“Humiliation and Reconciliation”: I’m at AmCon

as usual I seem to have kept the most important stuff for the last three paragraphs, but here's the opener: My poolside reading this July has been Mary C. Mansfield’s 1995 work The Humiliation of Sinners: Public Penance in Thirteenth-Century France. The book illuminates human questions we still have not resolved with stories from civilizational past. You don’t have to care as much about the Rogation dragon as I do to see echoes of Mansfield’s medieval world in our own rituals of public abase … [Read more...]

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Nun on the Run: Check out Zach Clark’s great new indie charmer, “Little Sister”

I wrote it up for AmCon: The summary for Zach Clark’s new indie flick Little Sister walks a razor’s edge of “could be great, could be awful.” Addison Timlin stars as ex-goth, now aspiring nun C0lleen, who receives an urgent email from her estranged mother (Ally Sheedy). Her brother (Keith Poulson), disfiguringly wounded in Iraq, has come out of the hospital, but he won’t talk to anyone. Will Colleen come home, reconcile with her family, help her brother reenter normal life, and figure out if she … [Read more...]

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Masochism, Macbeth, Mayors, Marvel and More: My May Movie… Notes.

Missives? Anyway.The Duke of Burgundy: Lush flick about two butterfly researchers and their dominance/submission relationship. Some early scenes made me wonder if this would be about attention as submission--the submissive gaze, the gaze of service, as the gaze which most truly knows its object--and I'd super still want to watch that movie, but that definitely is not what this is. Then later when the twist is revealed I was like, "Ugh, I hope this isn't just going to be a movie-length … [Read more...]

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Architecture and Human Dignity: Love and Urban Planning

An email from Rosary Abot (this is a glorious name), in response to the person who asked me about city planning and vocations. I am skeptical of "urban planning" as a concept (who will save us from our solutions? how likely is it that people who specialize in urban planning will have the same priorities as e.g. the children of the poor?) but this thing sounds fascinating. I haven't had time to listen yet but I'm passing it on to you all in hopes that you will find time before I do: Eve - Lucien … [Read more...]

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“Every Last One Was a Mother to Me”: Four DC Women Live a Century of Friendship

from the Washington Post: ...In Southwest Washington, people tended to live out their days in the neighborhood, and the women never imagined that their friendship would outlast its stoops and storefronts. But in the 1950s, the area was marked for urban renewal and razed, decimating the community.Nearly everything was demolished, including Zion Baptist, whose building on F Street SW was replaced by a segment of the 395 freeway. Barnes’s church, Mount Moriah Baptist, also had to move. Their c … [Read more...]

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“Needing My Neighbor”: Great piece by Matthew Loftus

“I’ve always wanted to help people.” My medical school application essay opened with those words, and when I came to Baltimore at age twenty to start my medical training, I was dead-set on helping people in Africa. After two years of attending church in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, though, I fell in love with the community, so my wife and I decided to move into the neighborhood in 2009. I admired the work my church there was doing to deal with the poverty, racism, and institutional negle … [Read more...]

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“Exterminatrix”: I review Sarah Schulman’s “Rat Bohemia”

for AmCon: I spent last weekend at the Gay Christian Network Conference in Houston, and I needed something to read on the plane. Something short, punchy, an in-flight entertainment that could keep my attention after an event that is equal parts spiritually uplifting and emotionally harrowing. I threw Sarah Schulman’s Rat Bohemia into my bag and grinned as I set my alarm for 1995. More fool me.Rat Bohemia is in some ways the scathing nostalgia trip I was hoping for. It’s sometimes a satire of … [Read more...]

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