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About Nick Lannon

Nick Lannon is a 2000 graduate of the University of Arizona and a 2007 graduate of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, having studied Communications and Religious Studies while at Arizona and Systematic Theology and Ethics at Trinity. An avid movie-watcher, NBA fan and all-around couch potato, Nick is fascinated by the intersection of the Gospel and culture. Nick grew up in northern Virginia and lived there until going to Arizona in 1996, harboring naïve fantasies about playing on the basketball team. Nick is currently Associate Rector of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church in Louisville, KY.

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    Impossible is Nothing… And Everything: A Conference Breakout Preview

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    I think it was three or four slogans ago that had the Army asking us to be all we can be. I wonder, actually, if that was happening during the same time the first Mission: Impossible movie was coming out. Seems like forever ago. In light of Ethan Hunt hanging on to the outside of an airplane as it’s taking off, “be all you can be” seems refreshingly possible. You know you’re in kind of a sticky spot when you find yourself wistfully remembering a time when things seemed possible, right?

    So much seems impossible now.

    It’s impossible to graduate from college and get a job in your chosen field, much less one that will begin to make a dent in your student loans. It’s impossible to date in the world of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, not to mention that world of Tinder and Grindr. It’s impossible to be the kind of provider for your family that will allow you an undisturbed sleep at night. Impossible is everywhere. Impossible is everything.

    And Jesus doesn’t seem to be helping.

    With his commands to turn the other cheek, to love and pray for your enemies, to give even more ground to those who persecute you, and to give everything you have away, Jesus only ratchets up the bar of impossibility. Impossible doesn’t just live in the world. If it did, we could boo and hiss at it and think ourselves safe and immune, ensconced in our pews. But impossible lives at church, too. “Therefore you must be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Thanks a lot, Jesus.

    During the morning break-out sessions on Friday (10:30am, April 15) of the up-coming Mockingbird Conference, I’ll be hosting a discussion of the impossible. It’s called “Impossible is Nothing…and Everything.” We’ll talk about some of the impossible things God asks of us in the pages of Scripture, and some of the impossible things life asks of us every day. As we see, more and more, that impossible is everything (or, more accurately, that everything is impossible), we’ll get a clearer and clearer picture of the Good News: that because of God’s accomplishments in Jesus Christ, impossible is nothing. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to see you there.

    Pre-register here!

     

    Jesus as the Ultimate Mr. Clean: A Conference Breakout Preview

    Jesus as the Ultimate Mr. Clean: A Conference Breakout Preview

    Life’s a mess. This is incontrovertibly true, no matter who you are. Some of us are better at hiding it (hedge fund managers, Dalai Lamas, me) than others (Kardashians, hacky-sack players, you), but we’re all a mess. We all want to be able to put our mess behind us; to start over. We all want a clean slate; to be washed. That’s why we’re coming to New York (a place that is truly a mess…I’m looking at you, trash night…er, rat night)…David Zahl (a mess) has promised us a conference that will tell us about this mythical creature: the cleaned…

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    But Wait, Doesn’t the Law Work?

    But Wait, Doesn’t the Law Work?

    On the January 13th episode of his “The B.S. Report” podcast, Bill Simmons interviewed essayist Chuck Klosterman on a number of subjects, from popular films to college football to the love life of Leonardo DiCaprio. One of the things they talked about was, in a roundabout way, something that ministers of the gospel talk about (and are asked about) all the time: “Can the law work?” Actually, the way we ministers usually hear it is, “Wait, but the law actually seems to work!” Now, Simmons and Klosterman didn’t talk about “the law” as such, or in those terms, but make…

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    George Lucas is Darth Vader is Your Father

    George Lucas is Darth Vader is Your Father

    For children of the 70s and 80s, the phrase “cautiously optimistic” perfectly fits our feelings about the first teaser trailer for J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. We love “the original trilogy” (Episodes IV through VI) almost as much as we regret having ever heard of the prequels (Episodes I through III). Most of us, though I can’t speak for the true die-hard Star Trek fans, like what Abrams did with his Star Trek reboot and are hopeful that he can bring back some of this series’ luster—a shine that was lost in Jar Jar Binks’s…

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    Merry Halloween

    Merry Halloween

    Halloween has become more Christian than Christmas.

    Christians have long had issues with Halloween. We’re not sure what to make of it, we’re not sure if it’s ok to celebrate it, if we’re celebrating demons, monsters, and evil things. Michael Jackson, at the beginning of the landmark video for “Thriller,” felt compelled to provide a disclaimer that this video, in which he turns into a werewolf and a zombie, did not endorse the occult. For the same reasons, many Christians have felt the need to speak out against Harry Potter and Spongebob Squarepants.

    I myself have very mixed feelings about Halloween. I…

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    NYC Preview: The Terrible Parables of Christ

    NYC Preview: The Terrible Parables of Christ

    I can’t believe Jesus. He said some things that just can’t be true. In fact, almost everything he said can’t be true. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like some it: He said that he came to fulfill the law. I like that. He said to love others and to love God. That’s tough (and maybe impossible) but it at least sounds good. It sounds right. But some of the patently untrue things he said also just sound wrong to my Christian ears. He told stories that seemed to say if you didn’t have your act together, you’d get…

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    Just Tell Me What I Want to Hear

    Just Tell Me What I Want to Hear

    I noticed an interesting phenomenon the other day: I only want to be told what I already know to be true. More specifically, I only want to hear the things I already think. It’s been a long time since I read a book that I didn’t know for sure I would like (a theology book anyway…I’m a little more forgiving of pop fiction) or ordered something from a menu that I hadn’t had (and liked) before. It’s a long-understood truism that the politically interested tend to watch and listen to the “news” programs that affirm their pre-existing beliefs.  What I…

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    We All Love Grace…Now Shape Up!

    We All Love Grace…Now Shape Up!

    I’ve written about my travails in community softball before, and here’s another dispatch from the front lines.

    This year, I’ve been playing on church-league softball team (not my church…I’m a scab, a ringer, brought in for my ability to ensure that they have enough people to field a team), which is a different experience than the “town” league I played in last year. This league has prayers before and after the games and its players keep our anger and competitiveness jailed beneath our surfaces. So, you know, Christian.

    The other day, as we all gathered at home plate…

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    This Team is Terrible…And Awesome

    This Team is Terrible…And Awesome

    The Carroll Academy Lady Jags have lost 213 straight high school basketball games. They’ve won six games in fourteen years. Let that sink in for a second. Now watch this touching piece on their story:

    As you can see, Carroll Academy is no ordinary school, and this is no ordinary basketball team. It’s almost as if the coaches have been reading Mockingbird! There are, to be sure, a few of the usual ESPN tug-the-heartstrings triumph-in-the-face-of-adversity moments, but some of the things that the coaches say are wonderfully profound.

    This is nothing compared to what you’re gonna face in your life. 20, 25,…

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    Who Runs Toward an Injury?

    Who Runs Toward an Injury?

    During Louisville’s Elite Eight win over Duke, on their way to a National Championship, Kevin Ware experienced what is probably the most gruesome injury ever broadcast on live television. If you were watching, you’ll know what I’m talking about, and if you weren’t…there’s really no way to describe it. It will suffice to say that broken bone was visible through skin, and men young and old were immediately moved to tears at the sight. Everyone, coaches, players, and referees, instinctively moved away from Ware, horrified by his injury. Only one person, Ware’s Louisville teammate Luke Hancock, went the other way….

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    Grace From the Very Top

    Grace From the Very Top

    1993 is, I’m sure, notable for many things.  But for some, it was most notable as the year of the second straight “Fab Five” appearance in the NCAA National Championship game.  The year before, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, and Chris Webber had become famous for being an all-freshman starting five at the University of Michigan, introducing what has been referred to as “a hip-hop element” into the game, and getting all the way to the championship game before losing to Duke. The next year, as sophomores, the Fab Five was even better. Again, they went all…

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    Thank You For Not Coaching

    Thank You For Not Coaching

    People are selfish. Christians are people. That’s an interpretation of something Aaron Zimmerman said at last year’s Mockingbird Conference (Have you registered for this year’s yet?). He said that people are bad, and that’s true…selfishness is just one of the myriad ways in which we’re bad. That’s why it’s noteworthy when someone does something legitimately unselfish; when someone does something for someone else with no regard for themselves, they usually end up on magazine covers and talk shows. Such behavior runs counter to our nature, and so it stands out.

    Professionals in the athletic arena are people…

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