Dawn Scott Damon discovers a door to grief: “The reality is, the grieving process requires risk—the risk of feeling violated, afraid, vulnerable, or any other emotion that may feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar. We might have to numb out to escape those scary, unwanted feelings and that’s counter-productive to grieving and healing. The beauty of grieving is that it requires us to feel. The only way out of pain is to go through the pain through the process of mourning.”

Ashley Hales reviews Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World: “Even something as small as our texting habits can offer an important window into our culture. We assign meaning to the space between sending and receiving messages. Waiting on a text can bring to the surface our social anxieties and desires for intimacy. It can reveal the tenuous fabric of digital connection. Waiting, then, isn’t simply blank space to do away with; it forms us in a deeper way than we tend to realize.”

DeAron Washington preaches on the power of hymns: “Robust theology in song is good for the soul. I love songs like ‘How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,’ ‘The Power of The Cross,’ and ‘Tis So Sweet.’ They remind us of the truths of the gospel, yet they lack instruction. Our songs on Sunday morning can be tools for evangelism. The slaves used their songs as evangelistic tools and made the spirituals instructive.”

Faith McDonnell pleas for an independent and safe South Sudan: “These are the people with whom I pray that we are going to see a New Sudan. Not the skipping town of one genocidal Islamist dictator, but the end of a genocidal Islamist regime. With my friends from Darfur, and the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile State, and Beja Land, and Nubia, I pray that we are going to see a New Sudan. As my friend Hawa and I chanted as we marched up Constitution Avenue a couple of months ago, ‘Old Sudan must go! New Sudan must come!’”

Simonetta Carr explores the life and teaching of Gregory of Nyssa: “Besides this reluctancy to face the frailty of their own human nature, Gregory explored other reasons for his listeners’ hesitancy to love the least loveable. One was the tendency to see mystifying disfigurations of a person’s body, such as in leprosy, as judgments from God.”

Bronwyn Lea reads the scripture with fresh eyes: “In this age of individualism, men and women are doubly compelled to tune in to the gospel’s corporate call. We are addressed directly and with familiarity—the children of God gathered around the Father’s table. And when he speaks to me as a sister in this family, I need to do more than listen in. I need to listen up.”

Justin E.H. Smith considers the modern pitfalls of satire: “Today it is no longer publications like The Onion that are driving the proliferation of satire. Nor is it the palliative care for liberals offered up by Stephen Colbert and the other the late-night talkers, or by ‘Saturday Night Live,’ now into its fifth decade of tedium. It is rather the culture of social media, often coming from obscure or anonymous sources. Here by comparison all other sources of humor, including professional comedians, seem quaint and futile.”

Caitlin Flanagan indulges in some long awaited schadenfreude: “During those three years before the mast, I saw no evidence of any of the criminal activity that the current scandal has delivered. But I absolutely saw the raw materials that William Rick Singer would use to create his scam. The system, even 25 years ago, was full of holes.”