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Poetry Friday: “Gravity and Grace”

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There was a time, early in my process of conversion to Christianity, when I took Simone Weil as my spiritual guide. And a tough one she was—exactly in the ways that Betsy Sholl elaborates in this poem. The epigraph that Sholl chooses is one of Weil’s many expressions of how the self gets in our…

To Run and Not Grow Weary, Part 2

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Maybe it was instinct that sent me back to relive the 1924 Olympic Games. Yesterday you found me despairing, feeling a sudden collapse of my lifelong will to write. Slumped on the couch, I was watching, of all things, Chariots of Fire. As a child, I loved this movie. But it wasn’t until college that…

To Run and Not Grow Weary, Part 1

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Film still from the movie Chariots of fire, group of men in white shirts running on the beach, in the forefront, Eric Liddell is leading and smiling.

So, why Chariots of Fire? Why is that what I chose for tonight’s movie? Netflix is recommending all kinds of recent, highly rated titles. Why revisit this old DVD? It happened like this: Two hours earlier, I’d taken the car, planning to drive north to a waterfront park to work on my novel. I planned…

Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea

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It’s impossible to speak of Kenneth Lonergan’s film Manchester by the Sea without alluding to its major premise: Some events in life simply can’t be overcome. However, stating that conclusion does not betray the work’s plot, because from the outset the story depicts a man upon whom a terrible blow has been dealt. There is…

The World at Midday

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I spent Christmas Eve with my mom last month for the first time in years. It was unexpected; she was happy and well. All through the drive to my aunt’s house—Dad at the wheel, Mom turning the music up—my sister and I watched the lights and thought about extraordinary transformations. How anything is possible, though…

Poetry Friday: “Sister Storm”

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I love the drama of this poem. Its title recalls St. Francis’s “Canticle of Brother Sun,” where Francis praises God through “Sister Moon,” “Brother Fire,” “Sister Water,” and so on. Jeanne Murray Walker’s Sister Storm, however, is violent and destructive—definitely not, in the poet’s view, an element through which to praise God. The poet talks…

Now is the Time to Read The Man in the High Castle

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Imagine an alternate history in which a regime arose in the United States that believed in power over equality, profit over values, the privilege of the few over the good of the many, and appearance over truth. Imagine these powers infiltrated the highest offices of our government, and that they began to institute anti-democratic policies,…

Image’s 16 Most-Read of 2016

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As I was looking over Image’s website analytics at the end of 2016, I confess that I was overcome with affection and gratitude for you, our online readers. Your attention has painted a picture, and it is a significantly different picture than many other outlets show. The New Yorker, for example, introduced their most-reads thus: “Americans, as…

Black Lives, Black Art

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I happened to be re-reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin when the current issue of Image (#90) arrived in the mail. So I was especially interested in Joe Milazzo’s essay on the work of African American artist Sedrick Huckaby. In Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1851 novel, even the kindest and most compassionate white people refer to their slaves…

Martin, Everett, and Me

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I am writing this essay on the fortieth anniversary of my father’s death, so my immediate thought about Martin Luther King, Jr. this morning is of those four precious small children left fatherless on April 4, 1968. There are two things I’m thinking about fathers: The nimbus of their influence continues to fall across your…

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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