On Maria and the Death of Nikolai Bolkonsky in War and Peace

Throughout Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the great Bolkonsky household is a home bereft of affection and the caresses of love for which perhaps every child and every parent longs. The father, Nikolai Bolkonsky, proud, intelligent, eccentric, and cynical, has tormented his daughter by his schedule, his demands, his scoffing at her faith and manners. But … Continue reading On Maria and the Death of Nikolai Bolkonsky in War and Peace

Liturgy, Religion, and the Obligation of Worship

Let them praise his name with dancing,     making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!  For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;     he adorns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:3-4 Debts There are certain debts that are never be paid back, that we never fully make good on.* If a woman saves my child’s life, there is no sufficient currency … Continue reading Liturgy, Religion, and the Obligation of Worship

The Terrible Fatalism of Gambling and the Providence of God

Richard Carstone in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House is a quintessential gambler. A promising young man who holds the heart of a lovely young lady, who is supported by a wealthy benefactor, and who is surrounded by well wishers, he is only in need of a bit of steady application. But in this he fails because he is … Continue reading The Terrible Fatalism of Gambling and the Providence of God