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Singing Silence in A Far Country Near

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“Without the traffic, silence / itself would sound red birdsong…” As I’m reading these lines in the poem “Seeing in Silence” in Murray Bodo’s latest volume, A Far Country Near: Poems New and Selected, I pause and ponder. How can silence “sound”? I could get literal and say that without traffic’s noise we can hear…

Stepping into the Virtual Realities of Ready Player One and God’s Not Dead

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The best way to write about the third installment of God’s Not Dead is to write first about Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. Their unexpected but undeniable tie is the desire to see yourself onscreen and what that representation reveals. In Ready Player One, people spend their time in the virtual reality called the OASIS…

Poetry Friday: “To Begin With”

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Wakefield’s poem presents the metaphor of a peach as the speaker’s body: “I’ll let the sun singe the peach, / my flesh, luxurious, ruined.” The image of the body as a soft fruit blurs the boundaries between human and nature, planting identity within context. In this way, “To Begin With” reminds me of Mark Strand’s…

Poetry at the Goodwill

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When I was a soccer-obsessed fifteen-year-old, I had no use for poetry. I endured my school hours like a crated dog, waiting to get out on the field. One afternoon in the library, I picked up a random book of English verse and flipped through it. Eventually I landed on a song from Charles Kingsley’s…

Villanelles on Planes

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I took several short flights this month, the kind in which going through security takes longer than the flight itself and you wonder if you should have just driven. But what you can’t do behind the wheel, if you want to get to your destination intact, is write poetry. I challenged myself to write a…

How Can I Speak of Haiti?

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There’s nothing to say about Haiti. Even to begin, to start, to try, is to fall into cliches. The cliches of the poverty. The cliches of the beauty. The cliches of the complications. Even the cliche of talking about the cliches. You can’t write about Haiti without overdoing it. You also can’t write about Haiti…

Blade Runner 2049: Master Copy

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For a long time I’ve said that the 1982 film Blade Runner is my favorite motion picture, though I’m really only a small-time devotee of science fiction. I find many examples of the genre fail to achieve its high calling by degenerating into childish self-indulgence. And movies that fit the category often run even further…

Poetry Friday: “Manifest, by Reason of Birth”

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Throughout her poetry, Pattiann Rogers observes and describes the natural world with profound detail, compassion, and awe. In fact, Rogers will be awarded the John Burroughs Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Nature Poetry next month. In “Manifest, by Reason of Birth” she writes, “The universe / thrives / and pulses, rumbles and roars, sings, explodes,…

Saint Death and Easter

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I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. The voice was low, lifeless. He just got out of jail, and the guys in there told him to call me. I function as a volunteer chaplain in Washington State’s Skagit County Jail, and I’m the closest thing to a pastor most gang members in…

Versed by Jesus Christ Superstar

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Holy Week, if I’m being completely honest, was never more than a blip on my radar until I became a staff member of a church and it affected my calendar. It wasn’t that I didn’t care or failed to understand the significance of the narrative in the liturgical season. Instead, I’d become desensitized to the…

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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 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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