Archive for July, 2014

Out of sight, out of mind.

So do we forget people we ought always to remember. So do we lose contact. ‘We aren’t really in touch’, people say, the absence of communication speaking volumes.

That’s the thing about distance. It’s not so much the matter of being across the river or the next town over or a time zone away. It’s that there’s no seeing. No hearing.

‘I can’t be reached’, we say. Terrible things might happen and the one who could have done something finds out when it’s already too late. Just by being far away. (more…)


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On Friday evening I sat on the patio of my favorite Italian restaurant and listened to my son’s stories.

Little more than a year ago, he and his older brother successfully completed the U.S. Army’s Ranger School, often considered the most difficult thing the Army can throw at a young man outside of actual combat. As though that were not enough, this strapping son had just come through the Army’s other elite training program, the Sapper Leader Course (a.k.a. ‘Sapper School’). (more…)

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In the Psalms, as in life, the enemy is often hidden and relentlessly scheming. Here as in so many other of its observations, the book of Psalms displays its characteristic realism.

We are more sentimental and romantic about our adversaries, at least in those moments when we can bring ourselves to admit their existence. We do alright with evil, comfortably abstract and remote. But we resist the notion of evil people. They’re a bit too concrete for our post-modern aesthetic, where everyone gads about on pretty much the same moral plain and almost any action can be tolerated if we can just find an angle from which to understand its causes. (more…)

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The 150 biblical psalms go out with a bang. The fireworks of doxology grow loudest just before we fold up our lawn chairs and head for our cars. The penultimate psalm urges the faithful to populate Israel’s public spaces with the kinds of shouting, dancing, and musical bombast that invigorate a people and cause YHWH to gaze upon his own with a satisfied smile:

Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the godly!
Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation. (Psalm 149: 14-4 ESV)


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