“Sometimes You Want to Go Where Nobody Knows Your Name”: Me on “Home”

a searing novel by Marilynne Robinson: You have preserved my life from the pit of destruction, when you cast behind your back all my sins. – Isaiah 38:17Speaking to reporters on a plane back from World Youth Day in Rio, Pope Francis made headlines with his comment, “If [gay people] accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?” But the hoopla around this comment obscured an even more radical statement in a similar vein: “I see that so many times in the Church, apart from this ca … [Read more...]

“Heeding Cries for Help from Discarded, Disconnected Young Men”: LA Times

feature--and do read to the end: ...Fifteen years ago, Ruett and Rhonda Foster were grieving parents in a courtroom. Their 7-year-old son Evan had been shot and killed by a gang member at Inglewood's Darby Park.Evan was clutching his soccer trophy in the back seat of the family car when bullets aimed at someone else tore through the windshield and struck him in the head.Three young men were convicted and sent to prison. And the Fosters began performing their own sort of penance, making … [Read more...]

“‘Middlemarch’ and What We Mean When We Say Shame Works”: me at AmCon

sorry for length!: The idea that “shame works”—that stigmatizing behaviors and shaming the people who do them are necessary and honorable tools of public policy—is a recurring theme in both conservative and more communitarian/paternalistic liberal rhetoric. It’s often based on personal experience, or home truths from one’s mom, and because people do sometimes say that shame worked for them I had a hard time articulating why I rejected this rhetoric so completely.But I recently finished readi … [Read more...]

“Prodigals and Preachers”: me on Marilynne Robinson

at Acculturated: This is the halfway point for my series of posts on great novels about marriage, and with this third installment I think I see some intertwined themes emerging. All three of the books so far—Kristin Lavransdatter, How to Be Good, and now Marilynne Robinson’s generational Iowa epic-in-miniature Gilead—are also stories about being sorry, and trying to be better, and wondering how much any person can ever really change. more; keep in mind that all of these posts necessarily overs … [Read more...]

“Cold Nights, Fiery Hearts”: me on Kristin Lavransdatter

First in a series on novels about marriage. … [Read more...]

“Making Amends Was Everything I Least Expected”: Anna David

at The Fix--I cannot get enough of these stories: I thought I knew exactly how my Ninth Step in AA would unfold. Instead, over a decade later, I'm still trying to make sense of people's unpredictable reactions. more … [Read more...]

“The Armies of the Prince of Peace”: I review “The Convert”

at Woolly Mammoth until, I think, March 10. … [Read more...]


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