Colorful Quarks

A World Ruled by Meaning

Those who know of my intense interest in near-death experiences and past-life memories might be surprised to discover that, not so long ago, I was an atheist. Four years ago, I didn’t believe in a higher power and I didn’t believe in life after death. I had given up all those “spiritual” beliefs around age twenty, when I…

Hookers

You Ain’t Smart Unless You Sound Smart

“[B]eing trailer park trash doesn’t preclude intelligence.” If only we lived in a world where this was not news. If only we lived in a world where this was not something a person could prove only by discarding the way of speaking they grew up with and adopting “standard” English. But we don’t live in that world. And that’s what…

Friends on a Beach

On Feeling Alone

I don’t care how many friends you have or how many heart-to-heart talks you manage with your loved ones, I think we all have moments when we feel alone. Moments when we’re stuck inside an emotion that we don’t see any possibility of sharing. Or when we’re thinking thoughts we have no way to convey. These are…

Other Side of Charm

The Invisibility of Evil

“You will learn that when the truth isn’t pretty, expected, or delivered with a fair dose of charm, people will almost always put their faith in a lie.” So reads one of many chilling lines in H.G. Beverly‘s recently released memoir The Other Side of Charm, about her unwitting marriage to a sociopath. Before her marriage to…

Dying to Be Me

Dying to Be Me

  I had the suspicion, when I ordered Anita Moorjani’s memoir Dying to Be Me, that it was going to be a book that I needed to own in hardback. Something told me it would become one of those books I would keep on my shelf for years as a souvenir of an important spiritual and intellectual turning point.…

Ben Franklin reading

The Importance of Readers

There’s a phase of the writing process to which I’m particularly resistant. It’s not the dreaming phase, where even the worst ideas look golden. It’s not the sitting-down-to-a-blank-page phase, where I hesitate to ruin those golden ideas by turning them into words. It’s not even the arduous process of writing an entire first draft, then a second, then a third. When things look like crap, with no trace of inspiration anywhere, I…

Fidelity

A Story for a Very Cold Day

It’s 10°F this morning, and there’s ice on the inside of the windows. First thing I did? Go out and check on the chickens. Who were out in their yard apparently as happy as ever. I took them a big pot of hot water since their regular water dispenser was frozen solid. And I threw them…

Christmas Ornaments

God In Us

Two thousand years ago, a baby was born who grew up to claim he was God. All the church people–the Sunday School teachers, the pastors, the Awana leaders, the evangelists and theologians of ancient Israel–they threw a fit. After all, how much more blatantly heretical could you get? According to Hebrew Scripture, you couldn’t even…

Blurry Lights

Do Negative Emotions Sharpen Perception?

Lots of people carry in their heads the image of the tortured artist: the writer/painter/musician whose brilliant artistic achievements spring from a soil rich with personal failures, miseries, addictions, and/or mental illnesses. Writing guru Julia Cameron persuasively argues that creativity does not require depression. Or agony. That well-adjusted artists are, actually, quite successful and productive–maybe even more so than the…