US Catholic Faith in Real Life

‘Alwasta’ speaks to fame and power

Rapper Oddisee's new album reflects on life as a Muslim American in a post-9/11 world.

By Nicholas Liao |
Article Culture

Sudanese American rapper Oddisee inhabits a delicate space in the star-obsessed rap world—bigger than underground, but not yet a household name. Still, the D.C.-born artist is on the rise, beloved by critics and hip-hop purists for his thoughtful, intricate rhymes and self-produced beats that recall the so-called golden age of rap. 

Anthony Weiner and the delusions of American politics

The Anthony Weiner saga forces us to ask questions about the state of our politics.

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article Culture

The tradition of fly-on-the-wall documentaries about American political campaigns is a long and mostly honorable one. It starts in 1960 with Primary, which took newly-invented portable equipment behind the scenes with John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey as they fought for the Democratic presidential nomination. And it runs all the way through By the People: The Election of Barack Obama (2009) and Mitt (2014). In between came the greatest of them all, The War Room

The Obamas: How it all began

‘Southside with You’ tells the story of Michelle and Barack Obama's first date and plants the seeds for all that comes after.

By Elizabeth Lefebvre |
Article Culture

After seeing Barack and Michelle Obama in the public eye for the last eight years, it can be difficult to think of them as anything other than the President and the First Lady. In Southside with You, we get a glimpse of a fictionalized retelling of their first date in Chicago during the summer of 1989. 

Diana Hayes on Black women of God

Out of Black womens' struggle is birthed a spirituality that focuses on community, creativity, and the omnipresence of God.

By Emily Sanna |
Article Culture
No Crystal Stair: Womanist Spirituality
By Diana L. Hayes (Orbis Books, 2016)

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 |
Article Culture
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 |
Article Culture

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 |
Article Culture

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 |
Article Culture

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 |
Article Culture

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?

‘Call the Midwife’ shows life on screen

‘Call the Midwife' brings us nuns who are sharp-eyed observers of their community.

By Pamela Hill Nettleton |
Article Culture

Childbirth on television is not, shall we say, precisely accurate. Hollywood seems to consider a new human being’s arrival on the planet to be utterly lacking in dramatic tension and so for decades has embroidered television and film stories about labor and delivery with implausible narrative flourishes apparently aimed at injecting excitement into something that is, in actuality, pretty darn exciting all on its own.