Amy Welborn on Church Art, Devotions, And Sacramentals as Works of Mercy

with a powerful story of grief and the Stations of the Cross: ...So, yes, mercy. How does it happen? How does God communicate his mercy and love to this hurting world? Through us, and in many ways, first and most importantly through one person’s outreach to another.But also, this:To construct churches that tell the story of Jesus through their design, art and even just their very presence among us, standing firm in the midst of the city or as a quiet faithful herald on a country road; t … [Read more...]

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“Stephen King’s Doubt”: I review “Revival”

for AmCon: There’s a cheap rhetorical move you see a lot in religious debate, where the God-pusher retorts, “But don’t you ever doubt your doubt?” The hero of Revival, Stephen King’s 2014 novel of loss and obsession, could reply in tones of trembling horror: “All the time. God help me, I doubt my doubt all the time.”King has always loved to wring horror from Americana: the bad hot dog, the classic car, the prom. In Revival he takes on the Methodist Youth Fellowship, where, back in the mid-’6 … [Read more...]

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“Last Year’s Horror Cornucopia: Suffering in Style”: I’m at First Things

every Halloween is self-parody Halloween: Last night I watched The Final Girls, Todd Strauss-Schulson's 2015 slasher parody about mourning. It's charming, touching, and mostly successful—and a great example of the reasons 2015 specifically and the '10s generally have been such great years for horror fans. 2015 was just a cornucopia of bloody fruit: the lush Gothic fantasy of Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak, David Cronenberg's nihilistic satire/poignant ghost story Maps to the Stars, and J … [Read more...]

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Pascale Monnin, An Artist of Haitian Resurrection

Over the weekend I discovered a new artist: the Swiss-Haitian painter and sculptor Pascale Monnin. Monnin's sculptures were what struck me most. She uses raku, a technique in which glazed clay is taken from the kiln and immediately plunged into water, creating cracks across the sculpture's surface which are then filled with smoke and soot. So her faces have turquoise veins across their delicate pale skins, and the soft curves of nose and cheek are contrasted to the forking raku lines. The faces … [Read more...]

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(How) Do Scary Gay Statistics Matter?

Ever since that Courage conference I've been trying to figure out a way to write a post about the many, many, many problems with the way scary statistics about gay people are deployed in some Christian circles. You know the thing I'm talking about: Gay people are more likely to be depressed, to beat our partners, to use drugs and abuse alcohol (why do you call it abuse when the alcohol never complains), to die young and leave a fabulous corpse, lol I'm clearly making myself angry just typing … [Read more...]

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“The Night I Outran My Demons”: A British Doctor

check out the tags on this article...: Looking back over my 29 years as a medic, I think my year at the cancer hospital was the hardest. Every fourth day and weekend without fail, I would cover the intensive care unit for 24 hours as the resident middle-grade doctor. In all my time there, not one patient survived, though not for lack of trying. Not one. more … [Read more...]

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Take Me to Church–But Not the Ones that Hurt: Starting a Book Project

Hey y'all. This is all in the very, very first stages, but I'm talking with a publisher about the possibility of doing a book of essays by Catholics who were badly mistreated by their churches or by Catholic communities or institutions, but who continue to practice the faith. My working title is Wounded in the House of a Friend, so that gives you sort of the idea. I'm looking for a wide range of experiences--there are so many different sorrows--and a wide range of genres, from personal memoir to … [Read more...]

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