The Christian ethos is perhaps the simplest in the world. And the hardest to live. Its difficulty might be why so few people, including the great majority of Christians themselves, rarely attempt to follow it.
I was thinking about my mother on Mother’s Day. She wasn’t rich or famous or highly educated or socially prominent or even particularly sociable. Yet she deeply touched others’ lives. She managed this without making a single grand gesture. She did it just by loving people, and by being kind to them, and by going out of her way for them.
When I was a kid, my peripatetic Dad moved our family, it seemed, every six months. What I craved was stability. For me, stability meant a place to call home, a place that would always be there, that I never had to leave unless I wanted to.
I might be a slow learner. I’ve been writing newspaper columns almost 30 years — and I still can’t predict how readers will react. My April 17 column is an example. I tried to explain why evangelicals are so eager to share their faith.
When Merle Haggard died, I did what fans do in such times: I broke out his recordings and relistened. I heard something I hadn’t noticed before: Merle prophesied the rise of Donald Trump and the Tea Party. It’s all in his songs. Through the 1960s and then beyond, he showed us a worsening disenfranchisement among the working class, and more particularly, among blue-collar white men.
The message of Jesus to humanity is great news: No matter who you are, no matter what kind of family you came from, no matter how many addictions you’re battling, no matter what you’ve done wrong, God Almighty loves you.
More than 50 years after Flannery O’Connor succumbed to lupus at age 39, she ranks among the great American writers of the 20th century. Certainly she’s among the greatest Christian writers ever. Thus I was delighted recently when Liz, my wife, gave me O’Connor’s A Prayer Journal, published in 2013.
Every year I devote a column to how I’m feeling about life, faith or random other topics when each new birthday rolls around. I annually try to take stock. Here are some weighty and trivial observations for my 60th year.
My wife, Liz, and I sneaked out of town for a couple of days, just to get away. We headed to Cincinnati, where we visited several art museums we’d never been to before, as well as St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington.