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Comma, Grace

Comma, Grace

A wonderful, grammatical reflection, by Andrew Taylor-Troutman:

I was taking a mid-afternoon break at my favorite coffee shop. The brew was dark, organic, and fair trade; the scone, buttery and soft with little treasures of cranberries buried beneath the surface; and the people-watching, exquisite. Take the guy with the cryptic tattoo on the back of his neck. I was trying to crack the code when, just a couple of tables away, a young woman exclaimed to her coffee partner, “And I was like, comma, you just don’t get it!”

What exactly was not gotten I will never know, for she dropped her…

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Seeds of Renewal (According to Alan Jacobs)

Seeds of Renewal (According to Alan Jacobs)

We were so honored to have Alan Jacobs, esteemed author of How To Think (and many other books), speak at our 2018 New York Conference and are doubly grateful that he’s allowed us to post an excerpt from his second talk, delivered on Saturday, April 28th.

The world really does seem different now; there are, in many Western nations, legal as well as social impediments to active religious belief and practice; it is hard to see a way back to some earlier state of affairs at which (supposedly) it was easier to believe and easier to display one’s belief in the public…

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On Deserts: What Sexual Assault, Star Wars, and Salvation Have in Common

On Deserts: What Sexual Assault, Star Wars, and Salvation Have in Common

We’re very grateful to share this powerful piece by C. Marcus Odden.

Editor’s note: the following recounts a story of child abuse and should be read with discretion.

A Great Insight

A Great Insight

I imagine it’s a common experience: Whether in Bible studies, or from the pulpit, or in one-on-one “discipling” relationships, Christian ministers often feel pressured to come up with something genius, something that will knock the spiritual socks off whoever it is they’re ministering to. If you say just the right thing, maybe you can save or convert or help this person.

And I have to admit, on this website, the quandary’s similar. When we begin writing, often our first (or ever-present) concern has to do with saying something new and brilliant. “But has someone already said this?” With eleven years under…

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A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

This is a follow-up to a recent piece titled The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)—offering the other side of the coin.

Paul wasn’t much of a storyteller. For him, the advent of Christ was principally a revelation of something unforeseen at a human level. It was an invasion of liberation into an enslaved cosmos ruled by the powers of sin and death. This controlling metaphor of revelation colors his thought such that Scripture itself becomes not antecedent, horizontal events that set into motion a story, but prophetic testimony of God’s unconditioned, vertical intervention into the world.

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…Mistakes Were Made…

…Mistakes Were Made…

Some of us are so scared of being outed as human that we go to extreme measures to avoid any indication that we make mistakes. Architects, like me, are especially loath to admit error.

You could say architects are conditioned to have ‘ego on steroids’ since the job is to manifest complete confidence in the unbuilt. Hence, we are conditioned to project belief in the unknown. For me, fully flawed, I consider design an act of faith, not hubris. But for most of my peers, design is living out their truth, as revealed by their genius.

No, really, that is the ethic….

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The First Chapter of Bed and Board by Robert Farrar Capon - New Edition Available Now!

The First Chapter of Bed and Board 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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PZ's Podcast: Shoe Horn

PZ’s Podcast: Shoe Horn

EPISODE 247

People are constantly trying to shoe horn their search for God into containers too tight for the Object of the search. This is probably true of some of your interests, whether it’s food or Hammer horror films or “Philadelphia Soul” — to name two of my current but chronic faves — or you name it. On something or someone, you are probably pinning very high hopes.

The blogosphere is full of such shoe horns — interests such as a movement or style or movie or type of music that attracts your “ultimate concern” (Tillich). But they don’t actually produce for…

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Existential Angst, Just in Time for Mother's Day

Existential Angst, Just in Time for Mother’s Day

I almost didn’t have children.

I can hardly say that sentence aloud now, now that I am a mother, without choking on the words.

I almost chose not to have children.

I did not want the world to have more of me in it.

When I say that aloud now, people laugh, as though I’m joking. I’m not joking. And I wasn’t joking then, or being unnecessarily self-deprecating. I did not want the world to have more of me in it, and I did not want to put another person through the experience of being me. One of me seemed like plenty.

The luxury of…

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The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)

The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)

The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world are not all they’re cracked up to be. However much we want to believe we live a coherent narrative, where the endless succession of events of life have clear meaning, the stories we tell are invariably based upon the (mistaken) premise that we have a grasp, or understanding, of how it is the world works and what the best outcome should be for the narrative of our lives. Yet there is an almost indescribable gap between the logic that shapes our choices and their ultimate outcomes, one that…

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Announcing Bed & Board: Plain Talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon!

It is a privilege to announce the latest installment in our Robert Farrar Capon series… Bed & Board: Plain Talk About Marriage.

This little book was Robert’s first best-seller, originally published in 1965. Now re-released for the first time, Bed & Board is Father Capon’s enduring, rambunctious counsel on marriage and family life—woven through with the message of grace that never changes, no matter the decade.

From inside:

“This book is not about those giants who tower over you: Psychology, Education, Maturity, Sexual Adjustment—not even Religion. They can take care of themselves. This is about you—that is, about me (for we are all unique, and practically identical). This is, to be honest, not a book at all. It is only a monologue, and not an entirely sober one at that. It is one peasant swapping stories with another in the cold backyard of the House of Important Subjects, while the grand seigneurs hold their solemn consultations within. The author’s qualifications therefore almost cease to matter. Indeed, he has arranged things so that only one is really necessary: He must be an expert in absurdity. And that is the only qualification that will be offered. An absurd Baedeker for an absurd journey; no apologies, no explanations…”

You can order Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage, by Robert Farrar Capon here!

You can also find Mockingbird editions of Robert’s other books here: The Man Who Met God in a Bar, and More Theology & Less Heavy Cream.

Mamba Mentality for Losers

Mamba Mentality for Losers

Kobe Bryant won’t go away. I was desperately waiting for him to retire so that I wouldn’t have to watch his brand of basketball or listen to his brand of pop-psychology anymore.

Then he retired. But now he’s back.

Bryant developed a reputation during his playing career for being ultra-competitive (true) and always coming through in big moments (not true). There’s a difference, you see, between being willing to take an important shot at the end of a basketball game (competitive fire) and actually making that shot (coming through). Bryant was always willing to shoot it, regardless of the presence of more-open…

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