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Pretentious Believers and the Law of Authenticity

Pretentious Believers and the Law of Authenticity

There was a period of time, and I’m not proud of it, when the worst insult my friends and I could lob at a person/place/thing was that they were ‘pretentious’. It connoted everything we didn’t like: phoniness, humorlessness, and haughtiness. At least, in theory it did. Over time, the word...
"But I Need Those!" What Happens When A Pastor Flushes A Congregation's Religion Pills

“But I Need Those!” What Happens When A Pastor Flushes A Congregation’s Religion Pills

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a pastor, convinced of the truth of grace, actually tried what Robert Farrar Capon suggested here in The Foolishness of Preaching? I think good preachers should be like bad kids. They ought to be naughty enough to tiptoe up on dozing congregations,...
Preaching Politically in Turbulent Times

Preaching Politically in Turbulent Times

Was Rudolf Bultmann a Nazi sympathizer? Short answer—no. And yet…the accusation is commonplace within some sectors of scholarship. In his recent Gifford lectures, the New Testament scholar N.T. Wright said as much, accusing Bultmann of Lutheran “quietism” in the face of the Third Reich because he was a “friend and philosophical...
When the World Calls Them Otherwise, God Calls Them Good

When the World Calls Them Otherwise, God Calls Them Good

It is a scary time to be raising children. But boys come with their own narrative of misbehaviors. Boys are deemed too intense, too loud, too active. They misbehave earlier and more demonstrably than most girls. They have a much higher rate of diagnosis for challenges like ADHD and mood...
Help Kids Hear the Story: With StoryMakers

Help Kids Hear the Story: With StoryMakers

Like a lot of children raised in a denomination, I remember my Sunday school classes teaching me about my denomination. There were the seasonal colors, things about the liturgical calendar, and something to do with sheep. To be honest, I was never sure if the goal was to make me...
Successful People Don’t Sleep

Successful People Don’t Sleep

Steve Harvey is one of those pop-culture personalities so associated with his later-in-life career that his rise to fame is all but forgotten. If you asked the average millennial who Steve Harvey is and what does he do, the vast majority would tell you about his run as host of...
All the Life We Cannot See (and All the Death We Should Be Doing)

All the Life We Cannot See (and All the Death We Should Be Doing)

Recently my four-year-old son has become obsessed with all things Hamilton: the musical, the person, the coffee table book I bought my husband and repurposed as a spontaneous gift for my boy, who flips through it daily and asks me to sing him the songs. He’s turned his older brother...
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“Out of Nowhere…I Can Imagine Good Things Happening”: Justice and Unbelievable

Recently I barreled through the Netflix mini-series Unbelievable. It covers the true story of a woman, who is charged with lying about being raped, and the two detectives who (unknowingly? accidentally? by design?) solve her case years later. The first episode is, yes, “hard to watch.” Marie’s suffering, as she is asked to tell and […]

Life, Love and Other Impossibilities: Your Savior is Not You – Nick Lannon

In our next video, Nick Lannon, author of Life Is Impossible (And That’s Good News), speaks at our annual conference. Topics include: asking out a crush, turning your frown upside-down, Saving Private Ryan, the Sermon on the Mount, a tyrannosaur, and a double quarter-pounder with cheese. Bombs away!

Life, Love and Other Impossibilities: Your Savior is Not You – Nick Lannon

Text Message for the Otherworld

When I was in school, Facebook was young. One evening, I saw a dead classmate’s profile, his picture featured on the sidebar, a recommended friend. I spent the next hours perusing the status updates he had posted when he did not realize his days were numbered. For anyone wondering, now Facebook has an answer for […]

Mining Netlifx: “Father Brown”

What do you get when you cross Sherlock Holmes with Pope Francis and Arthur Weasley? You get a slightly bumpling but brilliant Catholic priest who moonlights as a murder detective. “Father Brown” is the literary creation of G.K. Chesterton, and the BBC show based on him is now airing on Netflix in its entirety. I […]

A Full Grown Man & His Sad Jelly Belly

A confession from Matt Magill: I have a complicated relationship with sugar. It’s really the candy that does me in. The guilty verdict on my perpetual adolescence needs no further evidence than my wicked sweet tooth and embarrassing proclivity to indulge it. No matter how often I throw out “Not today Satan!”, I trend towards […]

In the Midst of Life We Are in October

What images come to mind when you think of Halloween? Ghosts? Skeletons? Gravestones? Some Christians cry foul at such “morbid” imagery, but it seems to me this stems from a safely modern, bourgeois outlook. Our older brothers and sisters in medieval Europe most assuredly wouldn’t know what to make of the bland, sterilized Christianity regnant […]

“Ad Astra” and Dad

Usually I disdain movies. But aesthetics can seduce, and I am a sucker for dystopia, and, well, last night I was beat. So we went to see “Ad Astra.” I had heard of the sublime art direction and the contrast between the full-on space travel and the intimate subplot of the father/son relationship. You may […]

Shouting Louder (Mark 10:46-52)

This morning’s devotion is taken from Larry Parsley’s book An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark. …they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he […]

Another Week Ends: El Camino, Total Work, Acedia, More Judge Tammy, Nir Eyal, History’s Long Defeat, and the Only Character Jesus Ever Named

1. These two thuderbolts struck at the same time. First, from Judith Shulevitz, the author of The Sabbath World and writer at the Atlantic, comes “Why Don’t I See You Anymore?” a treatise on the ever-expanding workweek, and its stupefying impact on our family and social ties. Shulevitz, who you might guess from the book […]

Stormzy Takes Glastonbury to Church

Stormzy is a star in the UK and has the following to prove it. He’s the first black solo artist headlining at Glastonbury, but who’d have thought that a pop concert with tens of thousands of people–and no Kanye–would become a worship service? The lyrics are spectacular and the whole scene is profoundly moving.

ht JMGB

When Tara Isabella Burton Ran Out of Magic

A remarkable essay by Tara Isabella Burton appeared last week on Catapult entitled “I Spent Years Searching for Magic—I Found God Instead” in which the esteemed religion journalist (and novelist) charts how her lifelong fascination with magic led her to Christianity. She covers a lot of ground, and the sum is a conversion narrative par […]

Binge/Cringe

This one comes to us from Nathan Hoff. Why do I keep eating ice cream? Why do I keep looking at porn? Why do I keep drinking booze? Why do I work like there’s no tomorrow? Why do I binge-watch Netflix? Why do I keep on ketoing? Why do I keep looking for news? Why […]