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Idealistic Hackers and My Personal "Change the World" Project

Idealistic Hackers and My Personal “Change the World” Project

In preparation for Mr. Robot’s third season (premiering tonight), here’s a fantastic piece by Rebecca Florence Miller.

I’ve always wanted to change the world. As a child and young woman, I longed to serve as a missionary, perhaps translating the Bible for those who had never heard of Jesus. I dreamed of traveling to other countries and teaching English as a Second Language. As a teen, I longed to convert people to all kinds of different things, like being pro-life or Republican or just to being a Christian. Now, I live in a constant state of trying to engage in civil…

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Liars, Madmen, and You: The Art of Narrative ~ CJ Green

Taylor Swift, Mary Karr, and the art of telling your life story…ready for it? From our conference in NYC this past April.

Liars, Madmen, and You: The Art of Narrative ~ CJ Green from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

The Cold Predictability of Law and the Utter Loving Chaos of Grace

The Cold Predictability of Law and the Utter Loving Chaos of Grace

In this week’s episode of Bad Theology and Good Intentions, a podcast/film/concept album I have no intention of actually creating, I read a friend’s post on social media in which she admitted grappling with her short temper around her kids. She cited having a newborn and a young toddler and not getting any sleep as contributing reasons for her blown fuse and confessed to yelling at her children and feeling horrible guilt about it. The flood of responses that followed were wholly supportive–but with an undercurrent of law. I saw verbal nudges to take a rest wrapped up by barely…

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Nothing More Characteristic (or Foundational)

Another of the countless “mic-drop” moments in Fleming Rutledge’s The Crucifixion. Italics in the original, ht RS:

“There is nothing more characteristic of humanity than the universal tendency of one portion of that humanity to justify itself as deserving and some other portion as undeserving. Nothing is more foundational in Christian faith than the recognition that we can never be justified in that way. To speak of “deserving” is to divide up the world in a fashion that is utterly alien to the gospel. Christ came to die expressly for sinners, for the undeserving, for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6). Calvin, with his characteristic concern for pastoral consolation, writes, “The promise of salvation is willingly and freely offered to us by the Lord in consideration of our misery rather than our deserving.” The great Holy Week hymn “Ah, Holy Jesus” concludes with a prayer to the crucified Lord: “Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not our deserving.”

We are arguing here that drawing a line between between those who participate in horrors and those who do not is a dubious enterprise; all of us in one way or another are either potential perpetrators, potential participants, or (most likely) passive enablers of horrors. W. H. Auden embedded this conviction in his poem: “We shan’t, not since Stalin and Hitler, trust ourselves ever again.” If this is true, then the gospel has to be good news not only for the victims but also for the perpetrators. If we say that Jesus Christ descended into hell, perhaps we mean most of all the hell of the perpetrators.” (pp. 451-53)

Revenge of the Puritans

Revenge of the Puritans

Whether God is in your life or not, you know you are going to die here on Earth. Mortality is as common and constant as sunrise and sunset. But we, the folks who gave you Stonehenge, rage against the fading light. Duh.

There are options. You can choose to live for you. You can be grateful for the things you have been given, especially life itself, and be “mindful”. Or you think there is a much Greater Truth, that you are part of it, and that there is a transaction it offers—more than just a gift. For some…

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Dancing Pandas and The Search for Everything

Dancing Pandas and The Search for Everything

“And that’s how John Mayer ended up with dancing pandas.”

It’s not every day that one reads such a sentence in a New York Times piece, but when it comes to John Mayer, is anyone really surprised?

Mayer has made quite the reputation for himself, not only as a talented musician but as a man who can’t seem to control his “stupid mouth” in a number scandalous interviews. In the aftermath, he escaped to Montana, where he moved toward redemption, apologizing for many of those wrongdoings in Paradise Valley (2013), identifying many of his shortcomings (“I Will Be Found”), and promising maturity…

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My Big Sick: When A Diagnosis Threatens to Define Us

My Big Sick: When A Diagnosis Threatens to Define Us

Over here in Sydney, the eclipse didn’t occur, and a 14-hour time jump from the East Coast means I actually often receive current events updates on a delay (while lying in bed reading them on my phone at 6am). The weird FOMO/day-ahead mentality, where my daylight is your nighttime, renders me disoriented; I feel as though I’m watching the world from a distance, as a bystander to all things America. The break from that most patriotic of traditions, the 24-hour news cycle, has been healing for me: in the absence of bottom-of-the-screen news tickers, I can choose when and how…

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From the Onion: Poll Finds Declining Number of Americans Believe They God

One for the ages (ht SPB). 

WASHINGTON—In what researchers say marks a profound change in the nation’s attitude toward religion, a new Pew Research Center poll released Thursday found a significant decline in the number of Americans who believe they are God. “Our data shows that since we started studying the trend in the late 1970s, there has been a 60 percent decrease in the number of people in this country who believe they are the Lord incarnate,” said Pew senior research statistician Marianne Tomac, adding that the largest contributor to the drop was the dwindling number of parents who raise their children in households in which they are taught they are the Supreme Being. “We also found that of the respondents who grew up believing they were the Almighty, nearly 40 percent admitted that skepticism and disillusionment had caused them to question whether they were, in fact, omnipotent or even created the universe at all.” The poll also reported, however, a corresponding increase in the number of Americans who said while they no longer believed they were God, they did see themselves as the indescribable universal energy that connects all living things.

“It’s a Nice Day for a Run” and Other Strange Things to Say: Some Thoughts on Our Pursuit of Pain

“It’s a Nice Day for a Run” and Other Strange Things to Say: Some Thoughts on Our Pursuit of Pain

It was the closest thing to hell I’ve ever experienced: my whole body hurt. A dull buzz with epicenters at the soles of my feet, knees, and head: a red-hot pain emanating outward, into my neck, arms, down my back, through those muscles that I don’t know the name of that run from my shoulder blades to my bum…whatever those are, they hurt. I sat down. I stood up. I walked in aimless circles, drank water. Nothing helped. After running along the James River that day, 26.2 throbbing miles along that winding golden ribbon, the only thing I remember about…

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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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The Power of the Personal Essay

The Power of the Personal Essay

In her piece for newyorker.com, “The Personal-Essay Boom is Over,” Jia Tolentino laments the death of a genre of writing that was, for a spell, ubiquitous. “A genre that partially defined the last decade of the Internet has essentially disappeared,” she writes. The Toast, Hairpin, Gawker, and other sites showcasing the noble attempts of young writers to mine their experiences and explore what they had to say have since disbanded or stopped receiving first-person pitches. The audience has shrunk for these essays, and Tolentino is sad to see them go.

The online personal essay has its faults. The form’s popularity contributed…

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Seeking Freedom from Dieting and Body Shame: Part Three

Seeking Freedom from Dieting and Body Shame: Part Three

One of the comments from this recent article in the New York Times Magazine on diet culture in America says:

As humans I think we are all seeking something more. We all want to be better, and to be different. Some days we love ourselves. Some days we don’t. This Feature went way beyond weight for me, it spoke about the common constant striving of humanity and about shared desires and secrets….of our anxieties, our struggles, our sadness, and our love and hopes.

There is so much awareness in the words above. We all spend so much time and energy to be…

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