Category Archive: Random Thoughts

Jul 20 2016

On life as a dream.

Robert Snow was the captain of homicide at the Indianapolis police department. He was a sharp, intelligent, respected—and respectable—man, skeptical both by nature and by professional habit. He didn’t know this was all beginning to change for him when one day at a party, a colleague struck up a conversation about past lives. She had …

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Jun 22 2016

On what I think of the Wool Rule.

How to be good to people has been on my mind for a long time, but especially lately. I’ve engaged in a political debate about treating illegal immigrants and atheists with respect. I had to write for a scholarly journal a review of a book I found lacking in merit, and I was torn between …

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Sep 28 2015

On chain mail and other things.

In the ancient times, in a kingdom definitely somewhere else, there lived a great and famous tailor smith, known for his skill to all in the land. One day, the local king called the tailor to him and said, “Tailor smith, I hear that you surpass all others in your craft. Will you make me …

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May 27 2015

On why I brush my teeth in the morning.

I have begun work on a very interesting, long-term translation project with a historian of literature, who is writing a book about Dostoevsky. For this project, I am translating hundreds of pages of obscure notes and reminiscences about Dostoevsky, some of his own writing, and comparing existing translations. Not only have I re-immersed myself in …

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Nov 25 2014

On desecrating church.

Last week, I was part of an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. I am a choir director at a Catholic parish, which is a member of a local interfaith association, and this service is something we do every year around Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful thing: churches of many denominations came together—Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Nazarene, and more—and …

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Oct 07 2014

On Being Cup.

A few weeks ago I went to a discernment retreat, the theme of which was “A Cup of Your Life.” A Cup of Life, right beside the Bread of Life, is a deep-running symbol in Christianity, and I need not explain to you where it comes from. At the mention of the word, we envision …

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Feb 05 2014

On holding the face of God, and a little bit on Mary.

There is a song I like very much, one of many, of course, but I’ve been thinking about this one lately. Lyrics by Mark Lowry, melody by Buddy Greene. It’s called “Mary, Did You Know?” They play it on the radio often during the Christmas season—understandably, because it’s a series of questions to the mother …

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Dec 10 2013

On indiscriminate care.

Every Advent, early in the season, my parish has a “wishing tree” standing in the back of the church. It’s a Christmas tree with little tags hanging on it, like ornaments, and each has the first name of a child, gender and age, and a wish that child wrote down for a Christmas present. These …

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Nov 18 2013

On the baffling being of words.

My American interlocutors on occasion find little quirks in my speech, and some of those have to do with seemingly random relationships, concepts of a Russian-speaking mentality that my mind, for some reason, has refused to let go. Mostly, they are funny. I do not know why I’ve transitioned in my thought patterns in a …

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Oct 20 2013

On recovery from darkness.

It commonly happens that something I read or watch prompts me to put together words on a topic, though the thoughts had been there a while. This time, the trigger is a West Wing episode titled “Noel.” It’s a Christmas episode removed by a few weeks from an ark showing white supremacists trying to shoot …

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