one thing.

it’s loud out 

there, everyone with a sign, 

a banner, a stage.

all the world is one, after all. 

lost somewhere is 

a Man 

with an embrace for a droopy shoulder

a seat next to him on the bus

a bottle to count every tear

and somehow, armed with only those 

simple things

He still changes the world.


On faith in the hard.

In my newest release, Then Sings My Soul, the main character, Jakob, has lived through 94 years of tumult and suffering. As a young Jewish boy who escaped Russian pogroms of the early 20th century, he witnessed many loved ones die for or because of their faith.

As with many of that generation, Jakob grows up keeping his faith relatively quiet, stuffed within him, covered and safe by shrouds of doubt and anger, shame and fear. 

I can’t give away too much more, so you’ll have to read the book to see how that does or does not change for Jakob as he nears the end of his life.

The idea of steadfast faith in the midst of trials and persecution influenced the main storyline thread in Then Sings My Soul. The book, Mudhouse Sabbath, by Lauren Winner, influenced it as well. A former Orthodox Jew who converted to Christianity, Winner writes that she, “found that her life was indelibly marked by the rich traditions and spiritual practices of Judaism. [In Mudhouse Sabbath, she] presents eleven Jewish practices that can transform the way Christians view the world and God.”

In one scene of Then Sings My Soul, Jakob’s older brother, Peter, tries to encourage him to keep the faith in his head going, even when he doesn’t feel it in his heart. One way the Jewish people have done that is by reciting a sort of liturgy called the Kaddish during seasons of mourning. Here is what Winner says,

“Even in the pit, even in depresssion and loss and nonsense, still we respond to God with praise. This is not to say that the mourner should not feel what he feels–anger, disbelief, hatred. He can feel those things (and shout them out to God; God can take it). You do not have to feel praise in the intense moments of mourning, but the praise is still true, and insisting upon it over and over, twice a day every day, ensures that eventually you will come to remember the truth of those praises.”

Whether at the beginning, middle or end of our lives, there is always a battle going on for our hearts...a battle for truth, a battle for hope, a battle for our loyalty to God. Often, we struggle to understand what in the world about following Jesus Christ is worth it anymore.

Reciting the truth like Jewish mourners do, choosing or even writing out our own psalm of praise, and saying it whether we feel like it or not can work to bring the head and the heart back together in times of uncertainty and persecution.

Dear friends, so much of what we fight in this world is unseen.

In faithfulness we can find joy once again. 



Coffee house Jesus. A poem.

you’d think the sky was falling the way

folks talk 

that Nietzsche’s right 

and god is dead

but i tell you the truth

He is alive


In the coffee shop where I wrote all day and all around me for hours people met and sipped

soy lattes and I heard them


they were talking about Jesus 

and He was there 

in the friends who embraced and 

the pastor who encouraged the sad man

and the smile of the hostess fresh back from a mission trip to Nicaragua with the nose ring like mine who served me my egg and Siracha sandwich





there, downtown

and even the plumes of the Japanese lilacs lining the streets in front of falling down houses stretched toward Heaven 



just like the little patch of daisies outside 

my front door. 


“Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind 
and bring it to its rest.”
~Wendell Berry