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Writing the Christian Life

Lit, Journalism, Perf Arts

The essence and art of spiritual memoir serves as a kind of reality check for our own, less literary lives of faith. The art of memoir imaginatively reprises the language and experiences of ordinary Christians and their communities—prayer, testimony, praise, confession, doubt, and lament. When Dorothy Day begins The Long Loneliness by evoking the smell of candle wax and incense in the confessional, she is associating the act of writing with the faithful observances of the church. Writing is like confessing, except it is harder, more exposed, and almost never followed by absolution. When joined to the traditional practices of preaching, sacrament, and catechesis, the telling of a life helps shape Christian identity and discipleship.

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