Boston is dark in January. Very dark. At 5:30 p.m. light has
completely abandoned the city. Sure, there is a kind of fake fluorescent light,
a pale bluey glow, a TV light. But there is no authentic light, only illusion
of it. And illusions only make the matter worse.
My college motto is vox clamantis in deserto, the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. It suits a college whose fame includes being the setting for the movie Animal House. Cry out in playful poetry. Cry out in inebriated bombast. Cry out amid the lone pines of New Hampshire.
On the first morning of every new year, I take a three-foot-long saw with three-inch teeth, walk out onto Lake Michigan at 20 below in my sandals and swimsuit, hack a hole in the two-foot-thick ice and jump in.
Lamenting the free-spirited nature of Gen-Xers, a monastic friend of mine once told his abbot that the community might have to skip a generation in its search for new members. “This generation is all spirituality,” he said, “but it just can’t commit to the religious life.” Hold on, Brother.
In my first call as a pastor, I inherited a confirmation program in which 25 teenagers would sit in a church basement with no windows for three hours weekly and silently fill out workbooks while a few church elders supervised them. After two years of this disciplined, disembodied study these future leaders of the church were confirmed. Halleluiah!