“This Morally Inverted Universe:” An Interview with Max McLean

Janice Walker

Coming to the end of the curtain call, award-winning actor Max McLean broke the fourth wall to inform the audience of the Lansburgh Theater in Washinton, D.C. (which included your humble interviewer) that he “worked for [Screwtape's] ‘Enemy.'” Paradoxically, precisely by positioning himself firmly within the service of Christian theatrical arts, McLean has liberated himself and his production company, The Fellowship for the Performing Arts from the restrictions and stigmas of that genre. [Read more...]

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Age of Faith and Reason

Michael F. Flynn

It is through reason that we are human. For if we turn our backs on the amazing rational beauty of the World we live in, we should indeed deserve to be driven therefrom, like a guest unappreciative of the house into which he has been received.
— Adelard of Bath, Quaestiones naturales

It is often said that until the Scientific Revolution Islam was far ahead of the Christian West in the natural sciences. This belief is a reaction to an earlier age of Western triumphalism that overlooked the genuine achievements of the Islamic philosopher (faylasuf); but like many reactionary movements, it overcompensates and praises a golden age that never quite was. Europe was never quite the dark age of ignorance that the “enlightened” philosophers pretended. [Read more...]

Theatrical Review: The Screwtape Letters

Janice Walker

The Screwtape Letters
Fellowship for the Performing Arts
Westside Theatre & Box Office, 407 W 43rd St (9th Ave), NYC.
Performances begin May 10, 2010

The snake may have all the lines, but this was never put to such glorious effect as in the Fellowship for the Performing Arts’ production of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. In this more than timely production now on national tour, actor Max McLean as demonic Under Secretary Screwtape has brought a new dramatic energy to the devilish epistolary and holds up a mirror to our own noisy, confounded, joyless age. [Read more...]

Book Review: Say You’re One of Them

Katy Carl

Say You’re One of Them
By Uwem Akpan
Little, Brown and Company, 2008
368 pp., $23.99/$26.99
ISBN: 9780316113786

It is a great thing that these seven stories, having been chosen for a certain famous book club, will now receive a flood of richly deserved attention. It is a shame that so little of the attention will take into account how Uwem Akpan’s Catholic faith shapes his narratives, or even find that phenomenon worth accounting for. Without such an accounting, the stories cannot be completely understood. Because without such an accounting, the stories—as the New York Times review of July 27, 2008, found them—can be read as merely “grim reportage” of horrors on the ground on a continent few American readers have visited and still fewer understand. [Read more...]

Book Review: The Abbess of Andalusia

Katy Carl

The Abbess of Andalusia
By Lorraine V. Murray
TAN Books, 2009
256 pp., $16.95
ISBN: 9781935302162

Knowing Flannery O’Connor’s lifelong resistance to being dubbed “holy,” Lorraine Murray shows great daring in producing what amounts to almost a hagiography of the self-named “Sour Sage of Sugar Creek.” One imagines the resistant scowl growing on the authorial countenance. “I wish to put this to rest at once,” she raps out, as she did once when Robert Lowell, in the throes of a fraught reconversion and on the brink of mental illness, was tearing around Manhattan canonizing Flannery from the rooftops. [Read more...]

Transcription

Rosamund Hodge

Hands can touch the page,
Eyes discern and classify the script:
Curl of a g, slant of a d,
Forked ascenders on an oblique loop—
The scripted mystery reduced
To date and hand and place
And accurate transcription. [Read more...]

Presences

Andrew Thornton-Norris

At the shrine of the Blessed Virgin I
Confessed my sins. When I came home again
I found three presences waiting there.
I looked straight into their faces and saw
Their long tails and fur and fleet feet.
They told me that my sins were animal,
And that the cure was to get them out.

In his new book, The Spiritual History of English, Andrew Thornton-Norris argues that today’s social and cultural decay comes from the death of Protestantism in the 1960’s. He believes that only the Catholic Church is able to provide once protestant countries such as Britain and America with the underlying sense of values that they have lost. Andrew Thornton-Norris is the author of The Ghost of Identity, a novel, and a graduate of the Universities of Oxford and London.

Koine

Joseph O’Brien

—for Lucy

At winter solstice

Can you find the right words? On the surface, letters add 
 Little to the capital search. But buried beneath the cases
Are the common shapes for tongues to fit. So, child, blow
 The wind with lips pursed. The grey evocations of winter 
Wilt the chary flames of autumn and die at equinox,
 To drip from eaves in afterthought. But now the weeks have passed
Into solstice. Months die away. The year and day remain 
 The weather of a calendar, although not the same as weather
Itself. The primer page will tell no fortune except to tell how
 The course is run. Hills and valleys… along the lively surface,
Your tiny soda-bottle fingers, chubby with their growth
 To come, trace and sculpt, and find and fail and find again.

[Read more...]

The Agony in the Garden

Ketha Spicer

A bitter boy knelt in a pile of dirt,
And tears furrowed his cheek. A spinach leaf
Covered him, and the young corn hid his grief.
The morning had grown to acres of hurt,
And there was no way out. Weeding was doom.
No plastic soldiers now would charge the peas,
Or cool Tonka trucks rumble through the seas
Of carrot tops. Amidst the onions gloom
Was all. The glory of a sunflower
In August, or a cabbage in the fall,
Was not enough to stop his cry. He’d weep,
And weep again, before the sorry hour
Had passed. For now, the sweat and filth were all
The harvest he could see, or think to reap.

Ketha Spicer is the second of nine children born to devout evangelical parents. She lives in Vancouver, WA, where she was born. In 1994 she entered the Catholic Church through the influence of her sister. She is not married, but has two adopted daughters who were born in Calcutta and are now in their twenties. She also has a beautiful three-year-old grandson.