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silent wealth

silent wealth

I wrote my love an electronic letter you are the loneliness which I have felt so deeply letters on a moonwhite screen where are the leaves on the wind and he replied it seems that I am always in your company electronic spark flowing along the hemline ash of now’s miscellany o flimsy system o electric prayer o cross o tree o golden Sanskrit curve of the body o symbol might we be... Read More

Like a Day I Never Knew

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Sunday, an old hat, strong perfume drifting           like incense over the altar and pews. Stop this ritual. Take back           its Latin chant. I say the rosary. I cover my head. I put coins in the collection           plate when... Read More

Kurt Simonson: A Thin Silence

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Cultivated from his experiences at L’Abri communities in England and Sweden, these works from Kurt Simonson document place, community, and beyond—the presence of things mystical in life’s ordinary rhythms, lived in quiet abundance. Simonson’s images are elegantly understated, poignantly simple, and disarmingly alluring. They provide respite as they draw our focus into an... Read More

Mission and the Priesthood of the Christ

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One does not have to hang around the church very long to hear some weird stuff.1 For example, when I converted to Protestantism, one of the dominant narratives as I picked it up—usually via some kind of epistemological osmosis but sometimes quite explicitly—was that the incarnation was God’s attempt to get the reconciliation ball rolling, that Jesus had laid the foundations... Read More

I Love You: An Interview with Dominique Ovalle

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Dominique Ovalle is a Californian artist whose work sparks with luscious texture and color and a search for absolute purity of form. She primarily works with oil on canvas, but she also experiments with found objects and larger outdoor murals. Her paintings have been featured in several group and solo exhibitions and were recently featured on the cover of Claremont Journal of Religion.... Read More

Learning to Pray

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Through twenty years and three kitchens my refrigerator door has been graced by a copy of Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day.” On most days, I consider the pivotal lines “I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. / I do know what it is to pay attention . . .” as a variation on Paul’s instruction to pray without ceasing, an acknowledgment that prayer happens in many other... Read More

For Hannah

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I couldn’t pray. I tried. In the family waiting room, elbows propped on the plastic seats, I bent my head, opened my mouth, and waited. Then I stood and left. Back in the room, I joined my wife. Staring at our daughter, we inclined our heads and listened to doctors and nurses and machines. Nodding, miming comprehension, I concentrated on the soft, steady exhalations of the ventilator.... Read More

Prays Best while Moving

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I prayed better when the children were small, when we spread out the crayons in the center of the dining table and crafted leaf rubbings. When we modeled shapes from colored beeswax, and I’d find miniature wax cats and roses tucked in between the books on the shelves. When the children pushed little trains on those wooden tracks, figure eights, towns built of blocks, trees crafted... Read More

Taking Semiotics to Church: A Review of Crystal Downing’s Changing Signs of Truth

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Crystal L. Downing. Changing Signs of Truth: A Christian Introduction to the Semiotics of Communication. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012.   Crystal Downing offers an entertaining and anecdotally rich account of how an otherwise highly specialized and esoteric form of linguistic science can be deployed theologically to reframe perennial problems in the relationship between... Read More

Manifestation

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Ferment, Roxy Paine, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Spirit,       you do not strike down the center of my body      and convulse me into praise.      You hook me like a dendrite branch,      slowly, craggily wrapping around my bones.      I cannot reach out my... Read More