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Grace in Practice


Good Luck With That Self-Sufficiency You Speak Of

Jesus invited us to a dance, but we have turned it into a march of soldiers. – Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom One of my favorite parts of the daily liturgy I read comes at the beginning of the evening liturgy, which I always read at some point in the afternoon–a time when I’ve exhausted […]

When Grace Comes as a Trophy

My mother has been going through things lately. Like many people right now, she has time on her hands to unload the boxes that were lovingly packed away decades ago with the best intentions about the then-present “meaning” but with little regard for how callous time might make us. She has sent me photos of […]

Enjoy Your Forgiveness

A few years ago an interesting phrase began popping into my head, and it began to have a big impact on me and my thinking. That phrase is Enjoy Your Forgiveness. I want to share a few thoughts about that phrase, along with its origin in my thought process. It was during an Easter season […]

Human Maturity Between Sin and Righteousness

An oldie-but-goodie from Paul Zahl’s “Grace in Practice” (p. 123):

My status from God’s side is unassailable and indefectible. My substance from my side, from the analysis of anyone who knows me, is good and bad at the same time, or rather, mostly the same old, same old that I have always been, though now covered over by the thin red line, the imputing blood of Christ. We could say that this position of the simul-iustus-et-peccator self [at the same time righteous and a sinner] is the last word in what the world calls ‘maturity’. That is, the simul-iustus-et-peccator self is secure in the love of another, and at the same time cognizant of its limitations, faults, and insufficiencies – its sins, in other words […]

This is the place where Christianity becomes a matchless definition of human maturity. It is the key to living, because it lives in hope and belovedness (iustus), while at the same time accepting the limitations of a fallen, tripped-up character (peccator). This is integration. Simul iustus et peccator integrates the human object. It combines imputation, the fact that God brings everything to the table as far as my identity is concerned, and the fact that I bring nothing to the table whatsoever. The No pronounced on my sin, which I shall carry in my body and person for the rest of my life, is united with the Yes pronounced upon that sin. Imputation makes it all right for me to live as I am and also in light of what I ought and want to be.

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Featured image: Evie S. on Unsplash

Crushing Our Earth Day Goals

Low-Flow Toilets, Cloth Napkins, Bamboo Toilet Paper… and Exhaustion

The Ministry of Weirdness, Courtesy of The Rev. Alfred Yankovic

Or, the Gospel According to Weird Al

That’s All There Is to It: When Grace Came to Mayberry

Grace and Law in the Andy Griffith Show

A Letter to My Future Grandchildren*

Seersucker Sadness and Easter Joy

Offensive: On War Crimes and Forgiveness

Im Chaem and Why the World Hates Christianity

The Cross Brings Mercy and Comfort

Yesterday morning, Comfort sailed into New York harbor. A few days ago, Mercy arrived in Los Angeles. I’m not sure I have ever witnessed a more powerful image of the Gospel.

On Things I Thought I’d Never Say, like God Bless the Internet!

Glorious Memes and Online Blessings

Lilian “Bloodworth”: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

A Woman Who Lived up to Her Name