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For the Newlyweds

By Richard ChessSeptember 4, 2015

May you have the courage to let go of everything you know about yourselves—everything you have learned about yourselves up to this moment—that you may discover and create, invent and define new selves, a new braided Self. Like Sabbath candles that, at the start of Shabbat, stand side by side, each its own brilliance, its own accomplishment, may you move toward each other until you become like the braided Havdalah candle, its individual wicks joined to create of several a single, strong flame that is lifted into the sky at the end of Sabbath.

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I Come Not to Praise the Megachurch

By Tony WoodliefSeptember 3, 2015

The church may have begun as a non-spiritual entity, a business of some sort that was judged insufficiently profitable. Maybe it was one of those sprawling climate-controlled storage facilities, for example, the kind assembled from pre-fab insulated concrete forms, crafted not for enlivening souls but for storing up the treasures that have no place elsewhere.

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The Embarrassed Samaritan

By Bradford WintersSeptember 2, 2015

On this matter, I am forever grateful to Father Mychal Judge, the Franciscan friar and chaplain to the New York City Fire Department who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Commissioned to write a screenplay about the man who was every bit the legend in life that he was in death, one day in my research I listened to a friend of his describe the way Judge would give money to the homeless on the street in the most inconspicuous way. Without a break in his gait or conversation with the friend, Judge would habitually pass off bills left and right with the right hand hardly knowing what the left was doing.

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In Praise of the Amateur

By Alissa WilkinsonSeptember 1, 2015

Amateurs are vital for the work of culture care. Amateurs turn art into art by completing it with their own experiences. They reflect wonder and joy to the experience. They let culture flourish with their resources, attention, prayers, and enthusiasm.

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The Fear of God, Texas-style

By Morgan MeisAugust 31, 2015

It is not natural for me to think of God in this way. My God tends to be the God of Pascal more than the God of benevolent interventions. All you need to know about Pascal’s God is the title of the great Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski’s book on Pascal. The title of that book is God Owes Us Nothing.

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When It Comes to Love, We’re Beginners

By Jeffrey OverstreetAugust 28, 2015

During a lecture last March [2011], I spoke fondly of a friend whom I had recently lost to cancer. Halfway through the anecdote, I suddenly recognized his wife, the mother of his two young children, in the audience, listening in rapt attention. She was far from home, a surprise visitor. I almost choked. And I suddenly began weighing my words with much greater care. Had I represented her husband well?

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Checked Baggage

By Christiana N. PetersonAugust 27, 2015

It’s evening and I’m about to meet my older sister in baggage claim. Trained by years of overseas travel in my twenties—and having lost enough luggage along the way—I have taken very little with me on the trip: my carry-on, my diaper bag, and my nine-month-old baby.

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A Requiem for Rejects

By Chad Thomas JohnstonAugust 26, 2015

Six or seven years ago, a coworker of mine played a drunken game of chicken with a semi-truck on his bike at ten o’clock at night. His funeral doubled as a memorial service and an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

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How To Begin a Book

By Tania RunyanAugust 25, 2015

…when I flew to Image’s Glen Workshop earlier this month, opting to spend most of the week on retreat, I had no such plan. I knew it was time to start a new collection of poems focusing on the violin, one of my lifelong loves. But I had no idea how to approach it, how to even figure out how to approach it, or how long any of these undefined tasks would take. I just knew I was about to spend a week in Santa Fe with artists, writers, mountains, chocolate, and wine. At least a couple of those are daily necessities.

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Where’s the Guilt?

By A. G. HarmonAugust 24, 2015

I’ve had the experience of dealing with renters from time to time, though more in the capacity of property manager than as landlord. It has been one of the ugliest, most unpleasant things a person can go through in business.

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