Good Letters

Credo Quia Impossible


My second favorite movie (my first is Gone with the Wind, which is embarrassing, but my tastes run to the lowbrow/popular) is The Third Miracle, a 1999 film starring Ed Harris. Its opening scene occurs during World War II, in an Eastern European country whose geography has been drawn and redrawn by the “will of…

Fit for a Queen


I’m planning a party for the Feast of the Assumption on August 15. I always wanted my home to revolve around the liturgical year, if for no better or holier reason than to enchant my children and give life a rhythm that’s more inspiring than the endless tick of deadlines and doctor appointments. But it…

I Trust the Spirit


As a child, I made a child’s sense of the Trinity: God was an old man with a long white beard who controlled and saw everything (ick!); Jesus a confusing blend of baby, carpenter, and robed king on a cross; and the Holy Ghost a deeper-voiced, more powerful version of Casper. Some forty years later,…

Writing the Symphony


Note: The following is the text of the commencement address given for the graduates of the Seattle Pacific University MFA in Creative Writing program, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 1, 2009. On behalf of the staff and faculty of the SPU MFA program, I’d like to offer a warm welcome to all the friends…

Friendship in Letters


I’ve been writing letters to my friend Amy for five years now. We met in graduate school, and though we instantly liked each other, we hadn’t gotten to know each other very well before we graduated and moved away from Pittsburgh. So we decided to write letters, both out of an interest in letter writing,…

Education to Wonder


I’m reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time. I inwardly cringed when I wrote that, as I cringe whenever anyone asks me what I’m reading right now. Despite his reputation among the beloved Inklings and many others I admire, I’ve always lumped Tolkien in with Dungeons and Dragons and Renaissance Fairs,…

The Suburbs, Beirut, and Nostalgia


From this essay about the recently-departed English science fiction writer, J.G. Ballard, I found this comment interesting: “‘People who read Empire of the Sun have often said to me, What a strange life, how unusual,’ he told the BBC World Service in 2002. ‘And I say to them, actually, the life I led in Shanghai…

My Summer Job


For most of my life, I’ve never had a really fun summer job. I’ve bagged groceries, sat alone in an office and answered a rarely-called hotline, and shouted in English at Chinese schoolchildren. But I guess I’ve finally paid enough dues, because this summer, I have decided on a new job, and one that I…

Down on the Rug


My goddaughter is eleven years old. Every week, she and I spend an afternoon and evening together, usually involving an outing—to a museum, or the library, or a huge model of the largest estuary on the west coast, more frequently referred to as San Francisco Bay. But sometimes we just hang out. When her mom’s…

Owning the Spirit


This month I bought a large framed photograph of the Holy Spirit. Impossible, you say? Heretical, perhaps? But imagine this: An empty dance floor in an old school or a city loft somewhere. A row of casement windows open to the breeze, light streaming in. A single metal folding chair against the far wall. And…

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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