what a serious generalist thinks

  • Mere Christianity Book I, Chapter 4

    Mere Christianity: Book 1, Chapter 4 If you were given time on NPR, our closest equivalent to the BBC, to talk to people about “the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people,” (Jude 3) where would you start? Maybe a scripture verse? It’s intriguing that C.S. Lewis hasn’t at this point…

  • Song Obsession of the Moment: “N’kadesh”

    The song of the moment for me is called “N’Kadesh,” a holiness prayer out of the Jewish liturgy. I first heard this song in a synagogue service from Central Synagogue in New York when I started paying attention to synagogue services last fall.   You don’t need to understand Hebrew to know something is going…

  • Mere Christianity | Book One, Chapter 3

    “The Reality of the Law” As a kind of spiritual discipline, I am reading through C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, and trying to understand it better by asking myself questions. Q. What are the “two odd things about the human race” that C.S. Lewis mentioned at the end of the first chapter? A. First, we are…

  • Mere Christianity | Book One, Chapter Two

    For me, the second chapter is more difficult than the first. In addressing questions, Lewis is making some distinctions between things which really stretches my ability to think philosophically. Q: C.S. Lewis opens Chapter 2 with “If they are the foundation . . .” What is the foundational “they” he is referring to? A: Lewis…

  • Mere Christianity | Book One, Chapter One

    I am taking a journey through C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. My approach to this book is to read it like it’s the first time. To try and understand what he is saying, I am asking myself questions based on the text. Book I | Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the…

  • Mere Christianity | Preface (and Foreword by Kathleen Norris)

    I would like to begin a journey through C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity that will take some time—over half the year. In a journal entry about the book some years ago I wrote, “I don’t think we can underestimate the value of this book for having a kind of road map to understand the world we…

  • Y’varekh’kha

    A song for this moment comes from a Bat Mitzvah service at Park Avenue Synagogue some years ago. I’ve been listening to it a lot in recent days.   The moment is as sweet as the song is. I love the gentle hand of the cantor (Azi Schwartz) on the back of the young girl…

  • “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”

    I suppose Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” from 1973 is what they would call the oldies these days. And since I’m older, this was a chorus I remember well from my childhood. I have no idea how many times I have heard this song over the years, but I feel like I just finally…

  • A verse of hope

    In my mind this morning is a verse of hope. It’s Ezekiel 1:1 which reads, “In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” (NIV) It’s a bad news/good news scenario. The…

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