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No Sea in Heaven


I grew up in a mile-square beachfront town sixty miles south of New York City. From the time I was six years old, when my family left its North Jersey urban roots, every summer day was spent on the beach. When my sister and I were old enough, we peddled there on our bikes to meet our friends, then slathered ourselves with Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil and baked, posed, and floated... Read More

Wanderlust: A Personal History


Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about? Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out? —Dixie Chicks   I am sixteen, sitting in Bible class at my small private high school. The teacher thinks—at least, I hope she thinks—that I’m following along in the book. In reality, I’m a rebel. I’ve nestled a paperback behind the cover of our text. While she lectures,... Read More

Los Angeles

Catalina Island, La Romana, Dominican Republic. A cruise liner i

My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call. —Pat Conroy, Prince of Tides   There is a spot on the downslope of Colima Road in Hacienda Heights, in southern California, where, if conditions conspire for clear air—which they rarely do—you can see the sharp, low-slung outline of Catalina Island, twenty-two miles out to sea. There are other places where... Read More

This Cursed Womb


The hour comes at darkness. Long before the sun rises beneath the horizon’s black curtain, the first pain strikes in my abdomen. It squeezes my insides, wrapping my organs tighter and tighter. The pain pulls me in for a minute or two, then releases. This is the warning shot. Soon, that pit below my stomach will be flipping, twisting, tying, pulling. A song is brewing within me... Read More

Material Faith: An Interview with Barbara Brown Taylor

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A best-selling author and internationally recognized preacher, Barbara Brown Taylor is known for her memorable way of extracting profound spiritual insights from the grit (and grits!) of ordinary human experience. In addition to her roles as writer, speaker, professor, and ordained Episcopal priest, Taylor and her husband stay grounded to earth corralling chickens on their working... Read More

Reenchanting the Body


I was fourteen or fifteen. She was about the same age, a friend from a local Christian youth organization. After long and oblique flirtation, I finally got up the gumption to confess my attraction to her, in the form of a rhyming Valentine’s Day poem. Not a week later, I attended a youth group meeting at a rural nondenom church. There I heard a message from the text of 1 Timothy... Read More

Repetition: Its Essential Role in the Harming and Healing of Our Bodies


Last summer, my friend Jeffrey, his two boys, and my friend Joshua left the city for a relaxing weekend of camping in the Cascade Mountains outside of Seattle. Their time in the woods was largely uneventful—short hikes, campfires, s’mores, sleeping bags, and beer refrigerated by brisk mountain streams for the adults. On their drive back, however, another driver poorly timed... Read More

Revolutionary Silence: An Interview with Chris Heuertz


Chris Heuertz was mentored by Mother Teresa for three years and spent nearly twenty years serving with the Word Made Flesh community, where he worked for women and children victimized by human traffickers in the commercial sex industry. Then, in the fall of 2012, he and his wife, Phileena, launched Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism. In this interview, Chris Heuertz discusses... Read More

Weighty Things: Unhealthy Bodies and the Body of Christ


Food is the daily sacrament of unnecessary goodness, ordained for a continual remembrance that the world will always be more delicious than it is useful. —Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb   In the gospels, it is Jesus’s table fellowship with social outcasts that most confounds his critics. He tells stories about seeds and soil, farmers and bakers. When he feeds... Read More



Father Aleksander had gaunt cheeks and a gray beard. He swept across the floor in a long, black robe, in the stately, fluid motion of an athlete. When he glided up to our group of Americans, standing in the center of the Orthodox Cathedral in Krasnodar, Russia, he placed his hands on Olga’s head and made the sign of the cross on her forehead. An electric charge passed between... Read More