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Poetry Friday: “Saint Francis Appears at the Scene of an Accident, Then Joins the Murmuration”

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Reflecting on a strange or disturbing story as a distant narrator can often have a lasting impact. This poem by Becca J.R. Lachman is eerie and curious—it may or may not have actually happened but her storytelling is powerful. From the title we know there has been an accident. We also are asked to “Imagine…

A Tradition Without Tryptophan

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November is always an interesting time for a family of vegetarians. While my three children have never lifted turkey to their lips, they’ve come home from school with a multitude of smiling birds cut out in the shapes of their hands, illustrated plates labeled peas, potatoes, and turkey, and all manner of pilgrims and Indians sitting before bulbous,…

Fargo: The True Story

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This is a true story. Those are the words that have begun every episode of the television series, Fargo, for the past three seasons. The events that took place occurred in Minnesota and the Dakotas during 2006, 1979, and 2010—or so the writers say. The names have been changed in deference to the living, but…

The Night I Read Flannery O’Connor’s College Journal

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I am. This is not pure conceit. My tea (Irish Breakfast, decaf, as it’s nearly 9 p.m.) is still warm, thankfully—I’d left it in the kitchen to steep, knowing full well I’d forget it once I checked my phone, remember it once I’d scrolled through apps long enough to be disgusted with myself, and wonder…

St. Anna of the Walking Dead

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Plures efficimur, quoties metimur a vobis (We multiply whenever we are mown down by you) —Tertullian, Apologeticus A few years ago, I became obsessed with a dead Russian woman. I never had the chance to meet her—she was murdered before I even knew her name—but sometimes I imagine she and I are having conversations. This…

Poetry Friday: “Flying Letters”

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a large lacy and green bough with small leaves partially lit by sun in front of a dark green forest underbelly.

I admire the way this poem speaks indirectly to the incomprehensible loss of military life through direct imagery from the natural and domestic worlds. The speaker’s civilian perspective here is captured in a swirl of motion and silence made audible: the mouths of flowers are not real mouths, and yet their blooming right in the…

A Feminine Corollary To Machismo? Part 2

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My companions and I had overstayed our moment in the bishop’s suite, which was by now devoid of beer, wine, tequila, and perhaps wisdom. We decided to meet outside the hotel for a cigarette. On the way down, the bishop’s assistant, a young man in his twenties, asked about my music. My ensemble was going…

A Feminine Corollary to Machismo? Part 1

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After the keynote speaker at the conference, everyone in my immediate vicinity wanted a drink, including the bishop. Location was an issue. It needed to be discreet for his sake. It needed to be cheap for our sake. It needed to be comfortable for the sake of the pregnant woman with swollen ankles along for…

Remembering Father George

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My priest has died. Or rather, in Eastern Orthodox terminology, he has reposed. He has fallen asleep. It’s funny how this death both echoes, and completes, the death of my biological father forty years ago. Throughout my childhood, for years after my father died, nothing irked me like people’s vague references to somebody “passing away.”…

Letter from an Underground Karamazov to His Couple’s Therapist

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Dear Dr. E, My, but you’re a clever one, aren’t you? You sit there looking so kind and compassionate, smiling and nodding, affirming and encouraging us, and so on, but I’m onto your little game. I’m a clever one, myself. Therapy, I know, is not really about feeling heard and receiving good relationship advice. It’s…

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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 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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