Me on “Marta Oulie,” Sigrid Undset’s First Published Novel

at the University Bookman: Marta Oulie opens with the confession, “I have been unfaithful to my husband.” So it comes as no surprise that the novel depicts a woman’s sexual awakening: the obsessive thoughts of him, the thrill at his touch. “I suddenly felt scared and didn’t dare look at the scrap of chest visible below his throat, but then couldn’t resist glancing at it.”What might be more surprising is that this is the sensual passion of a virgin for the man who will become her husband. Lik … [Read more...]

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...]

Woop Woop, That’s the Sound of… These Links About Policing

and related issues. They're not all completely depressing!"Fallout Grows Over Calif. Chief's Participation in Protest": But let's start off with a raincloud for your silver lining. RICHMOND, Calif. — One week after photos of him holding a sign with the hashtag "BlackLivesMatter" at a peaceful local protest went viral on social media, Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus is still grappling with the fallout — including accusations from his department's police union that he broke the law — but sa … [Read more...]

A Couple Best-Of Lists from Wesley Hill and Helen Andrews

Hill: ...I write often about the consolations of friendship, hospitality, and Christian community, but sometimes I wonder if I’m too sanguine, writing as if these were easily attainable and capable of straightforward engineering. These three books, in very different ways, puncture my naivety. more!Andrews: ...Any culture that bestows fame on fiery young radicals will see some of them punished with remorse in old age, but there are surprisingly few role models for writers who find t … [Read more...]

Tenderness, Penitence and Estrangement: I Review the El Greco Show at the National Gallery of Art

for the Weekly Standard:The nickname “El Greco” reveals two things about Doménikos Theotokópoulos, the weird and sublime painter of the Counter-Reformation: He was Greek, and he was a stranger. When everybody around you is Greek, nobody is “the Greek.” El Greco’s vision reflected the second part of his identity even more than the first.more … [Read more...]

Jason Byassee on Christians and “Christian”

This is the part that really irks me the most on eschewing “Christian.” It’s as though we get off scot-free for historical Christian sins (the crusades, racism, you name it) by just calling ourselves something else. Christians believe there is a way to forgiveness and purity—but it passes through confession, restoration, and repaired relationship. The much more costly way to disassociate from those who have done ill in Christ’s name is to set about loving as fanatically as they hated.here; vi … [Read more...]

“In Defense of Flagellation”: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

is right: ...During the podcast, the guests made several in-passing negative references to the monastic practice of self-flagellation, which were never challenged. In particular, they made a couple points: the first is that God, being fundamentally non-violent and opposed to suffering, could not condone such a practice; second, that monks who engage(d) in such a practice were trying to earn holiness. Yet we find that many great saints, who were in no dangers of such spiritual … [Read more...]


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