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Good Letters

Other Dreams

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I remember Adam’s dream as if it had been my own dream, and I recall the spring in which he dreamed it as if I lived that time in his body: fearing the flat horizons that hemmed in Kansas City’s bleak skyline, but fearing the empty city, too; driving the snaking black-tops between his grandparents’…

“No Man the Island that a Woman Is”

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I was just finishing graduate school when the feminist movement began—around 1970. It spoke so powerfully to my personal experience that I wrote part of my dissertation on how the movement was transforming women’s language: allowing them to discover their own voice for the first time in Western history. As a brand new Asst. Professor…

Cloud of Witnesses

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“The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb.” –Joseph Ratzinger Those who know me only from the Glen Workshop may not believe I’m an introvert, but it’s true. For all my chattiness and conspicuous upstaging,…

Undoing our Undoing: Reva Williams & Gretel

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For two years, I lived in an artists’ colony in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, just on the outskirts of Boston. We set up house in a drafty three-story Victorian—me along with six musicians, one painter, one sculptor, and one band manager (in addition to a steady stream of guests, most of them of the musical variety).…

Do This in Memory: 2008 SPU MFA Commencement Address

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The following post is an adapted version of the commencement address for the 2008 graduating class of the Seattle Pacific University MFA in Creative Writing Program. I’d like to say a few words today about memory, inspired by St. Augustine, whose Confessions we have been reading together. The Confessions are the first great work of…

Imagining Christ at the Getty Center

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Oh how much I’d been looking forward to this, after five weeks in Los Angeles with nary a chance to make it to my favorite place in town. You can have the Arclight, Gladstone’s, Venice Beach, and the Promenade; go ahead, take LACMA and Griffith Observatory while you’re at it. Just give me The Getty…

Imagining Christ at the Getty Center

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Oh how much I’d been looking forward to this, after five weeks in Los Angeles with nary a chance to make it to my favorite place in town. You can have the Arclight, Gladstone’s, Venice Beach, and the Promenade; go ahead, take LACMA and Griffith Observatory while you’re at it. Just give me The Getty…

Double

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For a bureaucrat, there is no greater ignominy than getting upstaged by a political appointee. I did not feel the bite of this truism until last Wednesday, when I found myself, in peep-toe heels, trundling fifteen painstakingly prepared briefing binders in a dog-hair-covered hiking backpack to our agency’s Office of the Deputy Secretary. Regarding the…

How the Messages of God Come to Us

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Imagination has been a motif in Good Letters of late, so I was intrigued to hear a new variation on the theme in my pastor’s homily last Sunday. He began by quoting Shaw’s play St. Joan, from the scene where Joan of Arc is being interrogated: JOAN: I hear voices telling me what to do.…

Meaning and Memory

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I made a trip to DC a couple of weeks ago. A co-worker told me she was going to go with some business colleagues to Wolf Trap for a concert. Since I am known by a few folks in the company as one of those “music types,” she asked if I wanted to join them…

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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 week gifted writers offer personal essays that make fresh connections between the world of faith and the world of art. We also publish interviews with artists who inspire and challenge us.

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