When I visited a Baltimore neighborhood called Sandtown in 1997, my most vivid impression was that of disturbing, jarring contrast. I remember a whole neighborhood of abandoned houses—each one an oversized skull, with empty darkness peering out of its broken doors and windows and mocking the life that had abandoned it. In the midst of these ruins, however, there was a street teeming with life.
Last summer around this time I was on the island of Nantucket, once a whaling port and now a tourist destination, where I noticed numbers of people wearing canvas clothing in a peculiar shade of pink. Men wore trousers made of it, women wore jumpers, and I even saw a baby in a stroller wearing a pair of bib overalls made of it.
It seems to me a wonderful irony that Christians in America are preoccupied with debates about biblical authority just when all parties to the debates are less knowledgeable about the content of scripture than many of our predecessors were.
Photographer Toni Greaves first visited the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, New Jersey, in 2008. She was accompanying a writer working on an article about how nuns were using the Internet to promote their communities. Greaves was so taken by the vibrant life she saw in the monastery that she visited the place repeatedly over the next seven years and documented one sister’s journey toward final vows. Greaves’s book of images, Radical Love, came out last month (New York Times, September 5).