New Here?
     
Cultural

The Gift of Profanity 

The Gift of Profanity 

Chris Pratt is as cute as a button, and I thought about as deep. He was in Parks and Rec, lead roles in every cheesy commercially killer movie you can think of from Guardians of the Galaxy to Jurassic World. He married a similarly “perfect” starlet, Anna Faris who spoke openly of her devout feminism and total coolness of her implants.

But I found out last night Chris Pratt is a human.

On Saturday he was awarded the “Generation Award” (what?) on this year’s MTV Awards amid hundreds of screaming teens in the audience. He could have done the hip glib troll of…

Read More > > >

Nine Rules From Chris Pratt, Generation Award Winner

File this under unexpected! Some inspired misdirection from the soon-to-be-appointed Youth Minister General of the United States, Burt Macklin Starlord himself, ht HE:

Turn with Me to The Book of Ryan

Turn with Me to The Book of Ryan

This one was written by Blake Nail.

The people of the Bible are often described as heroes. We see this in secular culture, where the characters of the “good” book are often mocked for “goody good” morals and ideals, which they supposedly manifest. We see this even in our churches. (At least from my limited experience in the land of heroes of Orange County, California.) Christians often think the Bible is full of these highly moral people who achieved a status that we should aim for. Obviously, this leaves churchgoers with two options: feeling broken and beat-down by the Law, or self-righteous…

Read More > > >

The Father's Day Conundrum

The Father’s Day Conundrum

It’s not much of a secret in church circles that Mother’s Day is one of the best attended Sundays of the year, Father’s Day one of the least. The third Sunday in June is what’s known as a “low Sunday,” when the regular preacher often gives up the pulpit to a subordinate. If you happened to be in the pews yesterday, you may have even heard it referenced or joked about. What gives?

The dime store explanation goes something like this: moms want the family to be together on Mother’s Day and tend to value spiritual life more to begin with,…

Read More > > >

The Revolutionary Message of Won’t You Be My Neighbor

The Revolutionary Message of Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Grateful for this write-up on the new Fred Rogers documentary, opening in theaters this month! By our friend Mike Cosper:

One of the achievements of Morgan Neville’s new documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, is the profound contrast he’s able to demonstrate between the world of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and the rest of children’s entertainment.

We’re shown clowns being pounded in the face with pies, gun-wielding Transformers and grenade-throwing GI Joes, and (perhaps the most serious offenders) Ren and Stimpy committing various acts of violence upon one another. Then we see Fred Rogers, speaking gently and slowly into the camera, entertaining with…

Read More > > >

The Like Button – Mary Karr

From Tropic of Squalor, the latest collection of poems by former Mockingbird conference speaker Mary Karr.

The Like Button

Back in the before time
those days of amber
desire was an inner
and often ugly thing.
And if we wanted,
my brothers and hungry
sisters, we were oft flung
far from each other. Think
tin-cans-and-string far,
plum-colored-smoke-signal
far. No web wove the pinpoints
of ourselves into a map. No
upward thumb could be pressed
to say yes or its detractor: no.
Soon, we may each evolve
a glow button maybe mid brow,
so as we pass each other we can vote
praise or scorn to light up yay
or nay on a passing stranger’s face
a thumb. At first the young celebs
with asses you can serve drinks off
will rack up zillions of votes
till we tire of such bodacious butts,
and then the smart, the brave,
the strong will take their turns,
but what if we start to like,
say, the stout, the schlubby
neighbor raking leaves or that
subway sleeper who’s woven
yellow crime scene tape into
a jock strap—Police Line: Do
Not Cross—till all the undeodorized,
the unloved all their lives, start to feel
their foreheads blip
and blip as it becomes hip
to love the oddest, the most
perilously lonely. Imagine
the forever dispossessed
transforming as they feel the thumb
of yes impress itself
into the very flesh.

Reckless Love: Sometimes Mercy is Uncomfortable

Reckless Love: Sometimes Mercy is Uncomfortable

Our friend/favorite/conference speaker John Newton’s newest book Reckless Love: The Scandal of Grace in a Performance-Driven World puts at odds the reality of the grace we receive daily with the ways we think grace is supposed to work. Instead of something given in return for our own goodness, grace can cause outrage by the abundance with which God gives it and in the way that he “refuses to love selectively.”

Read an excerpt below:

The tax collector and all the other disreputable types in the Gospels loved Jesus’s program of forgiveness. It was the religious establishment that gave Jesus pushback. Forgiveness struck…

Read More > > >

The Best of Us, "The Americans," Might Be Russian…

The Best of Us, “The Americans,” Might Be Russian…

What’s more important? Figuring out who we serve? Or figuring out whose we are?

True confession: I’m not moved much to action or opinion regarding our current political landscape. (This is not a political post; for that to be so, it would presuppose that I much care.) Mid-term primaries in our troubled times don’t interest me. I may or may not have cared to vote this past Tuesday here in Georgia. I deeply appreciate freedom, but it has never been my highest value. Proud of my country? Yes. Do I root for America in the World Cup and the Olympics? Absolutely!…

Read More > > >

On Anthony Bourdain: We Were Not Made to be Famous

On Anthony Bourdain: We Were Not Made to be Famous

To say that I am a big Anthony Bourdain fan would be an understatement. I love everything he ever did. When my college boyfriend declared Alton Brown more entertaining and called Bourdain “depressing,” I was like: It’s not me, it’s you. We have to break up now.

I remember watching his episode of a pig being slaughtered in Louisiana. The cameraman captured the gathered faithful reciting the Lord’s Prayer right before the pistol rose to the head of the soon-to-be-eaten animal. Immediately following, the zydeco music kicked up. And I thought to myself, “That’s how we do it down…

Read More > > >

The Necessary Execution: Preaching, Losing, and LeBron James

The Necessary Execution: Preaching, Losing, and LeBron James

I thought that the conventional wisdom was that sons turned into their mothers. It seems that, on the other hand, I’m turning into my mother-in-law.

We’re different in profound ways, of course—though we both love her daughter—but I’m discovering that when it comes to watching sporting events in which we’re heavily invested, I’m picking up her mannerisms.

It used to be that I was the only person I knew who could happily watch a sporting event on my DVR. I’d record the game, stay off social media, and watch it later, skipping through the commercials. I’ve heard, time and again, that live…

Read More > > >

Six Times Seinfeld Illustrated Theological Dynamics

Six Times Seinfeld Illustrated Theological Dynamics

Another peek at our recent Humor Issue (which we’re starting to run low on — grab yours before it sells out…!):

We all have a list of our favorite Seinfeld episodes. Mine are mainly clustered around seasons five and six (The Puffy Shirt, The Lip Reader, The Marine Biologist), with a special affection for season nine’s cartoonish absurdity (Festivus, Merv Griffin, etc). But with the exception of a couple from season one, there are virtually no episodes I’d switch off, so tight was the quality control on this show. Instead of a “best of” then, we’ve collected a few of the many…

Read More > > >

Violence & Faith

Violence & Faith

LeBron and Curry are crushing the NBA Finals. The never-anything Washington Capitals and never-before Las Vegas Golden Knights are a Dream Fantasy of Stanley Cup legendizing. Even baseball has some sex appeal amid a Yanks/Sox Genetic Superiority Grudge Match.

But if you are a sports monogamist like me, and you love football, this is the lamest time of the year. At every level, last season has faded into anecdotal irrelevance. Those who are coaching or playing know that spring practice is either over or is soon to be over. NFL followers are so over the draft and the kneeling (or not), and…

Read More > > >