everyday spirituality tagged posts

The Illusion of “Normal” Life: C.S. Lewis’s “Learning in War-Time”

There are times in life when everything we perceive as “normal” about it screeches to a halt. We’re at work or at the park with our 2-year-old, lazily pushing him on the swing when the call comes in—a loved one has suffered a calamity. We hustle home, throw a few things in a bag and either start making flight arrangements or hop in the car, “dropping everything.”

Time and every other obligation and interest as we know it fades, and we enter an altered inner landscape where only one thing seems to matter.

Or does it?

On September 1, 1939, German troops crossed the Polish border en masse, setting off a chain reaction that jump-started World War II within 48 hours as France and Great Britain declared war on the German invaders. This was calamity writ large, a shot across the bow of an entire nation’s, continent’s, and ultimately the free world’s, consciousness.

Lewis warns us off notions that would make any...

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Father Bob and the Misapprehension of Spiritual Life

Way back in 1980-81, I spent one of the most stimulating years of my life in seminary, taking whatever classes I wanted at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. It was one of those “exploration in graduate theological education” programs: one year, no requirements, graze to your heart’s content among the consortium’s eight seminaries. There’s a synonym for all that, and here it is:


I spent pretty much the entire year enraptured, mostly reclining on my mattress-on-the-floor (the true graduate school bedding protocol) with a pile of books when I wasn’t running in the East Bay hills or walking the never-dull streets of Berkeley.

Grazing through the catalogs from the consortium’s eight seminaries before the start of the semester, one easy pick was a course in spirituality from Father Bob, a learned and engaging Jesuit who would pace the floor west to east at the front of the class talking...

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