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Posts tagged "LOVE"

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 […]

By the Grace of Dog

You know the old truism: Wanna know unconditional love? Put your spouse and your dog in the trunk of your car for an hour. When you open the trunk, only one of them’s still going to be happy to see you…

As we’ve compiled the many essays and interviews soon to make up Mockingbird’s fourteenth magazine issue, The Family Issue, we noticed a glaring and certainly inadvertent omission. How in the world does one put out over a hundred pages of tender, nuanced reportage relating to the family unit—not to mention grace in the family unit—without paying homage to its most gracious member?

Yes, we’re talking about the family dog. While families are full of conflict, perennial victims and perpetrators of so many circumstantial slings and arrows, there is no greater emblem of unconditional love and, um, dogged loyalty. Some may call dogs “inferior” or just plain “stupid.” To those people, we offer our prayers, because they must have never heard the foolish wisdom of God. Dogs are heaven-sent. And so, in lieu of an entire essay, we’re asking you, dear reader, to send us your “By the GRACE of DOG” stories. Where has the furry, four-legged love of God found its way through the doggie door and into your heart? What blessed paw-marks has it left on your interior furniture?

Just one small paragraph will suffice. We’ll keep you confidential. Send your submissions to bythegraceofdogz@gmail.com. They can be funny, heart-wrenching, really weird, or really sweet. And then keep an eye out for your submission in the next issue. If you have a cat story, well, good for you…

I Love You, But I'm Not Gonna Wash Your Feet

I Love You, But I'm Not Gonna Wash Your Feet

Sometimes I’m asked after our Maundy Thursday service why we don’t hold a foot washing like some other churches do on that night. They’re never quite prepared for my answer. The reason I don’t do foot washings is that I’m not sure about the theology communicated in that act, namely that we are at all […]

A Very Brady Holy Week

A Very Brady Holy Week

The most famous episode of The Brady Bunch is the one where Marcia takes a football to the nose.[1] In the beginning of the episode, she is asked out by the school’s star football player and breaks off a date with her friend Charley, a rather unremarkable suitor by comparison. In breaking off the date, […]

My Daddy Is Big and He Can Carry Me

My Daddy Is Big and He Can Carry Me

This sweet reflection comes to us from Juliette Alvey. This picture was drawn by my daughter, Devyn, and the words she expressed are very literal. My husband is 6’4” and is strong enough to pick her up and carry her (or even swing her upside down). She says she loves him because of this, which […]

The Risk in the Naming of Love

The Risk in the Naming of Love

There’s a trope in teenage romance movies where one of the young lovers will drop the L word at the wrong time. Worse, they might even say, “…forever.” After that, you know the relationship’s going to bomb. It’s too early, and the kids don’t know each other. They haven’t yet uncovered how much they doubt […]

What Is Love?

What Is Love?

What is love? Love has no ego. Love and ego are antithetical. Diametrically opposed to one another. Foreign languages one to another. Ego equally has no love but is all pretense and self-preservation. This quote from Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints) summarizes this well: We have a whole secondary self we put […]

Lust, Love, and the Gospel According to Kendrick Lamar

Lust, Love, and the Gospel According to Kendrick Lamar

A standout at this year’s turbulent VMAs, Kendrick Lamar performed a moving show and won several prestigious awards. Here’s a reflection on his latest album, written by Mocking-friend Sam Guthrie.  Turning on Kendrick Lamar’s most recent album DAMN. is like tuning into a boxing match. You don’t just listen to single songs; you experience the […]

Now Available: The Love & Death Issue

Now Available: The Love & Death Issue

Ladies and gentlemen, lovers and leavers, killers and killed, the time has arrived: The Love & Death Issue is at the printers and death is lovelier than ever. You are going to love it to death! If you want to order a copy for yourself and all the people you love, go here. They will be […]

Couldn’t Never Figure Out How to Love: When a Rebel Breaks the Chain

Couldn’t Never Figure Out How to Love: When a Rebel Breaks the Chain

In the town where I live, I’ve noticed the word “LOVE” cropping up in sneaky places, spray-painted on highway signs and under bridges. Under one particular bridge, it’s repeated over and over, almost urgently: LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE, as if it were—and I think it is—the key to life. What makes Jesus one of […]

The Title of the Show Is <i>Love</i>

The Title of the Show Is Love

At this point, Love is a show that can do no wrong in my eyes. I love that it moves slowly. I love that the characters have jobs, and that they seem to spend a decent amount of time there. Mostly, though, I love that no matter how low it goes—no matter how awkward it […]

The Benefit of Treating Your Spouse Like A Small Child

From a talk he gave on love this summer, Alain de Botton here gives us permission to view our significant others as the small children they actually are. Relying on a searingly low anthropology, de Botton argues that pessimism is, in fact, the key to a successful relationship. He says, “Pessimism is often seen as the enemy of good things, and indeed it is in many ventures. But when you embark on the journey of love, pessimism, in fact, is the most generous and kindly emotion you can direct towards yourself and your partner.” One of the ways we do this, he figures, is to disentangle one another from the “adult” expectations we have for one another. (The entire 20 minute talk, below, is well worth the listen. This comes in the last couple minutes.)

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The first thing we need to understand is: let’s stop treating our partners as if they were adults and let’s start treating them like small children. The reason this is so important is when a small child has done something wrong—let’s imagine you have a small child, you cook them dinner, they’re two years old, three years old, you have broccoli and some schnitzel and you put a plate down in front of them and they just swipe it off and go, “Ech!” and start screaming. Now, what do you do as a modern parent? You don’t hit them. You don’t go, “I’m so offended, I’ve had a hard day at work, and now this—you’re persecuting me!” You don’t say that. Instead, you go, “Maybe my poor child’s got a sore tooth, or maybe he’s a bit jealous of his sister being born, maybe that’s kind of weighing on him, maybe he’s a bit tired, that’s why he’s behaving like this.” In other words, we’re incredibly generous with our system of interpretation. We don’t do this with adults because we think, This person’s an adult. And, most adults look like adults, unfortunately. It would be so much more useful if we looked like children.

The thing about breaking something—like a broken arm—is that everyone can see it. “Oh, you’ve got a broken arm! I’m so sorry, let me open the door for you.” If you’ve got a broken bit of your soul, a broken bit of your psyche, everyone thinks your normal. But you want to say, “No, no, I’ve got this thing, it’s broken even though it doesn’t look broken.” We don’t look like children—but we are inside. And we’re so aware of how patronizing it is to be treated as if you are younger than you are, but we forget how generous, how kind, how truly loving it is to treat someone as if they are younger than they are. Because this is what it means to truly love someone: to be generous in one’s interpretation of another person.