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The Face of a Man


Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley on an east Pennsylvania rite of passage.

Seeing through Idols: Art and Imagination at the Border


Long before authorities are prepared to tear down walls, artists help us see through them. 

The Mule


Such is the mule, muscled with self-knowledge,
wiser than Aristotle.



I remember you in your final atonement, how calm you were. 
Though you couldn’t tell me, you understood the names hidden in the dusk. 

A Devotional Temperament: A Conversation with Garth Greenwell


One of the extraordinary accomplishments of the Confessions is to find a syntax that doesn’t deny impasse or dilemma, but that also doesn’t allow impasse or dilemma to become stagnant.



Prayer is silence, / spirit-bones and soul-blood fluctuant as breath.



I was fine with the ceramic statues of Mary, flaming heart jumping out of her chest. I liked the bright blue robe, gold stars, and shell-like halo of the Virgin of Guadalupe. But the big wooden crucifixes, that crown of thorns digging into Jesus’s brown locks, skinny white arms yanked above so that he’s pitched forward—they spook me the way Dracula spooks me.

The Film The History of Our Inner Lives


This is how the movie ends in movies­—
The fade, the retreat, image dissolving
into the bath that bore it.

A Spider, an Arab, and a Muslim Walk into a Cave


In Ibn Arabi, a totality of faiths were convened. His heart contained within it pastures for deer, monasteries for monks, a temple for idols, a Kaaba around which to parade, tablets for a Torah, and a Quran, as he said in one of his famous verses: “I follow the religion of love wherever its caravans go.”

An Indelible Season: NYC, 2020


Photographing helped me see the small light in this epic darkness, to find a conscientious perspective.

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Mentored by the Dead

In the midst of a viral pandemic that has shuttered schools and universities, why go on writing essays about the syntactical anomalies of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, or learning when and how to use the French subjunctive tense, when humanity itself is threatened by a massive, though microscopic, enemy?

The Power of Absence: Reading Graham Greene during Lent

Churches, synagogues, and other places of worship have had to close at a time when faith and the comfort of community are needed most. But faith finds a way to lift us, even from a distance.

April 7, 2020

We say flattening fattening smashing the; and do I look sexy (chin’s up, buttercup) in my balaclava? We say what is ZOOM, then we Zoom. We say zoom is malware (but it’s all malware). Check this box if you are not a robot, now do you wanna zoom?

Reading Together: Recommendations for Parents and Children

Today I share some of our family’s favorites—stories that reflect the power of community, the value of resilience, and the possibilities of hope—all with enough depth to engage even the adults in your family.

Attention as Prayer: Public Art in the Pandemic

Simone Weil once said that “Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer.” On this sunny morning, getting up close to the wall, I’m beginning to understand what she means.

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