Sunday, June 13, 2021

The right moment

After Ephesians 3:1-13

Perfectly timed,
the revelation
was unveiled,
the curtain opened,
the word explained
to include all 
who heard it, all
who listened, all
who heeded its call.

A new day, 
a day of wonder,
a frightened day,
A new day,
bringing light,
bringing grace.
The mystery that was
is no longer.

Photograph by Eric Muhr via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Saturday Good Reads - June 12, 2021

When Brexit was approved, British and European elites in the media, universities, business, and government seemed to uniformly predict disaster and upheaval for Britain. Then came the pandemic. Tim Congdon at The Critic Magazine describes what happened next. 

Michael Dirda at the Washington Post asks an interesting literary question: was Edgar Allen Poe the most influential American writer? He doesn’t say the best writer, but the most influential. And he makes a good case


It wasn’t only the news media that misled all of us about how possible it was that COVID-19 came from a lab. Scientific journals played their part, too. Ian Birrell at UnHerd assesses the role of journals like Nature and The Lancet.


No one ever would have believed that a novel about fly fishing would become one of the most loved books of all time. But that what happened with A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. It turns out that Maclean’s son is a writer, too., and his sixth book pays homage to his father. See Lloyd Green at Gotham Canoe on “A Younger Maclean Returns to Where the River Still Runs.”


More Good Reads


British Stuff


The City Churches of Old London – Spitalfields Life.


Writing and Literature


The Eccentric, Unusual, and Layered Plotting of Dolores Hitchens’ 'The Cat Saw Murder' – Joyce Carol Oates at CrimeReads.


Independent minds: Small local publishers are putting out the brightest and best new work – The Critic Magazine.


Life and Culture


No U-turns Allowed – Mark Loughridge at Gentle Reformation.


How the culture wars came for history – Dominic Sandbrook at UnHerd.


The Joy of Hate Watching – Luke Burgis at Church Life Journal.


When the State Comes for Your Kids – Abigail Shrier at CityJournal.


A Monster That Grows in Deserts: Divining the Machine, Part 2 – Paul Kingsnorth at The Abbey of Misrule.




What If? – Susan Lafferty.


One of the Earliest (and Clearest) Summaries of Early Christian Beliefs – Michael Kruger at Canon Fodder.


A 'gospel of grievances:' Christianity Today tries to unravel racial divisions at Cru – Julia Duin at Get Religion.




Celan at 100 – Jewish Currents.


Strange Birds II – Andrea Skevington.


A Call to Reform: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Cry of the Children” – Bethany Getz at The Imaginative Conservative.


Drowsy – Sonja Benskin Mesher.


He Will Rise – Donald Catchings at An Unexpected Journal.


Columba and My Calling – Malcolm Guite.


News Media


What is valid journalism? America's racial debates spotlight this growing problem – Richard Ostling at Get Religion.  


Winter’s Dream - Light of the Sun by Paul Winter

Painting: Woman Reading in the Studio, oil on paperboard on wood (1868) by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C

Friday, June 11, 2021

The prisoner

After Ephesians 3:1-13

In chains behind bars,
clarity can grow
from a  small pinpoint
of light in the darkness
to a blinding sun.
So, too, can love, oddly
enough, love given
as a gift to share
to those considered
beyond the pale,
untouchable, tolerated
only because of numbers
but previously despised,
nonetheless. The gift was
revelation into a mystery,
that all are now equal,
favoritism leveled,
distinctions destroyed.
All are now chosen,
all are now heirs,
all are now people
of the promise.

Photograph by Schesco Nyarwaya via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

"Salt in the Wounds" by Mark Richards

Michael Brady and his daughter Ashley are moving for a year from Manchester to Whitby in northeastern England. Michael has been a detective chief inspector in Manchester, but he’s taking a year sabbatical to write and get away. What he’s getting away from is the death of his wife, inured in a hit-and-run incident that was no accident, except the driver had been aiming for Michael. His wife was in a coma for six months until he agreed with the doctors to remove her from life support. 

Whitby is his hometown; his sister Kate still lives married, married to a policeman herself and with two daughters. His best friend Patrick still lives there, too, married to his second wife and doing quite well financially. The town looks the same, but much has changed. 


During the annual Goth festival, Patrick is stabbed by an unknown assailant and later dies from the attack. The police, led by Michael’s brother-in-law, believe the wife is the culprit. Michael isn’t so sure, but he has to sit by while the police make the arrest. He undertakes his own investigation, and soon it’s clear that this is a murder tied into drugs, organized crime, and some very nasty thugs.


Mark Richards

Salt in the Wounds
 is the first novel in the Michael Brady crime thriller series by Mark Richards. It’s a great read of a story, building to a climax that will keep you closing the book and walking around, until you can’t stand it and have to find out what happened.


The two additional books in the series are The River Runs Deep and The Echo of Bones. Richards has also published Father, Son and the Pennine WayFather, Son and Return to the Pennine Way, and Father, Son and the Kerry Way – all three being accounts of long walks with his son. Richards is also a ghostwriter and copywriter, and he lives with his family in England.


If the rest of the books in the series are anything like Salt in the Wounds, some great crime novel reading lies ahead.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Poets and Poems: Angela Alaimo O’Donnell and “Love in the Time of Coronavirus”

During the lockdown for COVID-19, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell and her husband hunkered down in a small town just outside New York City. And she did what you might expect a poet to do. She wrote poems. She wrote her poems in an almost journal-like experience as she followed the trials and travails of the pandemic.  

The result is Love in the Time of Coronavirus, a collection of 57 poems chronicling the advent of the virus, what happened, and how the lockdown conditions gradually eased. Like many poetry collections, this one is personal. Its title pays homage to the novel Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a story of another pandemic, another time, and another place.


To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.


Monday, June 7, 2021

"My Irish Dog" by Douglas Solvie

Spencer, which may be a first or a last name, works in Singapore. He’s in his early 50s. His wife died some years before, and his children are grown and involved in their own careers. He’s more than restless; something is tugging him at the core of his being. Something that suggests there is more to life. Or should be. 

He flies to Ireland, ostensibly to do some flyfishing, but more in the hope that he can get to the bottom of whatever it is that’s bothering him. Spencer will meet a number of good, kind people. He will meet a few villains, people out to rob him or who suspect his motives. And he will meet a dog named Shandy, an Irish terrier with a serious illness who escapes from his owner. Shandy has a job to do, and that job just may involve Spencer. For his part, Spencer feels compelled to find the dog, changing his travel plans and enlisting the help of a young food store clerk.


Douglas Solvie

My Irish Dog
 by Douglas Solvie begins slowly, but by about the third chapter, you’re hooked. The use of the planned robbery heightens the tension, and the plight of the sick Shandy (and an emotionally sick Spencer) opens the flow of empathy. 

A native of Montana, Solvie has spent most of his adult life living and working in Japan. He currently lives in the state of Washington. My Irish Dog is his first novel, and is loosely based on Solvie’s personal experience, when he found a lost dog named Shandy during a flyfishing trip to Ireland. 


Will the villains prevail in their robbery scheme? Will Spencer find Shandy? And will Spencer find himself? All becomes clear with this enchanting story of a man, a dog, and a bit of the Irish supernatural.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

No longer strangers

After Ephesians 2:11-22

We are no longer strangers,
no longer aliens, foreign
to each other and ourselves.
We are now brethren,
citizens of the same nation,
members of the same house,
a household of solid foundation,
the only one that lasts,
enfolded and protected 
by the one cornerstone,
what holds us together,
what holds it all together,
a household under construction
for transformation as a temple,

Photograph by Tyler Nix via Unsplash. Used with permission