Sunday, June 17, 2018

Completing the circle

After I John 4:13-5:5

I stand here, holding
a final piece, an arc,
staring at the pieces
already in circular place.
All I need to do
for completion is to let go
and allow the piece to fall
into place. The question,
if there is a question,
is whether I can love the one
standing next to me,
his piece of arc already
dropped into place.
I know who he is,
this neighbor, but it is not
the question for me to ask.
That he’s dropped his arc
Into place is sufficient.
My arc pulls toward
the circle, and I let go,
allowing it to fall
into place.

Photograph by Yannis Papanastasopoulos via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saturday Good Reads

Michael Anton, a lecturer at Hillsdale College and a Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute, reviews a book on America’s founding by Thomas West. It is a long-form review, an essay as much as it is a review, and it’s about how we all get it wrong about America’s founding and America’s founders.

Thomas Kidd at The Gospel Coalition writes about the problems of polls, and especially polls involving what evangelicals think or don’t think (he takes issue with one published by USA Today). I’m reminded once again how all the political polls got the 2016 election exactly wrong.

Adam Ford was the founding editor of the The Babylon Bee, the satirical evangelical counterpart to The Onion. He tells a story about when the Facebook content police came looking for him the second time after Snopes claimed The Babylon Beehad published fake news. Snopes didn’t realize it was satire; the story went viral and Facebook was forced to apologize.

And before there was ISIS destroying cultural monuments, there was – the German army in World War I. James Clark at History Todayhas a sobering story about the destruction of medieval churches. 

And a lot more.

Writing and Literature

The Spiritual Art of Speechwriting– Rabbi Sais Taub at the European Speechwriters Conference (Hat Tip: David Murray).

The Education of the Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings– Andrew Seeley at The Imaginative Conservative.


Evangelicals and the Problems with Polls– Thomas Kidd at The Gospel Coalition.

Does Following Jesus Lead to the Public Square?– Greg Ayers at The Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics.

Lessons from a Prayer Warrior– Mike Phay at Gospel-Centered Discipleship. 


Peace on the Peninsula– Tim Good at The Naked Alien.

At John Keats’ House– Spitalfields Life.

Striped– Prasanta Verma at Altarwork.


War Among the Ruins– James Clark at History Today.

British Stuff

6thCentury Britain – Questions without Answers– Gareth Griffith at English Historical Fiction Authors. 

Hot-beds of fake news and misogyny? The rise of the Coffee Shop in 17th century London– Kate Braithwaite at English Historical Fiction Authors.

American Stuff

Founding Philosophy– Michael Anton at New Criterion, reviewing The Political Theory of the American Foundingby Thomas West.

Life and Culture

When the Content Police Came for the Babylon Bee– Adam Ford at The American Conservative.

Who’s on the Right Side of History?– Joseph Pearce at The Imaginative Conservative.

Is Jordan Peterson on a Suicide Mission?– Grayson Quay at The American Conservative.

Watching Our Words in an Age of Outrage– Scott Slayton at One Degree to Another.

On Cultivating Friendship– E.D. at Image Journal.

Art and Photography

Peony Passion– Tim Good at Photography by Tiwago.

In Fleet Street– Spitalfields Life.

Jerusalem – the Cadet Glee Club of West Point

Painting: Another World (Man Reading a Book in Public Library Amsterdam) by Gerard Boersma (2011). 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Movie projectors

After I John 4:7-12

We are movie projectors,
humming as the film is fed
into us or the pixels
permeate circuits and lines
in the glow, the light,
the light begins to shine
from within, the audience
isn’t focused on the projector
behind but on the screen
in front as the reflection,
the illumination,
the Codex Filmaticus,
appears. It is the light within
the projector that glimmers
to the screen, wrapped and
colorized, beauty filled
with surprise and wonder.

Photograph by Jeremy Yap via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

“The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything” by D.A. Mishani

The pleasure in reading a mystery novel by Israeli author D.A. Mishanicomes in watching how the story unfolds. The reader usually has a good idea as to the “who” of the whodunit; Mishani excels at developing the “why” and the “how.”

In The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything, Detective Avraham Avraham, now head of the homicide investigating unit, is called to investigate the murder of an older woman in her apartment in Holon, part of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. She’d been strangled; the signs suggest she know her murderer or she was comfortable enough to allow entry into apartment. The only clue as to whom the killer might be is given by a neighbor, who says he saw through his door eyehole a policeman in uniform going down the stairs shortly after hearing bumps in the apartment above. 

It turns out that the dead woman had been involved in a previous case. She’d been a rape victim and had testified in court, but the rapist was still serving his sentence. The police routinely begin to check with other rape victims, to see if they’d had any recent experiences with a uniformed policeman. One says she had; the policeman had claimed a need to re-interview her because the guilty man was planning an appeal. Patient checking of CCTV in the area yields a suspect.

D.A. Mishani
A policewoman shows the photograph to another rape victim, who says she doesn’t recognize him. But the policewoman can see that the woman may be lying. And in this case, she does know the man in the photograph.

Mishani develops two narrative lines in the story. One is of the police investigation; the other is of a family where the wife knows something is going wrong with her husband. Eventually, the two narratives converge.

The Man Who Wanted to Know Everythingis Mishani’s third Avraham Avraham police procedural story. The first was The Missing File, followed by A Possibility of Violence. In all three, he enters the detail of the daily lives of ordinary people, the people you pass on the street, work with, and perhaps know as part of your own family. Slowly, and almost surgically, he peels back faces and facades to tell a story of murder.


Top photograph: Apartment houses in Holon, Israel.