Tag Archives: Christianity

Emily Dickinson’s “Smart Misery” of Doubt

Emily Dickinson struggled with religious doubt all of her life. Because she desperately wanted to belief, some of her poems show her faith being tested.

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A Debate about Sex, Pullman vs. Milton

This is the 20th anniversary of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series, which gives me an excuse for once again tilting with the fantasy author and figuring out my own thoughts on our vexed relationship with sexuality and our bodies. Once again I conclude that Milton goes far deeper into these issues than Pullman does.

Posted in Everyman poet, Milton (John), Nemerov (Howard), Pullman (Philip) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sir Gawain and Celtic Spirituality

“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” may represent the clash between two strains of Christianity which today we describe as Dominionism and Green Christianity. The 14th century poem definitely comes down on the green side.

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The Cross Recounts the Crucifixion

“Dream of the Rood” tells the story of the crucifixion from the cross’ point of view.

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Enthralled by Anglicanism’s Theatricality

Spiritual Sunday Last month I posted on a wonderful Alice Munro short story, “The Age of Faith,” about a girl wrestling with issues of faith. In today’s post I look specifically at the protagonist’s experience with the town’s Anglican church since I myself am Anglican (or, as we call it in America, Episcopalian). Most of […]

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Something Different Crosses the Threshold

Mary Oliver gives a powerful reading of Jesus calming the storm.

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A Bright Torch Shines to Show the Way

John Donne’s “Ascension” captures the paradoxes of the resurrection and ascension.

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A Hermit of the Rocks, Wind & Mist

R. S. Thomas’s powerful poem “Sea-Watching” compares waiting for the Holy Spirit with bird watching.

Posted in Thomas (R. S.) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Frodo’s Battle with Sin

Students discover that “Lord of the Rings” is a story about their Christian journeys.

Posted in Tolkien (J.R.R.) | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Black Students Examine Uncle Tom

Two African American male students find continued worth in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

Posted in Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Also tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

the dance of Jesus music holds the air

These Lucille Clifton poems usher us from Lent into Easter.

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Here Is No Water but Only Rock

Dry rocks have functioned as images of spiritual desolation throughout the history of Good Friday poetry.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Herbert (George), Rossetti (Christina) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Opening of Eyes Long Closed

A Salman Rushdie short story and a David Whyte poem lead to insights into the story of Jesus and the blind man.

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“Jane Eyre” as Lenten Meditation

In Jane’s battle with St. John Rivers, we have material that helps us understand the true meaning of Lent.

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Pullman Is of the Devil’s Party

Philip Pullman based “Dark Materials” on “Paradise Lost” but came up with a theological muddle.

Posted in Blake (William), Milton (John), Pullman (Philip) | Also tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Real Religion Is Like Literature

If the “Chronicles of Narnia” are read narrowly as Christian propaganda, then they suffer and so does Christianity.

Posted in Lewis (C. S.) | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment

This House Is Filling with Light

Tim Winton’s novel “That Eye, the Sky” finds spiritual resonance in difficult circumstances.

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Christianity in the Slave Owning South

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” shows how the Bible can be misused and how we should interpret it to promote social justice.

Posted in Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Also tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Christianity vs. Capitalism

Conservatives criticizing Pope Francis would benefit from this Robert Nemerov poem.

Posted in Nemerov (Howard) | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment

In the Beginning Was the Word

The opening of the Book of John is poetry of the first order.

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Weeping, We Hold Him Fast Tonight

Christina Rossetti invokes Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins awaiting the bridegroom in this Advent poem.

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Dear God, Drive These Cruel Doubts Away

Anne Bronte’s moving poem shows her wrestling with deep spiritual doubts.

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Farewell to the Boy with the Golden Crown

Yesterday at my father’s memorial service I read ones of his poems about the recurrent cycle of life.

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Mary Is Called, the Parting Hour Is Come

Richard Crashaw celebrates the Feast of the Assumption with a feminized Christianity.

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i put him all into my arms

e. e. cummings’ “man who had fallen among thieves” brings the Good Samaritan parable uncomfortably close to home.

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Love Life, Say No to Christian Masochism

Tom Jones gives us a healthier vision of Christianity than that which puts all the emphasis on worldly suffering.

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The Something Inside the Nothing

Closely examining St. Paul’s “road to Damascus” conversion experience also reveals insight into the poetic process.

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Uncontrollable Mystery on the Bestial Floor

A Yeats poem about the Magi helps us transition out of Christmas and back into our work lives.

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More Frightening than Arrest, Freedom

Levertov’s poem about Peter escaping prison confronts existential issues of freedom

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Epiphany Sunday and the Arabian Nights

The Christian Feast of the Epiphany and the Arabian Nights come together in a fanciful Scott Bates poem about the three wise men passing through Baghdad on their way to see Jesus.

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Rise, Heart, Thy Lord Is Risen

I write this the night before our sunrise Easter service where, as members of our church choir, Julia and I will arise before dawn to sing in the rising of the sun/son. No matter how early we get up, George Herbert’s “Easter” reassures us, the Lord is always there before us

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