Musical Rosary #8–Crowning with Thorns

Weaving a crown out of thorns,they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”--Matt. 27:29They talked for over an hour. Near the end, after they'd been sitting in silence for a while, Burns said quietly, "Do you know what Christ died of?"Rivers looked surprised, but answered readily enough. "Suffocation. Ultimately the position makes it impossible to go on inflating the lungs. A terrible dea … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #7–The Scourging at the Pillar

But he was pierced for our sins,crushed for our iniquity.He bore the punishment that makes us whole,by his wounds we were healed. Departing from my previous practice of quoting the Gospels to give you this bit from Isaiah, because it gets at the reason this mystery is so important to me. When I was growing up my parents subscribed to Tikkun, a progressive Jewish magazine with the slogan, "To heal, repair, and transform the world. All the rest is commentary." That's cute and I get … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #4–Presentation

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.... A couple years ago I was having some kind of argument with a freshman Hegelian. I'll mangle his argument--I don't remember it well enough and haven't read Hegel--but what I took away from it was that everything in life served to advance ideas. Better and better ideas over time. So there's a progressive view of history, but one which focuses solely on … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #3–The Nativity

MORE BABIES, until now I don't think I'd realized how much the first three mysteries are like, babies everywhere. I've already posted a nice little Christmas ditty about eviction and racial violence, and anyway, I generally pray this mystery for my own rebirth of sobriety, my rescue from the nightmare basement. I pray to receive sobriety with the joy and gratitude with which Mary welcomed her Child, and to be protective of my very young sobriety as she protected and nurtured the infant … [Read more...]

A Musical Rosary–The Visitation

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your gre … [Read more...]

“Music of the Trilobites”: I’m in AmSpec

on music, drinking, and John Darnielle's novel Master of Reality. You can read it now even if you don't subscribe: I read John Darnielle’s 2011 novel Master of Reality under the unfamiliar constellations of Australia—which was fitting, since the slender book is about being both physically and spiritually far from home. Master of Reality is an entry in Continuum’s “33 1/3” series of books about pop or rock albums. (The other books in the series tend to be straightforward critical studies.) I’ve n … [Read more...]

My Summer Reading 2014 (And Also Other People’s)

at the University Bookman--although actually I just started Gilgi, by the same woman who wrote The Artificial Silk Girl: From medieval sagas to anti-Communist Japanese surrealist novels, the Civil War campaigns to contemporary fiction, our contributors and friends again provide their summer reading lists. Every year this is one of our most popular features, as the suggestions from our trusted contributors are learned, wide-ranging, and deeply engaged with the questions that face our modern … [Read more...]


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