugs; uncategorized acts of stupidity; the fact that our kids cannot be who they are when they are the most themselves. When they get home at night, there is no escape from the peacocking of peers on Instagram…

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Sisyphus and the Path to Meaning

Sisyphus-Meaning in Life

In The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus retells the ancient Greek tale of the king Sisyphus who was condemned to forever push a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.  Despite an eternity of “futile labor”, in the end Camus concludes “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” …

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