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The Future of Our Children: Doom, Gloom, and Love at the End of the World

The Future of Our Children: Doom, Gloom, and Love at the End of the World

This week Roy Scranton wrote a stirring op-ed for the New York Times called “Raising My Child in a Doomed World.” Frankly it’s not a headline you would have seen before 2016. Now, this rhetoric is everywhere. Fictional dystopias are no longer phantasms of who we could become, of where we might go, but of who we are—‘shocking commentaries on the state of things.’ This is it. This is the end. Amidst all the fear, Scranton confesses an interesting conflict:

I cried two times when my daughter was born. First for joy, when after 27 hours of labor the little feral…

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My Most Selfish Prayer

My Most Selfish Prayer

This one comes to us from Andrew Taylor-Troutman:

Dear Lord: let me die before my wife.

I’m bouncing our baby daughter on my lap as she drools on a wooden rattle. Her mom makes pancakes every Saturday morning, but the baby has only recently gotten her first taste. Our middle child, age two and a half—his big brother has taught him to emphasize—marks time by the weekly passage of pancakes, which doesn’t seem all that idolatrous to me.

My wife and I are both ordained. But she alone is the Saturday priest, the celebrator of this eucharist of flour, butter, and syrup. Her…

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Char and Steph Wander the Desert: A Flashback to Ancient Israel

Char and Steph Wander the Desert: A Flashback to Ancient Israel

The following play — a precious relic from ancient Israel — tells the untold story of motherhood in Exodus. It was published in Mockingbird’s latest book, Unmapped, a memoir duet about spirituality, family, and finding home in unexpected exile. This is Act I of IV:

Char and Steph Wander the Desert
A Play by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips
ACT I

CHAR and STEPH, two young-ish Hebrew women, work side-by-side in a field making bricks out of clay and straw. They are just two women amongst thousands, and the sun beats down on them all without a trace of shade in sight.

CHAR (wipes…

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Christian Rejection in the Era of Facebook (From the Retro Perspective of Space: 1999)

Christian Rejection in the Era of Facebook (From the Retro Perspective of Space: 1999)

For those of us who attend Lectionary-based churches, last week Mark’s Gospel reminded us of the time when Jesus faced a nasty rejection. He was in Nazareth, among his own, but his own received him not. They dismissed him by pointing to his apparently illegitimate birth, saying, “Is this not Mary’s son…?” (subtle but powerful slander in this patrilineal culture). Matthew and Luke cleaned it up a bit, but Mark tells it this way. The people of Nazareth have heard his words, they have seen his actions, and still they have labeled him a bastard.

I wonder how we would react to…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Seven Verses Fourteen Through Fifteen and Verses Twenty-One Through Twenty-Three

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Seven Verses Fourteen Through Fifteen and Verses Twenty-One Through Twenty-Three

This morning’s devotion was written by Todd Brewer. 

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them… For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:14-15, 21-23, NIV)

Jesus is talking about the origin of the great problems of life and how,…

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The Trouble with Ladder Theology

From Gerhard Forde’s Where God Meets Man, pp 7-11, ht MF:

…what is wrong with our usual understanding of the Christian faith[?] We tend to think it has to do primarily with “going up” somewhere — either to heaven or to some kind of “religious perfection.” The Christian faith is often likened to climbing a ladder or, if you will, a staircase. Take, for example, the symbol of “Jacob’s ladder.” In the middle ages it was popular, especially among mystics, as a symbol of the struggle the Christian must undertake to reach perfection…

The difficulty with the idea of the ladder, however, is that it tends to send us off into the wrong direction. It tends to make us concerned with works of pious sublimation; it involves us in the task of ascending to heaven when we should be seeking like our Lord to come down to earth, to learn what it means to be a Christian here on this earth…

The troublesome question of the nature of law and gospel and the relationship between them…it is here, in the question of the law and the gospel, that our incurable tendency to go “up the down staircase” is most apparent… The main trouble is that this “ladder theology” inevitably distorts our understanding of the gospel. The gospel is taken captive by the system and turned into a new kind of law… The gospel comes to make up for the deficiencies of the law. The gospel does not come as anything really new. It is not the breaking in of a radically new age with an entirely new outlook. It is simply “a repair job.” …The net result is that the gospel itself simply becomes another kind of law. (pp. 7-11)

New Blackened Dawn Approaching: Deafheaven as a Mirror in the Darkness

New Blackened Dawn Approaching: Deafheaven as a Mirror in the Darkness

There’s something deliciously ironic in the fact that a blisteringly hot summer such as this one should serve as a portal for bone-chillingly cold black metal in the form of a new Deafheaven LP. But yea verily, the underworld doth cackle at the fittingness of said album launching on Friday the 13th. Swirling within this nebula of polar opposites and apposite poetics is the culmination of Deafheaven’s development, an album whose cohesion and strange sonic palette shows the world they are more energetically themselves than ever.

To date, Deafheaven have released three full-lengths: Roads to Judah (2011), Sunbather (2013), and New…

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We Are All One Bad Day from Derailing a City Zoning Meeting

We Are All One Bad Day from Derailing a City Zoning Meeting

Meet Lisa. She just moved here. Nobody is helping her, and she has had enough of that.

Btw, this was at a zoning meeting for Portillos in Davenport, Iowa. pic.twitter.com/9yYbvcZyr8

— Collin Strajack (@collinstrajack) July 10, 2018

Her “testimony,” for lack of a better term, is misguided at best. She is getting a divorce, but it won’t be final until September 18. Her ex-husband won’t help her. Her parents (dad’s a minister!) won’t help her. Her attorney won’t help her. She’s a very very very loving parent. Her college-age daughter, bless her, isn’t expected to help, but her full name and…

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Not Weak on Sanctification: Christians Grow in Reverse – Nick Lannon

In this most prestigious breakout session from the 11th annual Mockingbird conference, Nick Lannon discusses the paradox of sanctification. Subtopics include: dentistry mishaps, good deeds, Han Solo, and the caverns of the heart.

Not Weak on Sanctification: Christians Grow in Reverse – Nick Lannon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

The Apostles' Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism

The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism

I always judge books by their covers. In part, this habit is a terrible prejudice, but I also think it’s a useful way of deciding how to use limited time on an unlimited supply of books. Thankfully, Lexham Press crafted a beautiful design for their recent book The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism. It’s the first in their “Christian Essentials” series, set to cover the Ten Commandments, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Prayer, and corporate worship.

In this book, form and content match beautifully. The design, which merges traditional iconography and contemporary minimalism, reflects the…

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Bedside and the Lord’s Prayer

Bedside and the Lord’s Prayer

Those who had a chaotic childhood often have vivid memories of going to bed. There was relief from the confusion and fear of an out-of-control parent but also the silent terror that the combustive anger would continue past being tucked in. For my poor mother, this ritual of bedtime meant that she could legitimately absent herself from the dinner din of my raging and drunken father. For me, it meant feeling her push the sheet and blanket under my mattress, lightly swaddling my tiny form.

The room was already dark when she arrived, and sometimes an older sibling came…

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Feeling Pretty, Feeling Loved

Feeling Pretty, Feeling Loved

Most of the time, I do not feel anything close to “pretty.” On some rare days, I feel like a bombshell the likes of Margot Robbie or Lauryn Hill. But most days, I feel a little ashamed when I look in the mirror. My eyes are too puffy. The skin under my chin is starting to descend down my neck. I look tired, all of the time. My upper arms are too jiggly and I pretty consistently appear to be at least several weeks pregnant. Most days, I put on a light layer of make-up and resignedly think to myself,…

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