Good Letters

Tale of the Lucky and the Star-Crossed

Lady Awaiting Inspiration

They say that luck is where hard work meets opportunity. But often the ones who say that are those who are the greatest beneficiaries of luck. It seems a way by which the fortunate can reclaim a portion of the credit for the things that have befallen them: “Yes, X happened, and it was indeed…

Dr. Seuss and Dietrich Bonhoeffer


I am reading a biography of the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged in 1945 for his role in the plot to kill Hitler. Suddenly the door opens and my two-year-old grandson, Alex, bounces in. Seeing the book, he attempts to climb into my lap so I can read to him as well. I put…

Wonder Woman, Flying, Part 2: Beauty and Sacrament


Continued from yesterday. In this scene from Batman’s first meeting with Wonder Woman in Trinity, you can feel the writer Matt Wagner’s personality trumping the artist; though it doesn’t really add much to the narrative, Wagner can’t help but let Bats make a crack about her costume. Superheroines’ costumes are perpetually controversial, it seems (perhaps…

Wonder Woman, Flying, Part 1: Transcendent Hope


It’s one of my favorite images of Diana of Themyscira, a.k.a. Wonder Woman: her proud, bold body fills the page as she soars across a pink sunset, arms spread wide like a diver, her legs not straight but slightly askew as if skipping on the air. As someone who never had much use for comics,…

Beauty Will Save the Seventh Grade


The school administrator wants to know when my students will experience beauty in my classroom. He asks this question while going over our teaching contracts. A copy of what I signed back in April is magnified on a screen in Covenant Hall, a giant room that serves as a cafeteria and also a chapel. Last…

Save the Economy: Read the Classics


I was reading Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si when I began an article called “What is Wrong with the West’s Economies?” Published in the August 13, 2015 issue of The New York Review of Books, the article is by Edmund Phelps, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Director of Columbia’s Center on Capitalism and Society, and…

My Days of Awe, 5776


Impatience. Anger. Wastefulness. Restlessness. Desire. Haughtiness. Greed. Judgement. Pride.        § I’ve been paying attention, especially the last few days. Now it’s getting serious. It’s the morning of the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.              § Yesterday, just after I walked into the house after ten-and-a-half…

The Harboring Silence, Part 2


Continued from yesterday. The following editorial statement from issue 86 of Image is adapted from a commencement address given at the Seattle Pacific University MFA in creative writing graduation in Santa Fe on August 8, 2015. Denise Levertov’s poems nearly always contain vivid reminders of the oral nature of poetry, of poetry as speech addressed…

The Harboring Silence, Part 1


The following editorial statement from issue 86 of Image is adapted from a commencement address given at the Seattle Pacific University MFA in creative writing graduation in Santa Fe on August 8, 2015.   “The great poet does not completely fill out the space of his theme with his words. He leaves a space clear,…

The Holy Wafer on the Floor


Sometimes I take the Host in the mouth, other times I take it in the hand. Mostly I take it in the mouth. That’s because of the strangeness of it, the good strangeness. I don’t generally let other people feed me, let alone grown men. Let alone priests. So, this meal is not like other…

Image’s Daily Blog

For the humanists of the Renaissance, literature mattered because it was concrete and experiential—it grounded ideas in people’s lives. Their name for this kind of writing was bonae litterae, a phrase we’ve borrowed as the title for our blog. Every weekday, one of the gifted writers on our blogging team will offer a personal essay that makes a fresh connection between the world of faith and the world of daily life, spanning the gap between theology and experience and giving language a human shape.


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