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Between Death and Resurrection

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And should you glimpse my wandering form out on the borderline Between death and resurrection and the council of the pines Do not worry for my comfort, do not sorrow for me so All your diamond tears will rise up and adorn the sky beside me when I go —“When I go,” lyrics by Dave…

Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 2, Prostration

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Earlier this year during Lent, I visited a Russian Orthodox monastery on an evergreen island out across the water from Seattle. I’d never been there before, but this local pilgrimage felt somehow familiar. After the ferry ride across the chilly waters with seagulls in the air, the drive through the woodsy, misty island on winding…

Recently Soft Hearts and Thin Skin

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I found myself engaged in another maddening conversation with my four-year old daughter. We were discussing the aquarium we were going to visit the next day. She wrinkled her nose and pronounced that she wouldn’t go. “Why?” I asked, more than a little impatient. “What if there are sharks? What if there are eels?” I…

The Incredible Hulk Meets Queen Divine Justice: A Fable

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When Hulk stops in Africa for a drink of water, he happens to be within Wakanda’s borders, and soon a small fleet of highly advanced aircraft are dropping their payload on him—and trying not to get their wings ripped off. Amidst all the explosions, a scrawny young woman on a motorcycle rides up and sweet-talks…

Poetry Friday: “Salt Wife”

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Lot’s wife, or what’s left of her, stands in the barren wilderness outside Sodom waiting to trip up any who would skip merrily through the Old Testament, seeing God only as creator, provider, and oh-so-merciful father. It’s no wonder that so many poets—with their obnoxious preference for the prophetic—have invited her into their lines to…

Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 1, Cloister

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The gentlemen I’ve been visiting in my local jail for the past decade live a daily existence, I’ve often considered, not unlike monks in the monastery I’ve also visited. They don’t have their wives or girlfriends with them. They all wear the same plain garment—not black robes, but old red scrubs. Their hair often grows…

The Life-Changing Magic of Picking Nits

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I was at work last Thursday when I received the call from the school that every parent dreads: My eight-year-old daughter had been discovered with nits in her hair. Actually, she was not alone. A bunch of children in the class had lice, and the school had pressed administrative staffers into corralling children for impromptu…

Notes on Heresy

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I haven’t any major gripes with the Roman Catholic Church. On the whole, I feel gratitude. The church took me in when I needed some in-taking. Living in Detroit, however, I have found myself worshipping at Saint Anthony over on the East Side. The Mass at Saint Anthony is presided over by Bishop Karl Rodig,…

Lynching, Racial Terror, and Black Liberation Theology

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The Reverend Dr. James H. Cone, known as the originator of black liberation theology, died of cancer on April 28 at the age of seventy-nine, just two days after the grand opening of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery, Alabama on April 26.…

Poetry Friday: “are you my god”

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It has been years since I read the Narnia books, but the phrase I remember from them is “Aslan is not a tame lion.” Aslan, the books’ figure of Christ, can be tender and merciful; but the children learn that he can be wildly powerful as well. I recalled this while reading Richard Chess’s poem…

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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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