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Posts tagged "short stories"

In Praise of Confusion and John L'Heureux

In Praise of Confusion and John L’Heureux

John L’Heureux’s latest short story, published recently in the New Yorker, tells of a woman who wants a sign from God…and receives one, just not in the way she expected. You can read the whole thing here. It’s called “The Rise and Rise of Annie Clark.” Annie, a “capital-C Catholic,” moves through life trying to measure […]

"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 […]