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Did Jesus Have ADHD?

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This is for Michael Alan Brooks. The first thing, of course, was the birth. Not the virginal aspect of it—if anything, having a mother who was barely a teen, armed with nothing but joyful acquiescence about something truly weird, would at least have served to hamper the tendency to overthink everything that plagues us older…

The Unpleasantries of Embodiment

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Like Rebecca Bratten Weiss (“Shapeshifting Jesus,” February 19, 2019), I was drawn to Katie Kresser’s essay, “Christ the Chimera: The Riddle of the Monster Jesus” (Image 99), with its full-page rendering of the so-called “Alexamenos graffito.” Etched into a Roman wall circa 200 AD, the cartoon mockingly depicts a Christian venerating a donkey-headed figure on a cross. The image has long…

Poetry Friday: Ego as Deduction (Agnes Martin Speaks)

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Last year, I made Valentines with my four year-old using sheets of watercolor paper ripped into smaller rectangles and Crayola watercolors.  After he quickly made his way through several of the mini-paintings, making only a few marks on each,  I asked him if he wanted to add any more to some of them. He said…

Please Keep Doors Closed: A Methodist Mourns

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My parents were supposed to spend the last week at the United Methodist Church General Conference in St. Louis. Dad, who’s served as a UMC minister for the past forty-two years, joked that he wanted to be there to see the church either go down in flames or rebuild itself from the ashes, depending on…

Rafael Campo: Poetry as Healing, Illness as Muse

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What I would like to give them for a change is not the usual prescription with its hubris of the power to restore, to cure… So begins one of my favorite of Rafael Campo’s poems, “What I Would Give,” from his 2002 collection Landscape with Human Figure. Right from the start, the poem enacts Campo’s…

Poetry Friday: After Rublev’s Trinity

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I’m far from alone in treasuring Andrew Rublev’s The Holy Trinity more than any other work in the rich iconic tradition of the Orthodox Church. Painted in the fifteenth century, it depicts three angels sitting around three sides of a square table on which a chalice representing the Eucharist stands. The angels’ bodies and heads…

The Shadow of Eternal Life: A Eulogy for a Chicago Cement Mason

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I was sitting on the bed in my grandma’s studio apartment. My mother and grandmother were on the fancy electronic couch with the motorized recliners and USB ports. We were a little cramped and rather warm because Grandma kept the temperature near 80 degrees. Grandma was crying again.“I keep thinking he’s going to walk through…

Shapeshifting Jesus

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The Alexamenos Graffito In “Christ the Chimera: The Riddle of the Monster Jesus” (Image 99), art historian Katie Kresser traces the tradition of the monstrous in Christian iconography to AD 200 and the Alexamenos Graffito, which depicts Jesus as a donkey-headed figure on a cross.The Jesus of art history has been associated with the god…

Poetry Friday: “The Ruined Saint”

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This isn’tJust a story. This isn’t justA reliquary for bones that no one found. Mystery hangs suspended in Jack Stewart’s poem “The Ruined Saint.” Like the “gemmed rosary” of blood that drips bead by bead “between his toes,” the poem trickles down the page slowly and occasionally submits to stillness, creating space for marvel at miracle and marvel, too, at…

Vultures

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“I’m going to shoot them,” my husband announces.  “I just got pooped on.” I felt bad for Michael, as he pulled off his shirt, freshly smeared with the stinky mess of vultures, but I wasn’t going to take his side on this. I stood with the vultures.  “You can’t kill them,” I said. “It’s probably…

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