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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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Mr. Rogers on the Root of Everything

Mr. Rogers on the Root of Everything

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! The official trailer dropped this week for the Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, due this June. “Love is at the root of everything—all learning, all relationships—love, or the lack of it,” says Fred into the camera, meaning we’d better bring a box of tissues to the theater with us. In the meantime, to keep us sated till the big day, here’s a quick hit list of our past writings on the man and his legacy.

First, here’s DZ’s take on a touching 2011 profile of Mr. Rogers in The Spectator, in which…

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Altered Carbon and Why We Hate Our Bodies

Altered Carbon and Why We Hate Our Bodies

A quick note: Altered Carbon is a show with real theological insight, but the road to those insights is marked by lots of nudity and violence. It’s as bad or even worse than Game of Thrones or Westworld. Even though a hard-R rating applies, the sex and violence is a part of the show’s Flannery O’Connor style commentary on the misplaced desire to escape the body. St. Paul’s admonition not to cause fellow Christians to falter in their faith is one easily parodied and misapplied, but in this instance, it’s worth taking seriously. Also, this write up is spoiler free.

In Altered Carbon’s…

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Jorts Be Gone! Queer Eye and the Power of Imputation

Jorts Be Gone! Queer Eye and the Power of Imputation

This one was written by Ben Maddison.

I wear roughly the same outfit combination every day. Tight-ish jeans, brown leather shoes, button up shirt with a smart print, blue blazer and accompanying accessories. I have enough of these outfits to work a Monday-Sunday schedule, then wash (sometimes) and repeat. I’m certainly no style expert; I know what I like, and I have a general sense of what’s currently fashionable, but they don’t make cost-friendly stylish clothes for people my size. The hell that is trying to find non-pleated pastel-colored shorts is too real.

It’s not that I don’t want to dress well….

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Where He Knows Your Name

Where He Knows Your Name

Over the course of the past few months, my three roommates and I have all gotten hooked on the 1980s sitcom Cheers. At any given moment, you will find at least one of us binge watching the show somewhere in our house, laughing out loud at the gang’s latest antics and probably singing along to the catchy theme song.

If you’ve never seen or heard of Cheers, I can almost guarantee that you’ve heard the theme song, especially the chorus:

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are…

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The Crown, Season 2: Reconciliation and Her Majesty

The Crown, Season 2: Reconciliation and Her Majesty

This piece contains possible spoilers from the Netflix Original Series The Crown, Season 2, Episode 6. 

The second season of The Crown is just as beautiful as the first, and more complex. As we watch the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip ever-so-slightly unravel at the seams and Princess Margaret’s love life take dizzying turns, the Queen still has to hold down her day job, which is to rule over the British Empire.

Peter Morgan, the creator of The Crown, was recently interviewed on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” NPR summarized their conversation:

He says, “Let’s just stop thinking about them as a…

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Mixtapes from Anyone Who is Not Your Husband: Sounds of Earth and Heaven

Mixtapes from Anyone Who is Not Your Husband: Sounds of Earth and Heaven

There are facts about my story that will never change this side of heaven, barring total tragedy in some cases. And forgive me for saying so, but while the permanence of many things in this life is blessed, that same permanence can also be awful.

FACT: I will always have my two children. Praise Jesus, and also holy hell. Until the day I die, I will always be worried about them, responsible for them, and expected to put their needs before my own. The full weight of this appointment as “parent” is overwhelming. And again, excluding some unspeakable event, this will…

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Yep, Still Crying About This Is Us

Yep, Still Crying About This Is Us

You would think that after almost two seasons of This Is Us (and writing about it a lot), I would be able to keep my emotions in check for an hour every Tuesday, remembering that these are fictional characters. But alas, I find myself, week after week, staring at my television with bated breath and tears rolling down my cheeks. And this week was certainly no exception.

Minor spoilers ahead but nothing major!

So many posts could be written about this week’s episode—forgiveness, hope in broken relationships, second chances—but one plotline in particular stuck out in which we see the unconditional love…

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Because You Never Left

Because You Never Left

It’s no secret: I like God better when things are going well for me. Which makes 2017 a stellar year for the Almighty in my books. He landed us in Sydney, Australia, and provided a network of people and places to make us feel at home here: a beautiful home (actually, we’re on our second one, which we like even more than the first). A gym with childcare workers who love my kids and chat with me about movies and alcohol. Therapists for my older son who advocate for and adore him. His school, which embraces him. Friends…

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