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A Citizenship of Nothing but Belief

Once, in college, I attended an inter-denominational Christian event. Students were asked to introduce themselves and the church tradition they represented. One girl laughed and said, “I’m a Christian,” and left it at that. (She was probably a 4.) This left an impression on me, as parsing the nuances between traditions had become something of […]

The Grace to Not Give Up on Me

It’s got to be hard sticking it out with me. I don’t know yet how to recognize that fact and constructively absorb its truth without engaging in self-flagellation, but I know I want to. I have no illusion that rattling off my faults effects some proportionality of sanctification in me, as if some transaction takes […]

Searching for Beauty and Slowing Down

A few years ago, I became fascinated by a group of loosely connected Instagram influencers who live in Birmingham. I started following several women who spend a whole lot of time sharing their lives online to thousands of followers. These women are probably in their mid-to-late twenties. Some are married, some aren’t. Some have children, […]

Great Marriages Don’t Just Happen (And Other Threats Disguised as Sermons)

This one comes from Jonny Wills: Dallas Baptist University looks idyllic in fading sunlight. It perfectly fits the image of a city on a hill. Students stroll between replicas of historical buildings designed to resemble famous U.S. landmarks like the U.S. Supreme Court Building, Monticello and Harvard Hall. These monuments comprise a campus defined by […]

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 […]

Doing, Being, Asking

This one was written by Kurt Armstrong: Six years ago a friend of mine hired me to replace the front steps of his house, and two days into the job, when I got out of bed in the morning my left knee was so stiff I could hardly bend it. I hadn’t crashed or fallen […]

The Making of a Saint: The Music of Good Saint Nathanael 

“Grace is indeed required to turn a man into a saint; and he who doubts this does not know what either a man or a saint is.” – Blaise Pascal For many of us, sainthood, at least in the Catholic sense, is an insignificant pastime. It is the ecclesial equivalent to the Rock and Roll […]

Our Souls House Many Homes

For a period in 2013-14, I lost my sense of time and place. There had been too much travel. That spring, I’d happily but hectically gone to post-war Northern Uganda to do six weeks of fieldwork for my master’s thesis. It was one of the calmest places I’d ever been, characterized by a feeling of […]

This Abundant Life

“Today I know that it is a good idea to stop having experiences, whatever the genre, and to limit oneself to living: to allow life to express itself as it is, and not to fill it with the artifice of our travels or readings, relationships or passions, spectacles, entertainments, searches…. All of our experiences tend […]

The Acquittal of Our Guilty Pleasures

Music is always a near-essential for me when I hit the road. But now, more than ever, having a soundtrack to drive to feels absolutely critical. Typically, I have a playlist cued up to inject some presence into the errand I’m running to offset the Leftovers vibe I pick up everywhere I look around.  Sometimes, […]

Rumors of Realness and the Almighty Catfish in Netflix’s The Circle

In a popularity contest worth 100,000 dollars, would you choose to be yourself? Or would you pretend to be someone else, say, someone better-looking or more accomplished? This at least in theory is the question behind Netflix’s The Circle, a reality show where contestants hole up for two weeks with no phones or computers; their […]

Quarantine Side Effects

The Mini Existential Crises from Staying at Home