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Why Is Jesus Slumming with That Denomination?

Why Is Jesus Slumming with That Denomination?

This one comes to us from Chad Bird.

Let’s start with the obvious: Christianity is an outwardly fractured religion. You’d think Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and bloody each other’s noses over, like, Every. Single. Thing.” Just for perspective, note that there are far more denominations than there are languages spoken around the globe. We’ve out-Babelled Babel.

Even the most unrealistic optimist doesn’t believe this will improve. After all, we’ve been on this kick for 965 years. Humpty Dumpty has been on the ground for a long, long time. And all the king’s councils and all the king’s ecumenists,…

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The First Chapter of Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon - New Edition Available Now!

The First Chapter of Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon – New Edition Available Now!

And now we present an excerpt from the most recent addition to our Robert Farrar Capon series, his greatly esteemed work Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage. An essential book for any Capon-lover, this was Robert’s first bestseller, and you’ll see why in this introductory chapter, reproduced below.

“Bed and Board is necessary and offensive in the best possible way.” – Sarah Condon

“…sage wisdom, biting humor, uncomfortable truths…never a page that must be forgiven for pedantic, sawdusty prose.” – Chad Bird

I.

ABSURDITY

The author celebrates the Holy Estate of Matrimony, professes disillusionment with the usual advices about it, and gives…

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Churches Dying for a Laugh

Churches Dying for a Laugh

Another glorious glimpse into The Mockingbird’s newest issue on Humor, this one from the Rev. Aaron Zimmerman. Copies can be ordered here, subscriptions here. 

“It’s a sin to bore a kid with the Gospel.” — Young Life saying

“The comedian always doubles down.” — Pete Holmes

The Church Is No Laughing Matter (Sadly)

Quick, grab a pencil and paper. Now, write down whatever words your mind conjures when you hear the word “church.”

I’ll wait.

What’d you come up with? High-strung hymn-singing hypocrites? Boring Baptist blowhards? Happy Hillsong hipsters? Purity-preaching pedantic Presbyterians? Long-winded Lutherans?…

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Sin is Behovely

Sin is Behovely

Lent is over — hallelujah — but its scent lingers. The first weeks of Easter can be confusing. On the one hand, there’s jubilation, joy, a feeling of liberation, celebration. It’s all warranted. But after Lent, and especially after Good Friday, Easter feels a little out of place (which is fitting). After dwelling for several months on sin and contrition, we enter Easter with heavy hearts and distracted minds, and while we say with our mouths that Jesus is risen and that everything is accomplished, it’s just as easy to believe that Easter hasn’t done its work.

This past Sunday, Fr….

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Modern Bible Wars: On Scripture, Authority, and the Law-Gospel Hermeneutic

Modern Bible Wars: On Scripture, Authority, and the Law-Gospel Hermeneutic

I didn’t live through the “Bible Wars” of the 20th century (thank God), but their effects still reverberate into the many debates today. Those who hold to scriptural authority, usually defined as inerrancy or divine inspiration, view it as a bulwark against the tendencies of mainline Protestantism to discard the witness of scripture in favor of what is deemed a moral and doctrinal relativism. Thus, the popular distinction between Bible-thumping conservatives and apostate liberals. If one is to believe the rhetoric of capital-E Evangelicalism, Scripture and doctrinal orthodoxy go hand-in-hand, and the loss of the Bible necessarily leads to…

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Finding God at Arby's: Reflections on Doubting Thomas

Finding God at Arby’s: Reflections on Doubting Thomas

This sermon was delivered this past Sunday in Charlottesville, by Sam Bush.

This is a very exciting time for the church. It’s one week after Easter. The lilies are still up, the altar is in full splendor. We are living in the aftermath of Jesus’ resurrection. And today we see how the resurrection immediately plays out in the lives of his disciples. Jesus stands among them and everyone is shocked and then they rejoice. I picture it like the end of a movie — there’s a montage of all of them laughing, maybe messing up each other’s hair, or playing a…

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Pithy Preachers Proclaiming Perplexing Epigrams: On Preaching, the Pulpit, & Thomas Guthrie's Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints

Pithy Preachers Proclaiming Perplexing Epigrams: On Preaching, the Pulpit, & Thomas Guthrie’s Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints

This piece was written by Brad J. Gray.

It’s a turn of phrase that I’ve seen around the Internet and various other places in the past, but only recently has it been actually uttered to my face. I wouldn’t have thought much of it but it was said twice in a few short days and it got me to thinking about how prevalent the sentiment is despite its inherent falsehood and treachery. I am, of course, referring to the oft-quoted statement, “God helps those who help themselves.” No doubt you’ve heard this expression before, more than likely from a well-meaning person….

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Snoring Through Communion (in Holy Week)

Snoring Through Communion (in Holy Week)

This one was written by Samuel Son.

My middle schooler son, Ian, was snoring on stage as the bread of Christ was being passed. This was not a pastor-parent’s worst nightmare, lingering for a minute when I woke up, then fading out as I fell back to sleep. This was Palm Sunday, a few days ago, at Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church. Oh, and across from Ian was his younger sister, Elina, who swilled the blood of Christ, and then promptly spat it out, screaming “Yuck!” She slammed the communion shot glass on the floor, because it was her first taste of…

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Closer Than You Think (The Trouble With Deconstruction)

Closer Than You Think (The Trouble With Deconstruction)

Deconstruction is having a moment.

There are podcasts and books galore about the process of deconstructing (usually damaging or negative) religious belief. Take one step back from deconstruction and you have the phenomenon of doubt in modern Christian writing. At some point in the last ten years, doubt began to be the prerequisite for an “authentic” Christian life.

Charles Taylor wrote about this in his 2007 book, A Secular Age. In this seminal work, Taylor argues that authenticity is the hallmark of the secular age, which is why doubt is in. Authentic doubt or disbelief is better than inauthentic faith…

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PZ's Podcast: Bay of Angels

PZ’s Podcast: Bay of Angels

Episode 242

I’m always surprised when proponents of One Way Love fail to apply it in concrete cases. In other words, we can talk a good game — about how Christ is always there, gets there first (!), when we are at our lowest ebb, in our worst place of sin and paralysis — how no sin, no sinner is ever beyond the reach of His “saving embrace” — but when we or someone close to us — someone we really KNOW, in other words — is lying there bleeding to death from a self-inflicted wound, well, then… I just don’t…

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It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

A blogpost went viral last year with an explosive headline: “If it doesn’t stem its decline, mainline Protestantism has just 23 Easters left.” The article, written by Ed Stetzer, first appeared on the Washington Post’s blog and quickly made the rounds in the echo-chamber of church social media. Some dismissed the article as over-the-top, while others accepted it as gospel and began packing their church offices.

This blogpost came to mind recently as I began looking ahead to the sermons I will preach during Holy Week and Easter. I thought to myself, “What am I called to say on the 23rd…

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A New Chapter

A New Chapter

One of the most memorable moments in all of Western literature is in Augustine’s Confessions. In 383, the future Bishop of Hippo was 29 years old, and not yet a baptized Christian. He was, however, a brilliant and earnest inquirer after truth, and Christianity was a young thing with many sharp competitors. Augustine had traveled from his birthplace in North Africa to Rome: the capital of its time and world, if not yet of gelato. He sought learning there in the schools of rhetoric, supported by his holy mother Monica, and working as a teacher to patrician Latin-speakers. In attitudes…

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