Meeting Dostoevsky

Every time I open that last book of his, he tells me that before I go any further, I must submit to the lens of the only beautiful type of suicide, the kind that brings life. The epigraph to The Brothers Karamazov  frames what’s to come in the words spoken and incarnated by Christ: thatContinue reading “Meeting Dostoevsky”

Unless a Kernel of Wheat

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24 These are the words of Jesus that Dostoevsky chose to open The Brothers Karamazov  with, words that are now etched as the epitaphContinue reading “Unless a Kernel of Wheat”

To Be Too Conscious

 “I swear, gentlemen, that to be too conscious is an illness — a real thorough-going illness.” –The Underground Man, Notes from the Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky. There is truth in the words of the Underground Man; over-consciousness can drive us to despair, to depression, to step heavily through each day to the beat of Ecclesiastes’ moansContinue reading “To Be Too Conscious”

A Psalm of Life

Earlier this morning, I was paging through an old copy of Longfellow poems my grandmother had given me. I had always treasured the old volume from 1896, embossed with silver etchings and delicate roses. I thought that I might bring it with me to share with my students in Russia; after all, Longfellow was fromContinue reading “A Psalm of Life”