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The Gospel Is a Story of Meals

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“The book of Genesis opens in a garden,” Kendall Vanderslice writes in We Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship and the Community of God. As a child, she spent afternoons with a friend making “concoctions” and learning to bake bread. Later, she says, “that developed into an interest in the Eucharist.” Vanderslice became a baker, earned…

Meet Me in “Eremitaggio”

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“The Kotzker Rebbe–” * Devotion to God. Devotion to Art. Immersion. Withdrawal. * Four paths: Into the world. Apart from the world. Through the world. Beyond the world.* I’ve heard of him: the Kotzker Rebbe. Haven’t I heard at least one of his teachings from any of a million rabbis from whom I’ve learned? Rebbe:…

Poetry Friday: Wonder Bread

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One teasing April day the mad priestapproached a bakery truck and prayedIf that priest is still loosechanging substantially everything he knows how,what if no one overhears? Upon first reading the poem “Wonder Bread,” I remembered a 2010 mock commercial for “Pre-Blessed Food.” It wasn’t filmed and posted to YouTube until eleven years after “Wonder Bread” was published in Image, but it was a cultural cornerstone when I was in middle school. Peers at the…

Holy Ground

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John’s Gospel describes a pool outside Jerusalem called Bethesda where sick and busted people waited, watching the water’s surface for agitation. They believed angels stirred the pool, charging it with healing powers. I imagine some died waiting: dehydrated and rank, beside a pool they dared not enter before its sanctification. “And one day,” Annie Dillard…

The Dangers and Promise of Radical Community

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A solitary figure dressed in red appears on an empty road. A few seconds later, bodies (sometimes naked) writhe in ecstatic prayer incantations, shouting and gyrating. The piercing eyes of their guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, twinkle as he bows to his red-clad disciples. When he speaks, his voice is soft, clipped and intense. These sporadic…

I Don’t Want To Be This Kind of Hero

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I took a nap in the day and dreamed I was volunteered by someone to cook dinner for a woman with a newborn. I was to cook for her four times just after the birth of her child, and I was sort of bellyaching about it to a friend, the expense and the time. But…

Hummingbird: For Rachel Held Evans

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A few weeks ago I saw a hummingbird on my back porch for the first time. It hovered in front of me, just a few feet from my face, as if it desperately wanted to be noticed. I get it, I said aloud. And then I gasped, because it really was so beautiful, shiny and…

The Fearless Curiosity of the Ying Quartet

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Ying Quartet, l-r: David Ying (cello), Janet Ying (violin), new first violinist Robin Scott, and Phillip Ying (viola) outside Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, Eastman School of Music March 23, 2015 // photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester Of all the arts, music is the most difficult to write about. Maybe because…

On Poetry, Faith and Grief

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Last spring I promised my congregation a sermon about “words and the Word.” That was my clever title for a sermon that was a long time coming. My sermons tend to take a long time to marinate. I can pinpoint precisely when I started working on that one. I was nineteen, and deeply committed to…

This Is a Hard Teaching

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Suddenly, just as I was starting to get a little bit comfortable in my role as Brother Morgan in the New Order of Saint Francis at Saint Anthony’s Cathedral, an Ecumenical Catholic Church in Detroit, the children came. No one knows why the children came, and no one asked the children to come. They just…

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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 week gifted writers offer personal essays that make fresh connections between the world of faith and the world of art. We also publish interviews with artists who inspire and challenge us.

On Poetry Fridays, we introduce poems and poets we love from the Image archives.

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