“Thirteen Songs About Forgiveness”: Mockingbird

with some images of how to do it, when you need to: ...Given its origin in the blues, rock n roll, and pop music more generally, comes by its emotional palette honestly: desire, frustration, hurt, despair, sadness, anger—these are the primary colors of the form. There are gazillions of songs that plead for a second chance (“I Want You Back”), gazillions of songs of repentance and regret. There are gazillions more about standing one’s ground, about enough being enough. But forgiveness itself is d … [Read more...]

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“The Incomprehensible Witness of Forgiveness”: John Inazu

rounds up some commentary and adds his own: ...Nor is forgiveness reconciliation. Reconciliation is only possible when forgiveness meets repentance. And meaningful social change requires the kind of social reconciliation that can only emerge through aggregated instances of both forgiveness and repentance. In South Africa, during the process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the failure of widespread repentance among whites to match widespread forgiveness among blacks constrained the … [Read more...]

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Forgiveness and Social Justice

Does Christ's command to love our enemies and bless those who curse us place especially heavy burdens on the marginalized and disadvantaged?On its face the answer is obviously "yes." The more vulnerable you are to others' abuse of power, the more they will hurt you and the more you will have to forgive. Women so often appear as icons of forgiveness in men's stories (last point) because we are more vulnerable to them than they are to one another.This is part of the reason for something … [Read more...]

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Voices from the Fire: Medieval Jewish Martyr Laments

Part of my Lenten reading was Susan L. Einbinder's Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France. It's a very readable adapted thesis which makes a few arguments--for example, that Jewish martyr laments shifted over time from proclaiming God's covenant with the community, to depicting individual transformation of the martyrs; that the laments shift from emphasizing demographic diversity to exalting scholars as a sort of martyr elite; and that the laments show the degree to … [Read more...]

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From Sigrid Undset, “Marta Oulie”

Now I take a more lenient view of many things, but that's because I too am guilty. When I was young and innocent I was a harsher judge.We keep learning all our lives--but God help us what we learn. To understand everything is supposed to mean to forgive everything; if so, then may God spare me from those people who forgive too much. That's merely something we say to console ourselves when life starts to leave its mark on us, and we have done various things that we would have been ashamed of … [Read more...]

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Small Screens: Several Very Short Movie Reviews

What I've been watching.Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Actually pretty fun, once you get past the narcissism and abuse of women.EDIT: I should say that the latter two elements aren't things I wish they'd left out of the movie. They add texture to what could have been a plasticky, "drugs R fun!", self-consciously edgy cliche. F&LILV manages to be neither a cautionary tale nor an ad for addiction.Whiplash: Miles Teller is a super actor. This is not the movie to see him in. It's a … [Read more...]

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“Sexual Abuse, Security, And the Seal of the Confessional”: Powerful Piece

at A Queer Calling: ...I belong to a Christian tradition where confession is offered, and it is encouraged that people make confessions as often as needed. Confession is, without a doubt, one of the most meaningful spiritual practices in my life. Every good confession makes me feel like a newly-illumined handmaiden all over again. Forgiveness is the most incredible of gifts. Each experience of this mystery leaves me feeling washed, renewed, restored, made whole, joyous, grateful, and empowered. … [Read more...]

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