From Christian Wiman, “My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer”

Abundance and destitution are two facets of the one face of God, and to be spiritually alive in the fullest sense is to recall one when we are standing squarely in the midst of the other. … [Read more...]

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Ask Melinda Selmys Your NFP Questions!

Would you like a practical, philosophical, and psychological look at natural family planning from someone for whom it has been at times a grueling and frightening struggle? Someone who understands why you might be bitter and exhausted, who has experienced some of the beauty and promises of NFP but also been harmed by the Pollyannaish or judgmental attitudes with which it's often promoted? You are in luck: Eve Tushnet has been twisting my arm a bit to try to get me to write an NFP book. My basic … [Read more...]

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Unchosen Blessings: Gay Celibacy and Unplanned Pregnancy

Someone who knows I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center sent me a recent article from Medicine Anthropology Theory, "Blessing unintended pregnancy: Religion and the discourse of women's agency in public health." It's a qualitative study of the reproductive histories and practical spirituality of women at a homeless shelter in the Southeast. The things the women say really sound like things our clients say; but what struck me most was how much of their experiences resonated with the religious … [Read more...]

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The Only Song in the World: Short movie notes

In order of when I saw them, so this will get whiplashy.Me Without You: Brutally disappointing. The bait: Two girls forge a best friendship (YES) in the late '70s/early '80s (YES) complete with druggie punk adventures (YES!) and talking about finding their "soulmate" while using their feet to share a cigarette (YES!!!!). One of them is even Jewish!!The switch: Joke's on you, gen-X lesbian, their friendship is holding them back and it falls apart in the face of the obvious imperatives of … [Read more...]

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“We Know That We Are Going to Be Killed”: An Interview with an Iraqi Priest

at First Things: CoppageDid you have prayers that you were relying on?Fr. BaziMy prayer was on the chain itself. How much I hated that chain, because they tied me. I used to pray by that chain, pray the rosary. With much praying I became calm. I really became stronger, sometimes I was aggressive with them. When they asked me questions, sometimes I was laughing, I asked them, “What kind of stupid question was that?” Sometimes I felt that they were captured by me, I was not captured by … [Read more...]

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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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