Sometimes it seems as if our most productive relationships are the most uncomfortable ones. I have for years been a subscriber to The New Yorker magazine and in that time my experience has always been somewhat problematic. I was exasperated for a number of years when they had a surfeit of longwinded essays about tendentious topics of such anemic interest that you could barely read a paragraph before setting it aside. More recently I have been exasperated by many of their mainstay writers such as Hertzberg and Hirsch who appear to be so comfortably esconced in their own world view that it admits no consideration to readers who do not share their prejudices and biases. Whose writing appears to be powered solely by unremiting outrage and whose arguments are only loosely based on facts or reason. A consequence has been that each week's magazine is like as not to be put in the pile of books and magazines that I will get to later - at the current pace, later being sometime between retirement and dotage.
And yet. Every now and then some issue comes along with a set of essays or articles or fine writing that I would not find anywhere else. They every now and then have a writer taking a position with which I natively disagree but who writes so well and persuasively and respects me enough as a reader to offer facts and a logic to their interpretation such that I read all the way through to the end. Sometimes my position is modified, sometimes unchanged but I feel that the time has been well spent. And each year I sign up for more.
This week's edition has some wonderful little vignettes on the kaleidoscopic experience of faith. Birght little pieces of the jagged color of experience. Well worth a read.
Also related to faith, don't miss James Wood's review, Holiday in Hellmouth.