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Lance Armstrong's Moving Finish Line

Lance Armstrong’s Moving Finish Line

Where were you in 2012 when Lance Armstrong confessed his steroid sins to St. Oprah? Did you immediately take off your 2004 (!) Livestrong wristband and trash it, or did you simply let it fall behind the bedroom dresser? Was it the talk of your town, or did it just confirm your lack of interest in professional cycling?

It’s been six years since Lance Armstrong was banned from the sport of cycling (and our hearts). Now that a series of lawsuits has been completed and other scandals taken the spotlight, Lance has started to reenter the public square. He’s hosting his…

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Depraved Puppetry: Is There Any Good News in Dark Humor?

Depraved Puppetry: Is There Any Good News in Dark Humor?

A shining example from our Humor Issue, here’s an essay about rude puppets (and love, and death). You can order the magazine, or subscribe here.

The most inappropriate show that has ever aired in the history of TV is Wonder Showzen. It’s amazing that the show survived MTV2 for two whole seasons, from 2005 to 2006. Even the creators, Vernon Chatman and John Lee, now speak about that time in disbelief. As time went on, their sketches picked up more and more furious energy as they attempted to “get away with as much as possible before being canceled.”

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Getting to Know Fred

Getting to Know Fred

My childhood memories involving Mr. Rogers were probably pretty average for kids my age; he was the nice storyteller that my parents trusted enough to give full control over our afternoon TV; his show always moving at a infuriatingly slow walking pace, with enriching guests like Yo-Yo Ma and other musicians showing up to uphold virtuous habits and innocent ways of looking at the world that the rest of the shadowy empire of children’s television was ruining so thoroughly.

Do I sound cynical? While Mr. Rogers has always been held relatively dear in my mind, he wasn’t exactly the most…

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J.C. Now Stands for Jesse Custer: Season 2 of AMC’s Preacher

J.C. Now Stands for Jesse Custer: Season 2 of AMC’s Preacher

“This is going to be a hard sell,” was my first thought after rewatching season 2 of AMC’s Preacher in preparation for this. It’s a graphically violent show to begin with, but the scene where Jesus and a woman are engaged in a rather enthusiastic, acrobatic, even impressive act of coition, there’s just not much you can do with that. When the Catholic League lodges a protest, you know it pushed some buttons. I’m sure the fact that their union resulted in a great-great (squared) grandchild by the name of Humperdoo didn’t help matters. Not to mention the Hitler-turns-over-a-new-leaf-in-Hell story…

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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:

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!…

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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…

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Lessons on Prayer from the Cast of Jane the Virgin

Lessons on Prayer from the Cast of Jane the Virgin

When I found out that Netflix added the most recent season of Jane the Virgin to its streaming repertoire, I knew exactly how I would spend my weekend. I may or may not have watched all seventeen forty-minute episodes in about 72 hours, complete with a rollercoaster of emotions as I walked alongside these characters, whose rich development made me think I actually knew and loved them, as they experienced the joys and sorrows of life. But mostly I cried. A lot.

(Some spoilers lie ahead.)

Jane the Virgin, set in Miami, is The CW’s adaptation of a Venezuelan telenovela about a…

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Ignorance Is Not Bliss: Ivan Karamazov Visits Westworld

Ignorance Is Not Bliss: Ivan Karamazov Visits Westworld

This post was written by Nate Mills. 

When Moses stood before the Burning Bush, he responded to the Lord by asking, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Moses’s hesitancy was rooted in a deep uncertainty surrounding his identity. He was unsure of his own right to be an actor in God’s plan for the Israelites. King David, wondering similarly about the weight of his duties, asked of the Lord, “What is man that you are mindful of him? What is the son of man that you care for…

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The Stories We Tell

The Stories We Tell

For Valentine’s Day this year, my husband Jason and I opted out of the traditional romantic candlelit dinner scenario and, instead, took a too-seldom trip to the movie theater to see Black Panther. As with Wonder Woman before it, I had high expectations due to pre-release buzz surrounding the film. Also, I was just excited to watch something that wasn’t animated (PJ Masks, I’m looking at you).

A spate of recent movies and TV shows, including the aforementioned, has stepped intentionally into the arena of untold or undertold-as-yet stories, narratives in which the main characters occupy a group that has…

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Everything I Never Learned from Seinfeld – David Zahl

In this talk, from the recent Mockingbird conference in Tyler TX, DZ speaks about the personal and spiritual significance of Seinfeld’s trivial obsessions (9 seasons’ worth). It’s an abbreviated version of his essay featured in the just-released Humor Issue, which you can find here.

Everything I Never Learned from Seinfeld – David Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

When Compassion Hung on a Cross: Mr. Rogers, Janusz Korczak, and Other Unnecessary Miracles

When Compassion Hung on a Cross: Mr. Rogers, Janusz Korczak, and Other Unnecessary Miracles

Of all the questions I get in the ministry, “Why aren’t there miracles anymore?” is one that has dumbfounded me for a long time. We read the Gospels and see Jesus enacting one miracle after another. A banquet of food is made from a lunch pail. Healings come one after another. People are raised from the dead. To be honest, I have not really had an adequate answer for the why-don’t-we-get-miracles-anymore question.

Not until Fred Rogers entered the zeitgeist (again).

I have been struck by revisiting his old shows and remembering how remarkable he felt to me as a child. He explained…

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