Good Letters

The Evil That Men Do

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Among oxymorons in common usage, one of the most popular is “victimless crime.” It would seem that if an act is criminal in nature, it must have a victim. If there is no victim, then the act cannot be a crime in any real sense. When the phrase is used, a larger point is being…

Love in the Ruins II – Why Does God Permit Suffering?

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For most of the week it has been raining. On Pascha we raised our candles—Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!—and ate our lamb, sprawled out with friends drinking wine and eating sweet spicy tsoureki bread for hours, and fell early and exhausted into bed, the rain still thudding outside. Rain has been falling slantways against the…

A Gadfly in Gilead

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Just when we thought that the saga of Jeremiah Wright was largely behind us, here it is again front and center with an appearance by the widely reviled pastor at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The day after John McCain breaks his silence on the matter and says remarks by Barack Obama’s former…

Garden Verse

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Springtime seems appropriate for considering poems about the Garden. I mean the Garden, the biblical one. Adam and Eve’s encounters there continue to fascinate poets, right up to Richard Jones’s “Adam Praises Eve” in the current issue of Image (#57). In Jones’s poem, what Adam is praising Eve for is her physical loveliness. “She is…

Honest Regrets

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“I always believed it was the things you don’t choose that make you who you are: your city, your neighborhood, your family.” Patrick Kenzie, the main character in Dennis Lehane’s Boston-based detective series, forms this observation in the opening credits of the latest film to be made of the novels, Gone Baby Gone (the first…

The Mystery of the Passion of Ray Kurzweil

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After reading his much blogged-about interview in Wired, I would first like to express my admiration for Ray Kurzweil, both for the scope of his ambition and the depth of his desire. While some distract themselves with empty consolations or pseudo-poetic dithering, Kurzweil points out what all of us really want. In contemporary culture, I…

That Could Be Me

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While I recognize his genius, both as a groundbreaking poet and one-man PR machine, I’ve never been much of a Whitmaniac. Even if it was just a literary device, his boundless grandiosity has always been something of a turnoff. And it wasn’t just a literary device—this was a man who described his own personality as…

The Tudors: Royalty and Raunchiness

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Having written most recently about the late actor Paul Scofield, and his rendering of Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons, I can’t help but do a little “compare and contrast” with the Showtime series, The Tudors, now in its second season. Of course, it’s not a fair match-up: Michael Hirst,…

Love in the Ruins

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I don’t know whether it’s because it’s almost Eastern Orthodox Holy Week or the fact that I will turn forty this year, but I am preoccupied by the idea that things, generally, are falling apart, and vastly in need of renewal. I am feeling the press of mortality. Not long ago I found myself standing…

Finding a Common Language

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Last week, I left my solitary writing table in Washington, DC, and took the train to Boston to visit a friend whose creative journey began with classical piano performance and now, a short lifetime later, has found a waystation in video art. Reunited, she was eager to show me the fruits of her current project.…

Good Letters

Jessica Mesman

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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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