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Highlights for February

Missionary a point of light on island hell

Review by Shelley Crook

A heroic Episcopal priest is just one of the colorful characters in “Damnation Island,” a history of what is now known as Roosevelt Island in New York’s East River but once was called Blackwell’s Island.
In the 19th century, the island was the site of a lunatic asylum, a workhouse, an almshouse, a hospital for the poor and a penitentiary.
The story of Blackwell’s Island proves the adage that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Conceived as a shining beacon to the world, the island was purchased by the city of New York in 1828 in an attempt to relieve overcrowding at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital.

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Book probes the spirituality of body image

By Jacob Lupfer
Religion News Service

As a teenager, J. Nicole Morgan was fond of her reflection in the mirror. She liked her eyes and her smile. But then she looked at her arms and stomach and reminded herself that she was not pretty and could not possibly be the person God made her to be.
God doesn’t want you to be fat, she told herself. Fat can’t be beautiful.
It’s a message that stuck with her for years, said Morgan, author of a new book, “Fat and Faithful: Learning to Love Our Bodies, Our Neighbors, and Ourselves.”
Part memoir and part theological reflection on body image, community and food, Morgan’s book challenges congregations and people of faith to think about what it means to embrace one another as created in the image of God.

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