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Poetry Friday: “The Preacher Addresses the Seminarians”

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I once met a beer-guzzling goat like the one in Wiman’s poem. His name was Clay Henry, and he was elected the honorary mayor of Lajitas, Texas in 1986. But my deeper resonance with “The Preacher Addresses the Seminarians” lies in my identity as a seminary dropout who backdoored his way into the preaching life.…

The Rhythm of Not Sleeping

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I often rock my baby to sleep at the witching hour. These can be the hours when thoughts, either darkly vivid or hazily formed out of interrupted sleep, stray to mournful or anxious things. But on this night, my mind is pleasantly occupied with thoughts of my beloved grandmother who died a decade ago. My…

Dissolving Borders between Self and Other

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The Buddhists have four stations of the heart: Metta (kindness), Mudita (compassion), Karuna (joy in the joy of others), and Upeka (equanimity). The Jews have four matriarchs: Sarah, a mother who laughs and who does not speak when her husband takes her son before dawn to offer him as a sacrifice in the place God…

A Conversation with Marilyn Nelson: Part 2

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Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of twelve books and three chapbooks. Her honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, an A.C.L.S. Contemplative Practices Fellowship, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, three honorary doctorates, and the Commander’s Award for Public Service from the…

A Conversation with Marilyn Nelson: Part 1

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The daughter of a Tuskegee Airman and a teacher, Marilyn Nelson was brought up primarily on military bases and started writing while still in elementary school. She earned her BA from the University of California, Davis, and holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (MA, 1970) and the University of Minnesota (PhD, 1979). Her long…

Poetry Friday: “Buried Treasure”

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Literary reader of faith: I urge you now, as I’ve urged friends, students, and anyone who would listen for over a decade, toward the poetry of Adélia Prado. She is without question one of our greatest living poets, her inimitable voice at once earthy and mystical, unassuming and ecstatic. In her introduction to The Alphabet…

Grace and The Good Place

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In my first church job, I rarely had to serve communion so, every month I’d get a few moments to remember what church was like before I had come on staff. In The United Methodist Church, the way we celebrate communion is fairly standardized. I’ve heard arguments that this standardization (read: boring; unwilling to change)…

Suffering and Ash Wednesday

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Suffering is the most dissociative word in the Christian lexicon. Raised Catholic, I was taught to “offer up” my suffering for the salvation of a soul in purgatory. The sooner I embraced my suffering, which meant releasing or suppressing it, the sooner suffering would turn to joy. Joy was the preferred endgame, and it was…

The Liturgy of the Stars: Part 2

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The 1960s were the years of the Gemini and Apollo missions. I doubt I missed the television coverage of a single launch, spacewalk, or splashdown. For someone who did not live through that era, it is difficult to convey the aura of excitement and adventure that these missions conjured. They were scientific enterprises, to be…

The Liturgy of the Stars: Part 1

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Growing up as I did amidst the dazzling lights of New York City, it is strange that even as a small child I was madly in love with the stars. The city’s glare effectively canceled out the night sky, admitting only the rare glimpse of the brightest heavenly orbs. Beyond the moon and Venus, you’d…

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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