The Other Journal

And as I Cycled, I Thought about God

And suddenly for me the gray pond of history is rent; it is fractured into a thousand contending waves; I hear the babble of voices. —Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger It is the end of winter but not quite spring, here in my adopted home at the southern end of the African continent. The sun is slowly rising over the neighboring houses,…

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The Other Journal

A Study in Superfluity

[God]’s a hedonist at heart. . . . He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working.  —C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters Where there is no extravagance, there is no love —Oscar Wilde, “Mr. Pater’s Last Volume”…

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The Other Journal

Seven Signs of Glory in the Gospel of John

Augustine of Hippo defines a sign as “a thing, which besides the impression it conveys to the senses, also has the effect of making something else come to mind.”1 For Augustine, signs can be natural (like smoke signaling fire or one’s affect signaling an emotional state), or signs can be conventional (like flags and banners or the words of this…

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The Other Journal

Anchors

If you are empty enough and done mowing on this the coolest evening of summer and somehow the rain didn’t follow through on all its threatenings and if you are blessed to have blood as thin as Kool-Aid because of your meds so you have an only slightly clotted map of the Euphrates on your arm where the rosebush snagged you and the fireflies suddenly appear and the cicadas start to chant their vespers just as dusk settles in thick and you realize that this delicious aroma in the air is really just the sweet smell of you after picking rosemary, spearmint, peppermint, catnip, sweet basil, purple basil, Thai basil, oregano, chives, thyme, and sage (though nobody knows or much less cares that you smell like a god or even that you go on and on, as if by exhaustion, by exhalation, you could finally reach exaltation), then you stand at the worn patch in your backyard  precisely where four amazing creatures learned to pitch by throwing a ball to you,  sometimes, no doubt, as they were thinking of all the things they would do after leaving this  safe place, this garden,  and you look…

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The Other Journal

Shelter Out of Place

My husband and I picked the unlucky month of March to sell our house. In Denver, house selling is already overwhelming—the endless signatures, loan officers needing scans of every receipt residing in the filing cabinet under the stairs, the legal procedures and lists and codes and strangers walking through the front door to decide if they want to inhabit your life.…

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The Other Journal

Resisting the Bonhoeffer Brand: A Life Reconsidered

For John W. de Gruchy, who illumines the path from the phraseological to the real. The biographer truly succeeds if a distinct literary form can be found for the particular life. —Leon Edel, Writing Lives: Principia Biographica Writing Lives “My God, how does one write a biography?” asks Virginia Woolf, as she muscles her way into a life of her friend, the…

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Unity and Diversity Walk Together: Reflections from Missiology and Family Systems

During an Easter Sunday mass celebrated under unprecedented circumstances, while the world sat in isolation, Pope Francis addressed the “whole human family,” urgently proclaiming that “this is not a time for division.” Encouraging unity, he said, “The whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic.”1 It is an odd pandemic experience—uniting in our agreement to…

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The Other Journal

Jesuit Life, Family Life

One could say that as a member of the Jesuits I trace my lineage back to 1540, when Pope Paul III confirmed the founding of our religious order, the Society of Jesus (Societas Jesu), or to 1534, when a group of seven Spaniards, Portuguese, and Frenchmen met in Paris to pledge their companionship (Compañia de Jesús) with religious vows of…

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The Other Journal

Fatherly Rage

It feels stupid to say I lost my cool because of a throw pillow, but as any parent knows, it’s the accumulation of little things that can send you over the edge. I was bending to shove a sneaker onto the foot of my son, who was refusing to do it himself. His older brother caught me in the back…

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The Other Journal

History Has Its Eyes on You

Few images better distill the experience of crushing boredom, impending doom, or raw excitement than a ticking clock. The tense movement of those hands promises consequence and story. It reveals history in action. In the ticking clock, we see time as drama.   But we also know that the hands of a ticking clock really onlypoint to the fictional times…

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The Other Journal

Made in God’s Image: Renewing the Divine Attributes in Humanity

God’s innate love—the matrix of the Trinity—bursts forth like particulates in cosmic motion, infusing humanity with God’s image and attributes. Elohim kneels in the primordial dust of this new creation with purposeful intent, fashioning one in God’s image. Into the nostrils Elohim breathes an animating life force, naming the apex of creation “Adam.” This narrative of humanity’s genesis sets the…

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The Other Journal

Looking at Family through a Resurrection Lens

We are relational beings, often hurt and healed within the context of relationships. This is clearly revealed in the Christian theological tradition, which understands relationality as the cornerstone of God’s creation and as a primary way that our being reflects God’s image: “God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness. . . . In the image…

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