Preaching Connection: Sin

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Movies for Preaching

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).  Written and directed by Steven Spielberg.  Starring Richard Dreyfuss and Francois Truffaut.  PG; 137 mins.  Rotten Tomatoes 100% (40th Anniversary Edition); Metacritic 90%. What to make of power and splendor, especially of the sort that elicits awe and a powerful devotional attraction?  There is hardly a harder question,…

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Reading for Preaching

Anatomy of a Murder

A veteran court observer: “The prosecutor has a special mind, mongoose quick, bullying, devious, unrelenting, forever baited to ensnare.  It is almost duty bound to mislead, and by instinct dotes on confusing and flourishes on weakness.  Its search is for blemishes it can present as scars, its obligation to raise doubts or sour with suspicion. ...
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Second Opinion: A Doctor’s Dispatches from a British Inner City

“It has been shown conclusively that people who listen to the news or read a newspaper at breakfast are more miserable than those who wisely maintain themselves in ignorance.  Unfortunately, help for the former is not at hand: one of the main stories in in the newspapers recently was that antidepressants do not work for...
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This Boy’s Life: A Memoir

The narrator speaks of his maternal grandfather (“Daddy”) and of how he treated the narrator’s mother: “Daddy was a great believer in the rod.  When my mother was still in her cradle he slapped her for sucking her thumb.  To correct he toddler’s habit of walking with her toes turned slightly inward he forced her...
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The Four Loves

“We hear a great deal about the rudeness of the rising generation.  I am an oldster myself and might be expected to take the oldsters’ side, but in fact I have been far more impressed by the bad manners of parents to children than those of children to parents.  Who has not been the embarrassed...
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The Four Loves

Lewis wants to defend Need-love.  “No doubt Need-love, like all our impulses, can be selfishly indulged.  A tyrannous and gluttonous demand for affection can be a horrible thing.”  But, Lewis adds, “in ordinary life no one calls a child selfish because it turns for comfort to its mother; nor an adult who turns to his...
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The Seven Perennial Sins and Their Offspring

Quoting Boswell’s London Journal 1762-1763 by James Boswell: “Samuel Johnson’s biographer, James Boswell, in his journal for Sunday, Nov 28, 1762, recounts: ‘I went to St. James’s Church and heard service and a good sermon on “By what means shall a young man learn to order his ways” in which the advantages of early piety...
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The Collected Sermons of William H. Willimon

Will Willimon preached powerfully on sin one day in April, 1995, saying again and again that the human problem is human sin, our sin, my sin.  He concluded like this: “So G. K. Chesterton, when asked to write a magazine article on ‘What’s Wrong with the Universe’ responded to the editor’s request, ‘What’s Wrong with...
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Thoughts in Solitude

“The sinful self is not my real self, it is not the self You have wanted for me, only the self that I have wanted for myself.  And I no longer want this false self.  But now Father, I come to You in your own Son’s self . . . and it is He Who...
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“The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant...
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My Father’s House: A Memoir of Incest and Healing

In this book about her early life, Sylvia Fraser tells of the tributes paid at her father’s funeral.  He was a man of proper and regular habits–a Christian man “who didn’t smoke or drink . . . who helped with the grocery shopping, who never took the Lord’s name in vain.”  A polite and neighborly...
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That Day Alone

Nazi troops capture a Rabbi, force him to remove all of his clothing including his wedding ring, bend him over a barrel, and beat him numb with a leather strap (“some [stripes] for Abraham, some for Isaac, and some for Jacob”).  Then they unfasten and display him on a table.   The brown shirts ranged themselves...
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The Triumph of Vulgarity: Rock Music in the Mirror of Romanticism

Vulgarity is the opposite of refinement. It’s what people are before refinement.  It’s “the absence of cultivation” of education.  Marks: noise. ‘The cultivated man thinks, speaks, and acts with reasoned restraint . . . Man in his natural state is a selfish ranter.” (6) Uncontemplative: The vulgarian belongs in a mob—“a noisy undifferentiated mass of...
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Creative Writing: For People Who Can’t Not Write

There is the “pseudo-proverb.”   Arthur Koestler’s definition from his 700 page The Art of Creation: ”two logically incompatible statements that have been combined into a line whose rhythm and style make it sound like a virtuous moral adage or golden rule of right living.  One should never work between meals.  One should not carry moderation...
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The Life of Samuel Johnson

Johnson used his own opinions and prejudices to define certain political terms in his monumental Dictionary. Thus, “excise”: “A hateful tax levied upon commodities, and adjudged not by the common judges of property, but wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid.” And his whimsy would show through too. Hence ‘lexicographer’: “a writer of...
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A Married Man

“Everything at ‘The Garth,’ from the name Alice had given to the house to the tasseled covers on the lavatory seats, was neat, tidy, and vulgar. John’s shame over it had many layers. He felt humiliated first and foremost because his mother’s bad taste betrayed not only her origins but also her pretensions, for she...
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Blue Blood

Heroin packagers put their brand on the little wax-paper envelopes that the product comes in: First Class, President, Original, Amazing, Amazed. These are generic claims of high quality. But also Thank you. F*** you. No joke. No Limit, Poison Ivy, Knockout. “But the best brand names are the literal ones, which announce without apology the...
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“There Is No Stopping”

In 1997 a high-level Israeli commission approved the use of “moderate physical pressure” to deal with suspects in terrorism investigations. To Israel, this has meant holding people for days and weeks, depriving them of sleep for days at a time and confining them in excruciating bodily positions, or shaking them so violently that they suffer...
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Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction

Some plantation masters treated their slaves relatively better than others did. The African slave trade stopped in 1808. After that American slave traders had “to depend upon natural reproduction for the maintenance and increase of their slave ‘stock.’ It was in the slaveowner’s interest to encourage good health and a high birthrate among his slaves....
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“Character and Other Details on the Clinton Watch”

Bill Clinton tries to have it ‘all ways’ on issues. He has policies du jour. All are intended to maintain his “political visibility within the system.” That’s always been his lodestar. “Such an ambition saves a man from tragedy because it saves him from significance. In Howard Nemerov’s verse play about the witch of Endor,...
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Speaking of Sin: the Lost Language of Salvation

The words “sin, “ “damnation,” “repentance,” and “salvation” sound as if they come “from an earlier time when human relationship with God was laced with blame and threat.” The words seem to judge us which is why a lot of Christians don’t say them anymore. We go for grace instead. No confession of sin these...
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Into that Darkness: From Mercy Killing to Mass Murder

Gitta Sereny interviews Franz Stangl, commandant at Treblinka, about the people who arrived on the trains. Stangl: “’I remember one occasion…one Jew came up to me and said he wanted to make a complaint. So I said yes, certainly, what was it. He said that one of the Lithuanian guards (who were only used for...
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Feathers of the Skylark: Compulsion, Sin, and Our Need for a Messiah

S’s point is that sin is as progressive and disabling as an addiction, at least typically. Hence (4) Rabbi Isaac: “At first, sin is like an occasional visitor, then like a guest who stays for a while, and finally like the master of the house.” A fable. “One day long ago, over the hot sands...
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Under the Unpredictable Plant: an Exploration in Vocational Holiness

The “higher sins,” the “sins of the spirit,” are often pretty hard to detect. “Is this outburst of zeal energetic obedience or human presumption? Is this exuberant confidence holy boldness inspired by the Holy Spirit or a boastful arrogance fed by an anxious ego? Is this assertive leadership courageous faith or self-importance? It is not...
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Before Truth, the Right Fork: A Theological Reflection on Ministry and Manners

Portaro quotes Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners): “’Miss Manners abhors the idea, fashionable for the last two decades (and in the years immediately preceding the French Revolution) that the child is born good, creative, wise, and that education should therefore consist of drawing out what is there–feelings and even opinions–rather than putting things in, such...
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“The Good War”

Isn’t sin “only” maladjustment or ignorance or bad education or inadequate ego and id and superego adjustment, or poor conditioning? “No. No one can ever show these things, prove these ‘onlys,’ any more than a dying cancer patient can explain her disease as ‘only’ cells; no more than a book is ‘only syllables.’ That’s not...
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Damage

Stephen is a conventional Member of Parliament, 50 years old, with a lovely wife Ingrid and a son and a daughter. When his son brings home the girl (Anna) he hopes to marry, Stephen becomes obsessed with her. For the first time in his life, he thought, he really felt something. He contemplates starting an...
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Distorted Truth: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Battle for the Mind

Yes, people are rebels. But often they are hurt rebels, hurting rebels, heart-sinking rebels, like some teenaged runaway who has rebelled against her parents’ authority but is really confused, lonely, abused. The prodigal son comes to himself when he discovered his need–though he too was a rebel. p. 45 Sin is really trusting someone or...
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My Secret History

“I had been raised to believe that I was bad, that most of what I did was bad, that the things I wanted were bad for me. It was not an accusation. No one barked about my badness. It was rather an interminable whisper of suggestion that I was weak and sinful, and the sense...
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The Mark of Cain: Studies in Literature and Theology

Dostoevsky knew “that within every man, even enlightenment man, there is a strange streak of perversity, a strain of stubborn irrationality, an impulse of destructiveness.” 19-20 Quotes Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground: A man will discourse with others about the “normal interests of man; with irony he will upbraid the shortsighted fools who do not...
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The Problem of Pain

Describes pride and the inevitable way we “fall” every day. Theologians undertake thoughts “for God’s sake, and continue them as if they were an end in themselves, and then as if our pleasure in thinking were the end, and finally as if our pride or celebrity were the end.” Point: “The glory of God is...
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The Screwtape Letters

Screwtape [senior devil] to Wormwood [junior devil and Screwtape’s nephew]: “’You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy...
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Cannery Row

“’It has always seemed strange to me,’ said Doc. ‘The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of...
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Confessions

On the sins of infants: “The sin of my infancy” was indignation “at the refusals of free and older people and of parents. . .who would not yield to my whims.” Also, attempts “to strike them.” Also, “I have personally watched and studied a jealous baby. He could not speak, and, pale with jealousy and...
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Murder in Little Egypt

Once, Dale Cavaness’ wife Marian said something Dale didn’t like. “She had always spoken her mind to him, had prided herself on that, on not being like so many of the women she knew in southern Illinois, silent and obedient. But Dale had reacted like a typical down-home son-of-a-bitch, grabbing her thumb and bending it...
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Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home

“The performing ego is a delicate one. It takes nerve to keep going out before people, to be funny, heroic, graceful, tuneful, or acrobatic, not afraid of the audience yet not defiant of it, respectful but in charge. Too many rebuffs, too many laughs (or too few), sometimes a single boo, can shatter the needed...
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“Preface to the Sermons” in Fifteen Sermons

“The thing to be lamented is, not that men have so great a regard to their own good or interest in the present world, for they have not enough, but that they have so little regard for the good of others.”
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Chutzpah

“We want our borders secured against an influx of immigrants from Mexico and Asia seeking a better life for themselves and their children. (The Russian-Jewish comedian Yakov Smirnov tells of the strange feeling that overcame him the moment he took his oath of citizenship at the Statue of Liberty: ‘The feeling that we must do...
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The Turquoise Lament

“Illness is an ego trip, especially after you begin to feel a little better. You turn inward. How do I feel right now compared to five minutes ago, an hour ago, yesterday? Is this pain in my hip connected with the infection? Is it something new? Why can’t they come when I ring? …To each...
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“Sorry Condition”

“To make a real apology has always been hard. Our forebears in the garden, when confronted with their wrongdoing, passed the blame to others. Adam had the gumption to blame God as well as ‘the woman whom you gave to be with me.’ Eve blamed the serpent. Celebrities of late have been imitating our biblical...
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Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, rev. ed.

American history textbooks almost never get down to the roots of why segregation was so shameful. For example, they will explain Brown v Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling to end segregation in the nation’s schools, as necessitated by the fact that schools for black people, while separate, were actually shabby and...
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Help My Unbelief

Rutledge discusses preaching in Lent. You preach the theology of the cross. You preach suffering. You preach the mortification of our sinful nature. And, just to show how counter-cultural Lent is, Rutledge cites an ad for a book—a transcendently expensive NY Times full page ad. It’s for John Gray’s book titled, How to Get What...
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Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963

In Mississippi during the civil rights struggle, a black student applied for admission to Ole Miss and was “summarily, legally, and forcefully committed to a mental asylum for a year–on the ground that anybody who did what he did must be crazy.”
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Separate Pasts: Growing Up White in the Segregated South

Writing years after his growing up years, the author reflects on the racism he had inherited with his mother’s milk. A momentary experience, one day, reveals his boyhood prejudice: he tells of a time he put a needle for inflating a basketball into his mouth, and then, a split second later, realized it had just...
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Resurrection

Prince Dimitri Nekhlyudov (neck-lee-YOO-dov) visits in prison with the maid (Máslova) he had impregnated and corrupted. She had become a prostitute, and then a prisoner. After his conscience works at him for a while he decides to marry her in order to atone for his seduction and redeem his victim. But she isn’t having any...
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Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West

The Lewis and Clark expedition to explore and discover a route through the West to the Pacific had to adopt a policy for meeting various Indian tribes along the way. The Indians were used to trapping, fishing, and hunting the rich West without challenge from any strange white visitors—except for Spanish and French traders. But...
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The Collected Sermons of William H. Willimon

In 2006 Willimon preached the Baccalaureate Sermon at Birmingham-Southern College, a Methodist School. He noted that one study after another showed that students in 2006 were some of the most politically apathetic since the 60s, and unfailingly polite and deferential to their elders—people of Willimon’s own generation. Willimon counseled them to start disrespecting the status...
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“National Pride Over a Virus in the Philippines”

In Manila a lot of Filipinos feel proud that one of their own composed the computer virus that in its several versions “crippled e-mail systems around the world. ‘’Yes, the Filipino can,’ cheered The Manila Standard under the headline, ‘The country’s first world-class hacker.’ ‘Fellow students swelled with pride at the drab little computer college...
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“Facing Reality,” in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought

In our culture “to say that behavior is aberrant is much more powerfully coercive among us than to say an action is wrong. It implies the behavior is not really willed or controlled, and this undermines the self-confidence of the offending person. It also excuses him from responsibility, though, curiously, those taken to be the...
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“A Hand for the Head”

”’Our aim is total peace of mind for you and your family.’ That is the motto of the Alibi Agency, a start-up company . . . whose purpose is to provide an insulating layer of verisimilitude between philanderers and their spouses. Based in Blackpool, England, the Alibi Agency establishes a plausible paper trail. It will...
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The Problem of Pain

A summary of what Lewis says here: We keep slipping, sliding, falling away from God. If we cannot put God first out of mere obedience, can we do so out of the knowledge that God is our greatest good? How to keep from trying still to improve ourselves out of this deal and thus corrupting...
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“It’s All About Him”

“The pain, grievances and self-pity of mass killers are only symptoms of the real explanation. Those who do these things share one common trait. They are raging narcissists. Psychologists from South Africa to Chicago have begun to recognize that extreme self-centeredness is the forest and all the other things–guns, games, lyrics, pornography–are just trees. Criminologists...
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The Bonfire of the Vanities

Millionaire bond salesman Sherman McCoy, tried to rationalize his adultery: “Technically, he had been unfaithful to his wife. Well, sure…but who could remain monogamous with this, this, this tidal wave of concupiscence rolling across the world. …A Master of the Universe couldn’t be a saint, after all…it was unavoidable. …You can’t dodge snowflakes, and this...
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Boom! Voices of the Sixties

Brokaw muses on the status of women in American homes in the 50s. They often ran the house but were denied the title “head of household,” and especially if they were employed outside their home. The title “was reserved for males and was used to deny, for example, equal pay for single women who were...
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The Song of the Lark

Thea Kromberg (a great, though still young, singer) on a contented warbler: “[Thea] felt a deep contempt for her. She felt that Mrs. Priest ought to be reproved and even punished for her shortcomings; that she ought to be exposed–at least to herself–and not be permitted to live and shine in happy ignorance of what...
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“The Duties of a Bystander”

Four men “repeatedly raped a woman in a New Bedford, Massachussetts, Bar, while a crowd of drinkers stood by.” What the crowd did was terribly wrong, but not in the least illegal. “The “criminal law does not recognize sins of omission. People have no duty to rescue strangers.” Joseph Leitner, Brooklyn law school tort specialist:...
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Crime and Punishment

Marmeladov, the alcoholic Father of Sonya, drinks up the family’s food and rent money so his teenaged daughter Sonya has to become a prostitute to support her mother and siblings. In a drunken outpouring, Marmeladov explains: ‘This half bottle here, sir, was bought with her money . . . Thirty kopecks. Brought them out with...
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Roger’s Version

“’ . . . one is compelled to notice how much pleasanter, more reasonable and agreeable, the heretics in hindsight appear than those enforcers who opposed them on behalf of what became of Roman Catholic orthodoxy. Who wouldn’t prefer, for example, plump Pelagius (‘a corpulent dog,’ fumed Jerome, ‘weighed down with Scottish porridge’) and his...
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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Louis Zamperini and his remaining crewmates were captured by the Japanese and imprisoned in a filthy, degrading POW camp, made all the worse by the Japanese appalling treatment of them. Beatings were merciless. There was almost no drinking water, and what there was, wasn’t clean. All their Red Cross food rations were siphoned off and...
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“What Evangelicals Can Learn from Karl Barth”

Wood sums up how Barth thought of Godlessness, and suggests American Evangelicals take heed. Godlessness for Barth is refusing to be scandalized by the gospel. Trying to fit the gospel on a bumper sticker or a hallmark card. In fact the gospel is always strange, other, scandalous. It is never obvious. Regarding God as the...
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Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific

“In the eyes of the Japanese, white men who allowed themselves to be captured in war were despicable. They deserved to die. . . They beat them until they fell, then beat them for falling, beat them until they bled, then beat them for bleeding. They denied them medical treatment. They starved them. When the...
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Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

In the most famous rape trial in the history of Missoula, Montana, David Lisak, widely regarded as one of the top people in the country on the subject of acquaintance rape, explained to the court that once a woman grasps that a man is even attempting to rape her, she may go numb, get terrified,...
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Band of Brothers

E Company liberated a work camp, part of the Dachau complex, near Landsberg. The prisoners were “in their striped pajamas, three-quarters starved, by the thousands; corpses, little more than skeletons, by the hundreds.” General Taylor was so indignant at the condition of the people in the camp that he declared martial law, and forced the...
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Wickedness: A Philosophical Essay

“What Milton wrote about the devil is not–once we drop the purple spotlight of romantic partiality–at all flattering. [Contrary to the romantic idea of the grandeur of evil in him]. Satan’s personal motives are mostly mean and claustrophobic, centering on competitive self-assertion. His grandeur stems from his original nature, which is not of his making,...
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‘Academic Religion: Playground of the Vandals’

‘The vandal’s hatred is for the intact, the unstained, the integral; his delight is to chip the nose off the perfect statue, to soil the white wall with graffiti, to shatter the last unbroken window. His destruction is a record not only of malice but of conquest; as a dog is said to foul trees...
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In the Beauty of the Lilies

“People who drink want you to drink too. . . She was still Presbyterian enough to fear alcohol. It ate lives, in from the edges, lurking in cupboards and becoming the secret reason for every gathering of two or three, and one day people woke up and realized that liquor had stolen their lives away.”
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The Empty Copper Sea

“Meyer looked beat. He beamed at the drink when it was placed in front of him. And, as on other occasions when the martini is badly needed, he quoted Bernard De Voto on that subject: ‘The rat stops gnawing in the wood, the dungeon walls withdraw, the weight is lifted. Your pulse steadies and the...
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“Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor,” in The Stories of John Cheever

“His face was blazing. He loved the world and the world loved him. When he thought back over his life, it appeared to him in a rich and wonderful light, full of astonishing experiences and unusual friends. He thought that his job as an elevator operator cruising up and down through hundreds of feet of...
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East of Eden

“Liza [Hamilton] hated alcoholic liquors with an iron zeal . . . ‘Would you go to the House of God with liquor on your breath? You would not!’ she said. When Liza was about seventy her elimination slowed up and her doctor told her to take a tablespoon of port wine for medicine. She forced...
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Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full

Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s Secretary of State, “frequently pandered to the media and social elite’s hostility to Nixon by privately disparaging the President he served, but played on Nixon’s susceptibilities, and perhaps thought he was atoning for his snide indiscretions, by scraping the barrel in his obsequious memos and asides. Nixon was too astute and well-informed...
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Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full

In the spring of 1929 Ricard Nixon was the faculty-endorsed candidate for the position of student body president at Whittier (CA) Union High School. Nixon was a fine student and had won a Los Angeles Times oratorical contest, both through sheer determination and doggedness—while also getting up at 4 every morning to drive to the...
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Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York

“[In New York, early 30s] the magistrate’s court screened all felony arrests in the city. After hearing evidence, magistrates decided if a case should be forwarded to a grand jury or quashed at this point for insufficient evidence. With the power to turn men free, this court attracted an incredible array of sharpers whose business...
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Stranger in Two Worlds

Unsurprisingly, life in prison is for Jean Harris a revelation. (She had been convicted of murdering her lover, Dr. Herman Tarnower.) She had been head mistress of an elite boarding school for girls and had encountered educated, elite, wealthy people every day. Now she lives with largely underclass women and tries to understand them: They...
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Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder

Lots of spectators would wait daily to get one of the 80 seats in the Diane Downs murder trial in Springfield, Oregon, 1984. The defense counsel admits that Diane, mother of three hurt and dead little children, had had a number of lovers. “The ladies of the gallery react by shaking their heads in shock,...
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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent

LBJ was a mean man who abused reporters and ordered his wife around. He tongue-lashed reporters who had not reported his successes with sufficient enthusiasm to suit him, and whenever they hinted at criticism of him. ‘He even ridiculed them for no reason at all, displaying as he did so that keen insight into other...
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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent

LBJ became known in the 1950s as an unprincipled wheeler-dealer, “a manipulator, a schemer . . . a deceiver proud of his deceits.” Johnson was and he wanted people to know it. He “created and cultivated the image.” Why? He was fighting the legacy of his youth: he belonged to a family that others said...
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Bright Orange for the Shroud

“Boone Waxwell had good wads of muscle on his shoulders. His waist had thickened and was beginning to soften. In posture, expression, impact, he had the stud look, that curiously theatrical blend of brutality and irony. Bogart, Mitchum, Gable, Flynn–the same flavor was there, a seedy, indolent brutality, a wisdom of the flesh. Women, sensing...
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Bleak House

Mr. Chadband, is an unctuous clergyman who exudes pompous nonsense: He’s large and yellow, with “a fat smile, and a general appearance of having a great deal of train oil in his system. ‘My friends,’ says Mr. Chadband, ‘Peace be on this house! On the master thereof, on the mistress thereof, on the young men...
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The Screwtape Letters

The demon Screwtape writes of fashions in folly: ‘The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart–an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and in constancy in friendship.’ Fashion: ‘the outcry of each generation is against that...
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“A Favorite Fallback for Foulups: ‘Mistakes Were Made'”

“Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales fell back on a classic Washington linguistic construct . . . when he acknowledged that ‘mistakes were made’ in the dismissals of eight federal prosecutors last year. The phrase sounds like a confession of error or even contrition, but in fact, it is not quite either one. The speaker is...
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“A Meeting in Middle Age” from The Collected Stories

This is the first in the collected stories, a tale about two strangers, Mrs. Da Tanka, an impossible woman who wants grounds for divorcing her second husband, and Mr. Mileson, a solitary bachelor who, through a third party, contracts with Mrs. Da Tanka for five pounds to spend the night in a hotel room with...
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