Menu

Good Letters

Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 6, Icons

| | 0 Comments

The jail staff asked if I would meet with some of the guys in the infirmary. I sat down at the small, bare table in a cramped lawyer visitation cell, and three men in red scrubs squeezed by each other to take their seats with me. One of them was Hank, an old man with…

An Italian Journey with Auden, Goethe, Sex, and God

| | 0 Comments

Recently, I was wandering around some of the less travelled corners of Tuscany with a copy of Goethe’s Italian Journey when I found myself struck, powerfully and without precedent, by something Goethe had written.   But I have to touch first upon W. H. Auden, the great English poet, who, for reasons not explained anywhere…

I Feel Bad About My Neck

| | 0 Comments

I feel bad about my neck. Those are not my words; they’re the title of writer/comic Nora Ephron’s final book about the indignities of aging. And I did a double take when I looked the publication date up: I Feel Bad About My Neck is already ten years old. Such is the passage of time.…

Yehuda Amichai: My One Poet

| | 0 Comments

If I could have only one poet, I’d choose Yehuda Amichai. He’s the poet of the city where I came to life in my twenties: Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of eternity…. Jerusalem is the Venice of God.   Jerusalem stone is the only stone that can feel pain. It has a…

Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 5, Holy Elders

| | 0 Comments

With their white beards and deep lines in their faces, the older men stand out in our jail Bible study’s circle of usually-young men with either tattoos on the outsides of their arms or track marks on the insides. I’m always struck by the old men’s humility, how they don’t tell the whippersnappers to shut…

On Cultivating Friendship

| | 0 Comments

On a festive Sunday evening in what should have been spring (nearly sixty degrees at the zenith and sunny), as neighbors were crossing the road to feed apple cores to the cows, I left our house after dinner for a walk. Our house is 150 years old. It needs work at all times. It’s made…

I Am Not My Phone

| | 0 Comments

How You Know It’s Time for a New Phone There was a moment when it became easier to walk downstairs and talk to my wife face-to-face than to wait for my phone to load messages. It was time for new phones. Soon we were at the T-Mobile store looking at a display of tiny machines…

Burn after Seeing: On the End of The Americans

| | 0 Comments

The Americans, FX’s drama about Russian spies living in Washington, D.C., has ended its six season run. After season five, I wrote about how deception corrupts various kinds of bodies (national, personal, marital) because intimacy cannot abide it. In one plotline during this final season, spy Elizabeth Jennings goes undercover as Stephanie, a private nurse…

Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 4, Asceticism

| | 0 Comments

Monks in the Orthodox tradition have long believed that God’s love is unchanging, constant, like the light of the sun. We do not need to appease a deity’s anger or perform well to turn the light of God’s affection and gaze upon us. It’s just there, divine mercy blazing away, pouring down all the time.…

Cutting Away the Noise

| | 0 Comments

Fifteen years ago, there was no end to the noise. It took a cutting to get me to silence. I worked twelve-hour days and longer in an aircraft hangar on a flight line of hundreds of helicopters with the cacophony of auxiliary power units, the collision of metal, and rotor blades beating the air outside,…

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.

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Pin It on Pinterest