The first time I visited France, some thirty-five years ago, I noticed a curious sign posted on the Paris subway. In each car, next to a couple of seats, it said: “Reserved for disabled ex-servicemembers.” Well, that’s the translation. Really, the seats were reserved for mutilés de guerre, literally those who had been mutilated by war, […]
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Let the dead bury their dead, says Jesus. And I thought of this a few months ago, when the battle erupted over a graveyard in Transylvania. In the part of Romania where I used to live, there are whole counties that do not think of themselves as “Romanian” at all. Before the First World War, […]
Let’s kill Jesus. That’s an ugly sentence. Jesus, who hurt nobody and loved even the most wretched. How could we hurt him? How could anybody, but much less his followers? But: Let’s kill Jesus. It’s what one of his followers – one of his closest, one of the Twelve Apostles — came away muttering, just […]
I was in talking to an atheist the other day. (Pastors meet more atheists than you might imagine.) This fellow had a question – “What should I expect, as an unbeliever, if I go to a church for the first time?” Without saying it directly, he was a little apprehensive. He was afraid, I think, […]
My life, I sometimes think, really began when I was twenty-three years old. I was working a desk job in the city, living a life of quiet desperation. One day I quit, stuffed some clothes into a backpack and flew to the Caribbean. Not one of the nice islands, either. I went to Haiti, the […]
There was a game that people used to play, back in the Middle Ages. On certain days, they would reverse their roles. Kings might dress up like peasants, and vice-versa. One version of this game was called “The Boy Bishop.” On the Feast of the Holy Innocents, in some places, a choirboy would be chosen […]