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Week In Review

Another Week Ends: Remembering Billy Graham, Masculinity, The Midlife of Brendan Fraser, Arendt on Auden, Antisocial Churchsoundboardmen, Norwegian Grace, and (More) Technological Law

Another Week Ends: Remembering Billy Graham, Masculinity, The Midlife of Brendan Fraser, Arendt on Auden, Antisocial Churchsoundboardmen, Norwegian Grace, and (More) Technological Law

1. First up, Tullian Tchividjian posted a reflection on his remarkable grandfather, the late Billy Graham:

The last real conversation I had with him will forever live in my memory.

We were sitting in his bedroom. His body was frail, but his mind was still sharp. He talked to me about how hard it was to get old, how much he missed my grandmother (his wife of over 60 years who had died in June 2007), and how he had watched most of his closest friends die already. He expressed sorrow for a world that was still in dire need of the…

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Another Week Ends: Rebecca's Reformation, Mr Rogers' Pneumatology, Male Shame, New Love Languages, and Lenten Fasting Biohacks

Another Week Ends: Rebecca’s Reformation, Mr Rogers’ Pneumatology, Male Shame, New Love Languages, and Lenten Fasting Biohacks

Before we dive in, a quick reminder that next Friday and Saturday (2/23-24) we’ll be in Tyler, Texas for our fourth annual conference there! Speakers include John Zahl, John Newton, Charlotte Getz, Aaron Zimmerman, yours truly, and a bunch of others. Would love to see you – just be sure to register beforehand.

1. To begin, we couldn’t ask for a more wondrous February dispatch than Dante Stewart’s re-telling in Christianity Today of early African-American Christianity and “The Black Reformation of 1736”. At the heart of the piece lies the key question of why (and how) an enslaved population would not…

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Another Week Ends: Pyeongchang and Pardons, Parrothead Existentialism, Monopoly for Cheaters, Solitude vs. Loneliness, Aunt Lucy's Love, and More Recovery

Another Week Ends: Pyeongchang and Pardons, Parrothead Existentialism, Monopoly for Cheaters, Solitude vs. Loneliness, Aunt Lucy’s Love, and More Recovery

1. With the Olympics now underway in Pyeongchang, let’s begin with a powerful piece that looks back at the 1988 Games in Seoul and the deadly attempt, by the Kim Il Sung regime, to prevent them. 115 people were killed at the hands of elite agent, Kim Hyon-hui, a young woman who been “groomed” as a North Korean “warrior.”

Yet thirty years later, after her arrest and subsequent pardoning, she now lives a quite different life:

Kim’s life speaks to the disorienting contrasts on the Korean Peninsula, where the Olympics can be peaceful or deadly, unifying or dividing, and where a terrorist can…

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Another Week Ends: Minimizers, Teachers & Solvers, Super Bowl Winners & Self-Help Fixers, Unhappy Undergrads and Cradle Episcopalians

Another Week Ends: Minimizers, Teachers & Solvers, Super Bowl Winners & Self-Help Fixers, Unhappy Undergrads and Cradle Episcopalians

1. Kate Bowler’s new op-ed in the New York Times this week is one for the ages. Bowler, who we’ve written about before, was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at 35, having just had a baby. She is also a professor at Duke Seminary, her research and first book on the history of the American Prosperity Gospel. In this op-ed she tackles the difficulty of conversations with someone like herself, how she represents the “Angel of Death” to most people, which prompts friends and family and acquaintances to awkwardly stumble around a difficult reality they spend much of their…

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Another Week Ends: Denhollander's Statement, Frozen Miracles, Norwich Parents, Le Guin's (Anti-)Maturismo, and Billboard Controversies

Another Week Ends: Denhollander’s Statement, Frozen Miracles, Norwich Parents, Le Guin’s (Anti-)Maturismo, and Billboard Controversies

1. First off, we cannot dodge–and wouldn’t want to–the story that’s dominated the media these past few days, however stomach-turning it may be. I’m referring to the trial of Larry Nassar, the doctor convicted of abusing female gymnasts. You hear a lot these days about “the prophetic voice,” whether it be that of church leaders or late-night TV hosts or actors on the red carpet, and it’s a fuzzy concept–at best a way of baptizing unpopular but necessary truths with religious significance, at worst a megaphone of rationalized unforgiveness. Definitely a case where overuse breeds cynicism. Then you hear the…

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Another Week Ends: The Loneliness Minister,  Divine Retribution, Sexual Misery, Lighthearted Poetry, Smart Pills, Astrology in the App Age, and David Bentley Hart's Grocery List

Another Week Ends: The Loneliness Minister, Divine Retribution, Sexual Misery, Lighthearted Poetry, Smart Pills, Astrology in the App Age, and David Bentley Hart’s Grocery List

1. This week brought some good news from the Old Country… In response to the increasingly acknowledged correlation between loneliness and physical deterioration/illness, the UK has appointed a minister for loneliness. I don’t know about you guys but, having grown up with a deep-seated appreciation for self-reliance, I couldn’t help getting a little smirky at this headline. But then, you can’t deny the humility in play here. Publicly admitting that not only is loneliness a legitimate problem but also that an entire nation is dangerously affected by it? That’s a pretty powerful admission of human need—which is in no way specifically…

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Another Week Ends: Breakfast with Dads, Dead Memoirist Romance, Twitter's Mercilessness, Sarah Silverman's Forgiveness, Metric Fixation, and the Wonder of Grace

Another Week Ends: Breakfast with Dads, Dead Memoirist Romance, Twitter’s Mercilessness, Sarah Silverman’s Forgiveness, Metric Fixation, and the Wonder of Grace

Click on the poster to see more about the Tyler Conference in February!

1. Lots of amazing stuff hitting our inbox this week, including this news story from a middle school in Dallas. After deciding to hold a “Breakfast with Dad” event at the school, teachers worried that many of the 150 students who signed up for the breakfast would be without their fathers. So they took to Facebook and Twitter, asking for 50 male volunteers to come in their stead for the fatherless boys. Amazingly, SIX HUNDRED dads came.

‘I will never forget witnessing the young students surrounded by supportive…

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Another Year Begins: Gracious Mosques, Chaotic Normals, Blizzard Bingo, (Re-)Moralized Sex and Perfectionist Students

Another Year Begins: Gracious Mosques, Chaotic Normals, Blizzard Bingo, (Re-)Moralized Sex and Perfectionist Students

1. How about we kick off 2018 with a pair of fresh instances of grace? First, there’s the story of a Baltimore city councilwoman who has become a mentor to the two boys who carjacked her last year. Beautiful stuff. But merely a precursor to the story of “The Vandal and the Mosque”, which you can listen to here. The gist: in late 2016, a poor young man in Arkansas named Abraham Davis, along with a couple friends, deface a local mosque in the most ugly fashion imaginable. He is caught and convicted of a felony, which means community service…

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Another Week Ends: Thomistic Burnout, Reforming Halloween, I'll Be Small for Christmas, Christian Book Parodies, and More Fleming Rutledge

Another Week Ends: Thomistic Burnout, Reforming Halloween, I’ll Be Small for Christmas, Christian Book Parodies, and More Fleming Rutledge

1. First up, the Angelic Doctor. Aquinas’s body of work has always been daunting to me, but I’d never realized just how prolific he was–an average of 4,000 words a day, by one reckoning. And one of the great unsung heroes of theology was his poor scribe Reginald, who faithfully took dictation almost continuously–imagine trying to scrawl out hundreds of words on the back of a donkey, traveling some unkempt road in thirteenth-century Europe, while your era’s leading theologian painstakingly uses Aristotelian metaphysics and encyclopedic scriptural knowledge to deduce the approximate size and weight of an angel. That’s how I…

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Another Week Ends: Burial Road, Rethinking Infidelity, Batman Smells, Curationism, the Anti-App, and the Absurdity of Hope

Another Week Ends: Burial Road, Rethinking Infidelity, Batman Smells, Curationism, the Anti-App, and the Absurdity of Hope

New episode of The Mockingcast (“Tis Better to Receive Than to Give”) now up on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

1. Let’s begin with “The End,” The Times’ heartwrenching but incredibly moving series on death. This week’s entry, “The Heroes of Burial Road” by Catherine Porter, chronicles how, in response to unaffordable funeral costs and an unfathomable death rate, a shocking number of deceased Haitians have been left unburied. It’s a gut-punch of a story, terribly affecting, but, as with so many things of this weight, a swift flume for grace in practice.

Porter details the way a patchwork of various workers…

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Another Week Ends: Christmas Tree Frappes, Scrabble Therapy, Self-Esteem, Teenagers, Tech Angst, the Religion of Self-Hatred, and the Heroism of Tonya Harding

Another Week Ends: Christmas Tree Frappes, Scrabble Therapy, Self-Esteem, Teenagers, Tech Angst, the Religion of Self-Hatred, and the Heroism of Tonya Harding

1. A great story coming out of Modern Love this week, from Christie Tate, who talks about her ongoing conflation of relationships with accomplishment and success. After serially dating addicts and abusers, she starts going to a therapy group, and slowly comes to grips with the really vital ingredient: vulnerability. With the help of her group (and her therapist), she met her husband with whom she has a healthy marriage. Except for when her husband beat her at Scrabble. Losing at Scrabble, she soon realized, became an abreaction of sorts, a lens into all her previous ways of looking at…

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Another Week Ends: Justice and Revenge, Tiger's Comback, Fleming's Advent, 35 Year Old Thrillers, Avocado Toast, and Truly Terrible Movies

Another Week Ends: Justice and Revenge, Tiger’s Comback, Fleming’s Advent, 35 Year Old Thrillers, Avocado Toast, and Truly Terrible Movies

A bit of a truncated weekender today, as we recover from a flurry of activity here in Cville, most notably the relaunch of The Mockingcast and the sending of our year-end newsletter and appeal. If you’d like to find out more about what we’ve got planned for 2018 (#mbirdtwopointoh!) and how you can help, we’d love to put a copy in the mail to you. Just be sure we have you on our physical mailing list. And as a reminder, anyone who signs up for any amount of regular monthly giving receives an automatic subscription to The Mockingbird. We rely on…

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