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Confession as Profession: Love and the Hope of Forgiveness

Confession as Profession: Love and the Hope of Forgiveness

“Somewhere else in The Elder Statesman, Lord Claverton observes that no one confesses where there is no hope of forgiveness.” – Capon

It was one of those mornings. You know, the one with three kids, two of whom are dragging their feet to get ready for the walk to school. My begging and pleading was getting old and so was their concurrent whining. As I watched my seven-year-old struggle to tie his shoe and listened to my eldest whimper about his itchy scarf, the damn broke: “Damn it!”

I squatted down, grabbed the shoelaces and the foot attached to them and growled, “You’re…

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So I Thought I Could Dance

So I Thought I Could Dance

I remember picking up the book I Don’t Know How She Does It a couple of months into my first pregnancy. The title sounded like a present-tense version of my desired epitaph, and the plot made it feel a timely read, featuring as it did a busy working mom struggling to be everything to everyone, often to “hilarious” consequence (witness Sarah Jessica Parker, in the film adaptation, endure lice in the conference room! HAHAHA!). I had set myself on the path to working motherhood over a decade before, when I chose in college to pursue a career that would combine prestige, profit,…

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Long Days and the In-Between Times

Long Days and the In-Between Times

My husband and I decided to take advantage of the recent three-day weekend by potty training our not yet two-and-a-half-year-old son. It’s times like these when my palms begin to shake, missing late nights or showering regularly or skipping out of the house for a spontaneous dinner gathering.

Instead, I spent the weekend in my pajama pants with the Wiggles singing in the background, carefully eyeing my son to make sure he didn’t unload on our carpet.

Wild times.

Today is shaping up to be crisis-free–a real rarity in (our) married life. From the moment we said our vows, life has felt like…

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I Love You, Child, As I Have Been Loved

I Love You, Child, As I Have Been Loved

Perusing some of the links in my favorite online parenting journal, I ran across an interesting little story of a mother and daughter, told from the daughter’s perspective primarily. (Full article here.) The background goes as follows: the mother is apparently in the hospital, hooked up to tubes and unresponsive. The daughter is at her mother’s bedside begging for her to respond. “Please? Mom? C’mon…you have to wake up. This whole thing is freaking me out! You’re just staring.” Throughout the story, the daughter repeats: “Mom, blink if you can hear me.”

But the daughter’s story is less about getting her mother to…

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From the Archives: MLK’s Eulogy for Martyred Children

From the Archives: MLK’s Eulogy for Martyred Children

The following speech/sermon was given by Martin Luther King, Jr after the bombing at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963, just three weeks after the March on Washington.

This afternoon we gather in the quiet of this sanctuary to pay our last tribute of respect to these beautiful children of God. They entered the stage of history just a few years ago, and in the brief years that they were privileged to act on this mortal stage, they played their parts exceedingly well. Now the curtain falls; they move through the exit; the drama of their earthly life comes…

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2015: And Now, We Sing

2015: And Now, We Sing

A few weeks ago, my husband turned to me from our calendar. “Want to hear how we did this year?” he asked half-jokingly, citing the list we had made at the beginning of the year: goals, wishes, resolutions. I’ve talked here about my movement away from lists, but God help me if I can get away from them altogether, their bullet-point succinctness taunting me away from the narrative-driven unpredictability of grace and tempting me back to performancism.

I told him to read me the list.

This was at the beginning of December. The goals were laudable (eat better, read more)…

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Dear Reader, I Have No Advice: Grace in Parenting

Dear Reader, I Have No Advice: Grace in Parenting

Dear Adviceless,

Our son is 16 months old and a true delight—curious, outgoing, and eager to explore the world around him. Our faith is important to both my wife and me and we want him to be raised in the church, especially since my wife is the rector of the church we attend. On Sunday mornings, she goes off to church—and my heart sinks in dread.

For some time—and definitely since our son started walking—church has been a nightmarish experience for me. It’s a small congregation and the children’s play area (for those too young for Sunday school) is in the rear…

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This Ain’t No Garden of Eden

This Ain’t No Garden of Eden

Five years ago, I became a grownup. The process involved the following steps: leave New York City, get married, buy a house in the suburbs, have two kids. Recently added into that mix is the forsaking of narrative-driven TV for shows like House Hunters (or House Hunters International, if you’re nasty), the Food Network (love you, Ina), and, for the love of fanny packs, Rick Steves travel shows. With two small kids, I simply have less time and brain space to devote to character development, slow-burn romantic entanglements, and complicated plotlines. Not to mention the emotional toll: The Walking Dead depressed…

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"I don't care! I'd rather sink -- than call Brad for help!" laments Lichtenstein's 1963 Drowning Girl.

Your Best Story, Now!

Here’s how I know God exists: he ruined my life. Multiple times. The guy can’t seem to nail my happy ending!

In my late twenties, I had finally finished my doctorate, summiting my professional goals–and I was ready for my personal happy ending: perfect man, two kids, beautiful home. Instead, my third roommate in a row became engaged while I didn’t even have a date to my little sister’s wedding. I dutifully prayed with one eye glaring at God, wondering why he was ruining my painstakingly constructed life. I had a schedule to keep!

Up to that point, I had curated an image of God based…

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Empathy Lessons for the App Generation

Empathy Lessons for the App Generation

This week, Sherry Turkle picked up where she left off in her NYT article a few years ago, “The Flight from Conversation.” This time, Turkle, who has a new book out, is talking about the lack of conversation skills in today’s young people, but more importantly, how their lack of face-to-face interaction has deeper consequences for learning the lessons of empathy.

It’s almost yawn-worthy to hear yet one more scare-piece about the waning of human attention, or the prospect of a monstrous grown-up millennial generation, but it continues to be on our radars. As we discuss in the upcoming Technology Issue, we simply do not have the…

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Vacation, All I Never Wanted

Vacation, All I Never Wanted

Louis CK does a bit about marriage (it’s an old bit; he’s since gotten divorced, which makes the content both sad and prescient) in which he recounts his therapist’s recommendation that he take his wife on a date. “I went on a date with my wife, and you know what? I’m not going to call her again.”

My husband reminded me of this joke recently upon returning from our “vacation.”

I use quotes because, as anyone with kids knows (and some have written), any temporary relocation of the family unit would be more aptly described as a trip. I’ve been on vacations…

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From The Onion: Toddler Unsettled By Whatever Possessed Her To Bite Friend’s Face

Pretty funny rejoinder to their classic, “New Study Reveals Most Children Unrepentant Sociopaths”. Read the full thing here:

614Ob8PCQNL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_WESTON, CT—Visibly shocked and repulsed by her own behavior as she sat questioning the type of person she is deep down, unsettled 2-year-old Ellie Ritter admitted to reporters that she had no idea what compelled her to bite her friend on the face Thursday. “I honestly don’t know what came over me. I know Jacob took the train I was playing with, but I usually handle that kind of thing okay—but this time I…I bit him,” said a shaken and bewildered Ritter, sitting wide-eyed on a floor mat at her daycare… “I mean, this is Jacob we’re talking about. He’s my friend, my playmate. And I just went straight for his forehead like an animal. Jesus, what is wrong with me?” At press time, the unnerved toddler was staring uneasily down at her trembling, fingerpaint-covered hands and contemplating what other horrors she was capable of.