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When Your Friends Are the Devil

When Your Friends Are the Devil

Do you ever dread meeting with a friend? Do you involuntarily find yourself imagining the ways this is going to go all wrong? Do you feel a knot in your guts when you receive a text message asking to “connect” later (why that word?) and zero elaboration is given? You feel the foreboding circulate through […]

Needles & Nails: Finding Identity in Ink

Needles & Nails: Finding Identity in Ink

I have little interest in getting a tattoo. Maybe it’s a matter of taste—I prefer expressing myself with music rather than body markings. Or maybe it’s my upbringing. Without a single tattoo in my immediate family there’s a sense of inertia working against me. But my wariness of tattoos is likely the fruit of a […]

I Am No Jean Vanier

I Am No Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier, the Canadian naval officer turned philosopher and founder of the L’Arche Communities, died yesterday morning. News of his death hit me harder than I imagined it would. I have read plenty of his books and followed the work of L’Arche for many years. It was only after his death that the reason for […]

Don't Ruin Brunch: A Mother's Day Primer for the Church

Don't Ruin Brunch: A Mother's Day Primer for the Church

I’ve got an idea for churches this upcoming Sunday. Please just ignore Mother’s Day. I do not know why we started to attach the church to this secular holiday, but for the love of all that is sacred and holy, she wants us to stop. I got a desperate note from her in the mail. […]

The (Step)Ladder to Glory

The (Step)Ladder to Glory

This reflection comes from Rev. Will Ryan. I never thought I had outsized expectations of how my career would go, but I certainly did have expectations. Once I got through the first year of seminary—which admittedly was an eye-opener to this guy who thought he could turn in rough drafts and get A’s (spoiler alert: […]

Like Framed Menus on the Wall

Like Framed Menus on the Wall

It’s easy for me to read headlines and observe human nature to back up my low anthropology. I only need to look in the mirror to find a human being who is selfish and who thinks too highly of herself. I’m often grouchy, and I am easily annoyed. Except. There are a few people who […]

Sixty to Zero

Sixty to Zero

In Lyndal Roper’s Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet, the author narrates the moment when Martin, a newly minted Augustinian monk, participated in his first mass as priest (1507). What made this moment especially charged was that his father Hans was present. Hans, you may remember, sacrificed to send his boy to college so that Martin […]

Whatever It Takes: Friendship and Avenging the Fallen

Whatever It Takes: Friendship and Avenging the Fallen

This one’s for Kristin and Anna; Andy, Blake, Caleb, Chris, Jeff, Nathan, Reed, and Trevor. Some spoilers follow. “If a man should importune me to give a reason why I loved him [his friend, Etienne Boetie] I find it could no otherwise be expressed, than by making answer: because it was he, because it was […]

Rejoice: The Absurd Command, Part 3

Rejoice: The Absurd Command, Part 3

The conclusion of a three-part series. Read the others here. Beloved, we are always in the wrong, Handling so clumsily our stupid lives, Suffering too little or too long, Too careful even in our selfish loves: The decorative manias we obey Die in grimaces round us every day, Yet through their tohu-bohu comes a voice […]

The Failure of Best Intentions (Mark 14:27-31)

The Failure of Best Intentions (Mark 14:27-31)

This timely excerpt is taken from Larry Parsley’s devotional, An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark.  Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” (14:29–30) If you have read the gospels […]

I Love You Without All Your Accomplishments

I Love You Without All Your Accomplishments

This week, I read an article in the New York Times about an Olympic medalist who recently died from suicide. Kelly Catlin was a lot of things in her short life. Beyond Olympic cycling, she was also a horse enthusiast, a triplet, a mathematician, and someone who lived by her own “personal code,” which she […]

Can Loneliness Be a Good Thing?

Can Loneliness Be a Good Thing?

While most of the news coming out about loneliness is about how bad it is for our health, some people have stated that loneliness can be a good thing. Dr. Karyn Hall writes, “Just as physical pain protects people from physical dangers, loneliness may serve as a social pain to protect people from the dangers […]