O DEATH: CHRIST IN THE OUTSKIRTS

CHRIST IN THE OUTSKIRTS GEORGES ROUAULT, c. 1920

The other day I was part of a discussion where the subject turned toward death, and how people’s parents had handled the subject when they were kids. “It’s just like going to sleep,” several mothers had explained, which of course had plunged the poor little 5- and 6-year old tykes into months of bedtime existential […]

OPEN HOUSE: COME ON IN AND SEE MY CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS!!

Hey there! I thought I’d have a little open house and invite you all over today for Christmas! I haven’t said a whole lot about my current living situation but here’s the deal: I’m sharing a fairly huge house with the gal who owns it. There’s a curving walkway in the front, and in the […]

LANGER’S PASTRAMI GETS GRACED: MY FRIEND JOAN

JOAN BIGGS

My friend Joan has waitressed at Langer’s Pastrami for 21 years and at Factor’s Deli for 25, and she has a whole cast of characters who people her life. Her conversation is peppered with non sequiturs, anecdotes that start three-quarters of the way through, and references to the Cat Lady, the Barker, Jean, Sue B., […]

FAITH HEALER: WHAT BELIEF DOESN’T DO

I once reviewed a book by a man who had “lost” his religion. He was disgusted by pedophile priests, outraged that God doesn’t answer the prayers of amputees by restoring their missing limbs, aghast that televangelist faith healers are often (I would have said always) fakes, and in desperation had conducted a series of social surveys […]

UNSUNG SAINTS CONTINUED: MARY THE HAIRDRESSER

The good Brother André puts me in mind of another unsung saint: Mary Renaccio. Mar still attends daily Mass at St. Anthony’s on “Ahch” (Arch) Street in Boston, conducts a one-woman feeding/clothing/comforting the poor operation on the streets of the West End, and dispenses utterly sane, theologically sound, wisdom. “It haaaaaapened, Heathah,” she observed in a […]

ADVENT: THE WORK AND LIFE OF KENZABURŌ ŌE

The liturgical season known as Advent–the four weeks leading up to Christmas–has begun. In a season where we celebrate a God who assumed human flesh and came into the world as a baby–poor, in exile, surrounded by scandal–I’m thinking of the work of the Japanese writer Kenzaburō Ōe. In 1994,Ōe was awarded the Nobel Laureate […]