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From the Church Issue: 13 Signs of Bad Pastoral Care

From the Church Issue: 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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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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Kylo Ren and the Weakness of Love

Kylo Ren and the Weakness of Love

For those of you who’ve spent the holidays under a rock and have yet to participate in the global phenomenon that is The Force Awakens (or if you just don’t care), I promise that this little ditty contains no spoilers like the one some Sith Lord left on a stickie attached to my Han Solo mug.

Coming out of Star Wars, my youngest son asked me an interesting question: “Kylo Ren just really wanted to be bad, huh?” I thought it over for a moment and answered “no, he just really wanted to be powerful.” And this led me to an…

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From the Archives: The Modern State of The Charming Man

From the Archives: The Modern State of The Charming Man

This was written in light of news that Vince Vaughn was chosen to be the star in a film based on the 1970’s television show The Rockford Files, starring James Garner.

Grant had developed a new way to interact with a woman onscreen: he treated his leading lady as both a sexually attractive female and an idiosyncratic personality, an approach that often required little more than just listening to her—a tactic that had previously been as ignored in the pictures as it remains, among men, in real life. His knowing but inconspicuously generous style let the actress’s performance flourish, making…

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PZ’s Podcast: Five O’Clock World

PZ’s Podcast: Five O’Clock World

EPISODE 208

Now we think that reality, the “real world”, is what happens “between nine and five”, that is, what happens at work, in the office, at school, in career, and so forth. And a lot of people want to tell us this is true.

But not The Vogues. They were from Pittsburgh and they understood about shifts and hourly pay. Yet they understand more than that!

For the fact is, ‘as you lay dying’ (Faulkner), you won’t give your “nine-to-five” life a single second thought. Not one single second thought! You’ll forget it all, in the absolute blink of an eye. That’s just…

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The Life of a Coach: “When We Lose, I Lose; When We Win, You Guys Win”

The Life of a Coach: “When We Lose, I Lose; When We Win, You Guys Win”

The day after the last day of the NFL regular season is known as “Black Monday”. It’s the day when typically no less than five NFL head coaches get their walking papers. Every NFL team ownership group makes promises to their fans that they can’t deliver on. Typically, the words are “we’re going to put the best possible product on the field.” And, “we are going to be competitive and make our city proud”. Inevitably, after the pledge to the community has failed, the axe comes down on the coach.

One of the “Black Monday” casualties this week was Tom Coughlin,…

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