That They May Be One

Just last week, I met up with an acquaintance with whom I had grown up in the church, but who, after studying sociology in college, dropped the faith because it simply “didn’t help him understand the world” in a way that made a difference as to how he would live his life. Faith in Jesus was not a live option for him because it seemed that various other sociological factors could better explain the dynamics of Christianity than the self-definition that Christians themselves offered of themselves. … [Read more...]

Big Lies

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 As Irving Rosenfeld, the consummate con-man of American Hustle explains, people want to be conned. That’s because, broadly speaking, there are two types of personal change. There is real change, involving an internal change of disposition, and there is superficial change, involving an external change of circumstances. The former is difficult— so, unsurprisingly, we tend to be attracted to the latter. It is this desire for quick and easy transformation that the con-man feeds on. We want … [Read more...]

#OnlyHuman

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  Editor’s Note: This article concludes a two-part series on social media, begun with “Reading Charitably” by Laura Marshall [Issue 6: Self and Other]. We encourage you to read these pieces in conjunction, and conversation, with one another. You Instagram a Pic-Stitched picture. You post a link to an outstanding article on Facebook with incisively clever commentary. You tweet a funny quote that you know will get some replies and retweets.You wait a few minutes. Wel … [Read more...]

The Empathy Exams

07book"The Empathy Exam" by Leslie Jamison.

 Leslie Jamison’s essays in The Empathy Exams ask – and begin to answer – an array of important questions about pain, healing, and empathy. To list just a few: When does empathy actually reinforce the pain it wants to console? Can pain be actual and constructed at the same time? And how do we represent female pain without producing a culture in which this pain has been fetishized to the point of fantasy or imperative?Jamison frames her writing as “a search for possibility,” which cou … [Read more...]

On “Drunken” Christianity

Today, many Americans will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated in America and Mexico that commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory in the Battle of Pueblo. In America, most of the celebration is accompanied by copious amounts of partying. Unlike most Americans, I see today as a different sort of holiday: the 201st birthday of Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard’s thought offers an interesting reflection for us on this tequila-drenched holiday.For Kierkegaard, the Modern Age has ushe … [Read more...]

Un-sandwiching Holy Saturday: Reclaiming the Discipline of Waiting

Holy Saturday tends to gets sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter. I want to make the case that it is actually quite important.It is, at its essence, about waiting. Christ's disciples were awaiting persecution by the Romans and rabbis. We now are await the return of Christ. It is about waiting in limbo, in between stages, caught in the middle of the death of Good Friday and the life of Easter.It is, thus, an apt metaphor for this earthly life. As Christians we have died to our old … [Read more...]

When My Brother Was an Aztec

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 The title poem of Natalie Diaz’s first collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, introduces the book’s biggest subject: her eldest brother’s meth addiction and its impact on the family. “He lived in our basement and sacrificed my parents/every morning,” writes Diaz. “Neighbors were amazed my parents’ hearts kept/growing back – It said a lot about my parents, or parents’ hearts.”While some of Diaz’s poems confront their subjects straightforwardly, it’s her extended metaphors – which … [Read more...]


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