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Poetry Friday: “Visitation Rights”

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funeral flowers by Elvert Barnes on flickr_with writing edited out

I sometimes talk to friends who have died. Especially to friends who acted as spiritual guides for me during their lives here. I continue to ask their advice when I’m in distress or need guidance.  I believe there’s a very thin and permeable line between mortal life and eternal life. This is why Jeffery Harrison’s…

The Smell of Black Mold

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Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt Close

I write in order that the ornery old bastard and toothless schizophrenic might be more welcome in my life. The man who calls three times a day to give voice to his shattered mind. I met him at Advanced Autoparts. I’d bought a brake light, put the new one in, was about to step into…

Lifescapes and the Lonely City

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snow-stairs-2-by-gabriel-caparo

I have a friend who occasionally asks me when I’ll move to a real apartment, meaning a modern one that I can’t afford. Mine is in a 130-year-old former bakery I like to think is haunted by donut ghosts. The building was built on top of an aquifer, and the sump pump thrusts out massive…

Middle Earth and Sister Moon

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moon-public-domain-by-joe-jungman-on-flickr

The biggest moon I’ve ever seen was over the North Sea in Scotland. Many nights, I watched it from a bench overlooking the beach. The moon was absurdly large and luminous as it rose or perhaps sunk into the sea, so that I felt I was actually on its surface looking out into space at…

The Power of Names

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tombstones public domain by Benjamin Balazs on flickr

A few weeks back, the news related a story that a confederate veteran killed at Shiloh and buried under the wrong name for one hundred fifty-four years will now have that mistake rectified. Augustus Beckmann was buried under the name “A. Bergman” at Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio. The descendants of the German…

Poetry Friday: “Homily”

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179119422_654795e6aa_b

Last Sunday I was trying to decide whether to go church or take a walk along the river on a beautiful summer day in my corner of northwestern Washington. Some days I have time to do both and some days, for some justifiable reason, I do neither. The poem “Homily” by Todd Davis is both…

Unfriending, Impractical Jokes, and Other Foibles

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facebook unsplach CC Zero pic by William Iven_edit

If I were to graph my mental health over the past five years, the line might resemble a stegosaurus spine with several points and plunges, that, thanks be to God, climb overall to a place of greater acceptance and peace. But damn, do those jagged edges hurt. Over the past couple of months, hormones, summer…

What My Kid Knew about Kubo

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kubocrop

[Spoiler alert: This post is about the end of the movie, Kubo and the Two Strings. However, since, I believe, the ending nearly spoils the film itself, you can read this and still enjoy the other, real pleasures of the movie.] In the dramatic climax of Kubo and the Two Strings, our young hero defies…

My September 11 Story, and Ours, Part II

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By U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 1024px-010915-N-3995K-024_Old_Glory_at_ground_zero

For Scott Simon, and for Bill Craven Continued from yesterday. In the back of my closet, inside a cellophane folder where I keep the rarest papers I own, there is a plain piece of unremarkable 8 ½ by 11 printer paper. At the top of the paper is the inscrutable coding “TC2001091307CD22AM.” Just to look…

My September 11, and Ours: Part I

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Pentagon Sept 11 By PH2 ROBERT HOULIHAN [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For Scott Simon, and for Bill Craven Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of September 11, and for those of us who lived through it, it can be dizzying to realize that there are now high school students who weren’t born when it happened. It has been one of the two signal public events of my…

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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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