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A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma...

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    The Christian Side Hug

    What the world needs more of is the “Christian Side Hug.” If you are not sure what that means, click here for an explanation. Or you can watch the video below.
    Thoughts? Comments?

    Where is Thomas Cranmer?

    Where is Thomas Cranmer?

    Season 3 of Showtime’s “The Tudors” ends October 27. The 4th season begins in 2010 in order to end the saga of Henry VIII. One of the characters in the story is Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury. He showed up on the scene in season 2 but has not yet arrived in season 3. This has fans asking, “Where is Thomas Cranmer?“

    I love that people are asking for more Cranmer. I wish more Christians were asking for more of him. Here is why. In one of his prayers, Cranmer wrote: “we have no power in ourselves to…

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    MTV Awards and Grace

    The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards displayed disgrace and grace. Kayne West illustrated “disgrace” and Beyonce embodied “grace.”

    After Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video, Kanye West grabbed the mic from her during her acceptance speech. He humiliated her and made her feel like she didn’t belong there, like she was not welcome, and like she should be silent. Judgment disgraces you. Watch Taylor Swift shrink in dejection.

    But Beyonce redeemed it. After it was announced that she won the top award of the evening—Video of the Year—Beyonce gave up her opportunity to give…

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    Disgrace and the Cross

    Disgrace and the Cross

    Few experiences can cause someone to feel a sense of disgrace more than being the victim of sexual assault. My wife and I wrote a post for The Resurgence attempting to apply grace and the cross to the horror of sexual assault. You can read the entire post here.

    Here are some excerpts:

    Disgrace is the opposite of grace. Disgrace destroys, causes pain, deforms, and wounds. It alienates and isolates. Disgrace makes you feel worthless, rejected, unwanted, and repulsive, like a persona non grata (a “person without grace”). Disgrace silences and shuns.

    To your…

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    Buddy Christ Takes a Back Seat

    Buddy Christ Takes a Back Seat

    Jesus is the most significant person in history and the number of versions of him is fascinating. Sometimes Jesus is pictured as the enlightened sage who says lofty but generic spirituals things. Or he is your moral teacher who gives us helpful principles to live by and makes us nicer and more successful. And sometimes we are told he is our sweet friend who just wants to affirm you for being you.

    Our temptation seems to be that we create a Jesus out of our own wishes and then we worship him, which sounds a bit narcissistic and creepy, doesn’t…

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    Offended by Jesus (and The Man Who Didn’t Have Any Friends)

    Offended by Jesus (and The Man Who Didn’t Have Any Friends)

    I was offended by grace last night.

    My wife was reading the story of Jesus interacting with Zacchaeus to our 6 month-old daughter, the version from Sally Lloyd Jones’ Jesus Storybook Bible that falls under the heading “The Man Who Didn’t Have Any Friends”. Usually, children’s bibles are filled with simple moralistic truisms, but this particular bible is spectacular in its ability to point to Jesus and his Gospel in every single story I highly recommend it to parents who aren’t trying to raise mean little fundamentalists.

    Back to the offense. As my wife read the story I found myself hating Zacchaeus…

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    John turns 500 today

    John turns 500 today

    Happy Birthday, John Calvin!

    In celebration of John Calvin, I wrote a post for The Resurgence on his amazing definition of “faith.” Calvin writes: “Now we shall have a proper definition of faith if we say it is a steady and certain knowledge of the Divine benevolence toward us, which being founded upon the truth of the gratuitous promise in Christ is both revealed to our minds and sealed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”

    I love this quote because it has all the basics of the Christian message. First, it is about “God’s favor towards us.” The…

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    Harvard Business Review on Motivation, Grace and Tossing Pebbles

    Harvard Business Review on Motivation, Grace and Tossing Pebbles

    An intriguing post appeared in the Harvard Business Review, “Whom To Pay Is More Important Than How Much or How,” that mentions some of the themes explored on this blog. The first attention grabber is the section on motivation:

    “It is important to understand the basics of motivation. The stronger source of motivation is internal and not external, though external incentives can help as long as they are applied to the right people and properly aligned with internal motivators. However, external motivators are tricky.”

    Religion is frequently focused on external motivation, usually in the form of demand or passive-aggressive suggestions or exhortation…

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    Name that Syncretism

    Name that Syncretism

    Want to play a game? First, let me set it up.

    In 2007, an Episcopal priest (the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding) converted to Islam. But it was a different sort of conversion. She (supposedly) didn’t disavow Christianity but simply blended in her Muslim beliefs. People termed her an Episcoslamic Muslipalian.

    Last month, the diocese of Northern Michigan elected Father Forrester, a professed Zen Buddhist, as their bishop. Now a Muslim-Christian makes a bit more sense since both are monotheistic traditions. But blending a theistic religion and non-theistic philosophy seems difficult. People have called him a Buddhapalian.

    This isn’t just a Christian + “other…

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    Humility?

    I went from thinking this guy was a jerk and waiting for him to get punched to wanting to be his friend. Be sure to see the end of the clip. There’s just something appealing about people who don’t take themselves too seriously. I hope God’s grace makes me more like him.

    Jesus is Coming Back, Hide Your Porn

    Jesus is Coming Back, Hide Your Porn

    A new study was published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives showing that the more conservative and religious a state is, the more likely its residents are to purchase porn on-line. Of the 10 states where porn is most consumed, eight of them gave their electoral votes to John McCain. Out of the 10 states with the lowest consumption, only four did.

    Guess which state consumes the most porn per capita? Mormon land, Utah. They don’t drink caffeine, but they sure like their porn. Basically, if you are selling on-line porn, be…

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    Top Ten Lullaby Renditions: Rockabye Baby

    Top Ten Lullaby Renditions: Rockabye Baby

    Since many of the Mockingbird readers are musically savvy and top ten lists are no stranger to this blog, I thought this could be fun.

    My wife and I just had our first child in early January and she has received some pretty cool gear. I particularly like her “Jesus is My Homeboy” and KISS onesies. But her aunt Rachel and uncle Jacob bought her the best present—lullabies from Rockabye Baby.

    Basically, it is cool baby music. They transform some of the best classic rock, punk, alternative, and metal into lullabies. They currently have 25 different albums….

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    Why is this happening to me?

    I’m not sure which part is a better illustration of the human condition, his primal scream or his questions (“Is this real life? I feel funny. Why is this happening to me? Is this going to be forever?”).
    For a bit of context: This kid has an extra tooth removed and he’s coming out of the anesthesia daze.

    Shame on You?

    Shame on You?

    On Monday, DZ posted about a NY Times article on how very few resolutions last past Valentine’s day, which causes one to question how and if people change. That article didn’t offer much hope for change. But an article in Tuesday’s The Washington Post, “Practice What You Plan to Preach,” offered one solution to the resolution conundrum…SHAME:

    “The most effective way to get people to change their behavior revolves around the clever use of…hypocrisy. When people feel not only that they are failing themselves but also that are failing to live up to what they tell other people…

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