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    Pithy Preachers Proclaiming Perplexing Epigrams: On Preaching, the Pulpit, & Thomas Guthrie's Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints

    Pithy Preachers Proclaiming Perplexing Epigrams: On Preaching, the Pulpit, & Thomas Guthrie’s Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints

    This piece was written by Brad J. Gray.

    It’s a turn of phrase that I’ve seen around the Internet and various other places in the past, but only recently has it been actually uttered to my face. I wouldn’t have thought much of it but it was said twice in a few short days and it got me to thinking about how prevalent the sentiment is despite its inherent falsehood and treachery. I am, of course, referring to the oft-quoted statement, “God helps those who help themselves.” No doubt you’ve heard this expression before, more than likely from a well-meaning person….

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    Snoring Through Communion (in Holy Week)

    Snoring Through Communion (in Holy Week)

    This one was written by Samuel Son.

    My middle schooler son, Ian, was snoring on stage as the bread of Christ was being passed. This was not a pastor-parent’s worst nightmare, lingering for a minute when I woke up, then fading out as I fell back to sleep. This was Palm Sunday, a few days ago, at Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church. Oh, and across from Ian was his younger sister, Elina, who swilled the blood of Christ, and then promptly spat it out, screaming “Yuck!” She slammed the communion shot glass on the floor, because it was her first taste of…

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    The Psalm'ish Imagination

    The Psalm’ish Imagination

    This reflection comes to us from Cole Deike.

    We have bloody imaginations.

    As an opposite to the bloody imagination, I think of the Pixar animated movie Up. Early in the film, there is a montage of a young couple falling in love with one another. In one of the scenes, the young couple lays on a blanket and gazes up at clouds that breeze across the blue, summer sky. There is no audio of their dialogue, but they are pointing at specific clouds and talking about their shapes: this one reminds me of this animal, that one reminds me of that animal,…

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    The Unconditional Love of Meg Murry

    The Unconditional Love of Meg Murry

    This one comes to us from Sarah Denley Herrington.

    Recently, I went to see A Wrinkle In Time. Fantasy is a genre I’m decidedly not drawn to, in literature and in media, and it’s been approximately five years since I’ve been to a theater. For the record, a lot of things have changed—our cinema now has recliners as seats, and to see something during prime time hours costs $12. But this one seemed worth it.

    I was not disappointed, and the whole thing was delightful, but the climactic scene where the protagonist, Meg, speaks beautiful words over her brother when he is…

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    Bottoming Out and Finding Grace in Uncle Buck

    Bottoming Out and Finding Grace in Uncle Buck

    This morning’s post comes to us from Kyle Dupic.

    Have you ever watched a movie from your childhood only to notice things you missed for years? It is almost like watching a new movie altogether. I remember hearing a pastor tell the story of finally watching his favorite childhood movie with his son for the first time. They got about 30 minutes into Top Gun before turning it off. He had totally forgot some of the things he did not want his 10 year old to experience! That can be the bad side.

    But there is also a good side, which I…

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    Inside the Bounds of Grace: The Not-So-Lovely Love Story of David and Michal

    Inside the Bounds of Grace: The Not-So-Lovely Love Story of David and Michal

    This piece was written by Stephanie Matthiessen.

    I’m writing a novel about Michal, the first wife of David and the daughter of Saul. Don’t worry, no one else has heard of her either, unless maybe they’re from Israel. Someone recently asked me what the book is about and, instead of giving my usual, vague, I’d-rather-not-say answer, I actually told them. Spoiler: it’s about forgiveness. Unconditional forgiveness. I added the qualifier for fear one would assume it’s about personal atonement and self-improvement. It’s not. It’s not a self-help book in disguise. It’s a love story.

    Michal and, of course, her much more famous…

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    Training My Enemies

    Training My Enemies

    This one comes to us from Geoffrey Sheehy.

    When I pulled from the Greek treasury for bedtime stories, I frequently became a mythological revisionist. Zeus’s appropriation of any woman he desired? Excised, or, if necessary, declared legal marriages. Hera’s rage over Zeus’s infidelity? Simple quarrels. I knew they were important, but not to my three and five-year-old daughters. Not yet, anyway.

    I take solace in knowing I was in good company. In his Tanglewood Tales, Nathaniel Hawthorne manipulates the story of the Minotaur to save Ariadne and Theseus’s reputations. They both have reputations worth saving: Theseus is the Athenian prince who has volunteered…

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    Sting and Linger

    Sting and Linger

    This one was written by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

    From the backseat, our four-year-old firstborn asked why the road sign said 100. An unusual formulation of the question, I thought, and continued to drive, while his mom explained from the passenger’s seat. She spoke of how a number can also be a name and then the child’s mind fluttered to other things. But I reversed to five years ago when that slick Mazda flew past the stop sign and stung our old Volkswagen’s right front bumper, spinning us into the median and the previous Route 100 sign.

    Our firstborn’s favorite question is, you guessed…

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    Jorts Be Gone! Queer Eye and the Power of Imputation

    Jorts Be Gone! Queer Eye and the Power of Imputation

    This one was written by Ben Maddison.

    I wear roughly the same outfit combination every day. Tight-ish jeans, brown leather shoes, button up shirt with a smart print, blue blazer and accompanying accessories. I have enough of these outfits to work a Monday-Sunday schedule, then wash (sometimes) and repeat. I’m certainly no style expert; I know what I like, and I have a general sense of what’s currently fashionable, but they don’t make cost-friendly stylish clothes for people my size. The hell that is trying to find non-pleated pastel-colored shorts is too real.

    It’s not that I don’t want to dress well….

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    The Killing of a Sacred Deer: A Pantheon of Suffering

    The Killing of a Sacred Deer: A Pantheon of Suffering

    This fascinating movie review was written by Caleb Ackley:

    While I don’t typically correlate film-induced anxiety with a shopping mall on a banal Wednesday afternoon in Southern California, Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest offering succeeded in my conflation of the two.

    Upon entering the theatre and settling in, I, alongside the scant audience of polite 60-something’s, am greeted with an unnerving close-up of a naked, beating heart. Slowly, the camera pans out, Schubert playing mournfully in the background, the cold glare of the fluorescent lights now showing not only beating heart but the brushed grey metal of a surgeon’s slab. Cut to black. Fantastic….

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    Push Notification Masochism: Killing Ourselves & Boasting in Our Busyness

    Push Notification Masochism: Killing Ourselves & Boasting in Our Busyness

    This one was written by Brad J. Gray.

    Twitter’s no longer on my phone. Yep, I deleted it. I’m not saying that so you can see how much better I am at self-control than you are. (I know my own heart enough to know for sure that’s not the case.) Nor am I saying that to sound super-spiritual or Puritanical in my devotional walk with God. I did it because I needed the break. Mind you, I’m not leaving the social platform altogether, neither am I about to wax eloquent about the inherent evils of using such a medium as Twitter….

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    Memories from the Future: A Word on Abandoned Houses, Nostalgia, and the Hope of the World

    Memories from the Future: A Word on Abandoned Houses, Nostalgia, and the Hope of the World

    Grateful for this incredible piece by Nate Mills:

    When I was 3 or 4 I had an apocalyptic vision. It may not have been as otherworldly as the Ancient of Days appearing in resplendent glory like in Daniel 7, but it was unmistakably surreal. My family was taking a road trip from our home in rural Canada across the 49th parallel when, as we crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Detroit, it appeared: Michigan Central Station, blazing in decrepit glory before my eyes. I was entranced.

    Abandoned since 1989, the stunning 18-story neoclassical building appeared as a monolith presiding ominously over the Detroit…

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