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No. 9


E s s a y s

The Idea of a University:
A Community Engaged in the Leisure of Scholarship
Liam Atchison

Throughout much of western history, the university has played an important role in the development of thought and culture. Yet in its present form, the university embodies at worst big business and at best a clearinghouse of ideas, rather than a sanctuary of innovative thought, creative dialogue, and sociological change. The author discusses the lost ideal of "scholarship as leisure" and its accompanying elements of comfort, freedom, and retreat.

The Desperation of God
A Reflection on the Feminine Desire for Relationship
Sharon Hersh

Saint Teresa described her hunger for relationship as being a desire within her to actually "eat anyone who offered a taste of friendship." This description, says Sharon Hersh, reflects the transcendent desperation of God, who acts in our lives as desperate parent, lover and savior. The revelation of his desperation toward us compels us to look more fully at his desires and our purpose.

Recovering the Body
The Transformational Power of Metaphor
Doug Thorpe

How comforting it is to a professor of literature to hear leading theologians discuss Christ's resurrection as metaphor. Yet, while the name "son of God" can be seen as metaphorical, in using such metaphors we attempt to put into words the truth of an experience that is anything but metaphor. Doug Thorpe muses on Heaven's Gate, Bob Dylan, and the literal and metaphorical resurrection of Christ.


Is Feminine Beauty Dangerous?
A Brief Look at Our Theological Legacy
Karen Lee-Thorp

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting," says the proverb. But is that any reason to scorn-or idolize-what God made beautiful in women? Historically, the subject of feminine beauty has been trivialized by male theologians who haven't known what to do with it. Yet it is inextricably intertwined with the concerns of daily life: money, sex, power, pride, fear, love, respect, race, and class. How can we possibly restrict this all-too-important subject from our theology any longer?

Comforter, Feast-Giver, Life-Giver
God's Character and the Feminine
Heather Webb

In a period of sustained anguish, as the author longed to hold the child she would never see born, God was revealed to be more than our practical theology traditionally allows. In this study, Heather Webb examines the necessarily feminine aspects of God's character that meet us in our desperate need.

The Lure of the Abyss
Or, How Literary Criticism Is Like a Television Commercial
Jon Wallace & Joey Earl Horstman

As evidenced by the New Historicists, the highest value in the gloomy world of contemporary literary criticism is honesty. But does mere honesty confer the ability to see truly? Jon Wallace and Joey Earl Horstman wrestle with the critics over Conrad's Heart of Darkness and the young minds who read it.

The Mars Hill Interview

Many Come in Darkness
A Conversation with Macrina Wiederkehr
Heather Webb

What does a forty-year monastic and lifelong poet have to say to the harried person in today's hurry-up world? Plenty, according to Mars Hill interviewer Heather Webb-and not just the shoulds and oughts we might expect. Sister Macrina Wiederkehr exudes the compassionate wisdom of a fellow pilgrim as she waxes on silence and solitude, transcendence and immanence, feminism, and patriarchy-and how all these subjects intersect daily with our lives.

Reminders of God

The Writing Life


The Motel Man
James Vescovi

I Am Only a Gnat
J'Lyn Chapman


Karen J. Hammer

The Middle of My Tether
Donna Schaper

Where the Sidewalk Ends
Beth C. Junker


Ruth Goring

"The Fall"
Evelyn Bence

"Cold Passion"
Jane E. Tebben

"The Need to Descend"
Gretchen Sousa

"Blind Spots"
Barbara Seaman

Linda Malnack

Views and Reviews


Essay: Enter the Jazzman
Mark Miller

Review: Rickie Lee Jones, Ghostyhead
Eric Von Fullgraf

Review: Indigo Girls, Shaming of the Sun
Kyle Vaught

Review: Paula Cole, This Fire
Wesley Kay Lane

Music Also Reviewed
Stuart C. Hancock


Nineteenth-Century Women Writers:
The Search for a World that Is Other
Tara Miller

All the Powerful Invisible Things: A Sportswoman's Notebook, Gretchen Legler
Emily Green

Books Also Reviewed

Dudley J. Delffs


Essay: Finding a Place in Our Culture: Hearing the Bells In Lars Von Trier's Breaking the Waves
James Shivers

Review: In the Company of Men
Sharon Hersh

Films Also Reviewed
Stuart C. Hancock

Timeless graffiti from the broad canvas.

Mars Hill Contributors