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<i>Anhedonia</i> and Men Without Chests: The Timeless Grace of Good Memories

Anhedonia and Men Without Chests: The Timeless Grace of Good Memories

It has now been over 23 years since Wallace penned the inimitable words: “Sentiment equals naïveté on this continent [and] cynicism and naïveté are mutually exclusive.” He explained, “What passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really...
Its Radiant Affliction: #Blessed by Empire, Wounded by God

Its Radiant Affliction: #Blessed by Empire, Wounded by God

On the day when The weight deadens On your shoulders And you stumble, May the clay dance To balance you. (‘Beannacht,’ John O’Donohue) When my grandmother slanders someone, she always follows it with benevolence. “He’s dumb as a rock,” she’ll say, “bless his heart.” “She ain’t worth a plugged nickel,...
My Besetting Sin: A Reflection on Mass Shootings

My Besetting Sin: A Reflection on Mass Shootings

This past weekend, I came face-to-face with one of my besetting sins. “Besetting sins,” as in, the sins that serve as particular nuisances to my body and spirit. Everyone has at least one, I think. Of course, we all have all of them. It’s just that we’re usually prone to...
The Open-Concept Family, AKA The Family Issue Opener and Table of Contents

The Open-Concept Family, AKA The Family Issue Opener and Table of Contents

As the Family Issue make its way from the printer to the post office, here’s a look at the opener, and a peek at what comes after! If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, you can do so here.  You can’t talk about families without talking about the containers they...
Right: An Unspoken Sermon

Right: An Unspoken Sermon

This one comes to us from Alan Jacobs. Anthony Trollope’s novel He Knew He Was Right is, like Shakespeare’s Othello, a story of jealousy. But not really. Its true subject is something far worse, and far more common, than jealousy. And if we understand the real point of the story,...
Three Thoughts on Denunciations and Deconversions

Three Thoughts on Denunciations and Deconversions

This is like an Onion headline, my friend texted, under which came the link “Christian dating guru says he’s getting divorced, denounces faith.” Sigh. It wasn’t a joke. If you’ve been anywhere near the Christian interwebs for the last few days, you know that he was referring to Joshua Harris,...
Scared Silly: How Horror and Humor Helped My OCD and Prepared Me for the End of the World

Scared Silly: How Horror and Humor Helped My OCD and Prepared Me for the End of the World

This one was written by Trevor Almy. For Jim Brown and Ian Olson. Ever since I was six years old, I have struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In my early years, my illness manifested itself through an eclectic range of symptoms. I lined up my shoes. I closed closet...
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Another Week Ends: Soul Food, Spiritual Pampering, Unfluencers, Narcopaths, Genesis, GRRM, and Luxury

1. Forgive me for going a little light on the commentary this week, first week of school and all that. Fortunately, though, there’s no dearth of material! First up, Amanda Hess penned yet another doozie for The NY Times, this time taking the new season of Netflix’s Queer Eye as an entry point to discuss […]

Praise Be!!!…Indeed…

The Handmaid’s Tale, streaming on Hulu, is not for the faint of heart, y’all. I’d argue, though, that it’s worth the ride. “HMT” rejects the instincts in us that reduce religion to a power-play, useful only for control and exploitation. It also embraces the Gospel. If you’re privy to the main story, you know that […]

There’s No Failure Like Success (in the Meritocracy of Performancism)

Every summer our family faces a conundrum. A petty one, to be sure, but it comes up more and more as our kids get older. I’m referring to the swim team question. Usually when a fellow pool-goer asks if we’re joining up, a simple “Nope, not this year” suffices. If pushed, I’ll mumble something about […]

Alchemy in Grief

One of the recurring emotions families experience in the midst of grief is guilt. They feel guilty about “things done or left undone.” They feel guilty about still being alive. When my dad’s mother was dying of pancreatic cancer, he was just a teenager. He once told me how he avoided her room during the […]

From Losers to Lovers: How It: Chapter One Takes Us to Church

In gleeful preparation for the upcoming “It: Chapter Two,” this essay comes to us from Leigh Hickman.  In 1990, Tim Curry scared audiences in a TV miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 horror opus, It. While Curry’s performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown has cultural staying power, the adaptation as a whole hasn’t aged well, […]

Back in the Habit: Creedal Faith and “Sister Act”

In my denomination, there is an official checklist of things you are supposed to say when people ask why you feel called to ordained ministry. You need a solid story about feeling a call when you were serving the poor. Or, maybe it was when you were receiving the Eucharist. I have these stories. And […]

Super-Moms, Über-Dads, and Other People Who Don’t Exist

Another peek into the Family Issue, which is available now. If you’d like more to sample, there’s Ethan’s Opener here, and the special episode of The Mockingcast, here.  This article was adapted from Chad Bird’s newest book, Upside-Down Spirituality, available wherever books are sold.  Gathering dust in the far western portion of Texas is a […]

The Seculosity Group Discussion Guide Is Here!

Three items of interest to report on the #Seculosity front:

1. In response to numerous requests, we’ve put together a Group Discussion Guide that takes you through the book, chapter by chapter. You can download it free on our Resources page or on the Fortress Press website. Spread the word! (Many thanks to Bryan J and Kendall G for their help).

2. The Almighty Amazon Algorithm, in its infinite wisdom, has just discounted the book by over 50%! Which means you can now get (hardcover) copies for $13.00. No idea how long this will last–or how it’s even possible–so get while the gettin’s good. Just be sure to drop a short review on that site when you can, as it makes a world of difference. And to forgo the Bezos-sphere, indiebound has you covered.

3. Philadelphia metro area take note: Next week I’ll speaking about the book at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Wenonah, New Jersey! Weds August 28th at 6:30-8:30pm. The event is free, but if you plan on coming, please register here. Would love to see you.

I’ll Go With You

This one comes to us from Juliette Alvey. Moving through life can feel like a series of battles. You get through one just to face another. You win some, you lose some. We use battle language with all sorts of issues: cancer, depression, or just getting the kids dressed and in the car. Some battles last […]

This is How 30 Preschoolers and a Friend Helped Me Through a Crush and an Existential Crisis

Ruby slouched in a corner, bottom lip bulging. The droves of other 2- to 7-year-olds ignored her, since a distressed child was more common than a calm one. I hesitated to speak, anticipating the melodrama that was about to erupt. Then it began: Me: Ruby, what’s wrong? Ruby: I want that toy. M: What toy? […]

I Am Only as Happy as My Childhood Allows Me to Be

The 21st century has been a time of revelation. The buried reality of abuse is now being unearthed in our culture and through our laws. Child abuse by the Boy Scouts or any number of church organizations is increasingly acknowledged as the hideous outrage it is. #MeToo has exploded the wall of acceptance of disgusting […]

Why Me Lord: A Brief Look at the Scoundrels, Buffoons and Ne’er Do Well’s Whom God Pursues in the Parables – Erick Sorensen

Next in our series of conference videos, Erick Sorensen discusses a God who couldn’t care less about our lists of accomplishments, as illustrated by the parables of Jesus. Press play for a fresh take on familiar tales, which Sorenson re-casts in light of real-life stories featuring scoundrels, sinners, and nobodies…like us.

Why Me Lord: A Brief Look at the Scoundrels, Buffoons and Ne’er Do Well’s Whom God Pursues in the Parables – Erick Sorensen