When I was just starting as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, former editor Vermont Royster visited our bureau and told stories about what made the Journal a great newspaper.

His favorite was about the CEO of General Motors. It seems an investigative reporter had discovered major flaws in a new GM car. The CEO warned Royster that, if the Journal kept reporting this problem, GM would pull its ads.

“Well, pull the damn ads!” Royster told him.

It pains me no end to see what Rupert Murdoch has done to the Journal. Cheapening it, tilting its reporting to a hard conservative slant, breaking his promise not to meddle.

Summer jazz in one of Manhattan’s many small parks


Q: I’ve always struggled with the miracles. Many of them, I think, have different meanings. For example: I am blind but now I see could mean that this person now understands and is able to see the truth. Is there something wrong with me?

A: Miracles, by definition, stretch us beyond what we see and know. There is nothing wrong in asking questions about them, doubting them, or even denying them. In time, whatever God wants you to see in them will be revealed to you.

I agree with you that miracles can have multiple meanings, some more prosaic than others, some totally extraordinary. You mention one, namely, that sight miracles might refer to understanding, not to physical blindness. I happen to believe that Jesus literally restored sight to the blind.

Another miracle, the feeding of multitudes, could refer to a token sharing of what was on hand, or it could mean literally an outpouring of abundance. Some consider such physical miracles to be “parlor tricks,” whereas the most astonishing miracles have to do with personal transformation, like the change in Simon Peter from a narrow-vision coward into a bold stalwart for faith.

Struggling with miracles, as you put it, strikes me as an appropriate response. If they were easy to comprehend and to accept, they wouldn’t contain much transformative power.