Good Letters

Morning Prayer and The New York Times

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By Richard Chess

Summer morning routine: a cup of Awake tea, the Opinion page of The New York Times.

What am I looking for to get my day going? Information to spark the brain? A needle to inject righteous indignation into my sleepy heart?

The flag is coming down. You know which one.

The Bearable Weightiness of Being


By Amy Peterson

I was restless this spring, edging manic. I think my kids noticed. One Thursday I checked them out of school for an impromptu road trip.

“Isn’t this fun?” I asked. If this were a novel I’d say my eyes were glittering, but this is not fiction: I have no idea how wild-eyed I was.

Dancing for My Life, Part 2


By Tony Woodlief

During the course of my first marriage, I saw a bevy of marriage counselors. I can now say with some conviction: to hell with therapists; get yourself a dance instructor.

Dancing for My Life, Part 1


By Tony Woodlief

So here we are. Gulya instructs me how to turn Maggie without trampling her. You have to take short steps when she is turning, she explains. Yes, the dance has a structure, but we have to accommodate ourselves to one another. Dancing isn’t just steps, it’s you and your partner.

The Dissonant Note


By Natalie Vestin

Faith wasn’t always without question. Faith wasn’t always so accepting, so joyful in its major key, its seven-note intervals. Once, doubt was desired, not just as a frame of mind but also as a bodily state. Prayer was an uncertain call to a God who might live anywhere, whose existence didn’t matter so much as the question that reverberated through flesh. Prayer was communication without resolution, felt only in the dropped notes flickering through the body.

Learning to Pray


I do not want to be a good person. I want to be a holy person.

Divine Drudgery


Witnessing an unusual birth, living on a farm, rubbing shoulders with hippies, growing and raising our own food: It all sounds so romantic and interesting when I describe it, doesn’t it?

Smoke Break


I never thought I would be a smoker. When I was young—maybe five or six—I hid in a closet and sobbed after seeing my mom light a cigarette in the kitchen of a friend’s house.

Franz Wright: Solving the Problems of Poetry


Franz Wright struggled with alcohol and drugs his entire difficult life, so the bad behavior had its source. But I also think that, in Wright’s case, the personal suffering that led to his outlandish behavior is related to problems at the heart of modern poetry.

Ray Bradbury Lives Forever


On one level this is a story about vocation—a baptism by electricity—but it is also a story about time and eternity, death and resurrection—themes that would preoccupy Bradbury over a writing career that spanned seven decades.

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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