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Back to school.

What was supposed to be a fourteen-month stint has turned into two-years-and-a-bit, so this weekend I’m packing up to return to the Middle East after a few months in the States. I am tearful and lucky. It’s confusing living in so many places at once: Philadelphia, Durham, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I often wake up and wonder what country I’m in. I’m excited, though, for more European and Middle Eastern jaunts; for lemonanna and fig season on my favorite tree; for my favorite body of water in all the world (the Med) and Cafelix; for Blundstone-spotting and curly haircuts.

As always, I’m resolving to read and write and photograph more, so perhaps I’ll see you there.

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Wave.

Hey there. It’s been a while. I’ve got some thoughts about returning to writing and taking pictures again soon, but they’re still only thoughts.

For now, I can tell you that Fleming Rutledge’s The Crucifixion was my favorite book I read in 2018, with Iris Murdoch’s The Green Knight runner-up. It took me over a month of 2019 to slog through Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea; I’d been told to read it several times, but it was my least favorite of hers so far. And I know I read something else before that, but I can’t remember what, and that suggests it wasn’t a win.

I can tell you that Bon Appetit’s Adult Mac & Cheese is worth getting down by memory and feel, without measuring cups; it’s not revolutionary, but it’s quick and just a few ingredients and less frustrating than cacio e pepe. Alison Roman’s The Stew, as Instagram calls it, is worth the hype.

Finally, I’ve been thinking about Chuck DeGroat’s words on Transfiguration Sunday & Ash Wednesday. I am a speck of dust. The world was made for me.

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Proclaiming.

What [Adorno and Horkheimer] championed was neither high art or low culture, but art that exposed the contradictions of capitalist society rather than smoothing them over — in short, modernist art.
— Stuart Jeffries in Grand Hotel Abyss

This semester I’ve been thinking a lot about preaching and what it is. It is not primarily art and it’s not all about capitalism and society, but still — exposing the contradictions, crossing high and low; I would be very, very proud to be called a modernist preacher.

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