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An Epiphany for the Haters (and Anyone Else Tempted, Like Me, to Call it on 2021)

An Epiphany for the Haters (and Anyone Else Tempted, Like Me, to Call it on 2021)

“Make the world go away / Just get it off my shoulder.” Elvis sang those lines in 1970 and the refrain has been ringing in my head the last few days. This is a week, after all, usually spent generating excitement about the new year. Brainstorming, organizing, “casting vision,” setting...
What Then? Asking After Suffering and Sorrow with Thornton Wilder

What Then? Asking After Suffering and Sorrow with Thornton Wilder

This post comes to us from Jonathan Linebaugh, Lecturer in New Testament at Cambridge University and a fellow of Jesus College:  “When a human being is made to bear more than a human being can bear, what then?” I can’t stop asking this question. Neither could its author: Thornton Wilder. An...
Confessions of a Former Youth Minister

Confessions of a Former Youth Minister

At one point, I wrote a goodbye scene to show how my hard-drinking, cowboy daddy had bailed out on me when I hit puberty. When I actually searched for the teenage reminiscences to prove this, the facts told a different story: my daddy had continued to pick me up on...
New Year, Same Us. Again.

New Year, Same Us. Again.

I used to love New Year’s resolutions. Are you kidding me? I grew up in a Southern church! I’d compose a list of them the week after Christmas and shove it into whichever version of the Evangelical Teen Guided Quiet Time Devotional Notebook was popular in my youth group that...
Waiting on the New Thing Coming

Waiting on the New Thing Coming

As we plug in all our new hopes for a new year, and wait for them to materialize, here’s Ethan’s timely (ha) essay from the Future Issue. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Is 43:19) “Hurry up and wait,” my...
A Guide to Loving Your Conspiracy Theorist

A Guide to Loving Your Conspiracy Theorist

And so, in conclusion, FDR knew about Pearl Harbor, and he allowed the attack to happen so that America would get involved in World War II. He has the blood of American patriots on his hands.  I still remember the silent cringe in that classroom 16 years ago as we...
MLK’s “True Revolution of Values” Begins with the Mercy of the Cross

MLK’s “True Revolution of Values” Begins with the Mercy of the Cross

The events at the Capitol on January 6 were deeply disturbing, to say the least. Among much else, they have been described as an “Attack Against Multicultural Democracy,” “A Christian Insurrection,” “White Supremacy in Action,” and “The End of the Road for American Exceptionalism.” As is his wont, Dan Rather...
Praying in the Night

Praying in the Night

Growing up, I thought everyone’s family only prayed prayers that rhymed. My family’s rhyming prayer roster included “Before We Eat” (for when a child hadn’t already wolfed down several slices of bread), “Evening Has Come” (for when a child had wolfed down several slices of bread), and “Thank You for...
Wrestling with Scripture (and God)

Wrestling with Scripture (and God)

This one comes from our friend Robbie Sapunarich. The story of Jacob wrestling with an unnamed man at the ford of Jabbok might be one of the stranger episodes of the Old Testament. After sending his family across the stream, Jacob suddenly finds himself alone and wrestling with a stranger....
Latest entries


Money Is How We Keep Score

Media mogul Ted Turner allegedly once commented, “Life is a game. Money is how we keep score.” Whether Mr. Turner really said that or not, he raises a good point. More than a convenient way of conducting economic transactions, money also offers one of the few objective, countable measures for keeping track of our overall […]

Finding Quiet After the Marathon

Strong strides, swinging arms, tired-yet-powerful legs propelling myself forward — this is how I imagined myself finishing my first marathon. Imagining how my marathon would go was a strategy I’d used in races before, along with repeating phrases like “I am strong!” when experiencing pain. Coupled together, these strategies are meant to help runners cope […]

Another Week Ends: Jesus in the News, Body-Positivity, Unconditional Love, Score-Keeping, and Grace for Life-Wasters

1. Kicking off this week we take a bit of a deep dive into all the Jesus articles that appeared over the holiday season, which featured no small amount of controversy. On Christmas Eve, Peter Wehner wrote in the New York Times of “The Forgotten Radicalism of Jesus,” assembling a variety of gospel narratives to argue […]

The Gift of Being Like Everyone Else

Following the wisdom of Alan Jacobs’ recent book, perhaps the best way to understand the present moment (whatever that may be) is to read older books. Which is at least a partial explanation for posting this fantastic quote by the atheist philosopher Alain de Botton, from his book Status Anxiety. Published in 2004, this probably […]

The One Thing She Needed

This post comes to us from Will Ryan: Once when I served as a youth minister during seminary, the church received a phone call from the county sheriff’s office. I was the only one in the building, so I answered it. The deputy on the phone detailed a situation. They were called to make a […]

The Roots of Addiction and Sound of Metal

Movies about addiction usually focus on the challenges of turning from substance use to recovery. But in Sound of Metal, Director Darius Marder focuses on what happens when the foundation of recovery comes crashing down. The film follows Ruben, a drummer in a tandem rock group with his girlfriend Lou. For Ruben and Lou, their […]

Thank God for Jokes: How Christ Redeems Our Ridicule

Every man is important if he loses his life; and every man is funny if he loses his hat and has to run after it. — G. K. Chesterton Humor, as we like to say, is one of the minor fruits of the Spirit. It is, as Kierkegaard said, “the joy which has overcome the […]

Now What? On the President, the Pandemic, and Love

I remember downtown Buffalo, silent, in the evening, sometime in 1972, before church bells fully and loudly tolled the end of the Vietnam War. I remember my parents telling us of postponed Christmas Parties in the heat of August 1945 after VJ Day. I know how we felt at the end of pregnancies, the graduations […]

Rediscovering Lent with StoryMakers, Augustine, and St. Paul

For most of my life, everything I knew about Lent had been learned in the Catholic school cafeteria: give something up for forty days and make sure to tell your friends. The best way to conquer Lent was to choose something that didn’t really matter that much to you so it wasn’t a real chore […]

The Case of Missing Corpses: Alexander the Great and Jesus

When you hear claims of deity, debatable locations of tombs or bodies and the title “King of Kings,” you usually think of Jesus. Certainly, if you come from an evangelical persuasion. But before Jesus there was another king of kings, one who claimed to be the child of God. One who claimed he had all […]

Kingdom Prescription

Have you ever had a challenging season or circumstance you just can’t seem to shake? Somehow it seems to impact you in small or big ways far longer than you ever thought possible? Yeah, me too.  I’ve had a few of those and was chatting with the Lord about one recently. He shared an interesting […]

New Year, Same Us. Again.

I used to love New Year’s resolutions. Are you kidding me? I grew up in a Southern church! I’d compose a list of them the week after Christmas and shove it into whichever version of the Evangelical Teen Guided Quiet Time Devotional Notebook was popular in my youth group that year, certain that within days […]