Category: State of the World

On the treacherous question of Israel.

Some topics are so difficult, so treacherous and painful, that even notorious provocateurs like me navigate them trepidatiously, rarely, and noting with care who is listening. In my life, and the life of my family, Israel is such a topic. Oh, we think about it. We read about it constantly – nearly every day – …

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On going places.

This essay comes after three weeks since the last posting. I’d like to offer both an apology and an explanation: there’s been suddenly a flurry of activity in several areas of my professional life that has taken me up and twirled me in the air and doesn’t seem to want to put me down for …

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On tracks in the snow and beauty unseen.

This I am writing at someone’s request—a person I know well and love, who recently told me that her life had had no impact beyond, perhaps, having produced her children. She seems to have given into this thought, and so it is on her children’s achievements that she now pins all her hopes for making …

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On living prophethood. Part II: just marriage.

Continued from “Living prophethood. Part I: a fire shut up in my bones.” I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.  Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the …

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On living prophethood. Part I: a fire shut up in my bones.

To Bonnie Thurston, a beautiful hermit, a tremendous theologian, and a thought-bending poet—for reminding me of the things I must say, and for saying things better than I could. You are one of God’s better prophets.   The world is glorious. It is brimming with beauty and flowing in peace, it is soaked, it is …

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On loving despite.

Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed that easily. —Dorothy Day Another reflection read at the morning prayer sparks an inner dialogue in me – and here I go again, arguing with the author. Last time it was the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, who might still turn out …

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On marriage, Judge Jones, and unanswerable questions.

It started once again with an argument about marriage equality. “We don’t have anything against gays,” I heard from across the table. “Let them even have civil unions. But why do they have to get married?” It is tempting to get sucked into this line of argument, to start offering reasons for why “they have …

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On the wonder and why of an echo.

This morning I watched an echocardiogram. It was not the first echo I’d attended. In my years as a medical interpreter at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, I’ve been through at least a dozen of them with my Russian-speaking patients, but every time I see it happen I am awed at this wonder of medical …

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On pretty pictures and dialogue.

Main Street Café is where I come to write. Here in Massachusetts, I live in the attic of  a house with nine people, and from the boiling life of a large family I withdraw with my laptop and some books to my favorite table by the counter, my bottomless mug of coffee, and a casual …

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On why bad things don’t happen to all good people.

I have a dear friend who recently shared with me a worry that her life has been too smooth, too free of pain and strife. She is a wonderful person—kind, deeply caring, with a heart so large that she feels the pain of others as her own. She’s had a long and profoundly good life …

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