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Hell: The Nemesis of Hope?

Abandon every hope, who enter here. —Dante, Inferno, Canto III.9 Despite the Church’s curse, there is no one so lost that the eternal love cannot return—as long as hope shows something green —Dante, Purgatorio, Canto III. 133–1351 If Hell is the nemesis of hope, can it be part of the Gospel? If Christ came to “free those who all their lives were held in slavery... Read More

Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain; Butterfly Paintings; and Nothing Is A Problem For Me

Click on the image below (“Incorruptible Crown” from Butterfly Paintings) to open Damien Hirst’s exhibit in a resizable browser. Review by Heather Smith Damien Hirst is known as an artist who innovatively confronts the boundaries between art, popular culture, and science. His evocative, large-scale pieces tend to leave audiences visually arrested and viscerally disconcerted.... Read More

Listening on the Day of Silence: Khora and Holy Saturday

When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief... Read More

Sea Billows Rolling: A Review of Paul Mariani’s Deaths & Transfigurations

Paul Mariani, Deaths & Transfigurations (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005). 94 pages. $21.60 hardcover. Click here to purchase Deaths & Transfigurations from Amazon.com and help support The Other Journal. Salty, briny, barnacled, and often shipwrecked, Paul Mariani’s sixth collection of poems, Deaths & Transfigurations, plumbs the depths of memory and mystery,... Read More

Recycling

Jesus called this morning. I gave him your number so that you would have someone interesting to talk to. You can almost see her typing those lines, taking a break from automating a text search or building a Java application. You can almost see her, beating keys, manically mousing, then stopping for a moment. She composes one of her crooked notes, midmorning missives, to rouse... Read More

What God Does Not Does and Does Not: A Review of Brent Laytham’s God Does Not

D. Brent Laytham, ed., God Does Not…: Entertain, Play Matchmaker, Hurry, Demand Blood, Cure Every Illness (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2009), 160 pages, $17,99 paper. Click here or on the image to buy God Does Not from Amazon.com and help support The Other Journal. “God helped me shoot gunman, ” reads the newspaper headline of how a security guard, allegedly under... Read More

Early Sorrow

After the three sisters had waited nine months for the baby who was born dead, they fretted about her being buried alone. So they placed next to her their almost-favorite stuffed animals, the toucan by her plump cheeks and the kookaburra by her elbow. In her hands, they put the board book Good Night Gorilla, in which the gorilla-hero steals the keys from the zookeeper’s belt, and... Read More

Death and Christology After (the Death of) God

In October 1965, Thomas J. J. Altizer, the famous theologian who popularized the phrase “God is dead” in America, proclaimed the death of God as the most radical affirmation of life and existence, an occasion for rejoicing.1 Altizer believed that God had completely emptied himself into the world, beginning with creation and culminating in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.2... Read More

The Church in a Culture of Death: An Interview with Joel Shuman

In an age of rampant consumerism, which has brought about the current global economic crisis, the church today faces that age-old question: Who or What governs the body? The church must find ways of reclaiming the body, reclaiming each person as an indivisible whole rather than two disparate parts and as mystically united with other Christians as one Body in Christ. The corporate... Read More

Have Mercy

The exhibition of paintings by Renaissance masters closes in three days. The only way I can get there is if I skip work. I skip work. On a cloudless, chilled January morning, I stroll through warm rooms at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. At the museum, I dream of reaching out to touch canvas where the brush of Caravaggio or El Greco or Goya swirled and blended color. I’m ... Read More