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Be of good cheer, little pup, for thou too in resurrection shall have a little golden tail. ~Martin Luther @revdeaconb

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    An Election Cycle Ends: Deeper Identities, Social Media Bandwith, Listening Ears, Sore Knees, and the Last Three Verses of Amazing Grace

    An Election Cycle Ends: Deeper Identities, Social Media Bandwith, Listening Ears, Sore Knees, and the Last Three Verses of Amazing Grace

    It’s been two weeks since the election ended, though you wouldn’t necessarily guess it from the way election coverage has continued. DZ already covered some initial thoughts on the results, understanding our collective emotional turmoil from a lens of low anthropology. Since then, the vote has been dissected and discussed thousands of ways, and believe it or not, some of those reflections contain glimpses of a law and gospel lens. If for no other reason than posterity’s sake, here are a few links to articles whose contents might be worth a glance.

    First off, in The NY Times, Rabbi Michael Learner articulates the…

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    The Duty vs. the Desire to Punish

    The Duty vs. the Desire to Punish

    A brief review of the Persistent Widow parable from Luke 18, which many folks heard at church this past Sunday. It’s a short little parable of a widow with a just grievance. The local judge, however, is corrupt, and he refuses to hear the case. So the widow relentlessly pesters the judge until he finally agrees to hear her out to “see that she gets justice.”

    The point of the parable is made clear at its telling: “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” To quote our friend Derek Webb, there is…

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    T.S. Eliot on Gentlemen, Youth Groups, and “New” Morality

    T.S. Eliot on Gentlemen, Youth Groups, and “New” Morality

    A letter from TS Eliot was published earlier this week in The Paris Review, and by golly, it’s just too good not to reproduce in full here [ht @FredOSphere]. The context is Eliot’s personality-revealing essay “Thoughts after Lambeth,” which is worth its own post in the future for no other reason than the poet’s prophetic thoughts on youth groups circa 1930. I kid you not. Either way, Eliot is actually arguing for teaching youth chastity, humility, austerity, and discipline. These may sound like “law” to us, but for Eliot, these are the virtues that help human beings cope best with life under the curse…

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    Major Expectations and Higher Ed Helicopter Parenting

    A doozie of a note from The Washington Post earlier this month, one raised that raised the collective blood pressure of Academic Twitter and Parent Twitter at the same time. It is the time of year, after all, when college students are either validated or terrified by their choice of major. As infamous weed-out professors once again earn their tough reputations, it turns out that this year’s crop of freshmen are, more than ever, forced into their major by their parents. George Mason professor Steven Pearlstein writes:

    “I have heard from many different colleges that there is now a considerable — and disturbing…

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    Washington Football Just Can’t Win

    Washington Football Just Can’t Win

    ♫ Are you ready for some football? ♫ We’re a less than a month away from professional gridiron action and even closer to our beloved college ball. Living in Morgantown WV, home to my WVU Mountaineers, the start of football season induces a Pavlovian happiness into my small community. Relief from summer heat, fall foliage, harvest festivals, the holiday season, it’s all coming right alongside the thunderous crush of helmets and shoulder pads.

    And yet, despite the near universal joy that football brings, no thing is untouched by sin. There is much to be said about concussions and the increase in head injury. Violence and…

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    Flannel Antinomians and a Satisfaction Guaranteed

    Flannel Antinomians and a Satisfaction Guaranteed

    If the pattern keeps going, we’re going to need Ethan Richardson to write volume two of This American Gospel. Ira Glass and crew at This American Life have given us some of our favorite stories and sermon illustration over the years, and episode 591’s exploration of LL Bean’s return policy joins the ranks. If you need a frank discussion about the role of antinomians in 2016, look no further.

    Check the glossary for a fuller treatment, but the short spiritual definition of an antinomian is someone who, after encountering the Gospel of love and forgiven sins, “goes rogue” with the “un-Christian…

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    Christmas in Colombia: The Gracious End of FARC

    Christmas in Colombia: The Gracious End of FARC

    Some incredible and beautiful news coming out of Colombia this week, and not just with their third place finish over the USA at the COPA. In a news cycle defined by #Brexit and the massive dip in your retirement portfolio, the 50+ year guerrilla insurgency FARC signed a cease-fire pact with the Colombian government. The odds are looking good that this war is officially over.

    If you need brushing up on your South American Contemporary History, the FARC were really bad guys, and they were that way for half-a-century. Seriously, they’re the South American version of ISIS, motivated by Marxism instead of religion….

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    How to Win Voters and Influence People

    How to Win Voters and Influence People

    As November’s approach continues to dominate the news cycle, the social science research coming out of the election continues to challenge. Chief among the targets of social science research is the enlightenment cornerstone that human beings are functionally rational creatures. The data is suggesting that this cycle we’re all voting out of anger, spite, fear, or some other passion, even if the outward justification for those votes is thoughtful policy evaluation.

    Now we have a new motivation to the list: voting by justification. Just kidding about the “new” part–self-justification has “never not” been a motivation for human behavior. As WaPo’s Wonkblog reported last week, new research…

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    Shaped By What You Love

    If you’re in the OC, LA, SD, or any other part of SoCal, DZ will be out your way next month for the Shaped By What You Love event! Tickets are limited, get ’em quick before they run out. We’d love to see you there!

    Register Today!

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    “I’m New Here: What’s Going On?” A Conference Preview

    What a joy it is to host everyone at Calvary St. George’s for the 9th Annual Mockingbird Conference! Things are shaping up for a memorable weekend with great food, excellent speakers, and a topic that any human being in 2016 can appreciate–Relief. For friends who are new to church, new to Mockingbird, new to Christianity, new to New York, here’s a pre-conference word of Relief for you.

    We are Mel Smith and Bryan Jarrell, and we’ll be hosting the breakout session “I’m New Here: What’s Going On?” At this session, we’ll talk about The Law, The Gospel, the Bible, everyday life, and Mockingbird’s vision to connect all those things with the human heart. If it’s your first time at a Mockingbird event, if you’ve come to the conference by yourself, or even if you have attended the last 8 and are wondering “what am I doing here?”, join us!

    Together we will explore how God’s immeasurable grace intersects with our human experience through the culture, faith expressions, and everyday living. Here at Mockingbird we can seek to explore the threads of truth & grace as we interact with the world around us.

    Travel safe, see you next week!

    Nothing else in the world matters but the kindness of grace, God’s gift to suffering mortals. ~Jack Kerouac

    Pre-register here!

    Enough with the Hairshirt, St. Matthew! Reviewing Daredevil Season 2

    Enough with the Hairshirt, St. Matthew! Reviewing Daredevil Season 2

    Marvel’s Catholic butt-kicker is back! Daredevil season 2 is out on Netflix for your viewing pleasure. Given the recent Easter holiday, many of us likely binged the show after binging on ham and potatoes. I mean, what else were ya gonna watch on Netflix, Fuller House? We already binged that nostalgia trip weeks ago. Keep up folks!

    Daredevil’s second season is essentially an extension of its first season. The Marvel noir following the blind lawyer superhero keeps its dirty, shadowy Hell’s Kitchen backdrop, with stellar action choreography and r-rated gore. DZ listed the show “overrated” in his 2015 TV roundup, and I’m not sure…

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    President Jesus and Holy Week, Part II

    President Jesus and Holy Week, Part II

    Back in 2008, the New Monastic figurehead Shane Claiborne wrote a generally well received book titled “Jesus for President,” riffing off Woody Guthrie’s folk tune “Christ for President.” In the book, Claiborne argued that American Christianity was too invested in the American political system and, as a result, ignoring a significant amount of Jesus’s moral teachings. The title seems to have stuck- “Jesus for President” – and perhaps it’s just my carefully curated Twitter feed, but the phrase seems to be making a comeback again in 2016.

    It’s an understandable sentiment: many Christians are scratching their head this year regarding the…

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