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Literature

Chewing Tinfoil, Wanting God: Christian Wiman’s <i>He Held Radical Light</i>

Chewing Tinfoil, Wanting God: Christian Wiman’s He Held Radical Light

What is it we want when we can’t stop wanting? Christian Wiman’s new essays resist review. Reviews of art are always a strange effort, anyway. An exhibition of paintings or a play or a concert or a novel or a poem, all are experiences, experiences of difference—when our action is displaced but our hearts and […]

What If My Whole Life Has Been Wrong?

What If My Whole Life Has Been Wrong?

A stirring face-off with existential dread, by Eric Youngblood: An unopened bill still must be paid. I suspect we have all realized it to be so. Even though your mortgage statement sits stacked and unexamined on top of bills from the water company, Chase Manhattan Bank, and Comcast, none of them can go untended to […]

On Our Bookshelf: From the Déjà Vu Issue

On Our Bookshelf: From the Déjà Vu Issue

If you get déjà vu scanning this list, it would be no surprise…you may have encountered some (but perhaps not all!) of these titles on this site. As compiled for the latest issue of The Mockingbird, these are the books we’ve been reading and re-reading this summer: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison: […]

Gravity, Grace, Weight, Love

Gravity, Grace, Weight, Love

In one of her strange and gleaming essays in The Givenness of Things, Marilynne Robinson describes grace this way: ‘Grace’ is a word without synonyms, a concept without paraphrase. It might seem to have distinct meanings, aesthetic and theological, but these are aspects of one thing—an alleviation, whether of guilt, of self-interest, or of limitation. […]

Death, Critique, Heaven, and Hell

Death, Critique, Heaven, and Hell

Last spring, I finished my undergrad, where I drug myself through a severely disoriented and disorienting thesis. Among the many lessons I learned in the process, I discovered something that deeply hindered my academic writing: I hated it. This revelation surprised me because I entered that research project believing I liked it and did it […]

That Time I Caved and Finally Read <i>Harry Potter</i>

That Time I Caved and Finally Read Harry Potter

On Monday, I experienced what millions of people were doing decades ago: I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire until 1:00AM. No way was I going to go to sleep on a cliffhanger! Earlier in the evening, my housemate got home just as I started to scratch the surface of the most intense […]

J.B. Roane and the Case of the Entrepreneurial Pastor

J.B. Roane and the Case of the Entrepreneurial Pastor

A new original short story featuring the Rev J.B. Roane: The three of us sat at one of those concrete picnic tables at a rest stop a good fifteen miles from town. My two potential clients, both pastors, were not necessarily sure they wanted to be seen talking to the likes of me. “‘J.B. Roane, […]

PZ's Podcast: Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life, Facing the Cannons (NOT!), and Tupper

PZ’s Podcast: Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life, Facing the Cannons (NOT!), and Tupper

EPISODE 252: Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life In a quote that’s been making the rounds recently, Rudolph Bultmann wrote, “When we encounter the words of Jesus in history, we do not judge them by a philosophical system with reference to their rational validity; they meet us with the question of how we are to interpret […]

The One Power Source That Never Fails ("Without Your Wound, Where Would Your Power Be?")

The One Power Source That Never Fails (“Without Your Wound, Where Would Your Power Be?”)

I don’t know about you, but in recent months I’ve been avoiding the news. It’s as if I’m using those skills we develop to screen out the advertising that bombards us in order to screen out the painful news cycles around me, only letting in the ones that seem to be key to my understanding […]

Sleeping the Pain Away: A Young Woman Takes a Chill Pill in "My Year of Rest and Relaxation"

Sleeping the Pain Away: A Young Woman Takes a Chill Pill in “My Year of Rest and Relaxation”

When asked about her favorite holiday, writer Ottessa Moshfegh says, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been on holiday…?” And then laughs. On the one hand, I suppose she could be speaking literally. But I take the above response as an invitation, a question: Do human beings ever really relax? After all, we never catch […]

PZ's Podcast: The Spider and the Fly

PZ’s Podcast: The Spider and the Fly

EPISODE 251 Benjamin Britten’s ‘Spider and the Fly’ number from his Suite for “Johnson over Jordan”, by J.B. Priestley, takes you by surprise. It sounds like Gershwin at the start, then becomes a kind of danse, and is ultimately sinister. The composer meant it like that, for he was drawn to Priestley’s play because it […]

Negative Grace: Eliot's Dark Gospel

Negative Grace: Eliot’s Dark Gospel

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre, The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, And we know that the hills and […]