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Against “Amazing Grace”

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hymnal

In a world in which it seems that just about everything seems to be complained about online—bitch, bitch, bitch, moan, moan, moan—ad infinitum, here’s a little beef I’d like to proffer, that I don’t recall having seen anywhere yet: I despise “Amazing Grace.” Mind you, I’m not complaining about the notion of grace itself, God’s…

Dispatch from Detroit

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fence

We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through it all the time… —Thomas Merton There were young men out in the streets of Hamtramck blowing things up last night. God knows what they’d gotten their hands on. Could have been small sticks of dynamite for the blast it…

From the Engine Room, Part II: Mountains of Time

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image journals

Continued from yesterday.  Up until this point, in describing what it’s like to read Image’s unsolicited manuscripts, I have not said much that an editor at any journal might not say, but of course, Image is not any journal. “Art, faith, mystery” is on our masthead—and we have a long history and a community that…

From the Engine Room, Part I: The Problem with Efficiency

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marysdesk

About a year ago we at Image dragged ourselves into the twentieth century and started accepting unsolicited submissions online. We had held off partly because we were worried that the numbers would balloon—and the amount of work we receive did immediately triple. (We’ve added another reader to help us keep up, but if you feel…

Poetry Friday: “Sometimes I Am Permitted”

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train

On my first reading of this poem, I felt disoriented by all the non sequiturs, all the disconnected images leaping here and there. But then I thought: isn’t this how my own attention works (or doesn’t work)? The poem skips in a breath from winter snow to the red line train to the speaker’s sins…

My Money, My Life

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My money is the Tao te Ching, translated and introduced by David Hinton. My $12.87 turned into this teaching: Once it’s full of jade and gold your house will never be safe. Proud of wealth and renown you bring on your own ruin. (#9) My money is a boarding pass for American Airlines flight 5469…

Why We Write

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What is it about words that so moves those of us who are writers? We take the most common of media—language—and can’t resist caressing it, playing with it, taking it apart and putting it together again in some new shape. Why do I love to write, even need to write? I’ve been pondering this question…

Risen

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risen final

In a well-written and well-acted scene from Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello’s recent film, Risen, the Roman tribune, Clavius (played by Joseph Fiennes), questions one of the guards left to watch the tomb of the crucified Jesus. The guard, drunk in his cups, has been pardoned by the prefect, Pontius Pilate. Clavius knows that the…

Some Questions about Politics and the Imagination

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flag

The following appears as the editorial statement in Image issue 89. Q. Would you mind if I asked you some questions about the current political situation, given the upcoming presidential election and turmoil in Europe? A. I do mind, as a matter of fact. I have nothing to say about such matters. They’re far too complex.…

Poetry Friday: “I Am Poured Out Like Water”

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Image

What attracts me to this poem is something deliberately absent yet evocatively present: baptism in a river. Starting from the very first line—during monastic prayer, the speaker’s mis-chanting “Lord’s forever” as “Lord’s river”—rivers are central to each vignette. There’s the creek where, as a kid, the speaker “took a girl down to the river to…

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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