Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Scares Me for a Different Reason

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The same medication that I take every day, in doses that would leave most of you passed out cold or hospitalized or dead, directly led to Hoffman being discovered in his apartment with a needle in his arm. [Read more...]

Ode to a Minivan

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I love my minivan for lots of reasons having to do with convenience, but also because of what my dependence on this questionably ethical material thing reveals about our lives in the kingdom that is both here and not here. [Read more...]

What We Can and Can’t Know About Our Babies Before They are Born

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In using genetic screening to ensure that our baby would not inherit my painful bone condition, we understood that we could not control everything. But we could control this. [Read more...]

Broken Ribs, Crooked Backs, & Seeing Our Vulnerable Selves Reflected in Another

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Having a body that defies cultural norms as mine does (it is crooked, uneven, lumpy, and limpy) can be alienating. The regular absence of anyone who looks like me in my daily routine creates a space that can fill with either negative feelings (shame, frustration, grief) or positive (pride in the scars that testify to [Read More...]

My Story, and My Take on Narrative Ethics, in a Nutshell

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I have a cover article in the current issue of the Christian Century that summarizes the story I tell in my book and outlines my take on how narrative, or story-based ethical reflection can help us learn humility as well as avoid making people’s complicated stories into morality tales. It begins:       In the [Read More...]

[Snapshots from Oak Ridge] I Wrote a Book. Want One?

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I will confess something that will be not at all surprising to most of you, especially those who write blogs of your own: My Friday “Snapshots from Oak Ridge” feature is absolutely self-serving. I wanted some regular Friday feature that would be quick and easy, because posting regularly, even if every post isn’t read by [Read More...]

“Wonder” and the Paradoxes of Living with a Disability

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R.J. Palacio’s young adult novel Wonder tells the story of Auggie, a boy with a severe facial deformity who goes to school for the first time in fifth grade. He confronts fear and bullies, but also makes friends—even with some of the very same kids who initially teased him. I thought it was a beautiful story, for [Read More...]

Bodily Betrayal, Redeemed by Love

John Green’s bestselling young-adult novel The Fault in Our Stars is a love story about two teenagers, both with terminal cancer. I was particularly taken with the narrator, Hazel, who has metastatic cancer in her lungs and uses supplemental oxygen. This fictional teenager astutely observes the shame, frustration, and feelings of inadequacy that can come with inhabiting [Read More...]


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