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The Sermon in Stone at Notre Dame

The Sermon in Stone at Notre Dame

Notre Dame has burned. The cathedral had — “had,” how terrible to write — one of the oldest surviving wood frames in Paris’ history, comprising 52 acres of trees. Workers cut those trees down in the 12th century and made the beams. Each beam required the wood of a whole tree. The intricate lattice of […]

Preachers in Sneakers: A Merciful Mirror

Preachers in Sneakers: A Merciful Mirror

When a friend sent me the Instagram account @preachersnsneakers, I was dumbfounded. A guy who goes by the name “Tyler” posts photographs of nondenominational mega-church pastors sporting sneakers alongside a cost analysis. It is funny and staggering. I had no idea that sneakers can cost hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. I mean, I feel […]

The Top Ten Reasons the Lectionary Sucks and Five Half-Assed Solutions

The Top Ten Reasons the Lectionary Sucks and Five Half-Assed Solutions

This one comes to us from Sarah Hinlicky Wilson: A lectionary is a collection of readings for Sunday worship, ordered according to the seasons of the church year. The version most widely used by mainline Protestants is the Revised Common Lectionary, though others such as the earlier Common Lectionary and the Roman Catholic Lectionary for […]

I Once Was Blind but Now I Rock: Nine Conversions Put to Music

I Once Was Blind but Now I Rock: Nine Conversions Put to Music

The following list was compiled and annotated by David Zahl, and published in the latest issue of The Mockingbird magazine on Faith & Doubt. Best enjoyed with the volume up: The Road to Damascus has been well traveled in pop music. Perhaps not enough to make “conversion songs” a legitimate subgenre, but enough for a pretty […]

Anno Domini and the New Era

Anno Domini and the New Era

The first day of April this year brings the announcement in Japan that that country’s calendar cycle is about to re-set to Year One. The matter is obscure outside of Japan itself and its immediate neighbors, but you can see the option for a Japanese calendar—cued to the beginning of each emperor’s reign—on iPhones and […]

Botched Convocation for the Handsome Boy Modeling School of Ministry

Botched Convocation for the Handsome Boy Modeling School of Ministry

“Why is everyone scowling at me?” I had a week(s) where every time I made eye contact with someone, invariably, they would have this pained look on their face. I had to look into a mirror, like Boris Karloff in Targets, before realizing what was causing it: my face. Every time a certain subject came up, […]

I Have Decided to Go to Church

I Have Decided to Go to Church

Grateful for this reflection by Sarah Gates: I have decided to go to church. It’s a good idea. It’s at least a better idea than not going. I’ll probably feel bad if I don’t go. Specifically, I’ll feel bad about myself. I should go. I don’t want to go anywhere lately, but I will go. […]

Things We Cannot Say

Things We Cannot Say

There are things we cannot say. This is a fundamental truth about life. It is not a lesson we learn explicitly, but early in our childhoods we learn that some things are not to be spoken. Social pressure or the desire for social status cause us to keep our mouths shut. We learn that we […]

Swimming with Killer Whales, and Cars that Go Up, Up, Up

Swimming with Killer Whales, and Cars that Go Up, Up, Up

It is a scientific fact that there exists a space in the human gut that functions purely to process stories. We’ll call it the Story Organ. You hear a particular story and at once there begins this churning and grinding, like one of those plastic rock polishers you get from the nerd stores. Said Organ […]

Optimus Prime and the Religion of Toys, Part 3: Mass Producing the Monomyth: Joseph Campbell’s Unintended Legacy and Ours

Optimus Prime and the Religion of Toys, Part 3: Mass Producing the Monomyth: Joseph Campbell’s Unintended Legacy and Ours

This concludes our friend Jeremiah Lawson‘s three-part series on Transformers. If you missed the other two installments, begin at the beginning! For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed. They are spontaneous productions of the psyche, and each bears within it, undamaged, the germ power of its source. […]

One Year Later: Still Processing the Willow Creek Crash

One Year Later: Still Processing the Willow Creek Crash

The first time I went to Willow Creek Community Church, circa 1994, I didn’t want to be there. My new pastor and boss was a fan of Pastor Bill Hybels, and our church staff flew to Chicago to attend a conference together. I feared that any church that large must be suspect. Still, as I […]

"Have a Token Lent" and Other Seasonal Suggestions from a Weary Jesuit

"Have a Token Lent" and Other Seasonal Suggestions from a Weary Jesuit

John L’Heureux was a Jesuit for 17 years before he quit in ’71 and got married. He’s also written an insane amount of fiction and poetry which I am slowly working through, and loving. I first encountered his work with The Rise and Rise of Annie Clark from last autumn’s New Yorker and am currently flipping […]