The faith and loss of Joan Didion

Today is the 79th anniversary of Joan Didion’s entrance into this mortal coil, and I will use the excuse to wear giant sunglasses and write interminable sentences all day long. Didion’s career has changed the landscape of American nonfiction writing, and although she is perhaps best-known for her recent duet of grief memoirs The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights, her contributions to journalism and the canon of California writing are significant and singular. 

Didion was raised Episcopalian but has grown into agnosticism. In an interview with Beliefnet in2006, asked about the continuation of the spirit after death, she said “It’s one of the clichés people say to you after a death: ‘He lives in our memory, she lives in our memory.’ I mean I don’t disbelieve; I just don’t believe.” One of the reasons anyone writes is to find answers to the questions they have.

The Best Man Holiday

It’s not uncommon, of course, for a film to deal with old friends who have fallen out with each other and must learn to get along. Nor is it out of the ordinary to see stories of marriages on the rocks, families with financial struggles, and secrets waiting to come to light. To do all of this, though, and deal with faith, to boot? What would be a recipe for disaster in the hands of most so-called Christian film companies is a runaway success in “The Best Man Holiday.”

Lance Sullivan (played by Morris Chestnut) is a big-time NFL star whose wife Mia (spoiler alert!) has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) is a broke author in need of the funds he could get by writing a bio of Sullivan, his famous former best friend.

C.S. Lewis photo courtesy C.S. Lewis Foundation/Public Domain

Why C.S. Lewis remains popular: a friend reflects

(RNS) Fifty years after his death, not many people can claim to have known C.S. Lewis personally. But one of them is James Houston, one of the founders of the respected Christian institution Regent College in Vancouver, who ran in the same circles as Lewis while they were both at Oxford. Houston, who turned 91 on Thursday (Nov. 21), a day before the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death, still teaches theology at Regent and co-founded the C.S. Lewis Institute in Washington, D.C. He spoke with RNS about Lewis’ strengths and weaknesses, his triumphs and shortcomings. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.