Doubt has been nominated for five academy awards, including best actress (Meryl Streep) and best adapted screenplay.

John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize winning play comes to life on the big screen in the film Doubt. Father Flynn (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a Roman Catholic priest in the Bronx, is confronted by Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), a nun determined to bring to light Flynn’s possible indiscretions with a young male student. Sister Aloysius is convinced of an inappropriate relationship between the priest and the boy, though her character foil, Sister James (Amy Adams) is not. The result: an odd dramatic triangle between Flynn, Aloysius, and James in which the viewer easily feels the push and pull of guilt and innocence, doubt and certainty, confession and concealment. One leaves the theatre utterly not convinced of anything – which is, after all, the point.

© 2009 J. Dana Trent

Facebook Dropout

Facebook has become so popular in American culture that the term is now used as a noun AND a verb.

I confess: I’m a Facebook dropout. I closed my account a few weeks ago, when the energy it took to manage it became overwhelming. Sure, I could have limited my Facebook time; but it seemed seemed important (and addictive?) to to receive my friends’ frequent status/photo/profile updates.

I don’t miss the online social network, save for keeping in touch with a few cherished friends I haven’t seen since high school. Now, I contact them via email, telephone/cell phone, and there’s always the ancient sentimental virtue of letter writing! (Gaze at Fragonard’s portrait of a glowing young girl with a love letter, and it will inspire you to rediscover the lost practice)

For now, I’ll continue my Facebook-free journey along with several friends who have also become recent dropouts … support group, anyone?

NB: Dean of Duke Divinity School L. Gregory Jones wrote an insightful piece on Facebook friends for The Christian Century.

Photo: The Love Letter, by Fragonard, c. 1770, oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.
Photo credit:

© 2009 J. Dana Trent

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve was first celebrated by the ancient Babylonians 4000 years ago (Redbook, January 2009).

This is the day we craft our personal year-in-review; remembering events, milestones, losses, and resolutions made and broken.

How has God been at work in our lives this year? Better yet, what have we done for God this year?

Photo: New Year’s Eve in Times Square, 1907
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© 2008 J. Dana Trent