Nathaniel Martin sailed with his friend and fellow-naturalist Stephen Maturin on two long sea voyages in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, first as the ship's chaplain and later as Maturin's assistant surgeon. Never much of a fist at sermonizing, Martin took to writing and publishing impolitic tracts that offended the Royal Navy Board and prevented him from returning as a chaplain.
Martin lost an eye to an owl, and, as long as Martin's eye was single, O'Brian let him rival Captain Jack Aubrey for Maturin's time and friendship. Martin married between voyages, however, and his newfound obsession with providing for his family began to make him tedious company for Maturin. (Banality is the worst symptom a character can present with in these novels.) Martin's overheated conscience led him to an end straight out of Hawthorne, with whom he shared his first name.
These are the sermons he never wrote.
There cannot be enough books like Zen for Christians, and not only because there cannot be enough sincere spiritual journeys. Kim Boykin’s book is an approachable instruction manual for a form of meditation unfamiliar to many of her fellow Christians. Her clear descriptions of Christian and Zen beliefs as well as her honest appraisal of her [...]
Three bears talk about someone over three bowls, three chairs, and three beds, and the perpetrator herself shows up in the last bed. This dramatic irony, along with the literary rule of three, seems to hold the many iterations of the famous fairy tale together. So far, so good. But after the bears discover the girl (or in [...]
When Warren and I do chores together, we usually have company. When we’re watering the plants in the summer, the bushes beg for water and then thank Warren for leaving the hose with them longer than he had planned to. Warren looks directly at a bush. “You’re welcome.” He smiles. Sometimes the bushes argue about [...]
Lectio divina is like reading poetry: we need to slow down, to savor what we read, and to allow the text to trigger memories and associations that reside below the threshold of awareness. Michael Casey’s comparison of poetry and meditation (lectio divina being perhaps the most flexible and durable in the Christian tradition) in his [...]
We’d climb on old gondolas and tugs and dugout canoes illuminated only by a translucent, fiberglass ceiling. We could see the pine needles and dirt accumulating in rows along the corrugated roof from inside the building. We played underneath a white, fallow field blessed by inattention and sunlight.
A sign in the aisles said not to climb on the boats, sure, but no one was ever in the room with us: no docent, guard, member, or guest. Only birds.