“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...]

Advent post: Alongside amends

A season of preparation and penance can bring us to the thought of apologies and amends. We may want to try to apologize to those we've hurt in the past and ask their forgiveness.This isn't always the best idea for a number of reasons: You may just be reopening old wounds, or you may be at a point in your relationship with the person you've offended where they simply can't believe anything you say. ("Every word I say is a lie. But I really like you.") I've seen many people argue that asking … [Read more...]

“A Geek and Her God”

in which I interview Leah Libresco. Topics include praying in sign language, being the gooseberry, and what Catholics should know before discussing the faith with atheists. (I think I get to call her a gooseberry since I already called myself the Freak of the Week when this happened.) … [Read more...]

From the vows of a Benedictine community

We give up the temptation to move from place to place in search of an ideal situation. Ultimately there is no escape from oneself, and the idea that things would be better someplace else is usually an illusion. And when interpersonal conflicts arise, we have a great incentive to work things out and restore peace. This means learning the practices of love: acknowledging one’s own offensive behavior, giving up one’s preferences, forgiving.--via the Archdiocese of Washington blog … [Read more...]