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Heaven is a 12-Step Meeting

It was a big weekend for baptisms and confirmations at our parish. By Sunday evening, I had reaffirmed the Baptismal Covenant from the Book of Common Prayer five times. At the end of the Covenant, the congregation is asked to uphold orthodox practices and beliefs of the Christian faith. The response to the handful of questions […]

Can Zoom Be Sacred? The Architecture of God

We are in an unholy mess. Each day reveals more disease, more anger, more flaws in our culture than anyone could have anticipated a year ago. This season’s inscrutable fears are uniquely human. In the past, we would come together, comfort and strengthen each other, in communities, in families, in churches. But part of our […]

On Cities Unseen: Living in the Homelessness of Grace

Last week I switched over my youngest son’s closet, exchanging his size five clothes for his brother’s old size sixes, and as I have done for the past three years, I took a moment to rue the fact that in a few weeks, we’d be moving to a new house and I’d have to pack […]

Making Advent Fun Again, with StoryMakers

When we think back on 2020, it’s hard to describe, and it seems like there has been nothing “normal” about it. As parents and churches think about birthday parties, Sunday school, and Christmas activities, it is hard to imagine how Advent could be that “magical” time of year in 2020. Thankfully in God’s mercy over […]

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” […]

God’s Little Puzzle Pieces

We are puzzle pieces. A strange thing to say, but it is true. Ever wondered what your purpose is? Or struggled with your identity? Or wonder where your life fits into the bigger picture in relation to the people around you? I’ve had moments like these in different seasons and for different reasons. Recently the […]

When Christians Sing of Hope: Glenn Packiam’s Worship and the World to Come

Among the positive effects of quarantine is a refocusing on what is temporal and what is eternal. Remember the Iowa Caucus? Remember the Oscars drama from last year? Neither do I. The unrelenting passage of time will always remind us that most of our concerns don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but something […]

Church Shopping at the Apocalypse

This (timely!) article by CJ Green was originally featured in Issue 7 of The Mockingbird: The Church Issue.  Don’t tell me you’re going to read Stephen King next, my mom said when I started high school, suspiciously eyeballing my more grown-up selection of books. At the time, I didn’t know who Stephen King was, but […]

When the Romans Got Infected

Grateful for this post by David Evans: Even though the media has called these months dominated by COVID-19 “unprecedented times,” historians have been quick to point out that epidemics and plagues are anything but unprecedented. Modern historians have reminded us of the Spanish Flu of 1918; medieval historians would ask us to consider the Bubonic […]

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, […]

Overcoming Unbelief: John Updike on Feathers and Faith

Fusty Churches, Creaking Hymns, and Revived Faith

Grace at a Funeral

Racial Reconciliation and a Glimpse of God’s Kingdom