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Pressing Against the Darkness: Mandy Smith on #CreativeUncertainty

Who are we to keep creativity to ourselves?

The 20 covers of the 20 best books i Read in 2020

My Top 20 Books of 2020

The books I leaned on during this crazy year…

The future of hope in a brave, new-normal world

The future of the workplace. The future of democracy. The future of news. The future of the economy. The future of truth. The headlines that swirl around me toll the ominous futures of an ever-widening quantity of institutions, social norms, and moral principles. Truth be told, I am less concerned about these dimensions of the…
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Freedom from meaningless and other things hoped for

If hope is a spiritual discipline, what is a spiritual discipline? Short answer: a spiritual discipline is a practice or virtue that is intentionally engaged over time to foster spiritual growth and oneness with Christ. Although the concept of spiritual disciplines has a long history, I first encountered it nearly 20 years ago in Richard…
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Hope as a spiritual discipline?

This blog, and all my other writing, has grown quiet since the early days of COVID-19. Back when the narrative of it all seemed easier to trace. As the weeks and months have unwound, words–meaningful ones, at least–have dried up. I haven’t written much because frankly, I haven’t had much to say. And perhaps the…
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July 2020 #RecoveringWritersChallenge

We’re all recovering from something, whether it’s an addiction, trauma, 2020, setbacks in our vocation, or just… life in general. With the coming of a new month, I’m starting an experiment by hosting a month-long daily photo and writing challenge for writers out there who, like me, need to refresh after a very de-centering last…
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33 Simple Truths for a Complicated Time

It’s been, for all of us, an immensely difficult time. The pandemic. The police brutality. The tragedy. And above all that, the fighting, not-listening, the social confusion. And by “difficult,” I mean disorienting, heart-wrenching, soul-crushing, deadening. This last week, for me at least, it got to be a little (ok, a lot) too much. As…
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What is My Brand Personality as a Writer?

Maybe it’s the existential tidal wave of COVID-19, maybe it’s just creative growing pains, but I’ve been asking myself–and my writing–lots of deep questions lately. And I’ve decided that one of the big obstacles in moving forward as a writer is that I don’t really know myself as a writer.   In other words, I don’t…
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“In any Circumstance”: Being Content in a Mysterious Time

A passage of Scripture that has often come to mind the past week or so is St. Paul’s exhortation on contentment. Thanking the Philippians for remembering his needs–perhaps through sending supplies or monetary contributions–St. Paul points out that even in times when his earthly needs haven’t been met, he knows how to be satisfied: I…
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The Loneliest Day: Travel Notes from a Reading Pilgrimage

Today I continue my reading pilgrimage through Ronald Rolheiser’s remarkable book The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness. Rolheiser is a Catholic theologian, but in my own faith tradition–Eastern Orthodoxy–today is Holy Friday, the day of the Cross. It is, perhaps, the loneliest day of the liturgical year, albeit not when measured by external…
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