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The Culture of Narcissism, Part 2: Sex and the Self

The Culture of Narcissism, Part 2: Sex and the Self

This is the second part in a series inspired by Christopher Lasch’s 1979 book, The Culture of Narcissism.

Narcissism is the self in love with itself; it’s believing the world revolves around one’s ego. While narcissists lack regard for the needs of others, they crave attention, admiration, and even envy to bolster their own self-esteem. And they will manipulate others for their own self-aggrandizement and personal satisfaction. Narcissists see others, and the world, as mirrors reflecting their own ego needs. Christopher Lasch, in his book The Culture of Narcissism, argued that “every society reproduces its culture…in the individual, in the form…

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Full Disclosure: I Did Not Understand the Chewbacca Mask Lady Video

Full Disclosure: I Did Not Understand the Chewbacca Mask Lady Video

I did not get the Chewbacca mask video. I realize this says nothing good about me.

The lady in the video was funny. And seemed happy. She made a joke about her weight, which always pains me for women.  But still, try as I might, I have not been able to wrap my brain around the why of it. Why we were all watching it and why did we all feel the need to share it? A day after it was released, there was one pervasive assessment:

We loved this video because it reminded us of joy! Everything on the internet is…

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Faith, The Future & The Frightening Reality Of Online Dating

Faith, The Future & The Frightening Reality Of Online Dating

Human being is storied being. We find meaning in our present according to where we’ve been and where we’re going. This is why a condition like PTSD is so devastating. By making the traumatic past ever present it robs a person of the ability to narrate their own story or even sometimes to have much of one.

A recent little piece by theologian Peter Leithart reminded me just how central the tug forward is for us if we’re to live anything like a meaningful life. Leithart points out the curious fact that, at the end of the book of Revelation, the heavenly city…

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Not So Simple Math: The Story of the Prodigal Mother

Not So Simple Math: The Story of the Prodigal Mother

If you were driving on Mother’s Day just before 9am, maybe to breakfast or church, there’s a good chance you heard NPR’s reading of a story from the Modern Love Podcast, “A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Adoption: ‘My Greatest Accomplishment & Deepest Regret’” (from January) (and voiced by one of my favorite actors, Sarah “Last Man Standing” Paulson, of American Horror Story). It’s about a young woman whose unplanned pregnancy leads her to give up her son for “open adoption,” an arrangement which gives her the ability to interact and have a relationship with him but not actually raise him.

In…

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UnREAL Is Uncomfortably Close to Reality

UnREAL Is Uncomfortably Close to Reality

This is part 1 of a multipost series on UnREAL, a serial drama on Lifetime that is returning for its second season on June 6. Spoiler alert, but you’ve had a year to enjoy this one…

I am that guy who hates reality shows and wants you to know about it—out of sincere concern for the genre’s effect on intelligence and a subconscious need to broadcast my superiority (eg, this sentence). I would like to tell you, therefore, that the serial drama UnREAL, about the production of a fictional reality show, is appealing because it holds a mirror to bad art….

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13 Signs of Bad Pastoral Care

13 Signs of Bad Pastoral Care

Another glimpse into our Church Issue, which is out now! If you haven’t gotten one, order it here. If your beloved but painfully awkward pastor/therapist hasn’t received one, subscribe them here.

How many times have you needed a shoulder to cry on, and got cold moralism, instead? How many times have you dealt the flip side of that same coin? Here is a list for anyone who has ever received counsel or has ever given counsel and wondered what went wrong. They are a paraphrased version from Frank Lake: The Man and His Work, by John Peters, and were compiled by…

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Failed Evangelist

Failed Evangelist

This comes to us from our friend Emily Skelding. 

I’m a terrible evangelist.

I have never once, not ever, converted anyone. I am suspicious of emotional altar calls after a sermon that starts at a whisper and ends with shouts.  I’ve never wandered a Florida beach converting a hungover college kid. In fact, I doubt these transformations. They ring tinny to my ear.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I even qualify as a born-again Christian.

Still, I cling to the idea of rebirth. God’s grace, the process of God holding my cracked soul to make it healed and whole, carries me through life’s…

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From the Archives: Projecting Our Way Through Holy Week

From the Archives: Projecting Our Way Through Holy Week

The friendly overtures of a person whom we no longer love, overtures which strike us, in our indifference to her, as excessive, would perhaps have fallen a long way short of satisfying our love. Those tender speeches, that invitation or acceptance, we think only of the pleasure which they would have given us, and not of all those speeches and meetings by which we would have wished to see them immediately followed, which we should, as likely as not, simply by our avidity for them, have precluded from ever happening. So that we can never be certain that the good…

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Sickness, Millennials, and Stunning Nuptial Tethering

Sickness, Millennials, and Stunning Nuptial Tethering

This post comes to us from Chattanoogan essayist, Eric Youngblood.

Poor millennials.

Ain’t nobody love ‘em.

18-34 year-old narcissists. Self-absorbed. Motivated by excessive self-regard.

Lacking in motivation. Devoid of commitment. Absent of toughness. Unconcerned with institutional loyalty, unaware of others….an entire sociological tribe characterized by its deficits.

They got too many trophies for no good reason. They played in too many “everyone’s a winner” soccer games. They didn’t realize there was such a thing as a B in school. A whole generation of the image of God, spoiled, ruined and contaminated by grade-inflation, over-active-affirmation, and excessive-protection.

Whether NPR news reports, Youtube parodies, the Wall Street Journal, or…

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Thomas Wolfe and the Armor of Affect

Thomas Wolfe and the Armor of Affect

Growing up involves enduring moments of self-recognition that accompany moving through different life stages. Or so I’ve been told. This new knowledge offers an opportunity to draw closer to Jesus. I’ve been going through such a stage over the past month or so, wondering how much the self I have worked to build and project is a reflection of how I truly feel deep down and would like to be seen. Thomas Wolfe’s Of Time and The Rive–whose chest-puffing epigraph, “A Legend of Man’s Hunger in His Youth,” effectively characterizes the frenzied egotism at play in the book (and my…

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The Very Definition of Romance (10 Years In)

The Very Definition of Romance (10 Years In)

The bad news is, we have to wait until July before we can hold Heather Havrileksy’s How to Be a Person in the World in our sweaty hands. The good news is, the Ask Polly columnist wrote an article for The Cut this week about “What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage”, which easily tops the list of this year’s Valentines-related reading. In prime fashion, Heather debunks a few of our culture’s most destructive illusions about long-term romantic relationships (short of the Soulmate Myth). But it’s not just for married folks. It’s for all of us who’ve ever…

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Barefoot and Scrubbing for Love

Barefoot and Scrubbing for Love

This one comes to us from our friend, Rebecca Graber. 

Recently I watched the movie Barefoot on Netflix. It’s a classic odd couple movie; the leading male, Jay, is a womanizing, gambling, down-on-his-luck scoundrel who’s on probation, scrubbing floors at a mental hospital. His counterpart, Daisy, is a new resident who does not know why she is there, and as we find out, has not really had contact with the outside world. Her social skills and experiences are equivalent to a five-year-old girl. In need of money from his wealthy family and through a series of events, Jay ends up taking…

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