Pitcher’s Thistle

We chose the perfect day to hike the Dune Climb Trail at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore: seventy degrees, light breeze, a little gauzy cloud cover softening the sun. On a hotter day, this would have been a baking, miserable trek,…
August 18, 2018

Old Vans and Faded Memories

I'm guessing many of you have a photo app that likes to remind you of memories from years past. This morning my wife texted me this picture: You might be thinking "So what? It's a van." Yes... yes it is.…
August 17, 2018

In Search of Surprise

By David Pettit The problem with many poems, my instructor explained, is certainty. The poet tries too hard to say something; is too sure of what her poem is about. It kills the poem. The cardinal sin of certainty. It…
August 16, 2018


A friend of mine died by suicide a few weeks ago. The image she used when she talked about God was that of a Weaver, forever at the loom. As I searched scripture in preparation for her funeral, I found…
August 15, 2018

Unfinished War

Recently here on The Twelve, colleague Jim Bratt gave a glowing review of Ron Chernow's brilliant new biography Grant.  Among other things, Bratt noted that even as David McCullough's bio of Harry Truman went a long way toward rehabilitating Truman's…
August 14, 2018

One True Love

By Gregory Love I am reading Under The Mercy, (1988), Sheldon Vanauken’s sequel to his 1977 award-winning book A Severe Mercy. In A Severe Mercy, Vanauken (1914-1996) described the love of his life, his relationship with Jean, whom everyone called “Davy”:…
August 12, 2018

Where to Find God

I grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota, near the edge of the Black Hills. Just behind my home was a church building that housed a number of different congregations over the years – a white evangelical church, a Native…
August 11, 2018

The St. John’s Bible

He's the Queen's scribe, the man--the artist--responsible for creating England's most important state documents. He's the royal calligrapher, an artist, a past chair of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators (a word so rare my spellcheck red-lines it). He's a…
August 10, 2018

Lament and Love

I pause today to honor the memory of Anya Krugovoy Silver, an extremely gifted poet and an incredible woman of faith, who died on Monday. She was only 49, much too young. I only ever got to see her at…
August 8, 2018