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Ulf Ekman’s Charismatic Conversion

The founder of one of Sweden’s largest Protestant congregations is converting to Catholicism. This past Sunday Ulf Ekman announced to the Word of Life church he founded that he and his wife would swim the Tiber. Major news even in secular Sweden, the Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest . . . . Continue Reading »

A Holy Calling: To Keep Truth Alive

His real name was George Pease Williams, but to ward off insensitive school-yard taunts as a young boy he constructed a more elegant middle name for himself, and this is how he was known for the rest of his life: George Huntston Williams (1914-2000). When I arrived at Harvard University in 1972, he . . . . Continue Reading »

Seeking Moby Dick in Brooklyn

If you happen to be reading Moby Dick right now, and you live in Washington, DC, congratulations! The Kennedy Center is putting on an opera. Go see it (it closes tomorrow). If you don’t live in DC, however, and you live in some benighted cultural desert (like New York City) then nobody is . . . . Continue Reading »

Note from the Editor

I’d like to explain our new approach to publishing First Things online. First, we give away at least three articles every month, as we did in the past. There’s been no change in that policy. We want to engage readers as much as possible.  Continue Reading »

John Wesley and Religious Freedom

Lumping together the recently attempted Arizona religious freedom law with new criminal laws against homosexuality in Nigeria and Uganda, the United Methodist Church’s Capitol Hill lobby lamented that “legislation that denies the human rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and . . . . Continue Reading »

These Bones Shall Live

Three white leopards open the second movement of T. S. Eliot’s Ash-Wednesday. What they are supposed to represent is anyone’s guess: the Holy Trinity; the three sins of avarice, gluttony, and lust; the divine agents of destruction that occasionally appear in the Old . . . . Continue Reading »

Christina Rossetti’s Lenten Life

The Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) is most celebrated for her popular Christmas carols, but her most prolific liturgical season was Lent. A fervent Anglican, Rossetti expressed in her poems a deeper understanding of suffering than pieces like “Love Came Down At Christmas” might lead you to suspect. In her Lenten poetry, she focuses not only on her own sins, but highlights how her intense brokenness united her to God. Continue Reading »



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