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About Josh Retterer

Originally from Ohio, Josh lived on the island of Maui for 10 glorious years. Inexplicably, he moved back to Ohio. Josh is ministry adjacent, with few qualifications, and fewer prospects. And ladies, yes, he is single! Pulled from obscurity by Scott Jones, Josh now writes for a place that understands unqualified grace. His sense of relief is palpable. Aspirationally Anglican, Josh attends an Evangelical Friends Church. Josh also enjoys long walks and liminal space.

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Author Archive
    
    J.C. Now Stands for Jesse Custer: Season 2 of AMC’s Preacher

    J.C. Now Stands for Jesse Custer: Season 2 of AMC’s Preacher

    “This is going to be a hard sell,” was my first thought after rewatching season 2 of AMC’s Preacher in preparation for this. It’s a graphically violent show to begin with, but the scene where Jesus and a woman are engaged in a rather enthusiastic, acrobatic, even impressive act of coition, there’s just not much you can do with that. When the Catholic League lodges a protest, you know it pushed some buttons. I’m sure the fact that their union resulted in a great-great (squared) grandchild by the name of Humperdoo didn’t help matters. Not to mention the Hitler-turns-over-a-new-leaf-in-Hell story…

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    Depth of Fields: Stewarding the Stewards of a Movement

    Depth of Fields: Stewarding the Stewards of a Movement

    Mike Spackman’s voice broke a little as he described the experience of being awarded 2017’s Cook of the Year at the BBC’s Food and Farming Awards. He said when The Naked Chef himself, Jamie Oliver, announced his name, it was like that scene from Babe, where Farmer Hoggett says, “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.” His Britishness made those tears somehow even more poignant. Shelia Dillon, the host of BBC 4’s The Food Programme, and one of the judges, described the Awards like this:

    This, we believe, is the one moment in the year when Britain comes together to celebrate the country’s unheralded heroes. People…

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    The Man Who Ate with Capon

    The Man Who Ate with Capon

    Robert Farrar Capon is dead.

    That means, by necessity, he is now a finite resource post September 5th, 2013. I had read a little of him previous to that date, heard him referenced and quoted by people I respected. His death prompted, as things like that often do, a serious search for his books, many now sadly out of print. I looked for old interviews, articles about him, finding some funeral tributes by those who knew or loved him. That search led to Mockingbird, of course, but also to a man named Jamie Howison. He had one of the few audio…

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    For Once in Your Life Just Let It Go: The Terrible Mercy of Lament

    For Once in Your Life Just Let It Go: The Terrible Mercy of Lament

    My all-time favorite YouTube comment has to be this one, left underneath a clip of the penultimate scene from 1982’s film, Blade Runner. Taking place immediately after an epic battle between Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, we are witness to a self-delivered eulogy:

    boxerking1000
    Best…Death…EVER!!! I sometimes sit down in the shower naked and quote this line as the water falls down my face…I’m not allowed at 24 hour fitness anymore…sigh.

    Legos make everything better, don’t they?

    Comedian Jimmy Pardo is fond of saying, “You know me, I’m an open book — but, I have secrets.” I’ve kept something from you, dear readers;…

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    Unordained in the Diocese for the Sake of Porcupines: Some Thoughts on "Detachment" in Ministry

    Unordained in the Diocese for the Sake of Porcupines: Some Thoughts on “Detachment” in Ministry

    “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” was how I started the conversation with my buddy’s wife. And yes, I was quoting Zoolander, but it was the perfect description for my experience of being friends with her husband. I felt awkward talking to her about it, but I wasn’t sure what else to do. I remember we were sitting outside their home, and I was fiddling with a leaf plucked off some landscaping, making my own ersatz fidget spinner. That particular habit has proven to be a fantastic way to discover which plants cause me contact dermatitis. Quite a few as…

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    Wendell Berry's Plea for Grace

    Wendell Berry’s Plea for Grace

    Have you ever seen your dog or cat suddenly turn its head, tense up, and stare intently into an unoccupied space? It’s quite unnerving. They obviously see something we can’t, and if the more instinctual part of our brain trusts their superior senses enough, we tense up as well. It’s an interesting cross-species bit of performance art that happens, and we, of course, have learned to harness those senses for our benefit and protection.

    There are certain people throughout history that fill those roles in our own species. Martin Luther, and his namesake, Martin Luther King Jr., are obvious examples of…

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    Let's Not Talk About Money (With PZ)

    Let’s Not Talk About Money (With PZ)

    I’ve got stories, good ones, I mean, good ones. Working behind the scenes in church ministry for over a decade, even as a layperson, you build up a huge archive of unbelievable things you’ve seen. I’ve often thought they would make for a good book. Here are a few sample chapter titles:

    I’m 99% sure the tech volunteer is in the witness relocation program.

    Household idol trafficking in the church parking lot.

    At this point, fewer guns in the sanctuary would be a win.

    And many, many more. The thing is — I can’t tell these stories, because, honestly, I don’t want to tell…

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    Anne Lamott and What Dies (and Grows) in the Creative Struggle

    Anne Lamott and What Dies (and Grows) in the Creative Struggle

    If you write, you’ve probably read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. She is the shy, neurotic, wise, funny, dread-locked, recovering alcoholic, who is a font of sanity and encouragement for many of us engaged in the compulsion of writing. Anne grew up in a family of atheists, but came to faith and got sober — in that order, as that sobriety wasn’t instantaneous. Her descriptions of the struggles and joys of parenting, the messiness of life, and the wonders of being part of a church family are alternately hilarious and weepingly beautiful.

    There aren’t many interviews with her, but when…

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    Do You Need a Receipt to Return a Christmas Miracle?

    Do You Need a Receipt to Return a Christmas Miracle?

    I’m quickly coming up to the two year anniversary of when I nearly, nearly, shouted a four letter word in a crowded auditorium. And it wasn’t fire. I was at a Christmas concert, and the organizers had thoughtfully placed magnets with handwritten Bible verses underneath all of our seats. At a certain point in the evening, they asked us to reach under and collect them. I did. That’s the moment I wanted to shout…um…not-fire.

    The verse was for me, for that very moment. The Lord answers prayers. This particular evening, I really didn’t want him to. Like, at all. It meant…

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    "I hate you Dad! Oh, I mean Reverend!"

    “I hate you Dad! Oh, I mean Reverend!”

    An old girlfriend of mine—let’s call her the Girl from Ipanema…no, on second thought, we better not—had a type when it came to men: blond hair and blue eyes. That worked out well for me—for awhile. Then a ghost showed up—taking the form of an ill-fated previous relationship with a man who looked remarkably like me. That, children, was when I was introduced to the wonderful world of transference.

    Frank Lake describes transference in his book, Clinical Theology:

    The displacement of feeling from one object or person to another, and particularly the process by which the patient shifts feelings and attitudes primarily…

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    I Still Believe: The Lost Boys’ 30th Anniversary Spectacular

    I Still Believe: The Lost Boys’ 30th Anniversary Spectacular

    If Georges de La Tour was a movie director, his films would probably look a lot like Joel Schumacher’s. Well, maybe…minus the nipples on the suits in Batman and Robin. I think my assertion, knowing Matt Milliner is lurking around here somewhere, holds up particularly well with Schumacher’s 1987 film, The Lost Boys, or as I like to put it, The Two Coreys’ (Haim and Feldman) Showcase.

    My slightly sketchy comparison to a famous French Baroque painter aside, I’ve been reflecting on what I think about the movie, now, 30 years on. The surprising thing is that a couple of scenes…

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    When You Can't Get the S-Town Off of You

    When You Can’t Get the S-Town Off of You

    There are these golden moments in interviews where everything before and after becomes fuzzy, and the clarity of what is happening between those two people gets thrust into sharp contrast, like an audio pull-quote. Recently I had just that experience.

    I felt an urge to relisten to S-Town just a few weeks ago. It was even more moving the second time, hearing Brian Reed tell the story of the eccentric genius John B. McLemore and the equally colorful supporting cast of characters that were his family and neighbors. It was like listening to a real-life Flannery O’Connor story; Southern Gothic meets…

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