About Matt Johnson

Husband / Father / Resurgence Publishing Manager / Drum sesher/Biblical Living Pastor @ Mars Hill Church. Long walks on the beach, puppies, Black Sabbath.

http://theresurgence.com

Contact

Author Archive
    
    Confessions of a Sad, Tweeting Batman On Word-Porn

    Confessions of a Sad, Tweeting Batman On Word-Porn

    What happens when you mix equal parts family crisis, a comedic coping mechanism, and an insatiable desire to be an internet star? Well, according to Twitter funnyman Sammy Rhodes, not a recipe for happiness.

    Popular comedy Twitter-er Sammy Rhodes is a pastor hailing from the Midwest who nabbed the twitter handle “@prodigalsam” back in 2009. At first, like all Twitter beginners, he began tweeting the standard stuff.  That he’d attended a barbeque and hoped his potato salad turned out OK. Eventually, he upped his Twitter game and joined the gospel–centered tweet crew. You know, pithy statements about grace that make you…

    Read More »

    What Charlie Brown and a Curmudgeonly Drummer Boy Taught Me About Not Sweating the Holiday Blues

    What Charlie Brown and a Curmudgeonly Drummer Boy Taught Me About Not Sweating the Holiday Blues

    Ah, Christmastime. The season of joy, goodwill, and cheer. For some, it’s strained family relations, broken promises, and the tyranny of perfect gift giving. For most, Christmastime is an emotionally complicated mish mash of all the above, both good and bad.

    This year, I’m not stressing the holiday blues and I have Charlie Brown to thank.

    Last year, Matt Schneider wrote a great piece worth highlighting again on the theological implications of the beloved Charlie Brown Christmas special (available to watch on Hulu!). One doesn’t ordinarily equate deep theological truths with cartoons, but, well, this is Mockingbird after all. To me, a…

    Read More »

    It’s So Beautiful, It Hurts My Feelings: Wayne White’s Beauty Is Embarrassing

    It’s So Beautiful, It Hurts My Feelings: Wayne White’s Beauty Is Embarrassing

    I love me some Netflix streaming. But at times, that gargantuan library of B-movies can be a bit taxing to peruse on a lazy, boring Thursday night. So upon the recommendation of a Facebook acquaintance, my wife and I decided on a documentary called Beauty Is Embarrassing. We weren’t disappointed.

    For those not already in the know, this is a documentary about Wayne White, and artist, art director, designer, puppeteer etc. If you’re 30ish/40ish, there’s a good chance you’ve seen White’s work without even knowing it. If you’ve ever watched Pee Wee’s Playhouse or seen a Peter Gabriel or Smashing Pumpkins…

    Read More »

    Forde Friday: On the Death of Self

    Forde Friday: On the Death of Self

    I was thinking this week about how Christians tend to think about “dying to self”. Certainly there’s something to be said for the mortification of the flesh, fighting sin and all that. But what if Jesus’ call to lose your life in order to gain it was less of a call to selling all your possessions in an everything-must-go yard sale and more of a passive…dying. As in, the death is not something we achieve, but something we receive? Ladies and gentlemen, the unsurpassed, late-great Dr. Gerhard Forde (from his “Sermon on the Death of Self”):

    “Can you see that this…

    Read More »

    Forde Friday: The Prison of Free-Lunch-Think Versus The Gospel

    Forde Friday: The Prison of Free-Lunch-Think Versus The Gospel

    Gerhard Forde, Justification by Faith: A Matter of Death and Life, pg. 24

    The gospel of justification by faith is such a shocker, such an explosion, because it is an absolutely unconditional promise. It is not an “if-then” kind of statement, but “because-therefore” pronouncement: because Jesus died and rose, your sins are forgiven and you are righteous in the sight of God! It bursts in upon our little world all shut up and barricaded behind our accustomed conditional thinking as some strange comet from goodness-knows-where, something we can’t really seem to wrap our minds around, the logic of which appears closed…

    Read More »

    The Cross As Moral Striving?

    The Cross As Moral Striving?

    Bad PR dies hard. Somehow, the word got out that Christianity is about moral reform and our inner 2nd-grade, grumpy-pants teacher has been looking over our shoulders ever since. Despite the insistence of St. Paul, Luther, Calvin and a host of other Reformers, faithful laymen and preachers that we’re free in Christ, we’ve had a 2,000 year battle on our hands. Just think of the many bumper-sticker falsehoods floating around. You know, “Do your best, and God does the rest. “Just follow your heart”. Or America’s favorite (non) verse “God helps those who help themselves.” The sentiment is always the…

    Read More »

    Re-Offending Taxmen and the Outrage of Grace

    Re-Offending Taxmen and the Outrage of Grace

    Here’s a zinger on the scandal of grace from Robert Farrar Capon’s Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace (pgs 161-163) – a book full of such zingers. Dr. Capon is commenting on the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee and the repentant Tax Collector from Luke 18:9-14. It’s a familiar parable and upon first glance, most of us would agree that self-justifying religious behavior is ugly, and that the humility of the tax-man is a virtue. But what if a swindling IRS worker came back into your church a month after a seemingly legit show of…

    Read More »

    Forde Friday: In Defense of Daily Personal Drownings

    Forde Friday: In Defense of Daily Personal Drownings

    Being hung up on personal spiritual progress is a problem. Why? Because it’s an indication that somehow, we are holding on to/out for some type of self-salvation project that needs to be drowned in order that we might be raised to new life. Says Forde on page 51 of Justification by Faith–A Matter Of Death And Life:

    The “progress” of the Christian therefore, is the progress of one who has constantly to get used to the fact that we are justified totally by faith, constantly has somehow to “recover,” so to speak, from that death blow to pride and presumption–or better,…

    Read More »

    Forde Friday: Spiritual Progress = “Shut Up And Listen”!

    Forde Friday: Spiritual Progress = “Shut Up And Listen”!

    Here’s another zinger about our misguided ideas of spiritual progress from our favorite late Lutheran Theologian, Gerhard Forde. For those that tend to get sucked into fruitless spiritual introspection (ahem, that would be me), let this be salve to your soul. This quote is from page 50 of Justification: A Matter of Death and Life.

    We see that the law simply cannot bring into being what it commands… The law says, ‘Thou shalt love!’ It is right; it is ‘holy, true, good’. Yet it can’t bring about what it demands. It might impel toward the works of the law, the motions…

    Read More »

    Sucker Punched By One-Way Love

    Sucker Punched By One-Way Love

    Let it be known, I am no romantic. But being an avid This American Life listener, sometimes I get sucker-punched by the occasional, irresistibly sappy story. This is such a great story of grace in practice I couldn’t not share it. It doesn’t hurt that Mockingbird is getting ready to release a publication about the show called This American Gospel…

    In episode #425, “Slow To React”, Ira Glass cues up the scene of a “legendarily romantic love story”. The writer of the piece, Sean Lewis, recounts the story of his somewhat awkward, sometimes stoic, dutiful uncle, Mark. This is the kind…

    Read More »

    Forde Friday: Glory vs Cross Part II

    Forde Friday: Glory vs Cross Part II

    If you think the cross is only for the salvation of those with skid row type sin, think again. In fact, as we hear below, the cross attacks the very best of our religion! Here are two more stellar, polemical quotes from one of our fave Lutheran theologians, the late Gerhard Forde. Both of these come from his On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518, pages 4 & 9, respectively. Happy Forde Friday!

    “The cross is itself in the first instance the attack of God on the old sinner and the sinner’s theology. The cross is…

    Read More »

    Forde Friday: Glory vs. Cross Part I

    Forde Friday: Glory vs. Cross Part I

    Superhuman theologies of human achievement and graceless religion are a drag. Then along comes Gerhard Forde and puts a finger on what we already know, but couldn’t quite articulate. Happy Forde Friday!

    Glory vs. Cross Part I

    Does anyone remember those awful (or at least incredibly cheesy) Christian T-shirts of the 80s and 90s? Budweiser logos re-appropriated to say “This Blood’s For You”? Or how about Jesus, face down in a push-up pose with the cross on his back: “Bench Press This!” Don’t tell anybody, but I may have been guilty of wearing those types of T-shirts in my high school days….

    Read More »