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The Disastrous Wizard of Oz

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My teenage granddaughter Phoebe was visiting us from out of town. On these visits, we always choose a movie for evening viewing. “What about The Wizard of Oz? I think it was the first movie we watched together here, when you were about five,” I suggested at dinner. Phoebe demurred. “The producer did bad things…

Tahlequah’s Grief

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On July 24, an orca calf died off the coast of British Columbia within thirty minutes of birth and Tahlequah, the calf’s mother, carried her dead daughter on her rostrum, pushing her through the Salish Sea from Canada to the U.S. and back again in a funeral procession that logged a thousand miles and lasted…

At the Table

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1. The temptation is there. Every time my daughter rubs her elbow against it, the sliver opens underneath like a tomb. I did that. I cut the plastic that covers our table, and through the tablecloth itself. I did it earlier, right before dinner as I was cutting my basted quilt pieces with the rotary…

My Grandfather’s Garden

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My grandfather’s death came surprisingly quickly, and I witnessed his rapid decline over the three consecutive Sundays leading up to it. On the first Sunday, he was still at home, refusing help when sitting up or adjusting his still powerful body on the bed. Years of throat cancer had left his voice barely audible, but…

Poetry Friday:
Your Face Has Always Been Peppered With Moles

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Charleston’s poem is a piece of contrasts: youth and age, sugar and spice, consumption and generosity. Rife with gustatory description, the poem gathers crumbs of what it means to be home. Our speaker avoids establishing a setting directly. As we read, we discover location through a person and through food. “The pink lip of the…

Cathedrals of Consumption

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Many years ago now, not long after I had been received into the Orthodox Church, I had a dream that has remained vivid: The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, our chief celebration of the Eucharist and main Sunday service, is being celebrated right next to the escalators in a Neiman Marcus store. In the…

Caves of Wonder

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To reach the mouth of Mammoth Cave’s historic entrance, we made a short descent into a wooded ravine along a paved path. It was a humid day, but cold air poured out of the cave, creating a ring of mist that circled the dark portal like a gate. The further in we traveled, the colder…

Athlete: That’s Me!

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When I bought the shirt, I didn’t think much of it. It was for workouts, something practical and utilitarian. That, of course, is a lie. I am smitten by all sorts of athleisure–have been ever since I saw my first pair of Air Jordan’s decades ago. I could never afford them (or any of the…

Jesus in Disguise

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My memory of last summer is filled with Jesus. Jesus in many guises behind the glowing muslin scrim in the crypt confessionals: the varied inflections of his voice, the smell of his sweat or soap in the airless wooden cell. Sometimes I could tell he had eaten something spicy for lunch. Sometimes, by the source…

Poetry Friday:
A Quick Interpretation of the Sixth Seal

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End times? Friends in the evangelical world talk seriously about the Rapture. Our world is in turmoil, and the social and political structures we have trusted seem to be coming undone. This is not the first time I have experienced so unsettling a change in the fabric of my universe. In my childhood, I lived…

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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