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Posts tagged "short stories"

"Say Yes" - Tobias Wolff's Parable of Faith

“Say Yes” – Tobias Wolff’s Parable of Faith

In Tobias Wolff’s 1985 short story, “Say Yes,” a husband and wife are washing and drying the dishes. He is clearly proud of himself for what a considerate husband he is to help with household chores. But whatever goodwill he has earned evaporates when, in casual conversation, he expresses his opposition to interracial marriage. When […]

A Gift Discarded in Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums"

A Gift Discarded in Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”

Somehow, all these years later, that “dark speck” has stuck with me. I first spotted it over 30 years ago, when I discovered John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” (available online here) in a short story class in college. I knew then that there was much more much going on in that beautiful story than I would  […]

The Magnetic Power of a Proxy Marriage

The Magnetic Power of a Proxy Marriage

My late father-in-law, a pastor, used to say he would rather officiate a funeral than a wedding. It shocked my young ears at the time, but after I became a pastor I could see his reasoning. Weddings, at their worst, have a kind of dramatic tension that completely overwhelms its sacramental significance. Not all brides […]

Short Story Wednesdays: "Where I'm Calling From" by Raymond Carver

Short Story Wednesdays: “Where I’m Calling From” by Raymond Carver

If Alcoholics Anonymous really is a model for the Church, then Raymond Carver has some of the best ecclesiology around! This time we turn to a story from his Cathedral collection about addiction, love, empathy, and (just maybe!) redemption. To read along, go here. The next morning Frank Martin got me aside and said, ‘We […]

Short Stories: The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges

Short Stories: The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges

This time, we turn to one of the famous Argentine’s stories about religion, language, fatalism, and self-justification. To read along, go here. In classic, weird Borges style, “The Library of Babel” takes us to an alternate/future/past universe, one of a tremendous library-world whose citizens are constantly trying to discover the meaning of the world they […]

Holiness is Being a Vagabond: Reflections on Tolstoy's "Father Sergius"

Holiness is Being a Vagabond: Reflections on Tolstoy’s “Father Sergius”

To read along, go here. The possibility for man to come to God lies precisely in the fact that he is a sinner… As he was pursued by desire and fear, so he was pursued by God. -Rudolf Bultmann, “The Problem of ‘Natural Theology’” Leo Tolstoy’s short story “Father Sergius” is a parable of conversion […]

Short Story Wednesdays: "The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller" by Gustave Flaubert

Short Story Wednesdays: “The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller” by Gustave Flaubert

This week, we get to hear all about Christianity, morality, and sanctification, from the ever-insightful Gustave Flaubert, in his fantastic story about learning to hunt as an up-and-coming medieval prince. After a series of twists, we meet Jesus Christ in a riverside hovel. Read along here. Only the saint knows sin. -W.P. DuBose A pretentious […]

Short Story Wednesdays: "An Encounter" by James Joyce

Short Story Wednesdays: “An Encounter” by James Joyce

Introducing a new feature! Weekly or quasi-weekly postings of short stories followed by a few observations/thoughts on the story – they’ll all be available online, and discussion is (highly) encouraged for those who are inclined. As an opening salvo, I thought we’d look at “An Encounter” from James Joyce’s Dubliners, a beautiful little composition set in […]