Living Offering

From the February 2014 Print Edition

When your child is wrapped up in her own umbilical cord, the further the labor progresses, the worse off she is. One learns this when accompanying one’s wife through a day, a night, and then another full day and night of labor.Yards of heart monitor printouts are puzzled over by shift-swapping physicians. Slight progress seems to suggest that the mother should keep trying for a natural birth. But with each descent of the child toward the light of day, the cord tightens, and her heart-rate line displayed on the in-room computer screen drops.We had lost a baby before, and my wife and I thought about him as we wondered if our second would survive. Clement, we had named him. Resisting our health care system’s counsel to discard him as “medical waste,” we got to hold Clement before releasing him to the undertaker. I watched my weeping wife embrace him—for us, a kind of tiny pietà.A year and a half later, my wife joined me at the monastery of St. John the Forerunner in northern Greece, where I spent my summers as a graduate student researching. This declining Byzantine monastery had been revived in the 1980s as a convent and was now populated by vibrant Orthodox nuns from around the world. I had told them of our lost child. As a result, when we arrived, thirty of them encircled my wife on the spot and prayed fervently in Greek. Continue Reading »

Our Lady of Wheaton

From the October 2013 Print Edition

Mary, it seems, is a hot Evangelical topic. As a new professor at Wheaton College, I proposed a course focusing on the Virgin Mary and braced for resistance, but intrigued approval was all that came my way. Nor was I alone. I learned that another course on the Virgin was being offered in a . . . . Continue Reading »

Coincidence? (Part 2)

From First Thoughts

[caption id=”attachment_60786” align=”alignnone” width=”510”] Patriarch Athenagoras & Pope Paul VI (1965) / Patriarch Bartholomew & Pope Francis (2013)[/caption] As if Part 1 wasn’t impressive enough. . . . . Continue Reading »

Release the Doves!

From First Thoughts

“I was glad to have hit the first home run in this park. God only knows who will hit the last,” said Babe Ruth of the old Yankee stadium.  Technically that was José Molina, but I like to think it was Benedict XVI.  While we’re all swapping tales, I saw him in that . . . . Continue Reading »

Evangelicals and Orthodox Together

From First Thoughts

While we’re making parallels between evangelicals and Catholics , why not do the same for evangelical and Orthodox thought (as represented in First Things )? Here is David Hart on the God helmet (which only subscribers will have had the pleasure of reading). Now, in fact, there really would . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic Architecture

From First Thoughts

Many know that when his native France fell to the Nazis, Catholic philosopher and art theorist Jacques Maritain moved to Princeton.  What is less known is the impact he had there.  Conversations with Maritain seem to have re-invigorated the dormant faith of the unjustly neglected . . . . Continue Reading »