The Perils of Sacred Music


Two nights ago, we opened our Christmas gift to each other: we attended a superb performance of Handel’s MESSIAH at the National Arts Centre here in Ottawa. We are both very familiar with this magnificent oratorio, and hearing it live adds to the wonder of it. This is not a concert review, but I doContinue reading “The Perils of Sacred Music”

The Ante-Magnificat


I don’t celebrate Christmas. Not really. And I don’t say, “Put Christ back in Christmas,” because I don’t believe He was ever there. At least not in what our culture has come to know as Christmas. But before you paint me with pine tar and turkey feathers and run me out of town on aContinue reading “The Ante-Magnificat”

The Other Side of the Gospel


I recently read the compelling testimony of Rosaria Butterfield. Once an outspoken liberal lesbian intellectual, she put her trust in Jesus Christ and her life was transformed. She cites a passage in John 7 that made a deep impression on her as she listened to a sermon on this text: “If anyone’s will is toContinue reading “The Other Side of the Gospel”

Make Yourself Comfortable


It’s MESSIAH time again, as it is at this time every year. I usually begin listening to Handel’s monumental work in early December, and play it many times before Christmas. It has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I have most of it memorized. I never tire ofContinue reading “Make Yourself Comfortable”

Hips, Thighs, and the Nanaimo Factor


Many thanks to my good friend Jeff Buckman for introducing me to the sport of snowshoeing. Having spent most of my adult life in the Great White North, I shouldn’t have needed a guy from Pennsyltucky to perform this essential function. Nor should I need a guy from Michigan to introduce me to ice fishing,Continue reading “Hips, Thighs, and the Nanaimo Factor”

Memories of My Kitchen Diva


She would have loved this day–a snowy, blustery morning presaging the brutal winter we’re supposed to get this year, which she also would have loved. But days like today were made for her. She would have been in the kitchen–one of her two favourite rooms in the house–all day long. There would be something bubblingContinue reading “Memories of My Kitchen Diva”

The Essence of Grieving: Embracing Service


The sight both shocked and moved me. A beautiful young woman was in my kitchen, on her hands and knees. As her body rocked rhythmically back and forth, she blew tendrils of dark hair away from her face as, with both hands gripping a towel, she scrubbed the floor. She grew up in a wealthyContinue reading “The Essence of Grieving: Embracing Service”

The Essence of Grieving: Embracing Speed Bumps


I’ve moved my office from the dining room of my friends’ vacant home to the patio, which backs onto a 9-hole golf course. It’s in a grove of pines and there are song birds here to provide a sweet melody behind the staccato, syncopated rhythm of my keys. The place is too gorgeous and theContinue reading “The Essence of Grieving: Embracing Speed Bumps”

The Essence of Grieving: Embracing Sense and Sentiment


24 September would have been our 39th wedding anniversary. I returned the night before from a week-long canoe trip in Algonquin Park, and I’d planned to continue “going dark” until today so I could spend our anniversary uninterrupted, alone with my memories. (I’m getting ahead of myself with this post–I have a half dozen orContinue reading “The Essence of Grieving: Embracing Sense and Sentiment”