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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Livin’ the Dream

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Livin’ the Dream

Welcome to the third installment of act two of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, you can find them here.

In Act One of this greed epic, we determined that as a culture we cannot define the term and, although we’re quick to see greed in others, we refuse to see it in ourselves.

In Act Two we’re examining why we cannot define and admit to greed. Last time we discovered that, right or wrong, in our society money is a proxy for intelligence, so accumulating lots of it can’t…

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Bruddah Iz, the Rainbow, and the Rainbow Warriors: Looking Back at Facing Future

Bruddah Iz, the Rainbow, and the Rainbow Warriors: Looking Back at Facing Future

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (“Iz”) unwittingly provided future listeners a clue to something deeper at the beginning of his signature song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World.” Soon after he arrived at the studio–at 4 a.m., possibly high–he sat on a steel chair and said “This one’s for Gabby” before strumming and gifting future generations with his sweet, somewhat haunting “Oooo” intonations.

Gabby here refers to Gabby Pahinui, a childhood friend of Iz and one of the fathers (both as a solo artist and as a founding member of the Sons of Hawai’i) of the Hawaiian Renaissance. The latter movement was most…

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Super Bowl 50 Prediction “Creed-Bomb”-Style: Can Cam “Take Me Higher”?…or Will Peyton Ride Into the Sunset “With Arms Wide Open”?

Super Bowl 50 Prediction “Creed-Bomb”-Style: Can Cam “Take Me Higher”?…or Will Peyton Ride Into the Sunset “With Arms Wide Open”?

’86 Chicago Bear “Super Bowl Shuffle”, meet the “Carolina Creed-Bomb”. Think photo bomb, except that the “bomber” in this case comes out of nowhere, gets right in your face, and goes full throttle Creed in all their cringe-worthy lyric glory. Panther’s linebacker Ben Jacobs is credited with birthing the creedbomb. He will magically appear in front of players and coaches and do a spot on, full rasp, Scott Stapp impression. Rolling Stone, perhaps unfairly, named Creed the worst band of the 90’s (after all, Nickelback was around back then). Nonetheless, an effective creedbomb must include Eye of the Tiger-level cheesy…

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The Outsider Gets Radical: Notes on Blaming the Victim and Loving the Alien

The Outsider Gets Radical: Notes on Blaming the Victim and Loving the Alien

Must have been almost fifteen years ago. I was sitting down with the chaplain of a prestigious New England prep school, and although he was being incredibly polite about it, he was sussing me out. You see, I was a stranger on campus, brought there on behalf of the para-church organization for which I worked, at the invitation of the school’s Christian fellowship group. He had every right to know where I was coming from before signing off on my presence/involvement, a responsibility to parents and administrators to ensure that students would be spared any high-pressure proselytizing while away from…

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Forgive Yourself, or Die Trying

Forgive Yourself, or Die Trying

Unless it has been replaced, the men’s room mirror at Manning’s Cafe in Minneapolis is a little worse for wear. Not broken, but scratched and pitted, and midway across the bottom the words are indelibly scrawled, “Forgive Yourself.” No telling who wrote it or how long ago, even less what they meant. Was it a pep talk from a weary (and likely inebriated) soul to his own downtrodden self? An encouragement to others? I know a former seminarian (no few have closed down Mannings at 2 am) who was observed, on occasion, to absolve half the room–did someone take offense? Whatever the intent, the message…

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The God of Tidying Up Hates Me

The God of Tidying Up Hates Me

Buried in last week’s installment of Another Week Ends, CJ mentioned the new book by sociologist Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Faith: Why the World Is More Religious than Ever. The subtitle pretty much says it all. The Wall Street Journal, in its review, summarized Stark’s principal finding this way:

Huldufolk

For the champions of the secularization thesis [i.e. that the planet is growing steadily less religious]…, Empty churches [in Europe] are a sign of reason’s progress. Mr. Stark offers some amusing evidence to the contrary. Drawing on the Gallup poll, he notes that Europeans hold all sorts of supernatural beliefs. In Austria, 28%…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Don’t Worry, Buy Happy

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Don’t Worry, Buy Happy

Welcome to the first installment of act two of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, you can find them here.

In Act One of the greed drama, we first examined fascinating data that consistently show that, collectively, we channel Bernie Sanders, emphatically believing that greed is a major problem in our nation. But, at the same time, individually it is not our problem. Multiple data sets confirm that a healthy percentage of us admit to anger, lust, laziness and a host of other frailties and vices. But greed?…

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From the Archives: The Modern State of The Charming Man

From the Archives: The Modern State of The Charming Man

This was written in light of news that Vince Vaughn was chosen to be the star in a film based on the 1970’s television show The Rockford Files, starring James Garner.

Grant had developed a new way to interact with a woman onscreen: he treated his leading lady as both a sexually attractive female and an idiosyncratic personality, an approach that often required little more than just listening to her—a tactic that had previously been as ignored in the pictures as it remains, among men, in real life. His knowing but inconspicuously generous style let the actress’s performance flourish, making…

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No Wholeness Outside Our Reciprocal Humanity

No Wholeness Outside Our Reciprocal Humanity

The American justice and penal systems may be hot topics today, but it isn’t the only reason that Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy became a New York Times bestseller in 2014. As the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative he’s certainly earned his room to speak about oppressive justice and the death penalty and mass incarceration. But he is also compelling as a storyteller—he is not simply interested in the facts and figures justifying prison reform. He is also intertwined in individual lives of prisoners; their stories play a huge role in his own coming-of-age.

If you’re unfamiliar with the book, Just…

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Heading Back to Church: The Prodigal Son and His New Year’s Resolution

Heading Back to Church: The Prodigal Son and His New Year’s Resolution

Like you, I adore and admire the New Years’ resolutions that fill my social media newsfeed every January. Please, tell me more about the Whole30 diet you are doing. Yes, I want to see your feet photos from the treadmill. Smart friends, what books you will be reading while I watch the latest incarnation of the Housewives franchise?

I kid, of course. Resolutions do have their place. There’s something hopeful about them, even when done with tongue in cheek. Something unavoidable. And Lord knows we can use all the cheerleaders we can get, virtual or no.

Just please, keep our churches out…

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Un-Making a Murderer

Un-Making a Murderer

NOTE: I tried not to give spoilers. I did not succeed.

 

When my husband, Alex, noticed Making a Murderer on our ‘Recently Watched’ Netflix, he shot me an all-too-familiar look. It’s a glare mixed with skepticism, disappointment, and a touch of amused confusion at the woman he didn’t realize I was when we married several years ago.

“Really?” he says with a perceptible smile. I pull the blanket up over my face.

“Is this show going to affect you?” – a sentence uttered often from Alex. What he’s really asking: “Is this show going to keep you (therefore me) up all hours of the…

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Paths to Glory Light and Dark: Star Wars Recovers Its Pelagian Heart

Paths to Glory Light and Dark: Star Wars Recovers Its Pelagian Heart

This post is brought to you by the one and only Jeremiah Lawson aka Wenatchee the Hatchet.

It might be because I’ve been reading Mark Noll’s America’s God but in the 21st century it can seem that the ideal deity for Americans might just be the Force. With the arrival of Episode VII, The Force Awakens, it appears that Star Wars has the magic back. Yeah, it’s basically the stuff we’ve seen before, but it’s what we’ve wanted to see that we didn’t see in the prequels. Gone are the inept attempts at Greco-Roman tragedy for Anakin Skywalker. Gone are talk…

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