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Architects, Madmen and Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death

Architects, Madmen and Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death

Freud, Kierkegaard, and the drug lord Heisenberg…A free peek into the Love & Death Issue, which people continue to tell us is their favorite issue thus far. Here is Ethan’s piece on the classic, Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death. If you subscribe to the magazine, and add the code JESSEPINKMAN in the notes section of your order, we’ll send a free copy to a friend of your choosing.

And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone…

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Digging up Death: The Macabre Story of Count Carl von Cosel (And Us)

Digging up Death: The Macabre Story of Count Carl von Cosel (And Us)

The Miami Herald called it the love story that defied death, the dark romance that hit the front page of the paper in 1940. It all started when Carl Tanzler, or Count Carl von Cosel as he preferred to be called, spotted the beautiful but dying tuberculosis patient Elena Hoyos in a Florida hospital in 1931. Though Elena never returned his affections, was married at the time, and died shortly after she caught von Cosel’s attention, he visited her tomb every day for the next year and half. And then, one fateful night, he claims to have heard Elena singing…

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Hopelessly Devoted: First John Chapter Four Verse Nineteen

Hopelessly Devoted: First John Chapter Four Verse Nineteen

Another great find from Luke Mackinnon, reading Steve Brown’s newest book, Hidden Agendas.

Steve Brown’s Hidden Agendas is a summer deep cleanse for the soul. He invites his readers to rip off their masks to “discover how God’s love propels us into the real relationships we thought we’d never have,” that we genuinely accept God’s acceptance and grace only when we face him and others unmasked–no matter how raw, vulnerable, or scary that may feel. This excerpt is pulled from the chapter tilted “Halloween Horror” and highlights God’s immense love and grace despite the constant efforts of masking our sinfulness.

We hurt…

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From the Archives: Not Much of a Technology Person?

From the Archives: Not Much of a Technology Person?

Been a while since we’ve talked about this, or heard from this guy. So here you are, a classic DZ technology rant. Throwback! 

We were heading in the same direction, an awkward number of steps apart, close enough that we might as well have been walking together. He was maybe ten years older than me, well put-together, kind face and a slightly outdoorsy demeanor. I think I’d seen him around the conference, family in tow, but we hadn’t spoken.

I was about to fall back and let him go ahead when he asked, “You heading to a session?” I was, I replied, the one on…

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People Are Dying in Texas and I Am a Lucky Schmuck

People Are Dying in Texas and I Am a Lucky Schmuck

As a Southern transplant to New York City, riding the subway during rush hour was the most jarring activity of the week. After a long day of work, people were ready to get home and order some takeout. In the summer, everyone smelled bad, me included. Train after train would pass with no room for the crowds to get on. There was always an air of chaos and immediacy that I haven’t experienced in any other setting.

After a few months of this daily trial, I begin to notice the shift that would happen in myself as I…

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The Tempest of Ancestry.com

The Tempest of Ancestry.com

I can talk to just about anyone about just about anything. Gallbladder surgery. Grandchildren’s precociousness. Train schedules. Weather patterns. But, I do have one achilles’ heel: ancestry narratives. As soon as someone starts talking about their third great-grandfather’s cousin twice removed, and how that person fought in the battle of Waterloo, my eyes glaze over and I start to sniff out the exit. I just … can’t.

I think this reluctance started when we lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, where everybody seems to have some colonial something-or-other, and I was just known as the gross Yankee that married the bachelor priest. (The…

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"I Roll to Punch the Shark": The Strangely Familiar World of Dungeons and Dragons

“I Roll to Punch the Shark”: The Strangely Familiar World of Dungeons and Dragons

My first encounter with Dungeons and Dragons (DnD), the archetypal tabletop roleplaying game (rpg), took place in the winter of my freshman year of high school. I had just left the dark, lonely, Mordor-esque bleakness of my middle school years, and in joining the marching band, I made some good friends who shared my affinity for elf culture and all of the other geeky things that fill up the time of teenagers who exist on the outskirts of the high school social strata. As Christmas was approaching, this group of friends invited me to play a DnD campaign with them…

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An Ode to Print: The Mockingbird Magazine

An Ode to Print: The Mockingbird Magazine

A quick Google search will show that researchers have studied and continue to study the differences that exist between print and digital reading experiences. There are pros and cons of both mediums, and it looks like neither format will disappear anytime soon.

I love the physicality of real paper and definitely connect with Ferris Jabr’s words here from a 2013 Scientific American article “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens”:

In most cases, paper books have more obvious topography than onscreen text. An open paperback presents a reader with two clearly defined domains—the left and right…

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Stranger Things: When Angels Show Up In Cadillacs

Stranger Things: When Angels Show Up In Cadillacs

When I was in the third grade a man tried to abduct me in our neighborhood. I was walking the five houses down to my best friend’s house, a thing I did almost everyday. A man pulled his car over and began to ask me questions.

He wanted to know my name, how old I was, and where I lived. And then he paused for a moment and said, “Why don’t you take a ride with me?”

Stranger Danger and a innately suspicious personality made me say “no.”

He asked a second time if I could “just come a…

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From the Archives: What I Didn't Do On My Summer Vacation

From the Archives: What I Didn’t Do On My Summer Vacation

Lately there’s been a considerable dearth of David Zahl on this site, wouldn’t you say?! So here ya go. The following article goes out to anyone strapping a cargo shell to the roof of his or her car this weekend. From our archives, this one remains as prescient and timely as when DZ wrote it back in 2013:

It’s official: leisure has gone the way of the leisure suit. At least according to an excellent “long read” by Jenny Diski in The New Statesman, “Learning How to Live”, which explores the question of why we find free time so terrifying. If…

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Couldn’t Never Figure Out How to Love: When a Rebel Breaks the Chain

Couldn’t Never Figure Out How to Love: When a Rebel Breaks the Chain

In the town where I live, I’ve noticed the word “LOVE” cropping up in sneaky places, spray-painted on highway signs and under bridges. Under one particular bridge, it’s repeated over and over, almost urgently: LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE, as if it were—and I think it is—the key to life.

What makes Jesus one of the great moral teachers, right up there with Gandhi and MLK, even to atheists and agnostics, is that love was of utmost importance to him. On the night of his betrayal, he spoke to a small group of his most trusted followers: “A new commandment I…

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A Love Letter to Whales: On Feeling Small and Full of Wonder

A Love Letter to Whales: On Feeling Small and Full of Wonder

Last month, in the middle of the Salish Sea, I fell in love with humpback whales.

It was as whimsical and romantic as it sounds, surrounded by miles of water and the hazy perimeters of Washington’s Olympic Mountains and Victoria’s tall pine trees and yellow Scotch broom flowers. The only sound was the gentle lapping of water against the sides of the boat as it slowly rocked back and forth. Our whale-watching group waited, all of us perched on the top deck, scanning the sea for any signs of a blowhole. And then suddenly, before anyone had time to yell “There…

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