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Children

Catch Me

Catch Me

This one comes from Andrew Taylor-Troutman. 

A new friend, who is joining the church I serve, offered a Rumi reading to me from his morning devotional: Hold up a mirror to your worst destructive habits, for that is how the real making begins.

~

1995 was my first year of high school. That spring, my baseball coach announced to the entire P.E. class that I was “the dumbest smart guy” he knew. Everyone in class laughed. Coach meant that, while I made good grades, I lacked common sense. Head in the clouds, I tended to miss certain things.

One afternoon that year,…

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Motherhood in an Age of Anxiety: Your Story Isn't Good Enough

Motherhood in an Age of Anxiety: Your Story Isn’t Good Enough

Once, some years back, our young daughter was wandering around our church campus. Like any church campus, we can have multiple things happening in a day. But on this particular day, a woman who I have never met, who does not attend our church, saw my daughter. And she decided that her mother (me) was slacking on the job. So she hauled my daughter out into the yard and yelled, “WHO IS THIS CHILD’S MOTHER?”

And I said with a sigh, “I am.”

(Jesus, help me.)

And she said, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? SHE NEEDS…

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The Narrow Path of Reconciliation

The Narrow Path of Reconciliation

Children often highlight the reality of the human experience in a kind of stark relief not obtained by adults. Young ones are more honest and less inhibited. Small people are less self-curated than those of us with more decades behind us. (At least until we get up into our seventies and eighties and realize it was all absurd. A topic for another day.)

I have four urchins living under the roof with me, I am a school administrator and teacher, and I minister to various young folks at church. And, I learn so much. They offer profound insight, a different and…

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The Future of Our Children: Doom, Gloom, and Love at the End of the World

The Future of Our Children: Doom, Gloom, and Love at the End of the World

This week Roy Scranton wrote a stirring op-ed for the New York Times called “Raising My Child in a Doomed World.” Frankly it’s not a headline you would have seen before 2016. Now, this rhetoric is everywhere. Fictional dystopias are no longer phantasms of who we could become, of where we might go, but of who we are—‘shocking commentaries on the state of things.’ This is it. This is the end. Amidst all the fear, Scranton confesses an interesting conflict:

I cried two times when my daughter was born. First for joy, when after 27 hours of labor the little feral…

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Getting to Know Fred

Getting to Know Fred

My childhood memories involving Mr. Rogers were probably pretty average for kids my age; he was the nice storyteller that my parents trusted enough to give full control over our afternoon TV; his show always moving at a infuriatingly slow walking pace, with enriching guests like Yo-Yo Ma and other musicians showing up to uphold virtuous habits and innocent ways of looking at the world that the rest of the shadowy empire of children’s television was ruining so thoroughly.

Do I sound cynical? While Mr. Rogers has always been held relatively dear in my mind, he wasn’t exactly the most…

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Still in Diapers at Thirty

Still in Diapers at Thirty

We started potty-training Annie last weekend, and while it was certainly all-encompassing for a few days, it wasn’t as tortuous as the image I had built up in my mind. It began as most parents’ toilet training experiences do.

On Saturday morning, we very ceremoniously threw away Annie’s diapers, saying “bye bye” as I bagged up the extras and dropped them by the garbage can in the garage; she then donned her carefully selected Moana big-girl panties from Target. Then, we hunkered down. I offered juice. Lots of juice. And every twenty minutes, whether she felt like she needed to or…

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Summer Bucket Lists and Taking a Seat at the Table

Summer Bucket Lists and Taking a Seat at the Table

I ended the school year a few days ago by high-fiving my seniors au-revoir at their graduation and have now set about making lists of #allthethings I hope to do with my girls this summer. Enter: the Summer Bucket List. In sharing my ideas with friends and building said list, I was motivated by two things.

An authentic hope for my girls to have a fun summer, one characterized by laziness and rest as well as active play, adventure, and unstructured time with Mama and Dada.
A tangible way for me to literally check things off and accumulate motherhood points to win…

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Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

This little piece comes to us from the Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase.

In the film “20th Century Women,” there’s a compelling scene between a mother and her teenaged son. The mother has just brought him home from the hospital; he was rushed there after playing a game with his friends that went wrong. The game involved him hyperventilating while another boy stood behind him, wrapping his arms around his torso, and squeezing. Which caused him to pass out. Normally, a person comes to just a few seconds after this, but in this case, the boy remained unconscious. By the time his distraught…

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The First Chapter of Bed and Board by Robert Farrar Capon - New Edition Available Now!

The First Chapter of Bed and Board by Robert Farrar Capon – New Edition Available Now!

And now we present an excerpt from the most recent addition to our Robert Farrar Capon series, his greatly esteemed work Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage. An essential book for any Capon-lover, this was Robert’s first bestseller, and you’ll see why in this introductory chapter, reproduced below.

“Bed and Board is necessary and offensive in the best possible way.” – Sarah Condon

“…sage wisdom, biting humor, uncomfortable truths…never a page that must be forgiven for pedantic, sawdusty prose.” – Chad Bird

I.

ABSURDITY

The author celebrates the Holy Estate of Matrimony, professes disillusionment with the usual advices about it, and gives…

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The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

In our house, emotions were embraced. I was never told that “boys don’t cry;” it was never implied that men hide their emotions. When your dad is a professional opera-singing pastor-psychologist, and your mother a high-powered hospital executive, you get different messages about gender norms than most. As if you needed proof: my parents let me dress in a bathrobe and red heeled slippers and pretend to be Wendy from Peter Pan until I was four. If Peter Pan is a woman (the incredible Mary Martin), why can’t Wendy be a man?

That freedom was cut short. “Boys can’t play with…

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The Distraction of Grace

The Distraction of Grace

This reflection comes to us from Blair Kilgallen.

Our two granddaughters had been staying with us for several days while our kids took a respite in Iceland before they got too weighed down with the arrival of their third child.

Morning plans were set. My wife Rachel was working at the clinic. Arrangements were made for me to drive our granddaughters over the mountain-pass to drop them off with their other Gramma in Denver. Afterwards, a group from our local church-plant was to meet with the leadership of our oversight church.

Then things took an unexpected turn, as they often do in the mountains.

A…

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Announcing Bed & Board: Plain Talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon!

It is a privilege to announce the latest installment in our Robert Farrar Capon series… Bed & Board: Plain Talk About Marriage.

This little book was Robert’s first best-seller, originally published in 1965. Now re-released for the first time, Bed & Board is Father Capon’s enduring, rambunctious counsel on marriage and family life—woven through with the message of grace that never changes, no matter the decade.

From inside:

“This book is not about those giants who tower over you: Psychology, Education, Maturity, Sexual Adjustment—not even Religion. They can take care of themselves. This is about you—that is, about me (for we are all unique, and practically identical). This is, to be honest, not a book at all. It is only a monologue, and not an entirely sober one at that. It is one peasant swapping stories with another in the cold backyard of the House of Important Subjects, while the grand seigneurs hold their solemn consultations within. The author’s qualifications therefore almost cease to matter. Indeed, he has arranged things so that only one is really necessary: He must be an expert in absurdity. And that is the only qualification that will be offered. An absurd Baedeker for an absurd journey; no apologies, no explanations…”

You can order Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage, by Robert Farrar Capon here!

You can also find Mockingbird editions of Robert’s other books here: The Man Who Met God in a Bar, and More Theology & Less Heavy Cream.