All posts by Neil Ellis Orts

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With Feeling / Five: Mama

I’ve so far avoided talking too specifically about family members. I’m overly self-conscious about what is and isn’t my story to tell. My family is a group of private folk, very nearly to the point of being secretive. It’s not entirely healthy — or pathological,

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The Noise of God

I’d like a more predictable God. What I mean by that is that I want a more controllable God. What I mean is, I wish magic worked. There are times when I have heard the noise of God, and I use that word somewhat facetiously,

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With Feeling / Two: When I Think of Home

“But Daru had been born here. Everywhere else, he felt exiled.” -“The Guest” by Albert Camus   I have a pet peeve. I like to call it “middle-class, white boy angst.” Characteristic of this blight on American culture is a whiny complaint that can be

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The Fecundity of the Barren

Our history always begins with the barren, with Sarah (Gen. 11:30), with Rebekah (Gen. 25:21), with Rachel (29:31), and with Elizabeth (Luke 1:7). Among those, always as good as dead (Heb. 11:12), the wondrous gift is given. The inability to bear is a curious thing

Black man praying

Pride, Shame, Humility

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 (NRSV)   On an unseasonably warm (even for Texas) January morning, I was waiting for a bus and saw a man, I would guess in his late 30s, walk by wearing a

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Labels and Definitions and Who I Am

I recall a young woman, a class mate, in college. Despite the color of her skin, she was told by some other classmates that she was not black enough and should consider taking black lessons. “What does that mean, ‘black enough’?” she asked me. “I’m