Literary reader of faith: I urge you now, as I’ve urged friends, students, and anyone who would listen for over a decade, toward the poetry of Adélia Prado. She is without question one of our greatest living poets, her inimitable voice at once earthy and mystical, unassuming and ecstatic. In her introduction to The Alphabet in the Park, Prado’s first book in English, translator Ellen Doré Watson tells the story of the “discovery” of Prado in the 1970s by Brazil’s… Read more

In my first church job, I rarely had to serve communion so, every month I’d get a few moments to remember what church was like before I had come on staff. In The United Methodist Church, the way we celebrate communion is fairly standardized. I’ve heard arguments that this standardization (read: boring; unwilling to change) is indicative of problems facing the Protestant church. But the liturgy—the giving and receiving of the elements—is familiar and comforting to me. Something I mouth… Read more

Suffering is the most dissociative word in the Christian lexicon. Raised Catholic, I was taught to “offer up” my suffering for the salvation of a soul in purgatory. The sooner I embraced my suffering, which meant releasing or suppressing it, the sooner suffering would turn to joy. Joy was the preferred endgame, and it was always within our power. Likewise, Christian women are often taught to embrace the “privilege of being a woman,” as Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand calls it,… Read more

The 1960s were the years of the Gemini and Apollo missions. I doubt I missed the television coverage of a single launch, spacewalk, or splashdown. For someone who did not live through that era, it is difficult to convey the aura of excitement and adventure that these missions conjured. They were scientific enterprises, to be sure, but for me they were also adventure stories: the risks and rewards of a journey toward mystery. (more…) Read more

Growing up as I did amidst the dazzling lights of New York City, it is strange that even as a small child I was madly in love with the stars. The city’s glare effectively canceled out the night sky, admitting only the rare glimpse of the brightest heavenly orbs. Beyond the moon and Venus, you’d be lucky to spot Sirius, Vega, or Rigel—or constellations other than Orion and the Big Dipper. (more…) Read more

They say the flu circulating this season begins with the sensation of having swallowed a tiny sword. For the relief of such ailments, some Catholics seek the Blessing of the Throats in February on the Feast of St. Blaise, patron saint of sufferers of throat diseases. The narrator of  Matthew Thorburn’s “Relic” describes his schoolboy experience of this ritual as “weird magic,” “ a spell to believe/in” – as much a relic in his present life as an old coat… Read more

You’re not sorry you’re alive, just embarrassed. Aware of the burden of your body. How often do saltshakers tremble when you cross your unwieldy legs under the table? How many times do you hug an acquaintance too soon and feel their shoulders droop like dead wings? You don’t want to die. You want everyone to know that. You just want to take a nap for a week and wake up Rip Van Winkled. Hit control-alt-delete. When you feel this way,… Read more

As immigrants fall to the fury of fearmongers, could it be Paddington the bear (a household name for families who cherish children’s books) who reawakens the heart of England to compassion, cooperation, and community? As if designed to shame isolationists, Paddington 2 sends its hero (a soft-spoken immigrant himself) stumbling into a case of mistaken identity, where he’s blamed for a crime he didn’t commit. The story sparks when Paddington, saving money to buy a beautiful popup book of London… Read more

Cinema at its best has the power to transform minds, to inspire generations, and to speak across geographical, intellectual, and educational borders. Cinema can encourage, motivate, and challenge the hearts, minds, and souls of anyone willing to engage within the visual journey. We’ve witnessed stories of faith, sacrifice, redemption, and persecution. We’ve discovered the call to service, and powered through cultural divides, while fear, hope, war and family heritage became the themes and narratives of films released in 2017. We… Read more

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