Ultimately

Ultimately—is a very fine word          For a more than rarified notion; Ultimately—though it seems absurd,          It might even be quaffed in a potion: Surreptitiously with soda or nog, Or serendipitously on someone’s blog. Ultimately—it’s an eleventary aside, For a band that’s not twelve or ten or seven; It’s not either three or five—but eleven. Mattie, …

Painted Repentance

In the striking painting, The Raising of the Cross, Rembrandt was not so much creating an illustration of a Bible scene as he was making a very personal confession of sin and a profession of faith. Rembrandt places himself in the painting twice: the first of his alter egos is the man who cruelly thrusts the cross upwards and into …

A Prayer in Spring

The iconic American poet, Robert Frost, had a beautiful answer for what Sociologists and Psychologists often call either “Mindset Scarcity” or “Foreboding Joy.” He called it “A Prayer in Spring.” Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day; And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the …

Ye Distant Spires

Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,  Hold me in thy sway;  Make me see, make me flee,  Unto thy rich array.  For there amidst, and there consist  The root and branch and leaf,  Of faith and hope and love persist  In this, the world of grief.  –Tristan Gylberd

Burns Night

Tonight is “Burns Night.” The birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) has become an occasion for Scotsmen, their descendents, and their romantic wannabes, to gather together wherever they may be to the lilt of bagpipers and the strains of Burns’ poetry. Celebrants traditionally enter the rooms with the shout, “Hail Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-Race.” While the drinking of …

My Friend

You have, to be sure, known pain and fear, And the anguish of failure and frustration are near; Yet your eyes read companionship not distance, Your home beckons forth, with no hint of resistance; Indeed, your cloak, though threadbare, is half mine, You are my friend, and I, most assuredly, am thine. –Tristan Gylberd

Weird Science

Watkins’ Bookshop in Cecil Court, just off Charing Cross between Leicester Square and Covent Garden in London, was established in 1891 by John Watkins, and is still London’s premier occult bookstore. One of its most famous customers was Carl Gustav Jung, who would together with Sigmund Freud, pioneer the field of psychology and psychotherapy. Watkins became Jung’s publisher, producing the1925 …

Reading Chalmers

 I am often asked by friends and students how to begin a serious study of the life and work of Thomas Chalmers.  This is at least partly because I can hardly ever give a lecture, preach a sermon, write an essay, or post a blog without me…

The “Solas” of Chalmers

Thinking about the “Five Solas of the Reformation,” on this eve of Reformation Sunday, I couldn’t help but also think of the reformational way Thomas Chalmers has shaped my thinking about life, grace, mercy, the Scriptures, and the beauty of the faith …

The Good, the True, and the Beautiful

Mark Twain once defined a literary classic as “a book which people praise but don’t read.”  Fortunately, Joseph Malaby Dent, founder of J. M. Dent & Sons, never took that quip to heart.  Over the course of his career he probably did more than any other single individual to inculcate a popular appreciation for the classics—his Everyman’s Library editions, provided …

A Familiar Library

“If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them—peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let …

Poetry: A Guide on Where to Start

G.K. Chesterton–start with the “Ballad of the White Horse” and “Lepanto” but don’t miss his short, humorous verse and his Christmas poems. Hilaire Belloc–almost all of his poetry is worth reading, but especially his traveling verses. Sir Walter Scott–nothing beats his great epics like “The Lady of the Lake.” Arthur Quiller-Couch–again, almost everything from Q is worth careful reading, but …

Favorite Chuck Colson Books

1. Born Again 2. How Now Shall We Live, with Nancy Pearcey 3. The Body: Being Light in Darkness, with Ellen Vaughn 4. Why America Doesn’t Work, with Jack Eckerd and Lloyd Billingsley 5. Kingdoms in Conflict, with Ellen Vaughn 6. Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages, with Ellen Vaughn 7. The Good Life, with Harold Fickett 8. The Faith, with Harold Fickett 9. A Dance with Deception: Revealing the Truth Behind the …

Chesterton’s “The Donkey”

When fishes flew and forests walkedAnd figs grew upon thorn,Some moment when the moon was bloodThen surely I was born.With monstrous head and sickening cryAnd ears like errant wings,The devil’s walking parodyOn all four-footed things.The tattered outla…