US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Jason Isbell's brilliant lyrics describe the struggle of blue collar life

A review of Jason Isbell's newest album, Something more than free

By Danny Duncan Collum | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The release of Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free was as much of a mainstream media event as one can expect in this age of audience fragmentation. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard charts in country, rock, and folk, and it garnered Isbell profiles everywhere from The New Yorker to NPR.  

Isolated brothers rely on movies and each other in ‘The Wolfpack'

By Kathleen Manning | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The Wolfpack
Directed by Crystal Moselle (Kotva Films, 2015)
After watching Star Wars as kids, no wrapping paper roll in my house was safe; my brothers and I stole them for light saber battles. The Wolfpack opens with a similar scene of kids recreating movies, but only slowly does this documentary reveal the strange necessity of their movie play. 

Is social justice the same as socialism?

By Kathy McGourty | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Lately there have been accusations that a church with a social justice mission is one that supports socialism.

Conservative TV personality Glenn Beck told Christians, "I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice' or ‘economic justice' on your church website. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. . . . If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop."

Our health care system needs a heart transplant

By Thomas G. Pretlow, M.D. | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
And our politicians need a brain transplant. Universal health care is the most compassionate option we have, argues a Catholic doctor, and it’s the smartest, most economical solution as well.

The Congo’s killing fields

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Families separated. Millions left for dead. Do we share some of the blame?

Patrick Mwnyamahord knows where his father is buried because a neighbor showed him that small place. What he doesn't know is how his father got there, and there was no one he could safely ask, not then. Twelve years ago he and his family made one of a series of sudden escapes from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into nearby Burundi. On this particular exodus his father was too ill to travel and the family had to leave him.

Stories of Syria

‘Never Can I Write of Damascus' leads its readers deeper than the violence in Syria and tells stories of human resilience, beauty, and poetry.

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Never Can I Write of Damascus
By Theresa Kubasak and Gabe Huck (Just World Books, 2016)

‘Stranger Things’ is all too familiar

The Netflix series reminds us of the last breath of childhood, before we realize that monsters aren’t just in stories, board games, and horror movies.

By Jessica Mesman Griffith | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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I used to wonder when I’d finally feel grown up. I thought it would be a more cataclysmic rite of passage—like getting married, having a baby, or going to your best friend’s funeral. But I’d done all those things in my 30s, and I still felt 16 at heart. In truth, it was a small moment on the playground with my 10-year-old daughter that made me realize adulthood had arrived without my even noticing. 

Bon Iver's ‘22, A Million' is designed to mystify

Justin Vernon's first new album in five years adds to the studied mystery of Bon Iver.

By Ann Christenson | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Back in the fall of 2012, Justin Vernon told Minnesota Public Radio that Bon Iver was perhaps nearing its end. Vernon had been on tour for a year at that point with Bon Iver—the indie-folk project he’d launched in 2007 with the debut album For Emma, Forever Ago—and needed some space from the national attention it and he had garnered. If time out of the media spotlight was what the 35-year-old Vernon needed, he seemed to find it.

Chance the Rapper: An unexpected voice of faith

Chance the Rapper embraces both the beautiful and the broken.

By Nicholas Liao | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Chance the Rapper wants you to know he’s blessed. It’s a theme that pervades his long-awaited third solo album, Coloring Book, which recently became the first streaming-exclusive mixtape to chart on the Billboard top 200. 

It’s hard to disagree. In recent months, the unsigned 23-year-old Chicago rapper has been making a serious run at the hip-hop throne. Drake may have the year’s bestselling rap album, but Chance is the people’s champ, rebuffing record labels and releasing music for free. 

When science and faith collide

In ‘Quantum Shift’ Heidi Ann Russell explores the theological and pastoral implications of quantum physics.

By J. Peter Nixon | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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When the Disney movie Frozen was released in 2013 it didn’t take long before my daughter was singing every song from the movie. After hearing the movie’s signature song day after day, there were some things I began to wonder. Just what is a “frozen fractal” anyway?