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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
    
    Living in Denial in Victory

    Living in Denial in Victory

    If you read enough popular Christian books, listen to enough Christian sermons, radio shows, or podcasts, you could reasonably get the idea that Christians are like the Black Knight in Monty Python and The Holy Grail. With cries of, “I’m invincible!” the Knight continues to fight, even after King Arthur has relieved him of all of his limbs.

    I hear versions of this all the time in Christian media, and in conversations with Christian brothers and sisters: something awful has happened to them, and with a strained look and a hard swallow, the mask goes on, and they say, “But everything’s great!”…

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    Sit and Watch as Tears Go By

    Sit and Watch as Tears Go By

    Mockingbird has several shibboleths; one is the word, “abreaction.” Type that into the search on this website, and you will come up with a slew of great articles about it or containing the term. Go ahead, do it, I’ll wait.

    See, I told you.

    In the abridged version of Frank Lake’s Clinical Theology, Lake defines abreaction this way:

    “A technique employed in psychoanalytic therapy by which repressed emotions, which belong to earlier and usually painful situations, are relived vividly and with feeling, thus lessening the emotional tension caused by inner conflict and its repression. “

    My version of that would go something like this. You know when you hear…

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    Trying to Curb Your Own Series of Unfortunate Events

    Trying to Curb Your Own Series of Unfortunate Events

    I’m on the tail end of a nasty cold that has as one of its side effects existential nihilism. To add insult to injury, this particular bug coincided with an anniversary date of the loss of a parent. Reflecting over the 15 years since that event, a lot more bad stuff has happened. In other words, I’m getting ready to channel Richard Lewis, Curb Your Enthusiasm-style:

    Richard Lewis: First of all, I’m getting old, I have that irregular heart thing and this is not a good thing, I’m a recovering alcoholic, this is all very bad for me.
    Larry David: What, we’re…

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    PZ’s Cure for Existential Beastliness

    PZ’s Cure for Existential Beastliness

    The other day I was suffering from the normal post-holiday, first-of-the-year, what-has-happened-to-my-life, dear-God-help-me blues. We’ve all been there, right? Right? I was scanning my bookshelf, as you do, desperate for some encouragement, and my eyes lit on PZ’s Panopticon.

    I have quite a few of Paul Zahl’s books and have given away Grace in Practice, specifically, more times than I care to count. I even own Comfortable Words, edited by J.D. Koch Jr. and Todd Brewer, the festschrift (isn’t that a great word–literally means “celebration writing”) devoted to his life and work. Suffice it to say, I am a fan. There is…

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    Humility in the Face of Lettuce

    Humility in the Face of Lettuce

    Rural Midwesterners like myself tend to have vegetable gardens. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like vegetables–you grow them because that’s what you do. I’ll refrain from going full Garrison Keillor on you, extolling the virtues of the first tomato of the year, but it’s a thing, really.

    Starting with Thanksgiving, through Christmas and New Years, my holiday season is marked by the steady arrival of seed catalogs. The garden might be covered with snow, but for me, the growing season starts before the year ends. Dark days pouring over colorful catalogs filled with promises of huge, blemish-free fruit in overflowing…

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    Red-Eyed Gravy: “A Charleston Feast for Reconciliation”

    Red-Eyed Gravy: “A Charleston Feast for Reconciliation”

    Christmas is a time of nostalgia and hope, which, for me, at least, can turn a bit maudlin. I listen to podcasts at work, and sometimes, during certain seasons, my podcast tastes can lead me down ill-advised paths. At work, poignant is the most dangerous podcast category. The excuse of allergies is a good cover for tears when you work in a blue collar environment like I do.

    I spent the best part of a half hour with tears dripping out of my safety glasses while listening to an episode of the podcast, Gravy. A collection of half-hour audio documentaries and…

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    Drunk Theology with Robert Farrar Capon

    Drunk Theology with Robert Farrar Capon

    Just in time for the release of Capon’s never-before-published collection of essays, More Theology and Less Heavy Cream, available today! Head over to our store to get your copy!

    Reading Robert Farrar Capon sometimes feels a bit like watching Drunk History. You do a lot of mental tallying, while realizing the comedians and actors, in an inebriated state, get closer to the truth than some of the the more studious historians do. Case in point, check out Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recent appearance on Drunk History explaining the Hamilton/Burr rivalry. Capon was no different. The side effect of his somewhat brash style is that you…

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    Silence of the Turkeys?

    Silence of the Turkeys?

    Thanksgiving was good this year. The food was tasty. There was no drama, at least that I was aware of. We’re a family predominantly of introverts. For this I am thankful.

    I decided to take full advantage of the long weekend off and keep as quiet and inactive as possible. No Black Friday shopping for me. For this I am thankful.

    Browsing Youtube, I caught the jaw-dropping trailer for Martin Scorsese’s much-anticipated adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence. I immediately felt a stab of guilt. His book is gathering dust on my bookshelf unread. I know I should read it, but to be honest, I’m…

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    The Laws of Personality in The Road Back to You

    The Laws of Personality in The Road Back to You

    I felt a wave of relief when I pulled my copy of Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s new book, The Road Back to You from the box. The dust jacket design was restrained and inoffensive. Why relief? The cover of Richard Rohr’s 1990 book, Discovering the Enneagram, the first  popular book on the subject, looked like a prop from the CW’s Supernatural TV series. Let’s be honest, the moment you have to explain, “No, that’s not a pentagram,” you’ve lost. For evangelicals just starting to peak out from underneath the covers after the 1980’s Satanic Panic, the red circle with…

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