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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
    
    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 […]

    Welcome to Night Vale, Governor Ventura. Limetown next exit, and now for the weather…

    Welcome to Night Vale, Governor Ventura. Limetown next exit, and now for the weather…

    When my mother bought a new Oldsmobile Intrigue, I was very happy, more happy than I should have been over an Oldsmobile. Why? Because it was The X-Files car from their 1998 big screen debut, that’s why! You remember, the scene where Mulder and Scully are following the train to the cornfield with the glowing […]

    Riding Bikes with the Mitford Sisters, Six Feet Under.

    Riding Bikes with the Mitford Sisters, Six Feet Under.

    The training wheels came off at the cemetery. That sounds incredibly macabre,  like a snippet from an Edward Gorey book, but the reality is much more prosaic. With the cemetery a couple houses down from where I grew up on a busy state route, it was the safest place to learn to ride. My great-grandfather, […]

    Wendell Berry's World-Ending Fire of Original Sin

    Wendell Berry’s World-Ending Fire of Original Sin

    A few days ago, I happened across the round-table discussion with Wendell Berry, Paul Kingsnorth (author of the forthcoming Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist), and economist Kate Raworth on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week hosted by Andrew Marr. The conversation, from this past May, centered around problems associated with the environmental movement, particularly issues of idealism […]

    Death of a Garden That Never Existed. And Robots.

    Death of a Garden That Never Existed. And Robots.

    Garden writing is a rather unusual sub-genre, part memoir and part fantasy. You do, you dream. Gardening is all about should and ought; nature is governed by its own laws, and we are struggling to keep or subvert them. Exploring the existential effects of our ‘original profession’ has, on us mere mortals, produced some worthy and […]

    Fluorescent Lighting and Vampire Haberdashery: Some Thoughts on Scapegoating and Parables

    Fluorescent Lighting and Vampire Haberdashery: Some Thoughts on Scapegoating and Parables

    For me, writing about grace is like undressing in a cold changing room, with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and flickering fluorescent lighting: self-flattery is an impossibility. Don’t worry, there is more nudity on the way. When you can no longer unsee your own low anthropology, writing about internal work feels exposing. Feelings aren’t always reality, though, and the […]

    Blazes of Selfish Glory and Scary Clowns

    Blazes of Selfish Glory and Scary Clowns

    I once told a couple of friends while having a dark moment, and only half-jokingly, that my dream was to move to India, volunteer at the Sisters of Charity and die of the inevitable dysentery that would swiftly follow. I mean, my first world immune system would have all the resilience of wet tissue paper. […]

    A Rabbi and a Psychiatrist Walk into a…

    A Rabbi and a Psychiatrist Walk into a…

    My love language is books. If you know me for any length of time and I like you, there will probably be books arriving. I might even send you books if I don’t like you. Two that will be among the first to arrive are The Prophets and The Sabbath, both written by the late […]

    The Ugly Kid Joe of Discipleship

    The Ugly Kid Joe of Discipleship

    “I wish I had never met you.” A person never wants to hear that from a friend. But I heard that on more than one occasion from two separate friends. Not only were these two guys my friends, but I was also discipling them — after a fashion. I’m sorry, I can’t say ‘discipling’ or […]

    Living <del>in Denial</del> 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 […]

    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: […]

    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 […]