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Posts tagged "Graham Greene"

Another Week Ends: Divine Accidents, Sunday Scaries, Workism, Artificial Obligations, Drama-Free Romance, and StoryMakers

1. So you’re trying to sleep, and it’s well after bedtime, but you’re tossing and turning and unable to get comfy, and you notice you’re replaying the same scenario in your head: some vision of tomorrow, of what might happen, how a hope could be dashed. If you’ve had this experience, you’re far from alone […]

Church of the Deconstruction

This piece was featured in Issue 7 of The Mockingbird: The Church Issue. Issue 8 is well underway! In a recent visit to Mexico, Pope Francis spoke to a congregation of Mexican bishops and clergy. His words were harsh, to say the least. Instead of decrying the social and political upheaval of the country, or […]

A Deathbed Summary of the Main Message (of Jesus)

Last year, the story of Stanford neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi went viral–and for good reason. The 36 year old Dr. Kalanithi was dying of lung cancer and had written an article for Stanford Medicine, in which he addressed his infant daughter in such moving terms that it feels trite to try to describe them. It turns […]

Ben Howard’s Bad Catholicism

For a number of reasons, I’m glad I pre-ordered Ben Howard’s latest album, I Forget Where We Were. When I got home Tuesday afternoon I found the album ready and waiting on my doorstep. I also found Howard’s lyrics, which would have eluded me for all of his incomprehensible slurring, printed inside the front cover. […]

Happy Birthday, Graham Greene and Wallace Stevens

6a00d83451c83e69e20120a5663af8970c-300wiTo the masters of the pen, we wish a happy birthday to Graham Greene and Wallace Stevens. This is from an interview Greene did with the Paris Review back in 1953 (ht WB). Greene, as we’ve said before, had an impeccable grasp of the upturned nature of the love of God, its invisibility to the pious and visibility lended to the humbled (the term “whisky priest” is his). Here he is talking about the “nerve of a theme” that traces through many of his greats: Brighton Rock, The End of the Affair, The Living Room, The Power and the Glory:

Steady, steady. Let’s put it this way. I write about situations that are common, universal might be more correct, in which my characters are involved and from which only faith can redeem them, though often the actual manner of the redemption is not immediately clear. They sin, but there is no limit to God’s mercy and because this is important, there is a difference between not confessing in fact, and the complacent and the pious may not realize it.


The Christ of Silence, Part One: Prayer and the Folded Arms of God

Here launches a three-part, week-long miniseries on Shusaku Endo’s eminent novel, Silence, about a Portuguese missionary in religiously repressed, 17th century Japan. The priest, Sebastian Rodrigues, in a paradoxically doubt-rife and no-less-gracious way finds his wayward trail to his own Calvary and, accordingly, into the very heart of God. The sea only stretches out endlessly, […]

Another Week Ends: Inner Machiavellians, Lutheran Insults, Whisky Priests, Monkees, Mets, Parenthood, Veep, Viola Davis and Frankenweenie

1. I’ll admit it: I’ve been trying to lay off the David Brooks, at least in the Weekend columns. As insightful as he frequently is, there are plenty of fish in the digital sea, are there not? Well, to paraphrase a Pacino, every time I think I’m out, he pulls me back in. That is […]

The Paradox of The Power and the Glory, Part Three: Love and Death

Here we have the concluding segment of our three-part series on The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene’s novel on a Mexican priest bound in life to love and death. [The lieutenant] wanted to destroy everything: to be alone without any memories at all…That, of course, was the best solution of all, to leave the […]

The Paradox of The Power and the Glory: Piety and the Whisky Priest

Continuing our three-part series on Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, we take a look at the paradoxical power of simul iustus et peccator in the nature of the whisky priest, the catholicity of the human experience, and the disarmament of piety in the name of love. For Part One, click here. A priest […]

The Paradox of The Power and the Glory, Part One: The Criminal as Parishioner

Here begins a week-long, three-part series on Graham Greene’s faith opus, The Power and the Glory, exploring his use of paradoxical realities of “this bloody land.” Through his “whisky priest,” the outlawed and only man left to administer the sacraments, Greene captures a world wherein the power is in the weak, and the glory is […]

The Power and The Glory and Luke 19

I was intrigued by a recent article in The NY Times entitled, “Mexican Church Takes a Closer Look at Donors,” which looks at the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico. Apparently it receives large donations from Mexican drug lords. It’s convicting for several reasons, and certainly made the ash on my head yesterday feel a little […]