Monthly Archives: October 2015
A great column about one adoptee’s battle with bureaucracy to obtain what many of us take for granted — her real birth certificate.
My birth certificate bears the words: Certificate of Live Birth, under the two separate, official-looking headers:
State of California
Certification of Vital Records
State of California
Department of Public Health
It also bears “The Great Seal of the State of California,” on the left bottom corner, as well as a funky, more modern looking “CDPH” (California Department of Public Health) seal on the bottom right corner. The paper itself is really official and fancy, too–pretty even–shades of red, white and blue–with a serious blue border with the somber words “Any Alteration or Erasure Voids this Certificate” on the bottom. When you hold up the certificate to the light, you can see a watermark: “OFFICIAL VITAL RECORD.”
A birth certificate. Big deal. Well, the one I have in my possession is a fraud. Officially, it’s called an amended birth certificate. And there is actually a legitimate reason for it…
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As theology includes and subvenes metaphysics, so mysticism – which is to say, simply, effectually realized worship – includes and subvenes theology. Metaphysics then can usher us in to theology, and theology to worship. But to enter worship through the double vestibules of philosophy and theology is to take the long road; a direct and immediate entry is available to all creatures, as near to them as their own hearts. As subvening metaphysics, worship subvenes all that metaphysics subvenes, and covers; which is to say, that worship is the basis and sine qua non of being. At our animal bottom, and at its most primitive, worship is expressed in our love of life, of our own mere existence.
Indeed, even the simplest entities exist and perdure only in virtue of their love of the forms they inherit from God and express in their concrete actuality. That love is the…
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“Seek First the Kingdom”
If our mission from Christ is to “seek first the kingdom of God,” how can a successful, God-honoring marriage not be marked by mission? We’re not told to seek first an intimate marriage, a happy life, obedient children, or anything else. Jesus tells us to seek first one thing, and one thing only: His kingdom and His righteousness (the two words define and build on each other, creating one common pursuit). A successful marriage is not only supported by a kingdom pursuit, but in many ways the pursuit is a prerequisite for post-infatuation intimacy.
Life without this aim, and marriage without this purpose, is going to lose a lot of its luster. “We hunger for this today: cooperating together, meshing, working like a mountain climbing team, ascending the peak of our dream, and then holding each other at the end of the day. God has planted…
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The release this weekend of my second paper back, Morgan, the collected version of the bestselling Morgan trilogy, has got me thinking about the paper books vs ebooks debate.
Before I became a kindle convert, I couldn’t bear the thought of ebooks. All I wanted was paper, paper, paper. As a historian, I was deeply suspicious of anything that didn’t leave a physical trace in the world, and anxious about texts that would disappear if the technology suddenly vanished. I love the feel of a paper book, the smell of a paper book, the fact that I can read it in the bath, on the beach, all of that. I love the way they look on the shelf, the way that you can give them and share them and leave them in cafés for someone else to find.
But then I moved house. I moved house and let me…
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It’s common to most every religious tradition – some ceremony or service where you dedicate or commit a new child to God. In some Christian traditions, it takes the form of baptism. Others have a brief baby dedication. The last baby we dedicated was our youngest child, and that was more than a few years ago. I held the little guy in my hands, but times have changed. I don’t pick him up anymore; I’d hurt myself. He picks me up – literally. He’ll greet me at the airport, and pick me up off the ground and spin me around. That’s my baby. Yes, a lot of things have changed, but one thing never has.
All three of our children grew up, but the transaction that took place that day we dedicated each of them to God is one thing that is still being repeated today. We cannot physically hold…
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It is easy to kill people. All you have to do is close your mouth, do nothing and turn away. It is just as easy to be opinionated and pontificate, take the high moral ground and lecture the silent majority on their inaction. All you have to do is open your mouth, do nothing and still let them die. The sad fact is that regardless of what we like to believe we should or could do, life is cheap and most people work hard to avoid looking their own conscience in the eye. I know I don’t.
I am doing some research for a book I am writing, about a murderer on the loose in 19th Century Ireland. The backdrop is the terrible period in Irish history known to all Irish people simply as ‘the famine.’ It was a national tragedy spread out over decades that left an enduring…
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I want to say “I’m on a roll!” but I am not. A few days consistency is not consistency. To continue the scribbles and posts into December will make me feel a smidgen of pride.
This is just a burst, a surge of energy. I imagine my goal should now be to identify whatever triggered this and remember it for the next slump–but that seems like the wrong move. The anticipation of “the slump” will precede the slump, so I am choosing to preclude the slump by determining that it should not happen again.
There is a pain in my right bicep. “You have been practicing your penmanship”, it says. I have been practicing my writing and flexing muscles long rested. This is a workout, the best workout, the only true workout for me–as nothing else makes me feel as accomplished as a sentence penned by only me, for me…
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