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Rounding the Curtain: Embracing the Senselessness of Grief

I entered the hospital room. She was sitting in a geri-chair looking out the window. The room was stark white with no flowers or cards. The only punctuation to the white was her robe of pink hearts. I introduced myself as the chaplain on the floor. “That’s nice,” she replied. “It’s snowing.” I pulled up a chair, faced the window, and observed her as she watched the snow’s gentle fall. “At least I won’t be shoveling it,” she said. “I’ve been traveling a... Read More

Some Holy Ghost

Stooped behind a smooth pedestal bearing a great stone censer outside the Art Institute of Chicago, I finish my phone conversation shielded from the city’s famous wind. A former classmate and I have been arranging to meet during this writing conference. As excited as I am to be in a new place, to meet new people, to see old friends, and to sell my book of poems to the literary establishment, I can’t shake the sense of my own oddity, as somehow in their world but not of it.... Read More

From Commodity to Communitas: Reconciling the Gap between Farmers and Roasters

Capitalism Capitalism drives our postindustrial world, and the traces of its presence can be found everywhere.1 Although it was initially theorized primarily as an economic system, capitalism’s influence is no longer simply economic; its effects are felt individually, collectively, culturally, socially, politically, theologically, environmentally, and globally. To review, the capitalist system, most often referred to as a free-market economy, is a system in which trade and industry—the... Read More

From London to Durham: A Theological Peregrination

I recently moved from London, a city in which I was born and in which I have lived all my life, to Durham, a city where I am without reference points or roots.1 London has been a key stimulus and backdrop to my intellectual work and political activism, and yet this new city, Durham, is a place where I find myself already enmeshed in a complex history of interaction between one side of the Atlantic and the other. This move and these interactions are the subject of this essay, but... Read More

Citizenship, Voting, and the Common Good

A political news junkie in 2008, I now find myself tuning out. I am done with the partisanship and vitriol. I am tired of sorting facts from lies. Perhaps I’ll just sit out this election. After all, I still have enough faith in the American system’s propensity to tilt from the Far Left or Far Right to the center to believe that I will be fine, to know that when the inane mudslinging ends and the dust finally settles, things won’t be as bad for me as the apocalyptic political... Read More

Evil, Ethics, and the Imagination: An Interview with Richard Kearney, Part I

In this three-part interview, the illustrious Irish philosopher Richard Kearney explores the human experiences of evil. Part I of the interview considers theodicy and human responsibility for evil by contrasting Gnostic understandings of cosmological evil to St. Augustine’s understanding of evil as the privation of the good. During the course of this conversation, Kearney characterizes the human imagination as a creative capacity that can be turned to both good and evil purposes,... Read More

The Emperor’s New Clothes: A Review of Defending Constantine

The tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” turns on the question of how to see the emperor: is he clothed in garments befitting someone of his noble station, or is he parading in nothing more than his birthday suit, exposed as vain and conceited? Likewise, Peter Leithart’s Defending Constantine turns on the question of how to see Emperor Constantine: is he the best thing to happen to Christianity since Christ, or is he a problematic figure who begins a pattern of collusion... Read More

Gods Behaving Badly: Celebrity as a “Kind of” Religion

In 1996, the pop singer Jarvis Cocker invaded the stage at the United Kingdom’s Brit Awards. Michael Jackson was performing “Earthsong.” Jackson emerged, out of a huge image of the earth, surrounded by white light. He raised his arms in the shape of a cross and started to sing about the planet. As the song continued, Jackson was joined on stage by a crowd of people in tattered clothing, and as the song came to a close the singer took off his shirt and his trousers to reveal... Read More

The Problem of Joy: A Review of Sufjan Stevens’s All Delighted People EP

Sufjan Stevens, All Delighted People EP (Asthmatic Kitty Records, 2010). Visit here to purchase the album. If you don’t have the proper systems in place to catch every scrap of Sufjan Stevens related news on the Internet, you might have missed his reported existential crisis. It was a scary moment for fans. Sufjan hadn’t produced a proper LP since 2005’s Illinoise, and then last October he said, “I’m wondering what am I doing? What is a song even? I’m questioning,... Read More


After resurrection, Jesus acted strange, materializing through solid wood, even though he didn’t look that different. The gashes seeped still, varnishing the tentative hand, the fingers that needed to know him new. Let me say how strange I feel, trusting this to be true—that a body can be both mortally wounded and whole enough to dodge decay, As though, half-emptied of corporeality, halfway to heaven, his hands were still bony enough to gut a couple lake fish and grill them, taking... Read More