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The Cloud of Unknowing

By Kevin Honold Essay

I. The TAXI DRIVER stopped and gestured to the empty desert. “There.” I saw nothing. “Where?” “There.” Now I saw, or thought I saw, some irregularity in the distance, about a mile away—the reflection of standing water, or maybe the attenuated shadow of a dip in the ground. After I paid the man, he sped…

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The Doubt that Breathes Beside You

By Stina Kielsmeier-Cook Essay

1. We are late to church and sneak along the outer edge of the sanctuary, the pine floors creaking under our careful steps. I slide into the pew next to my husband. My leg brushes against him, this man I love, a man who recently lost faith in God. I scan the bulletin and try…

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Web Exclusive: A Love Supreme: The Surprising Art of Sedrick Huckaby

By Bruce Herman Essay

Homely, decorative, domestic—that’s how most of us think of quilting: something a sweet grandmother does while humming an old tune and waiting for a pie to cool on the rack. It’s a comfy-seeming practice we associate with homemaking and mothering—vocations mostly overlooked and never accorded the worldly esteem we give to the artist, composer, intellectual,…

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The Charged World

By Martha Park Essay

WHEN MY FATHER finished seminary at Vanderbilt, he served his first small church in Beech Bluff, Tennessee. He was single and drove a little moped. He took disco dancing lessons to stave off loneliness and survived on church ladies’ casseroles. That summer he was working as a counselor at a church summer camp when he…

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The Thorn and the Heart: Anxiety, Irony, and Faith

By Jonathan McGregor Essay

Ø IT WAS ONE OF THOSE OVERCAST October mornings in College Station that look like they ought to be much colder than they are. I walked back to my south-side dorm from the Zachry Center in shirtsleeves, sweating, a zippy mock-turtleneck sweater over my arm. Zachry was an engineering building at the far northeast corner…

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Perfume Poured Out

By Allison Grace Myers Essay

One of the real tests of writers is how well they write about smells. If they can’t describe the scent of sanctity in a church, can you trust them to describe the suburbs of the heart? _____________________________________ ___________ —Diane Ackerman For your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;…

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Radiant Power: Authority and Violence in New Egyptian Fiction

By M. Lynx Qualey Essay

The Televangelist by Ibrahim Essa, translated by Jonathan Wright (American University in Cairo Press, 2016) The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, translated by Elisabeth Jaquette (Melville House, 2016) “The Boy Jihadi” by Youssef Rakha (Guernica, 2015)   IN THE EARLY HOURS of January 1, 2011, a bomb was set off among New Year’s Eve worshippers…

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Daring to Do the Good: The Knight and the Theologian

By Kathleen L. Housley Essay

WRITING FROM HIS SMALL CELL in a German prison, the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer advised his family and friends to read the lengthy novel Witiko by Adalbert Stifter—the book that gave him great comfort from the time of his arrest in 1943 until his execution in 1945 for his involvement in the plot to kill Hitler.…

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Ritual Images

By Nicole Miller Essay

Ritual Images The Autobiographs of Ira Lippke   IN 1918, a German priest named Martin Gusinde traveled to the islands of Tierra del Fuego off the southern tip of South America. Commissioned by Chile’s Museum of Ethnology and Anthropology to study the region’s indigenous tribes, Gusinde made four expeditions over a period of six years to…

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Listening Unfolding

By Nate Klug Essay

Listening Unfolding: Notes on Ministry and Poetry 1. The carpeting in the living room is indeed wall to wall, and smells as musty as I remembered. But since my interview visit, someone has spread a tablecloth over the wing table in the living room and planted a sofa by the window, so that when I…

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