Friday, May 31, 2024

A fearful thing

After Hebrews 10:29-12:3

Even against the worst

of those, those who offend,

those who persecute, those

who cheat and defraud you,

even against those,

vengeance is not yours.

You have no license for payback;

you have no right to exercise

an eye for an eye. Vengeance

is not yours. Vengeance 

belongs to the Lord, for

the wrongs against you

are committed against him.

Even against the worst

thrown against us, we do not

strike back. Instead, we hold

to faith.


Photograph by Peter Forster via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Friday Readings


Carved in the Ground: St. Brigid’s Well, County Westmeath – Paul Kingsnorth at The Abbey of Misrule.


Bringing the Scary Things into the Light – Lara D’Entremont at A Faithful Imagination. 


Sonnet from the Ephesians – Barbara Crooker at Kingdom Poets (D.S. Martin). 


The Actual Divisive Ones – Mitch Chase at Biblical Theology.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

"The Puzzle of Parham House” by Benedict Brown

This time, the mystery to be solved for Lord Edington and his grandson Christopher Prentiss comes for a new direction – Christopher’s mother. A good friend, the mistress of Parham House, writes a letter asking for help. While the Elizabethan-era house is undergoing extensive renovation, and a team of experts are examining artifacts, paintings, and ancient weaponry, someone is moving things around. Sometimes artifacts disappear and reappear in another part of the house. A vase has been found smashed. 

Lord Edgington quickly assembles his chauffeur, family, and attendants (including the cook), and off the family goes to Parham House. They begin interviewing the experts and household servants, but every promising lead goes exactly nowhere. Lord Edgington is convinced that the odd occurrences are masking something more nefarious. When the might watchman is murdered, his belief is confirmed. 


But the 78-year-old lord does not seem at his sharpest and most incisive. Something seems definitely off, and it’s Christopher, now 19 years old, who becomes the lead investigator. His grandfather has trained him, and trained him well, for the previous four years, and it’s the investigation into the mysterious goings-on at Parham House that sees that training paying off.


Benedict Brown

The Puzzle of Parham House
 is the 13th mystery novel in the Lord Edgington series by British author Benedict Brown, who’s also written several novellas and short stories featuring his celebrated detective. In keeping with several of the previous stories, the home, in this case Parham House, is actually a real building in west Sussex. Brown invites owners of grand estates to have their houses featured in his 1920s-era mysteries. (Parham House and Gardens is also open for tours and visits.)


In addition to the Lord Edgington stories, Brown has written seven Izzy Palmer mystery novels and three novellas. A native of south London, he lives with his family in Spain. The Lord Edgington mysteries are likely aimed at both the general reader as well as the young adult audience. And they’re well-researched stories, full of information about the mid-1920s.




Murder at the Spring Ball by Benedict Brown.


A Body at a Boarding School by Benedict Brown.


The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall by Benedict Brown.


 Death on a Summer’s Day by Benedict Brown.


The Tangled Treasure Trail by Benedict Brown.


The Curious Case of the Templeton-Swifts by Benedict Brown.


The Crimes of Clearwell Castle by Benedict Brown.


The Snows of Weston Moor by Benedict Brown.


What the Vicar Saw by Benedict Brown.


Blood on the Banisters by Benedict Brown.


A Killer in the Wings by Benedict Brown.


The Christmas Bell Mystery by Benedict Brown.


A Novel Way to Kill by Benedict Brown.


Top photograph: Parham House in West Sussex, England.

Some Thursday Readings


Noon After (after Millet: 1890) – poem by Marilyn McEntyre at Rabbit Room Poetry.


The Violin and the Enchantment of Western Culture – Michael De Sapio at The Imaginative Conservative.


My Name Ain’t Nobody – Dan Baldwin on writing at Harvey’s (Almost) Daily Journal.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

A Classic of the 20th and 21st Centuries: "The Gulag Archipelago"

Fifty years ago, I was a copy editor at the Beaumont, Texas Enterprise. In December of `973, we began receiving a series of alerts from the New York Times News Service, saying the Times had acquired a manuscript of worldwide importance and would be publishing soon. The manuscript was The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. 

Solzhenitsyn was living in the Soviet Union at the time. The manuscript had been circulating in samizdat there, and apparently the KGB had gotten its hands on a copy or a portion of a copy. A considerable amount had already been smuggled out to the West. To protect his friends and family, Solzhenitsyn gave the green light to publishing the work in the West, and it would soon be published in French, its first published language, and an English translation was underway.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Dancing Priest.

Some Wednesday Readings


Tales from the road: The kid who died in Mrs. Cross’ yard – John Banks at Civil War Blog.


Winter Rabbits – Carter Johnson at Front Porch Republic.


“Democracy is too prevalent in America” Thomas Gage Arrive in Boston – Rob Orrison at Emerging Revolutionary War Era.


The good news about the left’s growing resort to intimidation – Lewis Andrews at The Spectator. 

How Hadrian’s Wall is Revealing a Hidden Side of Roman History – Julia Buckley at CNN.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Poets and Poems: Dan Rattelle and "Painting Over the Growth Chart"

When I read The Commonweath: Poems, a chapbook by Dan Rattelle, I was struck by the poet’s sense of place, whether it was a Puritan churchyard, a bar in Scotland, or even a cemetery. The poems had both a simplicity and a sense of wonder, both of which were rooted in, for lack of a better term, localism. For if the poems had anything in common, it was rootedness.

That’s no surprise, given that Rattelle has lived all of his life in western Massachusetts, except for the time he was attending the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He was working on his MFA degree, which he’s now earned, and he returned to western Massachusetts. I understand his poetic interest in cemeteries, because that’s what he does now, managing two of them when he’s not writing poetry. 

His MFA thesis at St. Andrews is entitled “The Meetinghouse.” It includes many of the poems of his chapbook. And it’s become his first full collection of poetry, Painting Over the Growth Chart.

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

Some Tuesday Readings


“A Noiseless Patient Spider,” poem by Walt Whitman – Sally Thomas at Poems Ancient and Modern.


Approaching Zero – poem by A.M. Juster at The Hudson Review.


Ozymandias – poem by Percy Shelley at Rabbit Room Poetry.


The train – poem by Rachel Hadas at The New Criterion.


Last Saturday in May – poem by Paul Wittenberger at Paul’s Substack.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Some Monday Readings

A little over three years ago, I read a rather startling book by Martin Gurri. Entitled The Revolt of the Public, it was a revision of an earlier edition and concerns the struggles between societal elites and, for want of a better term, normal people. My review, posted on Amazon, has earned the largest number of “helps” of any review I’ve ever done, which is more a measure of the book than the review. And Gurri has a new article, consistent with his book. See “Scenes from a Global Struggle: Elites vs. the Normies at Discourse Magazine

In Search of Ordinary Patriotism – Sarah Reardon at Ford Forum.


Protesting the Decline of Reading – Joel Miller at Miller’s Book Review. 


Where is the electric vehicle revolution? – Ross Clark at The Spectator.


Bedford Square – A London Inheritance.


‘Round Here – Paul Hughes at Poet and Priest.


Things Worth Remembering: When Margaret Thatcher Refused to Jump – Douglas Murray at The Free Press.


“Night Meeting” – short story by Ray Bradbury. Listen to Matt Taibbi and Walter Kirn discuss the story here


Why Julian Assange should not be extradited to America – Andrew Tettenborn at The Spectator.

Memorial Day: Many Are the Mysteries - W.Winston Elliott III at The Imaginative Conservative.

America Still Has Heroes - Joe Nocera at The Free Press.

"The Men Behind the Guns," poem by John Jerome Rooney - Joseph Bottom at Poems Ancient and Modern.

Mercy on Memorial Day - Spencer Klavan at The New Jerusalem.


Sunday, May 26, 2024

The open curtain

After Hebrews 10:12-25

The curtain opens,

no longer veiled,

no longer a barrier,

it opens to the holy places

previously unapproachable.

Now we draw near

with a true heart.

Now we draw near

with full assurance.

Now we draw near

with a clean heart.

Now we hold fast

to the promise of faith.

Now we encourage

one another to do good.

Now we walk forward

together, as the One

has made us.


Photograph by Nadine Marfurt via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Sunday Readings


Current Events – poem by Jen Rose Yokel at Rabbit Room Poetry.


A sonnet for the Venerable Bede – Malcolm Guite.


Things an Evangelical Learned from a Catholic History of Europe – Louis Markos at The Imaginative Conservative.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Saturday Good Reads - May 25, 2024

Matt Taibbi is the independent journalist who was part of the team that published the Twitter Files, exposing almost wholesale censorship at the major social platforms at the behest of the FBI and other federal government entities (euphemism for “the current Administration”). He operates Racket News, and he’s back at it, working with an organization called Undead FOIA. What they learned is that so called “anti-disinformation” programs, funded by none other than our tax dollars, have been put in place not so much to counter disinformation but to censor anything right of center, and perhaps even moderately left to far right of center, even if it’s not disinformation.  

A whole series of stories have been posted at Racket News:


Introducing the Censorship Files – Matt Taibbi.


FOIA Library: The University of Washington.


            Garry Kasparov Reigns from Aspen Institute Commission.


            “We Have Very Little Information about What Works.”


            “We Will Not Be Intimidated From Continuing Our Mission.”


            How the Intelligence Community Wore Down the Platform.


            Your Posts Replaced with “Dog Pictures, Quinoa Recipes, and Spots Scores?”


More Good Reads




The fight among the olive trees – Fin DePencier at The Spectator.


Israel Doesn’t Need Better ‘Hasbara’: It needs better friends – Richard Hanania at Tablet Magazine.


Decades of Denial: How Islamists Won the War Against Western Values – Amelia Adams at Clarity with Michael Oren. 


Why is Ireland rewarding Hamas? – Ian Doherty at The Spectator.




That Eerie Silence – Matt Taibbi at Racket News.


The Revenge of the Normies – Martin Gurri at The Free Press.


The Triumph of the Classical – James Stevens Curl at The Critic Magazine reviews The Language of Architectural Classicism


What My Soviet Life Taught Me about Censorship – Izabella Tabarovsky at Quillette.


Theology of Immigration – Brad Littlejohn at First Things Magazine.


My Failed Wild Garden and Inner Utopian – Eric Scheske at Front Porch Republic.




At Melville’s Tomb – Joseph Bottum at Poems Ancient and Modern.


Scripture as Poetic Sacrament – James Matthew Wilson at Public Discourse.


Campus Protests


Columbia’s Jewish Commencement – Michael Hoberman at Table Magazine.


American Stuff


Why Some U.S. Agents Are Contemplating Suicide – Joe Nocera and Michele DeMarco at The Free Press.




Christian Catholicity in a Digital Age – Samuel D. James at Digital Liturgies.


So What Happened to Jonah, and Why Does It Matter? – Michael Kelley at Forward Progress. 


Adam Poisoned Me – Stephen Steele at Gentle Reformation.


5 Notable College Commencement Addresses That Featured Faith – Clemente Lisi at Religion Unplugged.


News Media


From Paperboys to Algorithms: How Metrics Shape Modern Journalism – Brent Lucia at Far from Equilibrium.


Why Did Google Ban Winslow Homer? – Suzy Weiss at The Free Press.


Writing and Literature


Stories Hatch in Silence – Ann Kroeker at Story Hatchery.


Why Harlan Coben Decided Now was the Time to Bring Back a Beloved Character – John Valeri at CrimeReads.


How to Become a Writer – Ursula Le Guin at Literary Hub.


Heinlein’s Business Habits for Writers – via Harvey Stanbrough at Harvey’s (Almost) Daily Journal.


Once Upon a Time in the West (Ennio Morricone) – Steffi Vertriest

 Painting: Woman Reading to a Little Girl. Oil on canvas by Felix Vallotton (1865-1925)

Friday, May 24, 2024

The perfection

After Hebrews 10:12-25

A single offering,

a single sacrifice,

most fragrant of all,

most pleasing of all, 

and then the offering,

the sacrifice, sat

at the right hand,

sat, waiting until

the footstool for his feet

was made, a footstool

of enemies, defeated.

His sacrifice perfected

all being sanctified,

perfected for all time,

no further sacrifice

needed or necessary.

It is finished.


Photograph by Milad Fakurian via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Some Friday Readings


The Unsung St. Nicholas – Joseph Pearce at the Imaginative Conservative.


Wandering in Silence – David Bannon at Front Porch Republic.


The Shepherd Boy – poem by John Bunyan at Kingdom Poets (D.S. Martin). 


That Time Paul Gave Timothy a Quote from Luke’s Gospel – Mitch Chase at Biblical Theology.


Responsibility and Blame Culture – Bill Grandi at Living in the Shadow.


The Conversion of John Randolph – Miles Smith at The Imaginative Conservative. 


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Some Readings for Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. While it's customary to enjoy a holiday, a barbecue, a get-together with friends, neighbors, or family, it's also important to remember why we recognize this day: to remember the people who died for our country and us. 

The idea of national cemeteries started during the Civil War, still the most murderous war America has ever been involved in. Emerging Civil War has been posting short articles about some of the cemeteries associated with the war, and I've added Gettysburg.

Memorial Day and National Cemeteries – Bert Dunkerly at Emerging Civil War.


Shiloh National Cemetery – Gregory Metz at Emerging Civil War.


Winchester National Cemetery – Jon Tracey at Emerging Civil War.


City Point National Cemetery – Tim Talbott at Emerging Civil War.


Fredericksburg National Cemetery – Chris Mackowski at Emerging Civil War.


Culpepper National Cemetery – Emerging Civil War.


The Gettysburg Address – Abraham Lincoln Online.


Gettysburg National Cemetery – American Battlefield Trust.

Santa Fe's Easily Forgotten Ties to the Civil War - Patrick Kelly-Fischer at Emerging Civil War.

Contrasting National and Local Cemeteries at Camp Parapet in New Orleans - Neil Chatelain at Emerging Civil War. 

Stones River National Cemetery - Bert Dunkerly at Emerging Civil War.

Glendale National Cemetery - Doug Crenshaw at Emerging Civil War.

Gettysburg National Cemetery - Brian Swartz at Emerging Civil War.

Chalmette National Cemetery and Nashville National Cemetery - Sean Michael Chick at Emerging Civil War.

New Bern National Cemetery - Tim Talbot at Emerging Civil War.

Andersonville National Cemetery - Derek Mayfield at Emerging Civil War.


Photograph: Gettysburg National Military Park by Danaisa Rodriguez via Unsplash. Used with permission.


"The Storied Life" by Jared Wilson

I’ve had many conversations with Christian writers about the idea of “calling,” that writing is a calling from God. Most will agree; some even will identify a specific time when they experienced the calling. 

I can’t. Writing has been a part of my life since I can remember. I was raised in a culturally Christian home, but I had been writing for almost 12 years by the time I became a Christian. I wrote my first story when I was 10; I don’t remember much about it except it was a mystery, involved a group of kids, and featured a grandfather clock that opened to a secret passage and a cave. 

Jared Wilson has had a far different experience. In The Storied Life: Christian Writing as Art and Worship, he develops the idea of writing as a specific calling (a kind of ministry, for those unfamiliar with “calling”) and goes so far as the suggest a theology of writing. 

To continue reading, please see my post today at Dancing Priest.

Some Wednesday Readings


Gollum is getting his own spinoff. But is it really necessary? – Brittany Allen at Literary Hub.


‘All Nature Has a Feeling,’ poem by John Clare – Sally Thomas at Poems Ancient and Modern.


Blessing (For One Who Has Blessed) – poem by David Whyte.


Intolerance Unmasked: The Persecution of Harrison Butker – John Horvat at The Imaginative Conservative.


Dandelions – poem by Cynthia Erlandson at Society of Classical Poets.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Poets and Poems: Emily Brontë and "The Night is Darkening Round Me"

Thanks to Fyodor Dostoevsky, I discovered Emily Brontë the poet. 

I was in the gift shop of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church at Trafalgar Square. We’d eaten lunch at what we consider “home base” in London – the Crypt of St. Martin’s, a café and often a venue for jazz combos and other musical events. Next to the Crypt is the church’s gift shop, with a wide array of merchandise designed to appeal (tastefully) to tourists. Like us. 


I was moseying around a table which featured, among others, a small display of Penguin Little Black Classics. Penguin publishes some 80 and counting of these little gems – long short stories, poetry chapbooks, long poems and other works by classic authors. My eye went to White Nights by Fyodor Dostoevsky, primarily because I was unfamiliar with it. Next to it was a book with a title that was fascinating – The Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Brontë.

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

Some Tuesday Readings


Kushal Poddar remembering his poet and friend Neeli Charkovski – The Wombwell Rainbow.


Our Daughter Beside the Sea: Blue Hill, Maine – poem by Benjamin Myers at First Things Magazine.


Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow – from MacBeth by William Shakespeare, via Rabbit Room Poetry.


King George III Declares War,’ from Vol. 2 of Andrew Benson Brown’s Mock Epic – Society of Classical Poets.


The Look – poem by Paul Wittenberger at Paul’s Substack.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Some Monday Readings

Into Britain’s angry pulpit steps Paula Vennells, who ran the Post Office – to explain why it sent honest people to jail – Marina Hyde at The Guardian.  

Five Instructive Quotes from The Anxious Generation – Chris Martin. 


Down the Rabbit Hole: Hunting an Original Letter – Neil Chatelain at Emerging Civil War.


The Moral Conservatism of Nathaniel Hawthorne – Russell Kirk at The Imaginative Conservative.


Privacy – artwork by Sonja Benskin Mesher.


Jacques Ellul: Prophet for the Information Age – Bronson Long at Current.


Higher Education’s Fragmented Morality – Jeffrey Bilbro at The Dispatch.


If You Are Stuck – Terry Whalin at The Writing Life.


Photograph: Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Holy places

After Hebrews 9:1-28

There were holy places

served by priests and

a most holy place served

by the high priest, only

once a year, after 

a sacrifice was made,

only then, a sacrifice

offered for the people

and himself. Those

holy places, that most

holy place, were only 

copies, facsimiles

of the heavenly places.

One set of holy places

was made by man;

the other set is

the originals, heavenly,

perfect. The sacrifice

for the heavenly places

has been made, blood

sprinkled, people

cleansed and saved. All

other sacrifices are

now obsolete.


Photograph: the tower at Canterbury Cathedral.

Some Sunday Readings


Triptych of a Cynic – poem by Tyler Rogness at Rabbit Room Poetry.


Pursuing the Presence of God – Matthew Hosier at Think Theology.


Leading with Hope During Challenging Times – Dr. Andrew Spencer at the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics.


The judgement of getting exactly what we want – Stephen Kneale at Building Jerusalem. 


Grace Has Taught Our Hearts to Fear – Greg Morse at Desiring God.


Stay in My Heart – Valerie Stivers at First Things Magazine on Kristin Lavransdatter bvy Sigrid Undset.