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Until an End Is Made

For BHF   We had only one more residency at Whidbey Island, in Washington State, until we graduated from our mostly long-distance writing program, so the four of us boys had decided to commemorate the occasion with a photo shoot. We’d chosen the perfect outfits—a combination of hipster, English prof, and frat boy—and we intended the pictures, taken by our friend Lindsey, to capture our genius forever. We four perched on the porch rail of a Victorian home, the sea in... Read More

A Christian Vagina Monologue

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. —1 Timothy 2:12–15 KJV The body’s grace itself only makes human sense if we have a language of grace in the first place; and that depends on having... Read More

On The (Gritty) Birth of Christ

The birth of my son was a frighteningly joyous affair—and a long time coming. Like most parents-to-be, the nine months prior to his birth were full of exhaustion and elation, hope and fear, and more than a little nervous uncertainty. My wife labored constantly for forty-eight hours, the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals only giving her slight relief. When my son finally allowed himself to be pushed into the world through a sea of bodily fluids, we were both overjoyed, though... Read More

Thief

“Do you love me?” Annette lay on the floor outside her sister’s room. Joan was nine and in bed, if not asleep. “Joan?” Annette faced a sliver of space between the door and the molding, the opening through which her sister lay. A strip of maroon carpet stretched behind her over the wooden floorboards, leading past the door to her bedroom and her mother’s room farther down the hallway. Annette pressed her cheek to the ground and pulled her knees up under her nightdress. “Do... Read More

Telling My Beads

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser. AudioPlayer.embed("audioplayer_1", {titles:"Telling%20My%20Beads",soundFile:"aHR0cDovL3RoZW90aGVyam91cm5hbC5jb20vd3AtY29udGVudC91cGxvYWRzLzIwMTIvMTEvVGVsbGluZy1NeS1CZWFkcy5tcDM"}); I fell asleep with the rainbow rosary around my neck. Twisted and tangled and caught— the wires bent and the beads slipped... Read More

Desk, with Window Frame and Heaven

Only the tops of trees, the blue sky. Sometimes a bird passing by. No sound from outside; the window won’t open. You ask me where I am. What I see. Sometimes all I see are the words behind my eyes. Sometimes, a book on the desk: Life of the Beloved. The Long Home. Or, a single sheet with that poem about falling in love. And there’s Jesus above on the cross, looking sad. We are all sad, aren’t we? Sometimes the white clouds billowing up. The flock of birds that sing so loud... Read More

Recovering the Gospel Behind the Creeds? A Review of How God Became King

N. T. Wright, How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2012). * * * N. T. Wright describes his most recent book as a solution to a problem. The problem is that “we have all forgotten what the four gospels are about,” namely a revolutionary new vision of God’s mission in the world (ix, Wright’s emphasis). The Gospels share this vision, Wright contends, despite their many differences and despite the various critical approaches that... Read More

Evil Is What Humans Do: An Interview with Christian Wiman

Christian Wiman is one of America’s most important poets. He is the editor of Poetry magazine, the author of several poetry and essay collections, and a revered contributor to such prestigious publications as the Harvard Divinity Bulletin and the New Yorker. His forthcoming book, My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer, explores the central themes of his work, including frailty, illness, and the love of God. In this interview, Wiman discusses his work, his attention... Read More

A Life In The Same Direction: A Review of Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor

Pastoral memoirs are not a genre in great demand. They don’t tend to make it to the New York Times Best Sellers list. After all, the pastoral vocation, some say, has fallen on hard times and Christian pastors writing about spirituality seem to have lost their influence in the marketplace of ideas. But there is an exception: Eugene Peterson, a man who has written successfully from the space of his pastoral life for over fifty years. In his new memoir, The Pastor, Peterson subversively... Read More

Measured Hope: A Meditation on the Third Week of Advent

A couple months ago, I ran across an article in the Atlantic that I thought was a sure fake (Chelsea Fagan, October 18, 2011). I read it once in disbelief; I read it a second time and thought, I must have stumbled across something from the Onion. The story just seemed too outlandish. It was an article on something called the “Paris Syndrome.” It explained that every year about twenty tourists in Paris are diagnosed with a physical illness that manifests itself in hallucinations,... Read More