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Why We Need a New Kind of Homesteading

Why We Need a New Kind of Homesteading

‘Homesteading,’ whatever exactly it is, runs deep in the American psyche and history. Vast stretches of our nation were settled through it. A great number of our forebears—and here I do not mean only settlers or pioneers but people living for generations in one...

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Rediscover the Ordinary This Spring

Rediscover the Ordinary This Spring

I am convinced that our most significant response to the challenges of our age will be in the most ordinary practices. I do not say the obvious but the ordinary. Ordinary is a great word; it means what pertains to the regular order. We live in a time when what used to...

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Addressing Disembodiment in our Relationships

Addressing Disembodiment in our Relationships

We are consistently told that bodily presence is optional and expendable. This message is reinforced by technologies that make being ‘remote’ easy and attractive. And the fact is we have changed our lives accordingly—to the detriment, especially, of the relationships...

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When Life Is Even Better Than Gardening

When Life Is Even Better Than Gardening

I have discovered an arresting reference to how the drama of the soul is even better than the drama of the soil. Usually, we see how life is like cultivating the earth. Here, we have the joy of seeing how in a pivotal way it is significantly better. In examining the...

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Ten Words to Transform Our Home Life

Ten Words to Transform Our Home Life

This is perhaps at once the most terrifying and practical of all the principles I have found in Thomas Aquinas. It explains so much of human unhappiness—especially today—while also pointing to a remedy, starting right in our homes. The principle is ten words, plus a...

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Lenten Resolutions: Sowing Good Seed

Lenten Resolutions: Sowing Good Seed

The life-lessons from sowing seed are endless. Not every seed we plant will grow; but nothing can grow except from seed. We should always begin then by planting what we want to grow, even if it might not come to full fruition. “Man casts seed to the ground, when he...

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2 Steps to Discovering Our Contemplative Identity

2 Steps to Discovering Our Contemplative Identity

Perhaps the most dramatic assertion about human nature, in part because of the difficulty in comprehending it and its implications, is that man is at root a contemplative being. The great Josef Pieper famously asserts this point with unapologetic force: “Man,...

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God’s Timing: Learning to Accept and Enact It

God’s Timing: Learning to Accept and Enact It

A great divide in approaches to life is whether we see God’s Providence as really in charge. Perhaps the main way we reject it is regarding timing. Why does this ailment drag on? Why didn’t I meet this person sooner? Did this problem have to happen now? Or even, why...

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Do Good Educators ‘Impose’ on Their Students?

Do Good Educators ‘Impose’ on Their Students?

I will cut to the chase and assert that properly understood, parents and teachers do, or should, ‘impose’ something on their children or students. Here I follow one of the Oxford definitions of impose: ‘to place authoritatively.’ An ever-controversial issue is whether...

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Facing the Challenge of Marriage

Facing the Challenge of Marriage

Marriage is perhaps the most striking paradox in the material cosmos. How can doing marriage right be at once so necessary and so difficult? Yet in this, it is the perfect mirror of human life itself. While life is not simply about marriage, or in any case not with...

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Finding Joy in Going Back to Work: 2 Suggestions

Finding Joy in Going Back to Work: 2 Suggestions

At this time of year when many of us must ‘go back to work’ after a break, we can wonder about the place of work in our life. It makes me think of when I first read Wendell Berry and E.F. Schumacher commenting that our work has become a chore to be avoided. I felt...

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Time, Change, and Youth of the New Year

Time, Change, and Youth of the New Year

Around the New Year we can feel out of sorts. The relentless march of time strikes home, just as we are wrapping up our more intense celebration of holy days. As on a birthday, we reflect on the duration of our life. Aging and its burdens can loom large. And the past...

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