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Christian Battle Lines and the Narcissism of Small Differences

Christian Battle Lines and the Narcissism of Small Differences

I became a Christian during summer camp at age eleven, and few experiences since then can compare to the bliss of that first night and the month or so following it. I still remember, though distantly, the thrill of morning devotionals and a general sense of wonder at the strange,...
When People Tell Me It’s Hard to Find a Church

When People Tell Me It’s Hard to Find a Church

People often reach out to tell us that they lean on our podcasts, sermons, and articles in lieu of church. While there’s something undeniably encouraging about the gratitude being expressed, at the same time it always makes my heart ache. I worry about who will bring them a casserole when...
The Breakdown Is Just the Beginning: Reese and Payton's Rules for Life

The Breakdown Is Just the Beginning: Reese and Payton’s Rules for Life

Recently, I was bequeathed a second-hand copy of Reese Witherspoon’s book, Whiskey in a Teacup, by a friend who knows my fraught relationship with all things Witherspoon/Hello Sunshine/Draper James. When said friend handed over the tome on the school playground, my eyes rolled even as my breath caught: the hot-pink...
Partisan Narratives (and Cruel Choirmasters) in an Election Season

Partisan Narratives (and Cruel Choirmasters) in an Election Season

Slightly updated for context: Living in a “swing battleground state” (VA), I get the privilege of witnessing the escalation of hostilities from a front row seat every election season. And escalate they do! From the ads on TV to the volunteers at the door, the signs on the street to...
Thank God for Philip Pullman: A Religious Reader’s Guide to <i>His Dark Materials</i>

Thank God for Philip Pullman: A Religious Reader’s Guide to His Dark Materials

Spoilers below. Halfway through His Dark Materials, I heard rumors. By the books’ end, people were saying, the characters would kill God (and He would not be resurrected). I was a kid. Like all kids, I wanted to be good. I wasn’t interested in killing God. The extent to which...
Blood on the Chalkboard: Faith, Fear, and Education

Blood on the Chalkboard: Faith, Fear, and Education

“Instead of the schools existing to educate, they exist to provide a safe space from education.” So a friend described the goals of a certain party within her church. In a panic that their colleges are “liberalizing” (which is to say, scattering weeds within a carefully tended garden of white...
On Playing Catch Up (In Case You Missed It)

On Playing Catch Up (In Case You Missed It)

God bless Portlandia. Their first season contained a skit that has proven to be more than a little prophetic. In case you missed it (ICYMI): On the surface, Fred and Carrie are emphasizing how people compete over being well informed, how prideful our relationship with information has become. They’re lampooning...
Latest entries


Boys Will Be Boys (and Other Dodgy Excuses)

I stood a few steps away from my young daughter at a playground, watching her wait patiently as all the boys dashed in front of her and repeatedly took her toys away. Sometimes they would ask, but usually not. I stood there feeling a little helpless, not sure if I should intervene, wondering whether any […]

Lie Down and Die: The History of Miserable Motherhood (and an Unmapped Plug)

“I declare if I tho’t I was to be thus occupied for the rest of my life, I would — I was going to say — lie down & die.” So wrote a new nursing mother Laura Wirt Randall in 1828, as quoted in the book Scarlett’s Sisters by historian Anya Jabour. To which we reply, […]

Above the Noise: A Word of Comfort in a World of Sound

The ears, Martin Luther said, are “the only organs of the Christian.” His point was not to contradict Paul’s “body of Christ” analogy but that hearing is the most passive of the senses. While the watchful eye and the grabbing hand both suggest a more aggressive mode of action, the ears simply receive whatever comes […]

When the World Turned Upside Down in Galatia

One of many fantastic portions of the “Galatia” section in Tom Holland’s Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, which finally arrived on US shores two weeks ago. Holland has essentially crafted a 600-page sequel to Francis Spufford’s “Yeshua” chapter in Unapologetic: This conviction, that a crucified criminal might somehow be a part of […]

Creedal Faith in the Age of Seculosity – David Zahl

Here’s the video of my recent talk from the HWSS Conference in San Diego, which marked the debut of (the rough version of) The Seculosity Creed. I highly doubt I’ll ever make people laugh this hard again–and that’s probably a good thing. Many thanks to the good folks at 1517 for allowing me the opportunity to poke fun.

Creedal Faith in the Age of Seculosity: Dave Zahl from 1517 on Vimeo.

God of Progress, Slow Us Down

In his essay “After the Storm,” author Ben Ehrenreich investigates the concept of progress. It’s in the air, he argues, so elemental we don’t always know we’re breathing it. “We are in thrall,” he writes, “to the fetish of progress: the belief that history has a direction and a purpose, the faith that humankind is […]

The Hardest Thing for Anyone

According to author Zadie Smith, that is. She spills the beans in the closing mic-drop of her remarkable recent interview with The Toronto Star, ht SMZ:

“I think the hardest thing for anyone is accepting that other people are real as you are. That’s it. Not using them as tools, not using them as examples or things to make yourself feel better or things to get over or under. Just accepting that they are absolutely as real as you are and have all the same expectations and demands. And it’s so difficult that basically the only person that ever did it was Christ. The rest of us are very, very far behind.”

“What’s the Point?” Hip Hop, Rico Nasty, Vanity, & Grace…

“…All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; To the good, the clean, and the unclean; To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; He who takes an oath as he who fears an oath. This is an […]

Another Week Ends: Aging Presidents, Reusable Grocery Bags, the Soul of Pixar, Zero-Sum Happiness, Bad Good Books, Bomb Threats, and the Joy of Being Cancelled

1. There’s much ado about cancel culture going around the web these past two weeks. The New York Times has a pair of profiles on the new morality forming in certain circles of left-leaning activism, though to observe it on the political left is not to say that it doesn’t happen everywhere else, including the […]

Curing the Post-Halloween Blues

Every November 1, without fail, I’m down in the dumps. The moment I wake, I am viscerally aware in the cilia and flagella of my cells that Halloween is gone, having slipped away with the other faithful departed we commemorate on All Saints’ Day. Anymore, even as I’m trick-or-treating with my family, the sadness is […]

Inherited Sin and Family Secrets: A Review of Nora Krug’s Belonging

My husband, overwhelmed by the news cycle a few years ago, re-subscribed to Ancestry.com. We call it “social media for dead people.” He will tell anyone who asks how interesting this has been for him. He will also tell you that if you are interested in researching your own family histories, you should beware that […]

From The New Yorker