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Chimayo and the Bloody Knees of Jesus

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chimayo by bob denst

“I want a holy experience!” I say to my companions, Amy and Danielle, leaning toward them in the cafeteria of St. John’s College in Santa Fe. We are all spending a week away from our children and husbands at the Glen Workshop to get some time to write and explore the area. They seem mildly…

Sitting Together: A Week at the Glen Workshop

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I’m an introvert who loves to talk, an often confusing combination that can leave me drained in spite of myself, or perplex my friends when I suddenly slink off after an hour of raucous guffawing. But I just spent a week in Santa Fe at the Glen Workshop, a gathering of writers, artists, and musicians…

Poetry Friday: “Recovery”

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sunflowers by Nick Page on flickr

What I like about this poem is how it slides almost unnoticeably from a simple, upbeat view of life into increasing complexities and ambiguities. The title and opening stanza announce that this will be an unequivocally optimistic poem. But something a bit unnerving happens in the second stanza: that glorious golden sunflower’s head seems to…

The Cost of Glory

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Here I sit, watching the Olympics again; it hooks me every time. I always say I like the winter ones better because there aren’t so many sports to keep track of, but when I start watching the summer ones, they suck me in too. In the winter, the downhill racing and the extreme sports I…

Florence Foster Jenkins, Holy Fool

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florence-foster-jenkins-2016-meryl-streep

In many respects the new film Florence Foster Jenkins takes a paint by numbers approach to its genre—the classic biopic. It features a meaty role for a star (Meryl Streep), designed to play well to Oscar voters in the next awards cycle. It gets a lot of mileage—comic and dramatic—out of contemporary differences with its…

The Neglected Garden, Part II

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Continued from yesterday. The dollhouse my father was building for me was still unfinished when he draped a boat tarpaulin over the top, to protect it against the summer rain. The doctor had told my parents that there was a tumor in his lung. He was being sent to the M.D. Anderson hospital in Houston,…

The Neglected Garden, Part I

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When my father built the house where I was born, the land was flat and there was little vegetation on it. It had once been the Curran family’s cotton plantation, my mother later told me—sold and subdivided for a row of little Cape Cods and ranch houses, all arrayed in pastel asbestos siding. Including the…

Poetry Friday: “More Strange”

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angel

This poem coaxes me to inhabit a story I’ve heard many times, and makes it astonishingly new, summoning me with the urgency of the second-person perspective and the half-answered question of the title. It’s a poem that asks a lot of its reader—nothing less than to experience a mother’s grief at the loss of her…

Eat

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Episcopal Church

Since birth, the rhythm of my week has been set by church. Both my parents have held leadership positions in the varied churches we have attended over the years. In one of the many commonplaces of the evangelical testimony, I could easily say that I was indeed trained to be in church “every time the…

You Must Be Present to Learn

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For the past five years, I’ve been experimenting with the use of contemplative practices in the classes I teach at UNC Asheville. For a quick overview of the range of contemplative practices being used in higher education today, see The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society’s Tree of Contemplative Practices. On the eve of a…

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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