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Posts tagged "Augustine"


After Confession: From the Church, the Couch, and Civilized Life

This post comes to us from Geoff Holsclaw, who was featured on the Mockingcast last week. Geoff is Affiliate Professor of Theology at Northern Seminary, and just published Transcending Subjects: Augustine, Hegel, and Theology. He is also co-host of his own podcast, Theology on Mission.  From the confessional at church, to the therapists couch, and now in […]

Hopelessly Devoted: The Beauty Beneath February

This comes to us from one of our NYC conference speakers, the inestimable Paul Walker:

Things to love about February: 1) it is short and 2) the following month holds the dawn of spring.

But there’s more, even in the midst of these ongoing frigid temps. There is still the hope of a huge, pulverizing snow, which forces the suspension of all activity. (I realize this is not on the positive side of the ledger for some, but the inner child still pleads for a snow day!) And then there is Valentine’s Day. Again, maybe not everyone’s favorite day. And then there are the fires in the fireplace. Who doesn’t love fires?

What I really love about February, however, is the way its spare beauty points to God. Spring is bursting, summer is lush, autumn is burnished. Their beauties announce themselves, obviously. February’s beauty is a shy beauty – a demure month. What other time do you notice the skeletal branches against the flat sky? What other time does the cardinal pop so brilliantly against the snowy hedge? What other time do you so carefully observe the slowly lengthening days?

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When eyes are not overwhelmed with stimuli, they sometimes see deeply through the spare offerings. Is there a deeper beauty, a beauty below (or above, or within, or around) the beauty? St. Augustine thought so. In his famous passage, “What do I love when I love my God”, he says,

“It is not physical beauty nor temporal glory nor the brightness of light dear to earthly eyes, nor the sweet melodies of all kinds of songs, or the gentle odor of flowers, and ointments and perfumes, nor manna or honey, nor limbs welcoming the embraces of the flesh; it is not these I love when I love my God. Yet there is a light I love, and a food, and a kind of embrace when I love my God – a light, voice, odor, food, embrace of my innerness, where my soul is floodlit by light which space cannot contain, where there is sound that time cannot seize, where there is a perfume which no breeze disperses, where there is a taste for food no amount of eating can lessen, and where there is a bond of union that no satiety can part. That is what I love when I love my God.”

The Quirky Grace of Fandom: A Best of This Is SportsCenter Commercials

Being a fan’s a funny thing – you idolize certain players on your team, riding with them on their ups and turning critical on their downs. It’s tempting as a commentator on anything – sports, literature, movies, etc – to stand above all of it as the judge, the arbiter and critic, and SportsCenter does […]

Science Is Not the Enemy (But with Friends Like These…)

The New Republic recently posted some pretty provocative thoughts on (capital-s) Science – you know, the discipline that’s been martyred and victimized in the contemporary era like none other (?). Not that adjudicating on the territory of different fields of study is particularly fun or interesting, but there are definitely some nuggets in this piece, and also […]

Anthony Weiner and The Court of Public Opinion

The recent hubbub surrounding Anthony Weiner’s second exposure for “sexting” is immensely difficult to write about, but relevant. Recidivism? Check. Judgment? Check. Grace? We’ll see. The media has spent a good portion of the past week trying to classify the New York mayoral candidate’s behavior. Is he a punchline? A sex addict? A narcissist? Classifications […]

Cracked Actors, Self-Propulsion, and the Will of God

The second preview from our publication Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody. This one comes from the chapter on Step 3 (“made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him”), pgs 64-69: “Let me give you a truth that […]

The Cross As Moral Striving?

Bad PR dies hard. Somehow, the word got out that Christianity is about moral reform and our inner 2nd-grade, grumpy-pants teacher has been looking over our shoulders ever since. Despite the insistence of St. Paul, Luther, Calvin and a host of other Reformers, faithful laymen and preachers that we’re free in Christ, we’ve had a […]

Another Week Ends: Zeitgeistlichkeit, Atheist Religiosity, Freakonomic Fathers, Ralph Erskine, MJ, Devo’s Paradox, Hunger Games, Deep Blue Sea, and Hoarders

1. A pair of terrific book reviews have appeared in The NY Times over the last couple weeks, the first being Generation X author Douglas Coupland‘s inspiring riff on Hari Kunzu’s opus, Gods Without Men, and the exciting new genre it epitomizes (“Translit”). Ironically enough, he makes a number of Twitter-ready observations: [We are living […]

One of Us Cannot Be Wrong (I Told You So)

You know you’re listening to something pretty magnificent when both Ira Glass and St. Augustine get a nod. Kathyrn Schulz’s TED talk from 2011 is precisely such an instance. Her subject is one that we know (too) well: human fallibility and the art of being wrong. Up until a year or so ago, she chronicled […]

Luther didn’t start the fire: St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

In the year 427/428, St. Augustine endeavored to reevaluate his prolific writings in order to correct them of “anything that offends me or might offend others (Augustine, 8) Among his various corrections and explanations, he offered a new insight into his interpretation of the identity of the speaker in Romans 7.14-25. Referencing his book entitled […]

The American, Disordered Desires and the Conflicted Self

“My soul, why do you face about and follow the lead of the flesh? Turn forward, and let it follow you! Whatever you feel through the senses of the flesh you only feel in part. It delights you, but it is only a part and you have no knowledge of the whole.” –Augustine, Confessions In […]

O Lost, And By The Winds Grieved

Human suffering is an important touchstone for much of what is discussed here at Mockingbird. And as a native Pensacolian watching oil wash up on our shores every day, I am seeing suffering in my own life and in the lives of my family and friends on a scale that I had never before imagined. […]