During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recurring theme in my industry was fatigue. Many of us were working longer hours to help our organizations weather the storm, and the pace went from fast to frantic overnight. You could see it in people’s faces and detect it lurking behind emails sent at…
There’s a sympathetic throwaway line in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead that speaks to our human susceptibility to seemingly random misfortune: “pirates could happen to anyone.” Indeed, none of us are immune to the vicissitudes of life. I’ve always thought of Matthew 5:45 as a biblical version of this sentiment, the gospel-writer’s reminder that God “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
My wife and I bought inflatable stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) this summer, and instantly fell in love with this newish sport. They’re a bit slower than canoes or kayaks, and the balance is trickier. But once you figure them out, SUPs are a great way to get out on the water. At the risk of a cringe-worthy pun, the SUP experience is more fluid than other paddle-propelled boats: they’re more immediate, immersive and elemental than canoes or kayaks because you feel more connected to the water and you will get wet. SUPs are also incredibly easy to get off and on, and to move around on while afloat. Need to cool down? Just jump in the water. Need a break? Paddle on your knees for awhile, or simply sit or lay down and float.
One day in 1941 the poet Earle Birney was mountain climbing outside Vancouver. Arriving at the summit just after nightfall, Birney surveyed the city below and fearfully watched the lights go off until it was completely dark.
I’ve been playing pickup hockey with basically the same group of guys for more than a decade. They’re all good guys, which in the hockey context means they pass the puck semi-regularly, keep it clean in the corners, and mostly limit their shifts to two or so minutes. Over the years we’ve spent a lot of time together in dressing rooms and on benches between shifts, and have settled into a few comfortably predictable social rhythms: keep the trash talk friendly, banter about the professional game, tell outlandish stories if you’ve got ‘em (truthiness required), and complain a lot about getting old.
If soccer destroys my lawn, exhausts me as a coach, and frustrates me endlessly as a fan and player, why do I keep coming back to it?
Let me be clear that I don’t intend the above quotation from “Heaven is a Better Place Today” – a song Downie wrote about the death of a young NHL hockey player – as a literal theological comment. I don’t presume to know Downie’s spiritual convictions, nor the full extent of special grace. What I do know for certain, however, is that without Gord Downie “the world is just not the same.”
The journey of the Magi provides a beautiful and compelling metaphor for Christian conversion, but given the trajectory of Eliot’s life and poetry I’m tempted to draw another: Saul’s vision on the road to Damascus. Just as God used the antagonistic scourge of the early church to become its principle Apostle and evangelist, he also called literary mode
I presume that as long as there have been Christian schools there have been conversations among Christians as to whether or not we should send our children to these schools. This makes it hard to bring something fresh to the debate.
If the possibility that Ruth is fictional rather than historical bothers you, ask yourself again whether this actually matters. Would this contingency in any way diminish the book’s profound thematic message of love, faithfulness and devotion?
Opacity and failures of accountability are what led to this problem in the first place, so please don’t make the same mistake as your predecessor here. While I understand that certain information is sensitive, you need to disclose on some level the tactical and operational particulars of the plan. I am not alone in this sentiment, as the existence of a Facebook group calling itself the “Ad Hoc Committee for yet More Transparency at Calvin College” would suggest.