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About Matt Johnson

Husband / Father / Resurgence Publishing Manager / Drum sesher/Biblical Living Pastor @ Mars Hill Church. Long walks on the beach, puppies, Black Sabbath.

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Author Archive

    The Scene-Police Punker in All of Us

    Every couple of years I get bitten by the nostalgia bug and revisit musical obsessions from my teens and twenties. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s just what happens to you post-40, right? Maybe it’s just me. Of late, I’ve found myself climbing into endless YouTube wormholes. Before I know it, it’s 11 PM. There are […]

    What Punk Rock Taught Me About Public Prayer

    In 1972, the old-school rock critic Lester Bangs said Black Sabbath was the world’s first Catholic rock band. So much for Christian rock. Sorry, Larry Norman. Apparently Sabbath had you beat by a decade. Joking aside, Bangs claimed in the same essay (terrifically titled “Bring Your Mother to the Gas Chamber”) that Black Sabbath were […]

    Confessions of a Sad, Tweeting Batman On Word-Porn

    What happens when you mix equal parts family crisis, a comedic coping mechanism, and an insatiable desire to be an internet star? Well, according to Twitter funnyman Sammy Rhodes, not a recipe for happiness. Popular comedy Twitter-er Sammy Rhodes is a pastor hailing from the Midwest who nabbed the twitter handle “@prodigalsam” back in 2009. […]

    What Charlie Brown and a Curmudgeonly Drummer Boy Taught Me About Not Sweating the Holiday Blues

    Ah, Christmastime. The season of joy, goodwill, and cheer. For some, it’s strained family relations, broken promises, and the tyranny of perfect gift giving. For most, Christmastime is an emotionally complicated mish mash of all the above, both good and bad. This year, I’m not stressing the holiday blues and I have Charlie Brown to […]

    It’s So Beautiful, It Hurts My Feelings: Wayne White’s Beauty Is Embarrassing

    I love me some Netflix streaming. But at times, that gargantuan library of B-movies can be a bit taxing to peruse on a lazy, boring Thursday night. So upon the recommendation of a Facebook acquaintance, my wife and I decided on a documentary called Beauty Is Embarrassing. We weren’t disappointed. For those not already in […]

    Forde Friday: On the Death of Self

    I was thinking this week about how Christians tend to think about “dying to self”. Certainly there’s something to be said for the mortification of the flesh, fighting sin and all that. But what if Jesus’ call to lose your life in order to gain it was less of a call to selling all your […]

    Forde Friday: The Prison of Free-Lunch-Think Versus The Gospel

    Gerhard Forde, Justification by Faith: A Matter of Death and Life, pg. 24 The gospel of justification by faith is such a shocker, such an explosion, because it is an absolutely unconditional promise. It is not an “if-then” kind of statement, but “because-therefore” pronouncement: because Jesus died and rose, your sins are forgiven and you […]

    The Cross As Moral Striving?

    Bad PR dies hard. Somehow, the word got out that Christianity is about moral reform and our inner 2nd-grade, grumpy-pants teacher has been looking over our shoulders ever since. Despite the insistence of St. Paul, Luther, Calvin and a host of other Reformers, faithful laymen and preachers that we’re free in Christ, we’ve had a […]

    Re-Offending Taxmen and the Outrage of Grace

    Here’s a zinger on the scandal of grace from Robert Farrar Capon’s Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace (pgs 161-163) – a book full of such zingers. Dr. Capon is commenting on the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee and the repentant Tax Collector from Luke 18:9-14. It’s a familiar parable […]

    Forde Friday: In Defense of Daily Personal Drownings

    Being hung up on personal spiritual progress is a problem. Why? Because it’s an indication that somehow, we are holding on to/out for some type of self-salvation project that needs to be drowned in order that we might be raised to new life. Says Forde on page 51 of Justification by Faith–A Matter Of Death […]

    Forde Friday: Spiritual Progress = “Shut Up And Listen”!

    Here’s another zinger about our misguided ideas of spiritual progress from our favorite late Lutheran Theologian, Gerhard Forde. For those that tend to get sucked into fruitless spiritual introspection (ahem, that would be me), let this be salve to your soul. This quote is from page 50 of Justification: A Matter of Death and Life. […]

    Sucker Punched By One-Way Love

    Let it be known, I am no romantic. But being an avid This American Life listener, sometimes I get sucker-punched by the occasional, irresistibly sappy story. This is such a great story of grace in practice I couldn’t not share it. It doesn’t hurt that Mockingbird is getting ready to release a publication about the […]