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Grace in Practice


Torn Ligaments, Broken Dreams, and Abundant Grace

Lately, I have felt more fatigued than normal. Perhaps that’s a consequence of “sedentary coronavirus syndrome.” Or laziness. Or old age. In all likelihood it’s some amalgamation of the three. Father Time is still undefeated. Despite the best efforts and innovations we can muster, old age afflicts everyone. As time marches on, so does our […]

Forty-Eight Years After John Lewis Was Attacked

A stop-you-in-your-tracks story of (and reflection upon) sin, repentance, reconciliation, and hope from the late congressman John Lewis’ final book, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America, which we discuss on the forthcoming episode of The Mockingcast. Even if you’ve heard about the incident elsewhere, it’s worth reading Lewis’ own […]

Auden’s Missing Mercy

The constant background of stress caused by a brand-spanking-new kind of plague, combined with widespread social unrest and a particularly contentious election year, have all conspired to put a serious crimp in my attention span. This has become particularly noticeable in my reading habits; it has to be good, like brake-squealing good, for me to […]

The Reproachful Lectures of a Father: People-Watching in Gilead

If mid-twentieth-century Gilead were a real place, I would certainly buy a bus ticket there. This fictional Iowa town of Marilynne Robinson’s soon-to-be four novels has captured my imagination from the beginning, with Gilead (2004), followed by Home (2008), and Lila (2014). I can’t wait for the release of Jack (2020), but in the meantime, […]

John Lewis on Redemptive Suffering, Grace in Practice

Famously called “the conscience of the House,” the late congressman John Lewis began his career of activism at the American Baptist Theological Seminary. The following is an excerpt from his memoir, where he describes what he learned from his seminary professors: We talked a lot about the idea of “redemptive suffering,” which from the first […]

Just Mercy (and Chocolate Milkshakes)

For the past few years, so many people have suggested I read the book Just Mercy that I became determined to never read it, as an act of defiance. All I can say is that I’m thankful I finally joined the parade. The 2014 bestseller is the remarkable story of Bryan Stevenson, a young attorney […]

The Latest from the Mockingcast: Exploding Heads and Inedible Sandwiches, My Name is Soapbox, and From Minneapolis to Constantinople

Episode 191: Exploding Heads and Inedible Sandwiches In which Dave, RJ, and Sarah talk curated authenticity, shameful beaches, and imputing baseball coaches. Also, Sarah does some Corona math while and Dave weighs the wisdom of a Shakespearean admonition. Oh, don’t miss the surprise at the end. Click here to read Shannon Ashley’s column on Medium, […]

COVID Stole the Wienermobile and Everyone Is Grieving

Well, the virus finally hit my small town in rural Pennsylvania last week, and it hit in a way that surprised us all. Don’t worry, we’re all fine and healthy for the most part. But the virus hasn’t just come for our bodies and spirits. The most recent casualty of COVID-19 was our annual town […]

The Coach Who Changed Michael Lewis’s Life

Very late to the game on this one, pun intended. For years people have been urging me to read Michael Lewis. Moneyball, The Big Short, Liar’s Poker; these are required reading for American dads my age. I know his appeal extends beyond that demographic, but I’ve resisted nonetheless, leaning more in the Brandon Sanderson direction […]

PZ’s Podcast: Bright Road, Outer Ashen Limits, Kolchak and Corona, (You’re) Having My Baby, Narrative Schmarrative, and Speed Bump

EPISODE 297: Bright Road There is this unexpected plethora of gems coming at me just now in a Mockingbird vein. Last week there was Journey into Light, from 1951; and also The First Legion, also from that year. Today there is Bright Road, also a Hollywood movie, which came out in 1953. I feel like the surface of the moon […]

Godliness Cozies Up to Our Mess

I have struggled lately to be patient with messy people. If I’m honest, I have likely always struggled with this, but I see it acutely now. My faith (as I evolve in my understanding of it) continually drags me back to important truth — everyone deserves love, everyone and everything is likely redeemable, and cleanliness […]

“The Story of a Divine Mercy Killing”: The Best Part of My Divine Comedy Is That It’s Ours, Too

When I first came across Missy Andrews’ recently published memoir My Divine Comedy: A Mother’s Homeschooling Journey, I was a bit skeptical.  I was intrigued by what I presumed to be her titular pun on Dante’s Divine Comedy. But what do I have in common with a mother on a homeschooling journey? I’m not a […]