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July 4th, Sufjan, and the Wake-up Call of Death

Thankful for this post from Grace Leuenberger: This week, Sufjan Stevens announced a new, forthcoming solo album titled The Ascension, his first since Carrie and Lowell debuted in March 2015. I remember listening to the album on that frigid March morning, sitting with my legs cramped underneath my dorm room desk. Tears sprung up in […]

The Emotional Plausibility of Faith vs. Doubt

When many think about Christian doubt, they tend to imagine it as a kind of midpoint between faith and unbelief, existing in hues of grey. Matters of faith in a transcendent God are rarely so black and white, it is said, and the stance of faithful doubt is perhaps the appropriate stance all Christians should […]

Grace at a Funeral: A Father’s Day Reflection

When it was his turn to speak, I didn’t even recognize him. I hadn’t seen him in 30 years. Making his way to the podium, he paused and genuflected before my father’s casket before sharing his reflections of having known my dad. His name is Ryan Sattler and he and his family had lived directly […]

Dylan on COVID and Little Richard’s Fugitive Good News

Bob Dylan to the rescue! The bard granted a rare interview last week to Douglas Brinkley, and man he did not disappoint, offering his brilliantly in-the-world-but-not-of-it perspective on Little Richard, COVID, and the mysterious nature of songwriting. Reminiscent of his transfiguration interview from a few years ago, and the line about the Eagles made me […]

A Grave Burden

Blessed are those who carry / for they shall be raised. – Anna Kamienska Several years ago, during Christmas vacation, my dad and I were discussing funerals. This is not as weird as it sounds. We were two pastors talking our trade. The conversation turned to my own grandfather’s service, which had taken place twenty-five […]

Comfort to Afflicted Saints

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3) The pithiness of some of Jesus’ teachings, coupled with their familiarity in the church, often empties them of their radicality and counter-intuitive divergence from commonsense. Translated into the language of ethics for what Christians must do or become on the […]

Our Stories of Suffering and the Presence of God

The stories we engage in novels, memoirs, films, and the stories of our lives all share common elements. Some of those elements are: a hero, a villain, a guide, a problem that needs to be solved, a solution, and a transformed hero. By the end of the story, the hero is not who he was […]

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 […]

How Depression Prepared Me for the Coronavirus or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Uncertainty

Trevor Almy sent us this beautiful reflection. For Chris Crane As we approach the end of our shelter-in-place orders, I have been reflecting on how, although I have an anxiety-based disorder, I have not panicked from the external crisis or from being sequestered. Paradoxically, the coronavirus has given me an outward threat to direct my […]

When Your Worst Day Is Preparation Day (Mark 15:43-47)

Morning Devotional from An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark

Casket Clarity: The Muse in a Time of Chaos

When Music Delivers Truth