One muggy Minnesota morning during the summer straddling the scrawny divide between my fanciful childhood and jaded adolescence, my best friend Robby and I found religion. It’d been hiding, not surprisingly, inside the whitewashed pine chapel of Lake Bronson Galilee Lutheran Bible Camp. Robby and I first met, with a magnetic force, five years earlier […]

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The Pope and BMW. Hellish.

I have been struck by lightning. BMW now apparently wants the Popemobile biz (proposal depicted above). As a Mercedes (exclusive builders of Vatican limos for an eternity) owner, I pray for an intercession. As no self-respecting Swabian would be seen in a high-end Manure Wagen, neither should His Most Holy Benedict. Irrefutable evidence of this […]

"God talked to me today"

The first time it happened, he was sitting in the kitchen behind me. I was at the counter cutting vegetables for dinner when my older son said, "When God talked to me earlier today, before I went to school…" That’s how he spoke as a child. He was only 11, but his diction was formal, […]

“Open-Source Christianity”

The place was mostly filled up by five o’clock, with solemn-eyed hipsters, middle-schoolers, and graying seniors seated on a motley assortment of older sofas arranged in rings. Wine bottles and plump bread loaves sat on scattered coffee tables, which, along with antique rugs and lamps, contributed to the overall feel of a living room (albeit […]

Do You Really Believe?

One morning last summer, leaving my apartment on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, I noticed there weren’t many people outside. It was a fine June day, but there wasn’t the usual line of cars in front of Starbucks. No commuters schlepping insulated mochas, no dog walkers, no window washers at Cafe Latté, and no one […]

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Oh, That's Why Harvard and Carleton Are Such Crappy Schools

You know, this is just too easy. In case you missed Kersten today, the topic is "Why St. Thomas University is going to hell in a handbasket". The short answer is, (and I’m only telling you this because reading the column will just cause you to think ill of thoughtful Catholics) because they don’t have […]

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Newspaper

I made a mistake the other day and accidentally tuned in to KTLK and whatever right-wing boob they have on during the late morning. With a little checking after I got back to the office, I found his name is Dan Conry, and he has, like so many of his ilk, the IQ and eloquence […]

Scientology: The Local Source

Until last week, everything I knew about Scientology came from Tom Cruise on Oprah, and from an experience I had last summer. I wrote two articles for, one in May 2007, the other in June. The first, about a catastrophic reaction my son had to psychiatric medication, resulted in a swell of support from […]

Daughter of God

Sometimes, Grace Kolenda Deters dreams in Portuguese. Ordinary dreams are of her daily life in Nevada, her home five hundred feet above Lake Tahoe, with its shore-to-shore views. Or scenes from past decades spent in Minneapolis: graduate school, therapy, her daughter’s ice-skating lessons, snow.   Less often, she dreams of lilies. Or of the boils […]

Goddess Revealed

I was beginning to suspect that I was the last person on the planet who hadn’t read The DaVinci Code, and so I remedied that situation last weekend. I like a good page turner as much as the next guy, and this was a good one. But man, I can sure see why this is […]