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Poetry Friday: “The Years Were Patient with Me”

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I love this poem because it mirrors the passing of time, patiently guiding readers through the speaker’s perspectives on truth. The structure of the poem resembles a list, providing four metaphors for how truth moves in the world. The poem’s relationship with truth is a relationship characterized by time and movement. Even before we reach…

My Mother, My Daughter, Myself

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My daughter Anna Maria was born on Orthodox Easter Sunday—Pascha—in 2009. That year, the date fell on April 19. While her brother had blasted his way into the world at the very bottom of the night, in a delivery that was swift and surreal and unmedicated, my daughter arrived in the late afternoon as the…

On the Path to Freedom

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First seder, Passover 5778. Esther recalls climbing Mt. Pisgah in the early ’80s. She was in her fifties. Visiting her daughter and son-in-law at the time and first grandchild. What did I know about climbing a mountain? she says. I was from Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn. We were walking behind some other hikers, women older than…

The Skirt of God

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Dear Saint Francis, I imagined I saw you today out of the upstairs window. Your cowl had slipped off your head, and you were fighting uselessly with the wind to put it back up again. The recently fallen leaves around your feet likely understood the inevitability of your struggle. Your habit, patched and torn and…

Getting Lost on Good Friday

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My Good Friday plans got hijacked by 11:00 a.m. I’d forgotten the big “marshmallow drop” (don’t ask), and suddenly we were rushing around the house finding shoes and coats and plastic bags so we could join several hundreds of our fellow Evanstonians at the park. While there, we ran into friends, who invited us to…

Poetry Friday: “The Sea Here, Teaching Me”

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Moira Linehan’s powerful poem scarcely needs commentary; “The Sea Here, Teaching Me” becomes the experience it describes. Linehan turns familiar biblical images of comfort into images of desolation. The reader overhears the sea teaching how to pray, not to a god who is the Psalmist’s rock of refuge and protective fortress but to a “rock…

Revisiting Moonrise Kingdom

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“It’s the rhythm in rock music that summons the demons,” said the church community of my childhood. So I took my musical thrills where I could find them. In front of my grandfather’s turntable, I air-conducted Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite,” Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” and Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the…

The Problem with Spiritual Fruits

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The band quit playing at church because our priest asked them to sing from the choir loft rather than the altar of St. Joseph in front of the sanctuary. They not only refused, they left the parish. At the music ministry meeting, the guitarist had said, “We get energy from the audience. If we are…

Singing Silence in A Far Country Near

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“Without the traffic, silence / itself would sound red birdsong…” As I’m reading these lines in the poem “Seeing in Silence” in Murray Bodo’s latest volume, A Far Country Near: Poems New and Selected, I pause and ponder. How can silence “sound”? I could get literal and say that without traffic’s noise we can hear…

Stepping into the Virtual Realities of Ready Player One and God’s Not Dead

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The best way to write about the third installment of God’s Not Dead is to write first about Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. Their unexpected but undeniable tie is the desire to see yourself onscreen and what that representation reveals. In Ready Player One, people spend their time in the virtual reality called the OASIS…

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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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