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Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird and Me

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But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —Paul Lawrence Dunbar, “Sympathy” I first read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings when I was thirteen. I discovered the book through an interview with Fiona Apple, one of the many female singer-songwriters whose mournful lyrics poured through my boom box speakers while…

Marital Anger and Icelandic Rock Spirits

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The first time I threw something in a pathetic fit of anger, my husband and I were walking a gravel road in Saskatchewan. We’d been living in a cabin. No internet, phones, etc., and this was before we were parents. Most days would unravel into a fight about something or another.  It would feel irreconcilable.…

A Conversation with Welcome Wagon’s Vito Aiuto, Part 3

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The Welcome Wagon’s Vito and Monique Aiuto released their first album, Welcome to the Welcome Wagon in 2008. The homespun effort was produced by Sufjan Stevens and was lauded by outlets as diverse as Pitchfork Magazine (the ultimate indie bible) and Christianity Today. Known for their endearing, lush, and earnest combination of indie-folk hymns, low-fi…

A Conversation with Welcome Wagon’s Vito Aiuto, Part 2

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The Welcome Wagon’s Vito and Monique Auito are known for their endearing, lush, and earnest combination of indie-folk hymns, low-fi pop covers, and often revealing original songs. They sing of the glorious ruins of humanity and the cleansing blood of Jesus, treating both with beauty, grace, and inescapable authenticity. I met with Vito Aiuto—poet, musician…

A Conversation with Welcome Wagon’s Vito Aiuto, Part 1

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After years of holding intimate hymn-singing gatherings in their living room, Reverend Vito and Monique Aiuto released Welcome to the Welcome Wagon in 2008; the homespun album was produced by Sufjan Stevens and put out by Stevens’s own Asthmatic Kitty records. The Aiutos, accompanied by Stevens and other friends, called themselves The Welcome Wagon—and their…

Here Is Where We Wait

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This summer, I climbed the rotting steps to the hayloft of my family’s barn to look for a plaque honoring the use of emergent DNA technology in solving the Brown’s Chicken Massacre case. The floor was soft, dipping a little as I walked, and I looked in slow motion through my great-aunt’s things: frosted glassware,…

Can a Racist Drive a Prius? Stereotypes and the Single Story

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I think it’s good for me when my stereotypes of others are challenged. Like this recent experience. I was taking a walk in my neighborhood and approached a parked Jeep from the rear. Covering the spare tire hung on the back was a huge American flag with the words “The Only One.” My instinctive response,…

Abandoning Prayer

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If you can keep your faith once you’ve stopped using prayer as an attempt to control the universe, I reckon your faith is real and can be trusted. I was on the plane to California the first time I recognized that my religiosity might be a form of superstition, and in that fashion, also a…

I’ll Be Waiting Right Here

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Apparently, running late may be a symptom of optimism, creativity, and literally perceiving time differently. That was cold comfort in the doctor’s waiting room. I had arrived early to be ready right when they called me, but they didn’t call me. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen. Twenty. That’s when I started really stewing about the…

A Conversation with Barbara Brown Taylor

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Barbara Brown Taylor is an Episcopal priest, teacher, and author of thirteen books, among them the memoir Leaving Church and the New York Times–bestselling Learning to Walk in the Dark. From 1998 until her retirement last year, Taylor held an endowed chair in religion and philosophy at Piedmont College. She has also served on the…

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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