Good Letters

Poetry Friday: “World”


Like an increasing number of congregations in the U.S., the urban church I attend shares its space between two local faith groups. Our building hosts both Mennonite and Jewish services and education classes. My pastor’s weekly email sometimes weaves in stories from our female rabbi space-mate or the Torah. We mourned with this community after…

Lessons in Bibliolatry from Justice League


You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all … written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. … the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  (2 Cor. 3, NRSV)   I…

Waymarks: Willa Cather and the Quest for Sacred Form


A French priest drifts through an American hellscape of identical rocks. Father Latour needs water if he is going to survive. But the priest, “sensitive to the shape of things,” seems more oppressed by the featureless desert’s lack of form than its lack of water. He needs a landmark almost as much as he needs…

Poetry Friday: “Adjusting to Darkness”


When I select a poem to review from Image’s archives (Do online subscribers realize what a treasure trove lies at their fingertips?), I try to find a piece that connects with current events, the liturgical calendar, or the season. I also look for a piece that is accessible yet not obvious, well-crafted but not exhibitionist.…

Nowhere to Hide: Reflections in the Aftermath of the Tree of Life Mass Killings


Every December and May at commencement, I listen to the names of our graduates as they are called out one by one. As I hear them, I think, maybe? Could be. Has to be! How did I not get to know her? Yes, I know him. Yes, I know her. They’ve come to my house…

Which Body?


There are three large cysts growing in my ovaries. The doctor says “oh my,” before asking if I’d like to take a look. I would not like to take a look. This feels like a parody of pregnancy, something my body would not let me do, because errant uterine cells began spreading across my inner…

Poetry Friday: “First Kiss”


Todd Davis’s poetic imagination is steeped in the natural world. “First Kiss” demonstrates this as much as any poem possibly could. The poem describes a childhood courtship, every action of which either involves elements of nature or is seen in terms of them. This begins with the poem’s very first words: the girl sounds like…

Happy Halloween: Remember You Will Die


This week we are delighted to welcome Jessica Mesman as Good Letters’ new editor.   “Without an ever-present sense of death life is insipid. You might as well live on the whites of eggs.” ― Muriel Spark, Memento Mori It’s dark this morning. Sunrise comes later over the cornfield. The maple outside my window is yellowing,…

Bikram Yoga Kicked My Ass


The first time I walked into a Bikram (hot) yoga studio, I was met by a tough-looking man in his late fifties. He had the air of a mechanic, or perhaps a truck driver—the sort of person who innately knew how to fix things. I wasn’t that far off. Steve had been a police officer…

200 Posts in a Decade of Blogging: Part 2


I was invited to write for the Good Letters blog at its inception over ten years ago because of my long-time interest in writing about the experience of reading poetry: how the poetry I read becomes intertwined with my life, and vice versa. One such post, “This Solitude We Learn to Bear,” that reaches for…

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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