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Religious


Curing the Post-Halloween Blues

Every November 1, without fail, I’m down in the dumps. The moment I wake, I am viscerally aware in the cilia and flagella of my cells that Halloween is gone, having slipped away with the other faithful departed we commemorate on All Saints’ Day. Anymore, even as I’m trick-or-treating with my family, the sadness is […]

“Like a Blaze of Summer Lightning”: Margery Lawrence, Heaven’s Reluctant Guide

She was being called out in The Sunday Express. The British novelist and poet, Margery Lawrence had been identified as a leading contributor to society’s ills, in print. Being a feminist critical of marriage in 1920s England marked you as a troublemaker. Take Lawrence’s novel, which was quickly turned into the film Madonna of the […]

Another Week Ends: Time-Wasting Projects, Serotonin, Destination Funerals, the Hope of Children, the Languages of Love, and Jesus is King

1. Ear Hustle is a podcast about incarceration. It shares stories about life in San Quentin prison and the reintegration into life that follows a sentence there. The final episode of the recent fourth season is a hard story of reconciliation between a police officer and the man who shot him and went to jail […]

Frederick Buechner’s Bad News

A choice reflection from Frederick Buechner’s Quote of the Day (h/t KW):

The Gospel is bad news before it is good news. It is the news that man is a sinner, to use the old word, that he is evil in the imagination of his heart, that when he looks in the mirror all in a lather what he sees is at least eight parts chicken, phony, slob. That is the tragedy. But it is also the news that he is loved anyway, cherished, forgiven, bleeding to be sure, but also bled for. That is the comedy. And yet, so what? So what if even in his sin the slob is loved and forgiven when the very mark and substance of his sin and of his slobbery is that he keeps turning down the love and forgiveness because he either doesn’t believe them or doesn’t want them or just doesn’t give a damn? In answer, the news of the Gospel is that extraordinary things happen to him just as in fairy tales extraordinary things happen. Henry Ward Beecher cheats on his wife, his God, himself, but manages to keep on bringing the Gospel to life for people anyway, maybe even for himself. Lear goes berserk on a heath but comes out of it for a few brief hours every inch a king. Zaccheus climbs up a sycamore tree a crook and climbs down a saint. Paul sets out a hatchet man for the Pharisees and comes back a fool for Christ. It is impossible for anybody to leave behind the darkness of the world he carries on his back like a snail, but for God all things are possible. That is the fairy tale. All together they are the truth.

– Originally published in Telling the Truth

Life, Love and Other Impossibilities: Your Savior is Not You – Nick Lannon

In our next video, Nick Lannon, author of Life Is Impossible (And That’s Good News), speaks at our annual conference. Topics include: asking out a crush, turning your frown upside-down, Saving Private Ryan, the Sermon on the Mount, a tyrannosaur, and a double quarter-pounder with cheese. Bombs away!

Life, Love and Other Impossibilities: Your Savior is Not You – Nick Lannon

You Can’t Be Serious

I am forever struggling to be taken seriously. Perhaps it comes from being the youngest child or perhaps it is connected to my ordination at an early age. Whatever the cause, I am desperate to be seen as a serious person doing serious things.  This desire carries over into my faith life as well. I […]

And I Will Give You Rest

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30 God, I […]

Back in the Habit: Creedal Faith and “Sister Act”

In my denomination, there is an official checklist of things you are supposed to say when people ask why you feel called to ordained ministry. You need a solid story about feeling a call when you were serving the poor. Or, maybe it was when you were receiving the Eucharist. I have these stories. And […]

I’ll Go With You

This one comes to us from Juliette Alvey. Moving through life can feel like a series of battles. You get through one just to face another. You win some, you lose some. We use battle language with all sorts of issues: cancer, depression, or just getting the kids dressed and in the car. Some battles last […]

Anhedonia and Men Without Chests: The Timeless Grace of Good Memories

It has now been over 23 years since Wallace penned the inimitable words: “Sentiment equals naïveté on this continent [and] cynicism and naïveté are mutually exclusive.” He explained, “What passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human (at least as conceptualized) […]

What I Stand On: Wendell Berry’s Collected Catechisms

The closer he got to Henry County, Kentucky, the more nervous he became. He had been invited by Wendell Berry to visit his home — the Wendell Berry. When his rental car pulled up outside their house, the late Nobel-Prize-winning Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, thought, “This man is too good for me, and it’s going […]

The Improbable Persistence of Calling

In one of his final stories for The New Yorker, “The Long Black Line,” former Jesuit John L’Heureux offers a funny and heart-rending tale of a Jesuit novice who leaves the order. [If you have the time, check out a beautiful reading and commentary on the story by one of his former students, and don’t […]