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Fighting Fish

By Samuel Thomas Martin Short Story

FRED, THEIR BETTA FISH, IS DEAD. Christopher tips scummy water into the wilted tomato on the fire escape and gazes at the red body in his hand. He thinks about tossing Fred into the alley for the neighbor’s tabby before Damien wakes up from his nap, but decides against it. Ruth always strolls up the…

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Screening Mystery

By Ron Austin Essay

FOR nearly a generation in Hollywood, a gulf has existed between the secular and religious perspectives. It is a rift that appeared in the sixties for many reasons, not least as an expression of a cultural rebellion which was arguably both liberating and destructive. But one result was the lamentable loss on screen of an…

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Patron Saints

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

I ONCE heard a story about the late Walker Percy that seems to illustrate the plight of so many struggling artists down through the ages. Percy graduated from medical school in the 1940s but soon came down with tuberculosis and had to spend a couple years in a sanatorium. During that time he underwent a profound…

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A Sacrifice of Praise

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

AT the heart of every well-made work of art—no matter how dark or disturbing it may be—is an act of praise. In Mark Jarman’s review of Elaine Scarry’s On Beauty and Being Just in this issue he recounts Scarry’s contention that beauty tends to call forth, or beget, more beauty. The beauty of a face,…

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The Painter of Lite™

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

LAST night, after the kids’ final day of school and a hard slog at work, our family sat down to watch Jurassic Park III, the kind of movie we call E.T. (“entertaining trash”). Like most Hollywood sequels the film is full of recycled scenes—mainly dinosaurs energetically masticating just about any piece of flesh that comes…

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Vanishing into the Work: The Franciscan Labors of James Munce

By Gordon Fuglie Essay

I think that I am primarily a storyteller. My function as a visual artist is to create a two-dimensional formal structure that will best contain the story being told. I am always trying to create a sense of space that has somehow been altered or transformed by an event. —James Munce THE LACONIC, SPARTAN PROSE above…

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Jack Baumgartner and the School of the Transfer of Energy

By Elizabeth Duffy Essay

IN LATE FEBRUARY OF 2015, my husband and I left behind the snow and ice of central Indiana to drive ten hours south to the shrubby tree-lined plains just outside Wichita, Kansas—to see a puppet show. Another couple we’d met only the night before accompanied us, a sword maker who operates Cedarlore Forge in New…

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Sharing a Painting

By Jeffrey Harrison Poetry

Piero della Francesca’s Madonna and Child with Two Angels For half an hour we had the painting mostly to ourselves, and the longer we stood there taking it in together, the more the people drifting around us seemed to disappear. We spoke quietly when we spoke at all, as though trying not to discomfort the…

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A Metaphorical God

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

The following is adapted from the preface to The Operation of Grace: Further Essays on Art, Faith, and Mystery. My God, my God, thou art a direct God, may I not say a literal God, a God that wouldst be understood literally and according to the plain sense of all that thou sayest? but thou art…

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