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Religious


To the Ends of the House

“Ends of the Earth” I think about traveling To the ends of the earth Across a sea, To another state, Or at least to a different city To share your love Your redemption story Isn’t that what you desire from me? Before I pack my bags to leave In search of excitement and glory You […]

Long Distance Churching

“For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit…” (Colossians 2:5, RSV)

You are still my Dearly Beloved.
Gone are the proximate days we took for granted,
the friction of shoulders
mingling of voices
intimate meals of bread and wine.

Now we lay our hands
upon our screens
and pass the peace
by pressing Send.

We fear the rumors of loves
sundered by separation
and renew our vows
by keeping our distance:

Where you go I will not go
Where you lodge I will not lodge.
Your pixelated people are still my people
And your God my God.

The Blessing (in which I begrudgingly admit everything will be alright)

I am what my therapist calls a catastrophizer. I always play out the worst-case scenario in my head. I have done this for as long as I can remember. I used to think that it was just a way of being prudent and planning ahead. I have learned in the past few years that it […]

Is the Lord Among Us?

Grateful for this reflection, by Kenneth Tanner: As Christians, we do not live in denial about the downsides of existence. We do not deny the presence of evil as pestilence, or of evil as a lack of what is good and sustaining for us as creatures, nor do we ever imagine that these depravations are […]

Workism in a Literal Pandemic

Citing the likes of C.S. Lewis to Tara Isabella Burton, many have pointed out that our present crisis has only made clearer what we already knew to be true: that we are mortal beings. Our bodies are fragile, perishable, and will not last forever in their present condition. But the pandemic has also confirmed some […]

I’m a Believer…But Not Yet

The anxieties of the week weighed on me until I could take no more. I parked the car on my lunch break and climbed to the top of an observation hill, a spot where you can get an almost panoramic view of the city. As I took in the picturesque vista of the skyline and […]

I’m Doing Coronavirus Better Than You

This one was written by Shaun Roach. Coronavirus has turned out to be the largest religious (anti-)gathering of our day. The holy voices are loud and clear. Do not touch your face! Do not shake hands! Do not go out to eat! It feels like fourth-grade-Catholic-school-English class all over again. If you’re like me, you’re […]

The Absurdity of Death: A Lenten Reflection on Camus

I both love and am unsettled by Lent. This season of the church calendar has always felt especially “real,” or maybe “lived-in” to me. I don’t really know the right language to describe it. But where Christmas and Advent quickly become enmeshed in joyful-but-confusing commercialization, and Easter culturally comes and goes over the course of […]

The Best Penitential Season Ever, Or, A Lenten Kinship with the Devil

This year, my Lent was going to be the greatest in the history of all penitential seasons. I wanted to do something manageable that might make a big impact on my overall life: I had decided that I would go to bed every night at 9:30pm. This seemed achievable and wise. Not overly spiritual or […]

If Jesus Paid It All, What’s With All the Ashes?

This year’s Ash Wednesday sermon comes to us from Jason Micheli: Whenever I do a wedding rehearsal, I like to quash the unhelpful romanticism of the moment by pointing out to the bridal party that the ancient Church stole the outline of the marriage service from the Roman ceremony for the transferal of property. Who […]

An Exhausting Valentine’s Day c/o the “Religious Cards Section”

Last week I found myself flipping through wedding cards, looking for the perfect one for a friend tying the knot this month. I always have high expectations to find what I never can — the perfect mix of sincerity, humor, a nice design, and not too much cheese. It’s an impossible task. And I’ve always […]

Why Ada Calhoun Can’t Sleep

I’ve been struck by the publicity surrounding Ada Calhoun‘s new book, Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis, which takes as its subject the creeping insomnia, restlessness, and burnout Calhoun has noticed among American women of her own generation. While we wait for the book itself to arrive, a couple soundbites of Calhoun tracing the shape of today’s little-l laws were too tempting not to post. And probably goes without saying but her diagnosis extends beyond the demographic in question; as a non-GenX lady, I recognize much of this in my own life. Shades of #seculosity abound! (Note how many times the word “enough” is used). This first bit is from an interview she did with NPR:

“One thing that a sociologist who studies the generations told me is that our generation [Gen X] tends to judge ourselves based on everything. So if, you know, in the past the question was, how nice is your home? Or how good are you at your job? Now it’s like, it’s all of the things. So it’s – are you a good parent? Are you good at work? Are you – you know, is your house nice? Are you in shape? Are you recycling? Like, it’s every single factor in life you have to excel at. And I think that level of pressure is unsustainable.

These next paragraphs are taken from Calhoun’s Q&A with Maria Shriver:

What I think happened to women in this generation was when we were girls we were told we could “be anything, even president!” And as I was interviewing all these women around the country I heard from them that the idea that they could do anything somehow morphed somehow into a directive that they must do everything—and do it all effortlessly. In middle age, they are likely to find that they haven’t lived up to this fantasy they had for themselves, epitomized by the crimes against humanity that were those Enjoli perfume ads about bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan. If women bought into that idea (as many of us did), they may have a family but not a career or vice versa and then feel like they are not doing enough. Even a lot of women I talked to who were doing a stressful full-time job and a lot of caregiving (the classic definition of “it all”) felt like they had failed in some way—maybe they had both work and family but they weren’t in good physical shape, their kids weren’t getting good grades, they worked all the time but still couldn’t afford a nice vacation, or they were just very, very tired…

In interviewing these women, I learned that a lot of the stress seemed to be coming out of shame—they felt they should be more successful, maybe, but also more grateful. They would say, “I’m so lucky, I have no right to complain.” And then they would describe what they expected from themselves and what they were dealing with. The responsibilities and pressures would be massive, but the thing that seemed to be pushing them over the edge into despair was this idea that they were whining if they admitted how hard it was. They would dismiss what they were feeling by making a joke about #FirstWorldProblems. And they would tell me that they knew if only they could do enough yoga or find the right herbal tea or learn about CBD oil, the feeling of unease would go away. This book tries to show that no, if you are stressed out it isn’t necessarily that you did something wrong or you haven’t made the right chore chart—maybe the deck is stacked against you.