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A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Wedding: Part 1

By Danielle LeshawMarch 30, 2016

Father Bill offered a set of instructions. “Walk beside me, never on my left, but always on my right.” I nodded. “And we’re walking towards Jesus.” He pointed across the church. “Shall we practice?” “Yes, please,” I answered. We processed up the aisle, an elderly priest and a young, female rabbi. I matched his steps.…

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Wilberforce: An Interview with H.S. Cross, Part 2

By Gregory Wolfe and H. S. CrossJanuary 21, 2016

Continued from yesterday. Read Part 1 here. GW: Religion and worship played a large role in the British public schools in the 1920s and St. Stephen’s is no exception. I suppose it’s easy to observe most of the characters ignoring Christianity, but it was a time when faith could still speak to a certain sensibility and…

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Poetry as a Weapon of Jihad

By Peggy RosenthalJanuary 18, 2016

“Strap on a suicide vest? Join a global mission whose leaders preach hatred and acts of violence against civilians? Spurn the traditions of one’s own community in favor of radicalization? Jihadis face a hard sell. By definition, poetry is a way to say what cannot be said in ordinary terms.” I sat stunned after reading…

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The Greater Evil: Proscription or Compulsion?

By A.G. HarmonDecember 14, 2015

There’s a new law in China, and it’s aimed at weakening a faith. As the Chinese government is not one to bother with currying world opinion, those who speak for the authorities are quite aboveboard regarding exactly what they’re about and why: If a people are made to do something, they will soon enough not…

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Lucia Berlin: A Master of Catholic Fiction, Part 2

By Jenny ShankOctober 13, 2015

Continued from yesterday. Catholic imagery appears throughout Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women, the posthumous selected stories that has brought her singular fiction out of obscurity. The magnificent “El Tim,” a story about a charismatic adolescent Mexican-American boy who disrupts a Catholic school with his sly behavior, begins: “A nun stood in each classroom…

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A Holy Habitation for Life’s Story

By Allison Backous TroyJune 18, 2015

I have spent my whole life as a writer trying to string together these kinds of moments. Moments when the veil has been slit open, when I have been able to catch a glimpse of how God has held my life together.

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The Contemporary Novel of Belief, Part 2

By Gregory WolfeJanuary 9, 2014

In yesterday’s post I wrote about author and critic Paul Elie’s contention that few contemporary writers depict characters struggling with religious belief in novels with contemporary settings. Among other things, I argued that his conviction that having a contemporary setting is somehow supremely valuable is both short-sighted and literalistic—that Elie has a rather narrow understanding…

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Opting for Paradox: 25 Years of Image

By Gregory WolfeNovember 22, 2013

The poet Ezra Pound made the phrase “Make It New” the rallying cry of artistic modernism. In one of life’s little ironies, he obtained the phrase from an ancient Chinese text. It seems that every time you get excited about making it new, you are forced to recollect the words of another ancient, the moralist…

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Dreaming God

By Tony WoodliefAugust 17, 2011

“As a back-of-the-envelope calculation within an order-of-magnitude accuracy,” Skeptic magazine founder Michael Shermer writes in his new book, The Believing Brain, “we can safely say that over the past ten thousand years of history humans have created about ten thousand different religions and about one thousand gods.” Humans have evolved, it seems, a tendency to…

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