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Good Letters

Welcome, Memory

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We were having dinner at a friend’s house: a gathering of colleagues enjoying one another’s company with good food, relaxed conversation, a glass of wine. While we spoke of neighborhoods, children, and schools, it dawned on me that my friend, Doug, lived just doors from my grandparents’ old house. My grandparents are now long dead,…

Kingsolver’s Lacuna

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I can tell that a novel is top-rate when I start praying for the characters. And when, on finishing the book, I sit immobilized, loathe to break the spell of the world it has brought me into. A world drawn from our own but given a shape and meaning that allows us to see something…

Joining the Chinese Heavy Metal Band

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I knew that there was rock music in China, and I was determined to get as involved in it as I could—which turned out to be not very much, since I have the Chinese vocabulary of a three-year-old child. It doesn’t help that Chinese people are, as a rule, very polite and complimentary to foreigners,…

Doing the Fast

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Lent is upon us. If you want to make an Orthodox Christian commit the sin of pride (and thus, in theory at least, to have to go to Confession), then mention how hard it is to remember your decision to “give up” chocolate, or to complain about having to eat fish on Fridays during Lent.…

Doing the Fast

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Lent is upon us. If you want to make an Orthodox Christian commit the sin of pride (and thus, in theory at least, to have to go to Confession), then mention how hard it is to remember your decision to “give up” chocolate, or to complain about having to eat fish on Fridays during Lent.…

Suffering and Voyeurism

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I locked myself in my dorm room one weekend my sophomore year of college. I had a double minor in European History and German. In one of my Twentieth Century Europe classes, we’d spent our Friday class watching a documentary about the Holocaust. Though it didn’t contain any “new” information, I was struck as if…

God’s Time

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There are many things I’d hoped to write about for this post: those Dominican nuns on Oprah last week; the moral ferocity of Little House on the Prairie; how I finally finished Middlemarch. But every time I sit down to write, the baby inside me starts kicking, and it becomes impossible for me to think…

Eight Questions about The Arts and Faith: Top 100 Films

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Do you hear that buzzing sound? That’s the chatter that serves as prologue to the Academy Awards. With the 2010 ceremonies just a few days away, people are tossing around the usual questions: which film will win Best Picture? Will Hollywood veterans take the acting awards, or did newcomers charm the Academy? Then there are…

A Prayer for Vocation

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In his 1999 Letter to Artists, Pope John Paul II cites the words of the Polish poet, Cyprian Norwid: “beauty is to enthuse us for work, and work is to raise us up.” He goes on to refresh our memory of the Platonic notion that beauty resides in the good and the good in beauty.…

Wedding Dress

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In the swelter of Ghana’s heat this past December, I rummaged through my suitcase and found the dress I bought the morning after Rachel’s wedding. It is not a dress anymore. It has not been a dress for years, not since the lean season when I needed new work clothes and my mom cut it…

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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