Like a Child

As the oldest of seven kids, I’ve done my fair share of wiping dirty faces, checking for closet monsters, and speculating as to why the sky is blue. But I also grew up in a church that encouraged “child-like faith.” In that church, this phrase was often shorthand for, “We don’t have answers for this, but having questions and worrying about it shows a lack of faith.” Sometimes “this” was a problem the Church has struggled with for ages, such as the problem of suffering, but … [Read more...]

Aronofsky’s Noah

NOAH

  In the latest issue of Fare Forward, Andy Quinn argues that “meta-analysis,” our way of obsessing about the terms of a debate rather than the issues at stake, is ruining intellectual discourse (Issue 7, “Everyone’s a Critic”). I think the initial reactions to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah are a prime example. On one side, there is the predictable outrage from fundamentalists over the artistic license taken with the Bible story. On the other side, there is the equally predictable … [Read more...]

This Is What We Do

A few years ago, Chrysler debuted a slick commercial called “Imported from Detroit,” featuring Eminem cruising past relics of the city’s past industrial and civic glory. The voice-over, backed by the thumping guitar riff of “Lose Yourself,” praises Detroit’s gritty resilience and the unexpected luxury of Chryslers rolling out of its factories. Eminem stops his car under the marquee of a theater. He strides down its aisle toward a robed choir, turning to the close-up camera on stage … [Read more...]

Virtue in TV

“Everybody lies.”  The FOX drama House sustained eight seasons of medical mysteries on this cynical insight alone.  And the more righteous the liars were, the more satisfying (for Dr. House, and often for the viewer) were their falls.  A classic episode pitted a rambunctious “faith healer” against the atheist misanthrope, but when the root of the young man’s illness is revealed to be the sexually-transmitted herpes virus, the doctor gets the last laugh. Law & Order: SVU is … [Read more...]

Winter’s Humbling

Cuttings of yellow forsythia bloom on my coffee table as March threatens its last (fingers crossed) snowstorm... Finally. I confess a sigh of relief at the resurgence of sunshine, warmth and colors other than brown, gray and white. Winter's grip on the Earth is growing weak in the face of spring's insistent return, yet its bleak work has primed me for the impudent  joy of crocuses blooming beside melting snowdrifts. Like winter's firm discipline has prepared the tired earth for sprouting seeds, … [Read more...]

MASH and Murder

Mansion. Apartment. Shack. House. The kids who hoped for shacks are monks by now. Back then we knew that homeless, jobless meandering wasn’t an option. Neither were celibacy or promiscuity. You either married your crush, or the creepy kid who slobbered on the water fountain. You were a janitor, or a movie star, but you were something. You might have had zero kids, but you could just as easily have been the lucky parent of one hundred precious dolls. Impressive, women! Among the lesser … [Read more...]

Five Books to Read in College

This is a list of five amazing books. They come representing five noble genres: the novel, the memoir, poetry, the short story, and the essay. How good are they? This good: as I read, I often had to pause, put the book down, breathe or sigh or shake, and look around to see if the world was still there. It was – but each time, the way I viewed it had changed. This list is particular, not comprehensive. I did not assemble it from other people’s recommendations, I did not poll anybody; … [Read more...]


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