For de Lubac this means

“For de Lubac this means that God has built into such a nature, not a supernatural power, but a certain receptive potentiality, which is to say, a capacity to recognize that what will truly make us happy is something we cannot attain or know or even fully anticipate on our own.”

Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century

Catholic Dad

I’ve got a quiverful of children.

The Bible calls them arrows

and me lucky

and I am.

Though I’ve a pretty good view

of the target, and pull the bow

the same way every time,

bends in the air

send the one a-high

and the one a-low

and dams back in

their beaver,



I duck myself when they circle around.


I practice.

I do practice.

But my son and my daughter

fly where they will.

Over and under but especially

under the hill,

they fly where they will.


How I got here

Just out of college, I wanted to be a priest, so my diocese (Seattle) sent me to Leuven, Belgium, to study theology. It didn’t work out: I married a Dutch woman instead. We lived in Washington State for seven years before moving to Utrecht in 2001.  We have two children, one born in Seattle and one in Utrecht.

In our first years in Holland I wondered how to share the two most obvious sides of myself, my being Catholic and American, with my children in a culture resistant to the missionary impulses of both the Church and Uncle Sam. Now I don’t worry about that. My children are who they are, growing up in their own way in a culture excellent in its own right. But I continue to feel the tension of displacement within myself.

Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, was originally an outpost on the edge of the Roman Empire. That’s a good metaphor for the present distance of this super secularized country from the Church of Rome. It’s hard to know how best to nurture and express one’s faith here.

As an American, too, I wonder how I fit in. American culture is at once admired and suspect. Having grown up in the West, I miss the woods, fields and mountains of my native land.  Here in the house I have a room of books and photos that remind me of home (see photo on “Why this blog”). I consider it the most remote outpost of the US Forest Service. For a while I thought I’d call this blog, “Report from the Ranger Station.”