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Thou Shalt Be Needed but Never Needy: Sad Clowns, Lonely Husbands, and COVID Friendships

Sad clowns. That’s the term used to describe me and my peers. It’s not flattering. As far as I know, it was coined in a Boston Globe article a few years ago about middle-aged male loneliness. A sad clown is a man of a certain age whose default agreeableness and readymade dad jokes mask his […]

Dogs, Play, and the Terrifying Open-Endedness of Grace

Our family welcomed a dog into our ranks two months ago, and believe me when I tell you, it has been a journey. Kevin, named after our younger son’s kindergarten teacher (as well as the lead characters from Home Alone and The Wonder Years), is a white lab whom we picked up from a farm […]

The Thankfulness of Michael J. Fox

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Is our optimism sustainable? This is a question posed by a recent interview People magazine conducted with Michael J. Fox, in anticipation of his forthcoming memoir, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality. […]

Count Your Midlife Blessings (At Your Own Risk)

It’s not often that people my age ask me why they might want to go to church. Perhaps this is because mid-life tends not to be a time when people are looking for one more thing to do. They’re definitely not looking for one more thing to feel bad about not doing. But occasionally, after […]

Why Baking Bread is an Act of Trust

Have you ever thought about the ratio of yeast to flour that goes into the creation of bread? Such a small substance creates such a big change. It doesn’t take much, but without yeast, bread would not be bread.  Jesus even relates the power of this process to the growth of the kingdom of God: […]

“All Dogs Go To Heaven,” But What About Felines?

If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much. – Mark Twain I suppose he didn’t feel any pain as the doctor injected the chemical solution into his IV, but I don’t know. Just like I don’t […]

Beyond Exhausted

This post comes to us from Sarah Denley Herrington: I’ve noticed something interesting lately. Remember how people used to sigh and say, “Busy,” when you’d ask how they were doing? I used to say, arrogantly, that people loved to “wear this as a badge of honor.” Now I know they say this as a cry for […]

What’s Your Starbucks Story?

When I was 14 years old, I began working at the Dunkin’ Donuts down the road. I then flipped over to Burger King to work with my older brother. At 16, I left the burger world to run the drive-through at KCF/Taco Bell for a couple more dollars an hour. So when I needed a […]

Jesus Christ, I Can’t Even: Millennial Burnout and Campus Ministry

There’s a reason we can’t stop talking about Anne Helen Petersen’s studies on burnout. What mainly distinguishes her writing is a patient empathy; she looks beyond the sheen of privilege, or “first world problems,” to recognize actual suffering in the lives of millennials. In her new book Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, […]

Wendell Berry Wants to Shoot a Drone

It may have been a test when an old girlfriend asked me to buckle her friend’s toddler into the car seat. And it should have been a simple enough test to pass, but to a single guy like me, that car seat looked like it had been designed by M. C. Escher. After several confused […]

Six Lessons Learned from the Pandemic (Thus Far, Sort of)

A friend recently commented that, just because the end of this pandemic may not be in sight doesn’t mean there’s not an end. Fauci ventured something similar a couple months ago. I didn’t take it to mean that the end is necessarily eons away, just that, like so much related to this fiasco, it’s hard […]

How Dirty Dancing with Jesus Can Set You Free

Thankful for this post from Chip May: It is late, almost midnight, and I call an emergency staff meeting. Sitting in a circle, as I prepare to speak with our 14 college-aged summer staff members, I feel like a fraud. I told them that we could do this. That God would bless our efforts. We […]