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About Richard Mammana

A Pennsylvanian in Connecticut, Richard Mammana is a father, author, reviewer, archivist, web developer and ecumenist. He is the founder of

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Author Archive

    Anno Domini and the New Era

    The first day of April this year brings the announcement in Japan that that country’s calendar cycle is about to re-set to Year One. The matter is obscure outside of Japan itself and its immediate neighbors, but you can see the option for a Japanese calendar—cued to the beginning of each emperor’s reign—on iPhones and […]

    Looking East

    Through accidents of First Worldness, I have come to spend much of my life in airports and on airplanes. I live in a city so small that its airport has flights to only one city—Philadelphia—and where there is active opposition to the idea of lengthening the runway so that we might be able to travel […]

    Popsicles and Prayer Books

    Despite a seldom-interrupted lifelong habit of weekly church attendance, I have difficulty recalling the content and personal impact of more than about a dozen sermons. I may be a poor auditory learner in any case, and my lack of recall does not reflect on the homiletical abilities of my many friends who spend hours every […]

    Of Millstones

    One of the most stark and terrifying verses in all of the world’s religions is attributed to Jesus not once, nor twice, but three times identically in three different gospels: “Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he were thrown into […]

    A New Chapter

    One of the most memorable moments in all of Western literature is in Augustine’s Confessions. In 383, the future Bishop of Hippo was 29 years old, and not yet a baptized Christian. He was, however, a brilliant and earnest inquirer after truth, and Christianity was a young thing with many sharp competitors. Augustine had traveled […]

    The Stray Bible of Christmas 1993

    I spent Christmastide of 1993-1994 in a rural village on Shikoku, Japan’s smallest main island. I was 13, impossibly skinny—my brain a language-sponge my Japanese classmates teased me about for being more Japanese than Japanese. There is almost nothing I forget about that winter vacation: the udon noodles, the persimmons from the trees in the […]

    The Tree on the Curb

    Few physical objects cause me more sorrow than do discarded Christmas trees. Starting on Christmas Day itself, they begin turning up on the curb. (I saw one in Connecticut already thrown away on Christmas Eve this year.) Some are tossed away still with lights and decorations on them, while others are stripped of their finery […]

    Suitcases of Evil

    Editor’s note: the following post touches on disturbing topics such as child abuse and should be read with discretion. It is a follow-up to Richard’s recent piece, “Praying Twice.”

    Praying Twice

    Editor’s note: the following post touches on sensitive topics such as child abuse and should be read with discretion. I am a member of one of the very smallest of American fraternities: the tiny and shrinking group of men who grew through early adolescence singing in Anglican boychoirs. Because I could and can sing, I was given in […]

    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 […]

    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 […]

    (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 […]