Adele Gallogly


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Through Ambition’s Tunnel


Photo by Derek KeatsCC BY 2.0 – via Wikimedia Commons

AMBITION: Essays by Members of The Chrysostom Society
edited by Luci Shaw and Jeanne Murray Walker (Cascade Books, 2016).
Review originally published in Christian Courier in July 2016.

I happened to revisit Doris Lessing’s ambition-themed short story “Through the Tunnel” around the time I read Ambition, so it hovered over my experience of the book. Lessing’s story is the tale of a young British boy named Jerry who trains himself to swim through a dangerously narrow passageway. He sees other boys do it first, and does it to be like them – to prove himself worthy of friendship and respect. His eyes and nose bleed and his lungs nearly burst during his triumphant dive. The scene is thrilling, but also frightening. Should Jerry be admired for his risky, pride-led act, or chastised for it?

Ambition’s personal, often lyrical essays also acknowledge that ambition can be viewed as both a virtue and a vice. Its authors belong to The Chrysostom Society, a community named for Early Church Father John Chrysostom. Continue reading


*Dorky confession: once upon a Christmastime my photographer sister persuaded me and my friends to dress up in 60’s fashion ala “Mad Men”. #dressupforgrownps

I share some thoughts on Ecclesiastes and the women of MadMen* over at ThinkChristian today. A snippet:

I wish I could call upon [Eugene] Peterson to pitch his contemporary paraphrase of Ecclesiastes to the denizens in the disturbingly materialistic and misogynistic world of “Mad Men,”which has its season finale Sunday.  It seems especially fitting to a 1960s advertising agency, with its ad-friendly colloquial phrases and repeated imagery of smoke. (Lucky Strike, anyone?)

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity … Everything is meaningless chasing after wind. These are anti-taglines that protagonist Don Draper (Jon Hamm) could use. He’s had a few decent – even tender – moral turns this season, but he is still very much vainly chasing the altars of power and wealth.

But enough about Don for the moment. I’d like to hold Ecclesiastes’ warnings up to two female characters: Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), the lead copywriter, and the office manager, Joan (Christina Hendricks). They’ve both made daring changes and hard choices this season. Will they be in vain?

Continue reading here.