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Football At Last: A Preseason Preview

Football At Last: A Preseason Preview

NFL preseason games start next week….

The airwaves are crackling hype at the advent of NFL team summer camps. Every year, about a million young men and a hundred or more young women play tackle football at every level. They’re all starting the season about now. 

Fewer than 2,000 of those players are in the National Football League. The NFL is a forced marriage of sports and show biz, but it’s our only national platform for those of us who are hopelessly devoted to a sport that changed our early lives. Having played, coached, and been a part of a son’s…

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When Deep Waters and Parking Lots Become Church

When Deep Waters and Parking Lots Become Church

In 2007, almost ten years after her death, it came into more public knowledge that Mother Teresa experienced a terrible sense of separation from God throughout the majority of her ministry. Less than three months before receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she wrote in a letter to one of her spiritual confidants, “Jesus has a very special love for you. [But] as for me—The silence and the emptiness is so great—that I look and do not see,—Listen and do not hear.”

Under the arresting weight of my own Dark Night tendencies, it gives me great comfort that although Mother…

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Gaga for Gaga

Gaga for Gaga

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” -Irenaeus

I don’t know the last time I was so fixated on a Super Bowl half time show. Actually I can state with complete confidence that I’ve never been so fixated on one. From beginning to end, Lady Gaga’s performance at Super Bowl LI was one for the record books. It was glorious in the best sense of the word.

No doubt Gaga’s performance will inspire a sea of words on the interwebs in the next 24 to 48 hours. I hesitate to add the pile of prose. But something caught my eye that…

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A Halftime Show Not of Human Origin

A Halftime Show Not of Human Origin

“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin” (Gal 1:11).

Lady Gaga began her halftime show from a perch high above everyone else: Above the stadium, underneath a drone-filled night sky, she was dressed in what Variety called “an MTV exec’s idea of what Y2K was going to look like” — in other words, a glittery silver spacewoman outfit; her eyes were bedazzled with a silvery mask.

Everyone I spoke to beforehand was eager to see what Gaga would do but anxious about whether or not she would get political. In that sense, it was…

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Something for Almost Nothing: A Confession

Something for Almost Nothing: A Confession

All day I thought about the questions I would ask MC Lars and Mega Ran, two of my favorite rappers. I had already contacted both via social media and requested an interview, and both were game despite some obvious barriers (noise, crowd, other fans, merch sales). I thought, fruitlessly, about the interview questions at work, during the long drive to LA, and in line for admission, drinks, and finally merch and chatting. I observed Lars and Ran, the way they spent a lot of time on each fan. My interviews would be just fine, so long as I had some…

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To Step Off the Turntable

To Step Off the Turntable

One chilly fall day when I was in the fourth grade, I decided to run laps around the driveway. I had obsessed about it all the way home from the rear-facing bench-seat of Mrs. Miller’s Volvo station wagon. It was penance. I had eaten a really unhealthy lunch involving bacon cheeseburgers and deviled eggs. Even in the fourth grade, I knew I couldn’t eat like that without paying the piper one way or another.

It was a crisp, deep-yellow late afternoon. The brown-orange leaves crunch-crunch-crunched under the frantic and determined steps of my dirty white Keds. I hadn’t changed out of…

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Inspirational Memes and The Real Big Magic

Inspirational Memes and The Real Big Magic

While sipping my morning coffee today, I scrolled past the following inspirational memes on Instagram (sandwiched between hundreds of baby photos and recipes from the paleo/primal nutsos I follow):

At first, I felt totally exhilarated: I was inspired, empowered, on top of the world. I’m going to take this day by the freaking saddle! Forget that my husband just started a new job and he’s working approximately 100 hours a week. Forget that I have my own work to do – time stolen in the small moments between the blessed mess of raising two very young and “spirited” children. THIS IS GOING…

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Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: Everybody Worships

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Everybody Worships

Welcome to the sixth installment of act three 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, the entire series can be found here.

“Everybody worships.” Two simple words, subject and verb. Everybody. Worships.

Google the dyad and the source explodes off the screen, a wholly unexpected wellspring for theologians (and Mockingbird).

David Foster Wallace was an enigmatic literary genius. It’s almost embarrassing for me to say, the height of clichés, but I must: Reading Infinite Jest changed my life. DFW’s hyper-intellectual maze of words and atonal writing style sprung…

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UnREAL Season 1, Part 2: Death by Suicide, Death to Self-Pity

UnREAL Season 1, Part 2: Death by Suicide, Death to Self-Pity

This is part two in a series on UnREAL, a Lifetime drama returning for its second season on June 6. You’ll find part one here. Mega-super-nuclear-option spoiler alert: the following discloses the ending of the show’s first season.

Reality TV often has an ambience of controlled insanity. The contestants act in violent, conniving, or erratic ways, and one can legitimately wonder how many are (a) truly acting or (b) truly mentally ill. In the latter category, were they chosen because of their illness by cynical producers? Are the producers exacerbating antisocial behavior in mentally ill contestants, or are the producers (probably pleasantly) surprised? The uncertainty is…

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The Culture of Narcissism, Part 1: Politics and Personhood

The Culture of Narcissism, Part 1: Politics and Personhood

This is the first in a four-part series inspired by Christopher Lasch’s 1979 book The Culture of Narcissism.

In the present presidential contest, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal was the first person to say it out loud, to use the “N” word for Donald Trump. That’s right, he called Trump a narcissist. Specifically, in his news conference on September 10, 2015, Jindal said, “Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. He’s a narcissist. He’s an egomaniac. The only thing he believes in is himself” and expounded on the meaning of this description for nearly ten minutes. Harsh words, indeed; but I do…

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Nothing Weirder Than Honesty

Nothing Weirder Than Honesty

This one comes to us from Zac Koons:

An Appreciation of “You Made It Weird With Pete Holmes”

There’s a lot about Pete Holmes’s podcast that might put you off. For starters, episodes of “You Made It Weird” are long—like, Lord-of-the-Rings-long—and even more unwelcome perhaps, they’re almost entirely unedited. Its premise (comedian interviews comedian) doesn’t promise anything out of the ordinary, and he breaks almost every imaginable rule of interviewer etiquette: he indulges tangents, his research is from Wikipedia, and he constantly interrupts his guests to regale them with stories of his own. And then there’s his laugh, which is constant, lasts for…

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The Gospel's Steady Work of Reversal

The Gospel’s Steady Work of Reversal

David Brooks’ most recent op-ed discusses the late career of Ernest Hemingway, how he became in his later years “a prisoner of his own celebrity.” Hemingway was a famous writer by 25 and by middle age he was simply “playing at being Ernest Hemingway.” Of course, this is where most of us might roll our eyes, and say few are so lucky. It’d be nice to a prisoner to your laurels instead of your demons. But when it comes down to it, Brooks isn’t just talking about fame. He is instead talking about works righteousness in a most literal sense: that becoming righteous (or noteworthy,…

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