Blair is the Director of College Counseling at The Miami Valley School, a secular independent day school in Dayton, Ohio. His embrace of a grace-based theology was driven in large part by two Mockingbird folks- Javier Garcia and Søren Kierkegaard (I think he would have liked the blog). A graduate of Georgetown University, Blair studied Arabic and history and focused much of his collegiate time in the library reading about Islamic political movements. Blair served on the Protestant Student Forum and was a leader in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship while in college. Blair has just completed his Master's in Religious Studies at the University of Dayton. He and his wife, Austin, are always on the hunt for a good series on Netflix.
This month’s edition of Christianity Today features a cover story, “The Return of Shame,” that draws a clear, causative link between the prevalence of social media and its corollary stripping of privacy with the emergence of a shame-fame culture. I couldn’t help but relate this to David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (and Billy Idol’s “Eyes without a Face”).
In contrast to a guilt culture wherein morality is evaluated on the basis on individual conscience, a shame culture’s efficacy rests on community’s conception of your behavior. According to Crouch, “you know you are
good or bad by what your community says about you.”…
An essay in last week’s NYTimes written by Paul Elie grabbed my attention, prodded me in the gut, and provoked some mixed reactions on my behalf. Written with a sensitivity to the oft-referenced ‘post-Christian society,’ Elie surmises that contemporary American fiction lacks the believer: “In American fiction, belief is like that. Belief as upbringing, belief as social fact, belief as a species of American weirdness: our literary fiction has all of these things. All that is missing is the believer.”
His argument and epistolatory tone largely stem from an understanding that a large swath of American literature has been overtly rooted in…
The fifth effect has more to do with you, how you’re perceived. It’s powerful although its use is more restricted. Pay attention, boy. The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with, you stop suddenly in the middle of the conversation and look at the person closely and say, “What’s wrong?” You say it in a concerned way. He’ll say, “What do you mean?” You say, “Something’s wrong. I can tell. What is it?” And he’ll look stunned and say, “How did you know?” He doesn’t realize something’s always wrong, with everybody. Often more than one thing. He doesn’t know…
Last week, an Australian coroner declared the infamous August 17, 1980, death of Azaria Chamberlain to be the result of a dingo attack, finally putting an end to any lingering speculation about the possible involvement of Azaria’s mother, Lindy Chamberlain. An incredibly reality-check-esque op-ed by Julia Baird in last week’s NYT, encourages us, who scoffed at the audacity of Lindy’s claim that a dingo killed her baby, to take a much-needed look in the mirror.
Why did it take three decades, tens of millions of dollars, a criminal case appealed in Australia’s highest court, a royal commission and four inquests to…
A piece by Charles Wheelan that appeared in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago has been the go-to status update for the collective Class of 2012, many of who find themselves lamenting their impending commencement exercises. With unemployment still above 8 percent and college graduates leaving their alma maters with an average of $25,000 of loans, it seems as though any commencement address has an uphill battle ahead of it. Normally, these 30-minute monologues remind graduates of their duty to make “the world a better place,” or more shamelessly, to remember to give back to the annual…
Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay?
Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste;
I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday.
I dare not move my dim eyes any way,
Despair behind, and death before doth cast
Such terror, and my feeble flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which it towards hell doth weigh.
Only thou art above, and when towards thee
By thy leave I can look, I rise again;
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me
That not one hour myself I can sustain.
Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art,
Somewhat recently, Gordon Marino, a professor of philosophy and director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College, authored a piece for The NY Times on Søren Kierkegaard’s experience with anxiety entitled, “Kierkegaard, Danish Doctor of Dread.” The subject here being a man who once described his pervasive dread in the following terms:
“All existence makes me anxious, from the smallest fly to the mysteries of the Incarnation; the whole thing is inexplicable, I most of all; to me all existence is infected, I most of all. My distress is enormous, boundless; no one knows it…
As you may have heard, an American Airlines flight attendant made national headlines as her routine pre-flight intercom schtick devolved into a dire warning to passengers that the plane faced imminent danger and would likely crash after take-off. This prompted passengers to take matters into their own hands and forcibly apprehend the attendant until authorities could defuse the situation and send the travelers on their not-so-merry way.
One such passenger on the flight, theology blogger Sharon Hodde Miller, described her experience while also highlighting something we hold dear here at Mockingbird- her inability to live up to her own professed beliefs….
He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, muttering Thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshipping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolators, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.
Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in Thy great,
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.
If you’re a sports fan, you’ve likely written off the NBA season because of its late start due to a collective bargaining dispute. Or maybe, like me, you’ve never been that interested in the NBA in the first place. Still, that hasn’t stopped me from hearing about the Knicks’ new point guard, Jeremy Lin. If you’re a fan of The Waterboy (guilty as charged), you’ll like this story. If you’re a fan of Tim Tebow, buckle up.
A Harvard grad who received league honors from his sophomore season on, but toiled in relative obscurity in the Ivy League, Lin was initially…