Postgraduate theology student at Durham University in the UK. Ordained clergyman. Husband. I have a love for all things alt-rock, Pixar, sports, and good, short literature. On Twitter @toddhbrew
Here’s the next installment of our breakout session previews for the upcoming 2013 Mockingbird Conference, exactly 4 weeks away!
Perhaps this is not your issue, but I often find that the language we speak as Christians when talking about Christianity simply fails to really connect. Whether it be in a sermon, prayers, or music, full of talk of ‘justification’, ‘grace’, ‘redemption’, etc., when we hear the words, nod our heads in assent, but fail to really understand. We may know the words, but since we don’t to have any emotional or existential connection to them, they fail to have any real…
Another brilliant parody from The Onion on the complex dynamics of judgment in relationships, specifically our obsession with the achievement game, the need to broadcast to everyone when you seem to be succeeding (I’m looking at you, half-marathon runners), and our bitter dislike/envy of those who seem to be #winning.
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Annoyed sources confirmed this week that married and pregnant local woman Ashley Canfield will not stop achieving significant life milestones, unanimously agreeing that the 30-year-old law school graduate seriously needs to just cool it with the achievements.
Saying they were tired of hearing about her steadily progressing life via occasional…
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, here are a few choice quotes on love from the great Lutheran New Testament scholar, Rudolf Bultmann:
“An act of friendship or love is genuine only if I am really in the doing of it, and do not stand alongside it: only when I do not think of myself and my achievement, only when the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing: only when I think of absolutely nothing bu the person on whom I am bestowing it. A Work of love is fundamentally easy even when I exhort it from myself…
The following is a list of my top Mockingbird theology books of 2012 (in no particular order).
- Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian
Tchividjian does it again. Thoughtful, provocative, and deeply encouraging, “Glorious Ruin” places suffering at the heart of the Christian life and what we understand about God, but probably the biggest virtue of this book is its personal and accessible tone. Suffering is never spoken of in cold abstraction from its down-to-earth reality. It’s no wonder this book has gotten so much attention on this site.
- Justification Is for Preaching edited by Virgil Thompson
A much needed book for preachers and…
A couple short selections from William Cowper’s wonderful poem “Truth”. Read the whole thing here – it’s worth the time!
What purpose has the King of saints in view?
Why falls the gospel like a gracious dew?
To call up plenty from the teeming earth,
Or curse the desert with a tenfold dearth?
Is it that Adam’s offspring may be saved
From servile fear, or be the more enslaved?
To loose the links that gall’d mankind before.
Or bind them faster on, and add still more?
The freeborn Christian has no chains to prove,
Or, if a chain, the golden one of love:
No fear attends to quench his glowing fires,
A UK newspaper article went viral last week when the Telegraph published a letter sent from Nick Crews, a retired naval officer, to his three 30-something children. The long and sternly-worded letter expressed the father’s “bitter disappointment” with each of his children for their lack of “maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions”. The letter culminates in the father’s declaration that “I want to hear no more of you until… you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about.”…
With the recent wave of BBC programs appearing on PBS (Downton Abbey, The Hour, Mr. Bean) it’s somewhat surprising that the 49 year old mainstay Doctor Who hasn’t enjoyed the same popularity. With time travel, aliens, and revisiting historical events, what’s not to like? Either way, this is a major oversight.
But I digress… a quick summary of the show’s premise and plot. The Doctor is a time traveler who has made it his mission to protect Earth from the multitude of extraterrestrials who threaten humanity, both in the past and future. Helping him in this quest is his the adventurous…
A little collaboration with DZ:
When last we checked in with The Killers, they were misappropriating Hunter S. Thompson (to great effect), wearing feathers on their shoulders, and continuing to split the surprisingly potent difference between Bruce Springsteen and The Pet Shop Boys–albeit with choruses that, one has to admit, frequently out-hooked those of their influences. Of course, Day and Age did nothing to help their standing with critics–they’ve been a punching bag since their second single–but it didn’t really matter. Everyone fell in love with the record anyway. I know I did. Perhaps because The Killers are so clearly…
Continuing in the next portion of the Lord’s Prayer, we come to the section which is probably the most debated and discussed, but least understood. For many, the coming of the Kingdom means the future destruction of the world (a prediction of Jesus’ which – for some interpreters – never happened!). Perhaps in reaction to this interpretation, today Kingdom language is predominantly thought of as a present, ethical reality, often associated with various causes of social justice or politics. It is advanced when we advocate for the poor, help the environment, or promote family values in anticipation of the…
A bit of a follow-up to last week’s fantastic post on Kierkegaard and imputation. It’s doozy of a quote on perfect, one-way, love:
“To be able to love a person despite his weaknesses and defects and imperfections is still not perfect love, but rather this, to be able to find him lovable despite and with his weaknesses and defects and imperfections. Let us understand each other. It is one thing fastidiously to want to eat only the choicest and most delectable dish when it is exquisitely prepared or, even when this is the case, fastidiously to find one or another defect…
After the initial address of “Our Father“, the Lord’s prayer then follows with 6 successive requests to God. For Jesus, prayer is foremost supplication. It is a cry to God for help. Or, we relate to God not on the basis of our strength, but out of our desperate need.
So what is meant when Jesus says that we should pray “Hallowed be your name”? Without boring you with the details, perhaps a better translation might be “may your name be sanctified”. It is a petition to God for him to sanctify his name.
God’s “name” in the Gospel of Matthew is…
Last week’s Planet Money Podcast unknowingly stumbled upon a Law-Gospel goldmine! Exploring the economic dynamics of “free” (see also here!), the podcast specifically looks at what happens when something that was free is now no longer free. What happens when you charge money for something that was once free of charge?
Ask any veteran of WWII about the Red Cross and surprisingly to this day many distrust and despise what most people consider to be a beacon of benevolence (Katrina debacle notwithstanding). Apparently it all goes way back to the Red Cross’s decision during WWII to begin to charge soldiers for…
The following is the first in a series of weekly posts to be published on the Lord’s Prayer. Somewhat ironically, because of the prayer’s importance in Christian worship there is always the temptation or danger that, though we prayed and we “spoke the words but never gave a thought to what they could mean” (Brand New). Stretching a total of seven weeks (an opening address and 6 petitions), the hope is to try and illuminate what can be for many a rote and vapid prayer.
The opening of the Lord’s Prayer, in its address to God as “Father” answers one of…
A great excerpt from the Robert Frost poem, “The Star Splitter” on the necessity of forgiveness for any human relationship. It seems that either we forgive, or we are alone. (via Timothy Stanley’s blog). The full text of the poem can be found here.
But the first thing next morning we reflected
If one by one we counted people out
For the least sin, it wouldn’t take us long
To get so we had no one left to live with.
For to be social is to be forgiving.
Our thief, the one who does our stealing from us,
We don’t cut off from coming to church suppers,
I can’t tell you how many times in the past couple of months I’ve been in a conversation with friends talking about The Wire when the threat of a “spoiler alert” intrusively rears its head. This happens mostly out of necessity; I have previously learned of the death of a much-beloved character when my friend inadvertently let out an ill-timed sigh of nostalgia.
But despite this obsession over spoilers, it seems that new research suggests that spoilers might actually make the viewing/reading experience better, rather than worse. Rather than spoiling the ending, knowing what will happen actually builds interest and anticipation…