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The Love Song of Pepper Smith

By Caroline JarboeJanuary 23, 2018

The day of Pepper Smith’s funeral, it was a stiff fifteen degrees—ironic weather for a boy from Gulfport, Mississippi. Pepper was my dear old friend for twenty-three years; we had traversed some odd and complicated decades and had ended up living not far from one another in the D.C. area. We talked all the time,…

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A Hearth for Our Home

By Christiana PetersonJanuary 22, 2018

A week before Christmas my husband and I hired professionals to install a wood stove in the fireplace of the 150-year-old house we just bought.  All seemed well at the initial inspection, but when they began the job they found a chimney full of rusted nails, crumbling tiles, and a funny flue. They sent a…

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Poetry Friday: “The Music before the Music”

By Jeanne Murray WalkerJanuary 19, 2018

It is often hard to find the language to describe the sounds and impact of a piece of music. In “The Music before the Music” we encounter horns that “plow and plant Beethoven’s/great fields,” “the brash cymbal,” “the wigged-out chug of a bass viol.” In this loud and layered poem, Jeanne Murray Walker uses precisely…

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On Monks, Conversion, and Radio Astronomy, Part 2

By Richard ColeJanuary 18, 2018

On my second day at the abbey, I bounced around, trying to listen, to feel, to be in the moment like Carmen advised. It was a tough slog. “Waste time. Waste time,” I told myself, checking my watch. At lunch with the brothers, I casually mentioned that I was in the RCIA (Rite of Christian…

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Of Monks, Conversion, and Radio Astronomy, Part 1

In the middle of life, I fell in love. For my forty-ninth birthday, my wife Lauren gave me a three-day visit by myself at a monastery in South Texas. I went there simply to read for a while and relax. I wasn’t a believer in much of anything, I wasn’t religious, and while I was…

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Wrestling

By Bryan BlissJanuary 16, 2018

My son has always been the smallest kid in his class, often mistaken for being much younger than he actually is. But it isn’t only his size. His voice is high. He loves stuffed animals. And when given the choice at recess, he’s one of the few boys who would still rather fight dragons and…

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Race Relations: A Personal History

By Peggy RosenthalJanuary 15, 2018

It is Martin Luther King Day, and I muse about how my relation to African-Americans has been shaped over the years. When I was a child, my father would sometimes take me into work with him on Saturdays. He was a physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he ran a research lab (with…

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“A Pair of Silk Stockings” and Other Frivolous Pleasures of Mothers

By Tania RunyanJanuary 4, 2018

After a harrowing weekend of yelling at my children, I decided I needed to take drastic measures. I’d been getting sleep, eating well, exercising, and, yes, praying, but I still found myself on the razor’s edge of tension, slamming utensil drawers and screaming, “Stop!” if my son so much as edged one tine of his…

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The Play’s the Thing

By A.G. HarmonDecember 20, 2017

In a recent interview about some stories I’ve written, the interviewer asked several questions regarding film. One in particular was thought-provoking: whether the medium of the motion picture provides more fictive metaphors, more imaginative opportunities for use in stories and novels than other artistic means. That is, does the motion picture qua motion picture, with…

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Arts & Faith Top 25 Films on Waking Up, Part 2

By J.A.A. PurvesDecember 12, 2017

There are, arguably, many ways in which we need to wake up, hence the need for the variety of stories in this list. Some of these films (Something, Anything; Marty; Punch-Drunk Love) involve meek people waking up from lives dominated by peer pressure and social expectations from their friends or family. Other selections on the…

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