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Social Media and Choosing Your Own Narrative

Social Media and Choosing Your Own Narrative

This post from Stephanie Phillips was originally published on Mbird in October of 2014. Safe to say that it’s still incredibly relevant. I engaged in a Facebook fight recently. This hasn’t happened in a while. I try to avoid commenting on the status updates and posts that particularly (and regularly)...
We Are All Sociopaths (for Love)

We Are All Sociopaths (for Love)

Do the names Jesse and Celine mean anything to you? Right now they mean a lot to me. After years of putting it off, I finally binged Richard Linklater’s much-loved Before trilogy: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight. The movies trace a single relationship between an American man and...
Learning from <em>Jesus' Wife</em>

Learning from Jesus’ Wife

Sometimes, the truth is far stranger than fiction. In September of 2012, the world learned that Jesus of Nazareth had a wife named Mary, or so the newspaper headlines read. Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King announced to a frenzied media that a new ancient text had surfaced in which...
Learning to Love the Job I Can't Get

Learning to Love the Job I Can’t Get

Certainly work is not always required of a man. There is such a thing as a sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected. – George Macdonald, Wilfrid Cumbermede During my second-to-last semester of college, I had to take a senior seminar class to finish up my major’s...
The Glory of the World's Twilight: A Tribute to Autumn

The Glory of the World’s Twilight: A Tribute to Autumn

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16) The last day of summer hasn’t officially arrived, but it’s been autumn in my heart for over a week already. Foretastes of fall have been filtering...
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Introducing Avatar: East Meets West

Here’s an underrated piece of pop culture news worth your consideration. In mid-July of 2020, an anime kid’s show that premiered in 2005 beat the Netflix drama Ozark for the longest tenure on the streaming provider’s Top 10 list. By that same metric, this anime show on Netflix is more popular than the meme-worthy Tiger […]

David Chang Has Nothing To Be Depressed About

A trenchant passage from David Chang’s new memoir Eat a Peach, a book which has made headlines for its openness about the chef/restaurateur/Netflix personality’s history of depression. Apparently Chang decided to shift the direction of the book after the death of his good friend Anthony Bourdain. I for one am glad he did, ht CWZ:

You want to know if I still think about suicide. Well, there are periods when I don’t, and when I do, it’s usually more academic than emotional.

I think about how nothing I’ve achieved would have been possible if I hadn’t been ready to die from the outset — how my success is completely tied to my depression. I fear losing more of my heroes to suicide … I wonder out loud to my friends if we’ve been sold a false idea of happiness, and I worry I’m just telling myself that as an excuse to be happy.

“Come on, Dave,” you’re saying. “What the hell do you have to be depressed about?”

Nothing. There’s nothing to be depressed about. For those who know me well, it can be a struggle to reconcile my depression with the look of joy on my face when we’re eating and goofing off together. You know how much I love my family and my job and the people I work with. But if you’ve fought depression or know somebody who has, you know that no amount of money can fix it. No amount of fame. No logic. The continuing stigma around suicide and mental illness tells me that not enough people truly understand it. I don’t really blame them — it’s impossible unless you’ve lived it. But there’s this puritanical notion of … depression as some kind of failure of character. Too many of us assume that antidepressants and suicide hotlines and generalized compassion are antidotes — that painting the train station a calm color is going to stop people from jumping. You wouldn’t suggest to a cancer patient that calling a hotline would cure them, would you?

To fight this, you need help. Medicine, yes, but people are key. You can’t do it alone.

For Chang, finding a way to live with his depression ends up sounding a whole lot like AA’s “one day at a time” philosophy.

This all raises the question of whether depression is something you can control by simply sucking it up. My answer is no, I don’t think you can overcome it with willpower, but I do believe that dealing with depression is a choice that needs to be made. You have to choose to stand up everyday and keep going. To reject your default setting. To offer another silly analogy, I always liken it to being a  Jedi. It’s easier — and probably cooler — to give in to the dark side. The only way to be a Jedi is to do the hard thing and reject your base instincts.

The Word of God and the Story of Our World: Robert Jenson’s The Triune Story

A traditionalist in some regards and an innovator in many others, Robert Jenson has frustrated conservative and liberal alike in his efforts to proclaim the God of the gospel. To the accusation that he’s conservative, Jenson has no qualms with challenging traditional assumptions. To the accusation that he is a revisionist, Jenson would reply that he […]

QAnon, Faith, and Skepticism

About a month ago, I listened to an NPR story on the growing popularity of the QAnon conspiracy theory among white evangelical Christians. QAnon is actually a hodgepodge of related theories, but the basic idea is that President Trump is waging a secret (?) war against a cabal of satanists/pedophiles/vampires who surreptitiously run the country. […]

Tim Kreider on the Pleasures and Perils of “Outrage Porn”

Imagine if we had chosen the path of retribution and revenge. Our country would have been dust and ashes. – Desmond Tutu, on the end of Apartheid Look, I’m mad too. I’m scared too. I’m anxious and exhausted and finding it hard to be kind too. These are dark days. Some fear, some anger, some […]

When Revenge Turns into Forgiveness in The Last of Us

Today’s video games are far more than what they used to be. Nowadays video games aren’t just a quick match of paddling a ball back and forth on a screen. Now we have grand narratives and entire worlds being built and developed within the product. While there are still your basic shoot em’ up or […]

A Pandemic of Shame: Seeking Refuge From Online Anger

With studies showing a dramatic increase in social-media use during the pandemic, people have taken to the virtual streets, but it’s not exactly what you’d call a block party. Such is the focus of D. T. Max’s recent article in the New Yorker, “The Public-Shaming Pandemic,” about how people who have accidentally spread the coronavirus […]

Another Week Ends: Bland Land, Digital Burnout, Pale Beyond, Dominion of Jack, Guilt Lit, Depression Meals, and Electric Jesus

1. Hum, Quip, Goby, Burst, Boka, Brüush, Gleem, Shyn — these are just a few of the brands, or “blands,” seeking to disrupt the toothbrush industry right now. If you’ve scrolled through Instagram recently, no doubt you’ve seen others trying to do the same in other industries. Caspar, Harry’s, Oscar, Burrow, Keeps, Roman, Rumpl, the […]

Pandemic Poetry from W. B. Yeats

Written during the height of the Spanish Flu in 1919 and while his wife was herself stricken by the disease, W. B. Yeats penned this reflection, “The Second Coming”: Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the […]

Grace and Justice Beyond the Grave: The Memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This excellent post comes to us from Johanna Hartelius and Jason Micheli. Together, they host the podcast Crackers and Grape Juice. The incomparable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last week, having served on the Supreme Court for nearly three decades. She was a fearless leader of the court’s liberal wing, a feminist trailblazer, a “lady,” […]

Don’t Overthink It: The Gospel We All Need

Thankful for this post from Matt Metevelis: I lead with my head. I am always more comfortable with things when I can analyze and argue about or with them. My wife is very leery of asking me questions that involve more than a simple answer. I’ve been interrupted and asked for the “Reader’s Digest Version” […]

Experiencing Law and Gospel Through Dostoevsky and Jesus

Grateful for this post from Lisa Cooper: For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Rom 3:20) If you had asked me as a fourteen-year-old where I was destined to be after I died — Heaven or Hell? — I […]