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Soap Woman

Mütter Museum, Philadelphia Of suds or mud, her realm was the kitchen, but now in this museum, this glass case, she rests open-mouthed. Just another woman—dead of yellow fever, her own hands once plunged into hot water, the sting of luster before the headaches, the bile of jaundice. She didn’t last long at her sink, instead to bed, the sky yellows into hemorrhagic stupor. Buried quickly, interred with hundreds, other places, in lye to hasten decay, the earth betrayed her, then... 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, death and life, and the steady current of illuminated ordinariness that flows throughout. Mariani... Read More


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 you, remind you. You read—Jesus called this morning—and you know this is your lover. Nine years... 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 frees the elephant, lion and giraffe. The sisters knew she would laugh when the animals followed... 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 Yet Altizer had not moved beyond God. In the forward to Altizer’s memoir, Mark C. Taylor states,... 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 model of “doing church” has revealed its ugly falsehood, and if Christians are to recapture... 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 subsumed by the dark and the light. Then, one painting forbids me to move forward. An artist I’ve... Read More

A Biblical Approach to Suicide Prevention: Where Did the Greeks Go Wrong?

Despite erroneous statements of some writers to the contrary, the Hebrew scriptures state clear and strong prohibitions against suicide and consider it to be an immoral act. The biblical prohibition against suicide derives from two sources: one from the Decalogue, “Thou shall not commit murder” (Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17), and the other from Noahide law, “For your lifeblood too, I will require a reckoning” (Gen. 9:5). The Hebrew scriptures also contain several additional... Read More

Diminutive Disasters Of Calamaties, Of Innocence, Of Passing, and Of Insanity

Click on the image below (Of Insanity) to open Barry Krammes’s exhibit in a resizable browser. Artist’s Statement For the past thirty years, I have been interested in the sculptural process of assemblage art. Assemblage is the three-dimensional equivalent of the collage techniques invented by Picasso and Matisse. In assemblage, the artist transforms found objects into sculpture by gluing, soldering, or welding them together. Assemblage creates meaning through... Read More

Lessons from My Daughter: Reflections on Life, Death, the Church, and Utilitarian Ethics

On November 23, 1993, my wife and I were suddenly thrown into an unknown country, the one of people with disabilities and their families.1 Our daughter Karis was born with cerebral palsy. All four hemispheres of her body suffered significant movement damage; she could not eat, get dressed, brush her teeth, comb her hair, or touch her nose without our assistance. She never talked, only cried and smiled. We never knew her favorite food, her dreams or feelings, her likes or... Read More