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The Compassionate Life by Marc Ian Barasch

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10

LOVING THE MONSTER

What shall we make of our darkness?

—Blaise Pascal

IT’S A FOUR-HOUR DRIVE FROM ATLANTA TO THE TELFAIR STATE Prison down a lonesome stretch of I-75, which slices through central Georgia like a straight-razor cut. I put the tuner on scan and, just as I pass the Pinetucky Church of God, catch a burst of pure southern gothic, some ballad about a dying preacher who “a-laid his bloodstained Bible right in that hooker’s hand.” In the staticky desert of rural bandwidth, where the choice is either Black Sabbath oldies or the Good Book’s greatest hits, I’ll take a good sermon, where the story of Mary and Joseph at the inn becomes “the Bethlehem Motel Six refused to take their credit card!” I play a mental game, slugging in my own ...

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