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Posts tagged "Richard Mammana"

Singing Down

Singing Down

There is a tendency to portray the bedtime of small children as something idyllic: warm milk, brief books read aloud from memory, the tucking in, the easy descent to slumber, the uninterrupted rest following, the sweet dreams. And there is without doubt a specific holiness in the quiet of a room where a child sleeps—once the child of a certain age is truly asleep and no longer occupied by fear-of-missing-out should she close her eyes.

I have come to know this time of night in toddlerhood as the managed period during which a myriad of things happen: the brushing of teeth,…

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Top Hat Meets Obelisk

Top Hat Meets Obelisk

For about a century, proud and dead Americans imagined themselves to be Egyptians. Throwing away the simple, hopeful crosses of common grave-marking, and setting aside the robust traditions of soaring angels and death’s heads of Puritan or German decoration, we erected obelisks in our own memory. It doesn’t seem to have ever extended to mummification and canopic jars, but it was a fad of fads that grew up following the Napoleonic spoliation of Egypt—and the sudden appearance of Cleopatra’s needles in Paris, Rome, London, and New York. It ended as abruptly as it began. But the obelisks still poke the…

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(Young) Woman at the Well

(Young) Woman at the Well

In the narthex of my parish church there is a beautiful monument of American religious art: two ceiling-high wooden tablets, both with gold lettering on a black background. One carries the text of the Ten Commandments. The Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer are on the other.

The Law, the Gospel, and the Church’s simplest roadmap of belief are contained here in little space and in one field of vision.

J. Kirk Richards

This is a frequent element of protestant Anglican church adornment, usually fixed on the eastern wall where all can see it: text-based, instructive, non-debatable, leveling of cleric and squire…

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Gratitude for the Waves

Gratitude for the Waves

In the genetic funnel that began my life, the English came in 1634, and the Dutch a few months later. The Germans came in annual waves as religious Pietists or farming Protestants between 1720 and 1750, and again as song- and beer-loving Papists in the 1860s. My cheek swab and my waist tell a story of German rotundity with just fractional admixtures of religion and surname. The Italians arrived with their mozzarella in the famous year of 1901. By the time I was born in Pennsylvania in 1979, we had somehow avoided the temptations of Manifest Destiny, and clung for…

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