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Romanian Orthodox Choir

By Ewa Elzbieta Nowakowska Poetry

This chasm. Quite simply, the abyss. Gale in a sultry church. Out of the dark the voices of seraphim. A beauty impossible to bear. A theology of opposites: in Christmas hymns this sorrow like a lidless coffin. Humble, the unknown soloist folds his hands and bows his head in gratitude for the applause. Suddenly we’re…

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System and Chaos: The Art of Linnéa Spransy

By Brian Volck Essay

I am interested in limits, specifically, in their ability to generate surprise, even freedom. —Linnéa Spransy The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings. —Wendell Berry   THE CANVASAS IN LINNÉA SPRANSY’S studio explode with images rich and strange: ribbons and lobes reproducing like bacteria in…

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The Mosque Outside the Mosque: Aerosol Arabic and the One Experience

By George Dardess Essay

The Performance MOHAMMED ALI, a.k.a. Aerosol Arabic, emerges from the darkness onto center stage for his 2014 TED talk at the Vatican (available for streaming at aerosolarabic.com). A burly man, he moves gracefully. He apologizes for the way he’s dressed—not in the snappy outfit of a celebrity lecturer, but in jeans, sneakers, open shirt, and…

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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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Shaggy Dog Stories

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

BACK when this journal was nothing more than a mere proposal, I sought out a meeting with the distinguished church historian Martin Marty to enlist his support. Despite his frenetic schedule, he responded immediately, offering to meet me for a drink when next I came to Chicago. When we got together the conversation eventually turned…

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Pinckney Street

By Fred Marchant Poetry

The view from the crest down to the river— you stopping to say that for three weeks each year and beginning tomorrow this will be the most beautiful place in the city—brick-faced buildings blushing in sunlight, star magnolias building and about to burst— soon to be our bright badges, medallions all the way down to…

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How Beautiful the Beloved

By Gregory Orr Poetry

Occult power of the alphabet— How it combines And recombines into words That resurrect the beloved Every time. ________Breaking open The dry bones of each Letter—seeking The secret of life That must be hidden inside. § Fate not just a pair of scissors Waiting at the end to cut the thread, But there at the…

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A Photograph from the Hubble Telescope

By William Wenthe Poetry

These luminous clouds and whorls of amethyst, jade, and coral are transmitted down to earth as a babble of data: monochrome of linty gray that arrives in computers at NASA, gets filtered out, and colored in with a menu of splendid hues: the better to illuminate the original edge of the universe, and imagine the…

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East and West in Miniature

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

The recent controversy over Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg lecture—which touched on the nature of human reason, but which also questioned, in passing, the relationship between faith and reason in Islam—may turn out to be more productive than was at first thought. Among other things, it generated a substantive open letter to the pope signed by…

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Calvary

By Dick Allen Poetry

No further task than this. Dazed, he lifts his head from his right shoulder. Jerusalem, below him, is an underwater drift of specks, flecks, swirling in the tidal blur he descended through. Such a small place, really: hovels, walls, dirt streets, young women shawled, lackluster soldiers sprawling at the temple gates…. Eloi! Eloi! Vinegar and…

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