About Lauren R.E. Larkin

I'm a wife, a mother of two boys, and a full time student. But foremost, I'm a theologian of the Cross.

http://theneedlethepotandthepen.blogspot.com/

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Author Archive
    Is It My Fault? Shedding Light in the Darkness of Domestic Violence

    Is It My Fault? Shedding Light in the Darkness of Domestic Violence

    Justin and Lindsey Holcomb have done it again. As with their earlier work on sexual assault, Rid of My Disgrace, their most recent book Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence, goes where most Christian authors can’t or won’t go. Justin and Lindsey have the unique pastoral ability–and the theology to back it–to shine a light in the darkest of human experiences: abuse from the hands of another human. Truly, the Holcombs are lights in the darkness.

    The book is broken into three sections, four if you count the substantial appendices. The Holcomb’s first move is…

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    NYC Preview: Ye Who Are Heavy Laden: Anxiety, Suffering and the Gospel

    NYC Preview: Ye Who Are Heavy Laden: Anxiety, Suffering and the Gospel

    We all, at one point or another, have experienced anxiety or suffering to some degree, and many of us have experienced both. The way our world addresses anxiety is to offer temporal solutions that may (to some extent) ease the physical side-effects of anxiety. But, in the grand scheme of anxiety itself, these temporal solutions do nothing for the root problem: I’m actually anxious, I’m actually stressed. The same can be said for the way our world addresses suffering; often the solutions offered to the sufferer do nothing for the greater problem: I’m actually suffering, I’m actually hurting.  We’d tell…

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    “Excuse Me, Ma’am, But That’s TMI”: Six Favorite Moments of 2013

    “Excuse Me, Ma’am, But That’s TMI”: Six Favorite Moments of 2013

    I’m not a cultured enough moviegoer to give you a list of the best films of the year; my only qualification for a “good” movie is if I can watch it in 3-D. I’m nowhere near up to speed on current music to talk about the best artists or albums of 2013. If you want to know the top books of the 12th or 16th century, well then, I’m your girl. The only books I’ve read this year are theological ones, mostly Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther. But books of 2013? I haven’t got a clue. Let’s not even talk…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: Emmanuel Ransoms Captive Israel

    Hopelessly Devoted: Emmanuel Ransoms Captive Israel

    O come, O come, Emmanuel
    And ransom captive Israel
    That mourns in lonely exile here
    Until the Son of God appear
    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel.

    Who is Jesus? Simple: Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, God with us. If Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, God with us, then where are we?

    According to the portion of lyrics I just read to the Christmas Hymn “O come, O come Emmanuel” we are in captivity, in lonely exile, in mourning. And it’s true. Apart form what Christ has done for us we are held captive and in exile. We are in chains, imprisoned; we are in a…

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    Book Review: Kimm Crandall’s Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood

    Book Review: Kimm Crandall’s Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood

    I did not believe Kimm Crandall when she wrote in her recent book, Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood, “This book will not weigh you down with another list of things to do but aims to free you by reminding you of what’s already been done for you” (14). Come on. Being a book geared towards moms certainly elicits a list of some sort. Doesn’t it? Actually, what I’m confessing is that Kimm has done the one thing I thought would never happen in literature geared toward and for motherhood: she’s written a book that is truly…

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    “…When the Commandment Came…”

    pearls.6.10.13

    What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Rom 7:7-12)

    A Lenten Devotion: The Difficulty of Receiving and the Greatness of the Giver

    A Lenten Devotion: The Difficulty of Receiving and the Greatness of the Giver

    ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ Nehemiah 8:9-10

    As the people weep and mourn for the sinful, law-breaking ways, Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levites call the people to look no longer at themselves but…

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    Run, Dog, Run!

    Run, Dog, Run!

    “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

    I’ve written on Stephan Pastis’ work before; Pearls before Swine is my favorite comic strip, and I read it daily. Pastis typically displays what we might call “great acumen about human nature.” And he’s done it again here in the above (and below) strips.

    It’s naïve Pig’s response that caught my eye. When asked…

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    “Excuse Me, Ma’am, But That’s TMI”: Six Favorite Moments of 2012

    “Excuse Me, Ma’am, But That’s TMI”: Six Favorite Moments of 2012

    I’m not an avid enough moviegoer to give you a list of my favorite films of the year. I’m nowhere near up to speed on current music enough to talk about the best artists of 2012. The only books I’ve read are theological ones, mostly Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther, so books of 2012? I haven’t got a clue. What I can give you as a year-in-review a la LRE Larkin, is, well, me. So what follows are some of the moments this past year when I was reminded that I don’t have my act together, that I’m not in…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: Isaiah Chapter Forty Two Verses One through Eleven

    Hopelessly Devoted: Isaiah Chapter Forty Two Verses One through Eleven

    The following is a devotion I wrote for my local seminary’s advent devotional.

    Blind, prisoners, dungeons, sitting in darkness…Stay here where things are dire. Our guilty consciences, our bruised egos, our shame, our failure wants us to move on; “Let’s not talk about this… let’s get to the good news… quickly!” But, in this very last day of Advent, this is where we should be: face-to-face with the dire reality of our situation. Things are no longer “very good” (Gen 1:31) and not even a little good; they are—once again—completely “not good” (Gen 2:18). Because we prefer to dash the…

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    Achtung, Geliebte: The Darkside of Reality Ahead

    Achtung, Geliebte: The Darkside of Reality Ahead

    A particularly horrifying event occurred on Sunday morning at the Pittsburgh Zoo (full story here). A 2 year old boy fell into the African Painted Dog pen and was attacked by the pack of dogs; he died. It is reported that the mother of the child had put him up on the railing to see the pack of dogs. He lost his balance and fell. There is no mother (or father) out there that won’t immediately imagine and feel the pain and horror and suffering the mother is experiencing now. In fact, as the report goes, the mother is currently…

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    The Guilt Hangover: Disbelief, Shame, and Love

    The Guilt Hangover: Disbelief, Shame, and Love

    A friend of mine recently made the following Twitter-confession:

    Sometimes it’s really hard to accept being loved. Sometimes, my husband makes me get out of bed, and then cleans the kitchen and makes me coffee while I’m in the shower. And I still have to tell myself “he’s not mad at me for oversleeping; he doesn’t think I’m lazy; he’s not impatient with me to finish here.” He’s never like that. Ever. He’s consistently tender. [why is my head so messed up?] I call this “guilt hangover” and it’s just stupid. God isn’t mad at me. Kevin isn’t mad at me….

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    We Are Bold to Say… The Lord’s Prayer, Pt 5: Forgive Us Our Trespasses

    We Are Bold to Say… The Lord’s Prayer, Pt 5: Forgive Us Our Trespasses

    Forgive Us Our Trespasses, As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

    A single pang of hunger will drive home the truth of our need for bread, our utter dependence on it. But when it comes to survival, our need for forgiveness (both received and given) is a bit less obvious. Certainly, I can not forgive and I can not ask for forgiveness and live. I can certainly exist and hold a grudge (I do that very well, in fact). But if what Jesus says is true and we must to lose our life in order to save it, then forgiveness…

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    We Are Bold to Say… The Lord’s Prayer, Pt 4: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

    We Are Bold to Say… The Lord’s Prayer, Pt 4: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

    What a transition: to go from the wonder and splendor of the preceding verses—thoughts of heaven, of God’s hallowed name, of His beautiful kingdom and perfect will, to this: what concerns us. The transition is almost abrupt, moving from things above to things below, but—and our understanding of the Gospel is of great importance—not surprising: the very things that constitute our needy state (hunger and debt) are truly met and given to us by the awesome God we’ve just spoken of.

    Give us This Day Our Daily Bread

    Bread is bread is bread. The Greek word typically translated and understood as “daily”,…

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    Of Bears and Ducks and Unconditional Love

    Of Bears and Ducks and Unconditional Love

    One of my favorite things about being a parent is an excellent children’s book that is not only short, but packs a good gospel punch. Suzanne Bloom’s book, A Splendid Friend, Indeed, is such a book. When I first read it to my oldest son, years ago, I couldn’t help but try to choke back the tears at the end. The story is not merely ‘touching’, but gets at a gospel truth: unconditional love, no matter what our actions are towards the lover.

    The story goes something like this (yes, spoiler alert):

    There are two characters: a polar bear (Bear) and a…

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