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Go Gently

Go Gently

A beautiful reflection on family and the Advent season by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

And we think that we can’t write that for which we do not have words but actually sometimes you can if you go gently between the words. Brian Doyle

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. Isaiah 9:2

It is a week before Christmas and I tell my oldest son: “It is a big responsibility to be a big brother.” This three year old stares at me blankly from across the room, then continues playing with the nativity scene strewn across the floor in a mishmash of…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Ezekiel Chapter Forty Seven Verses One Through Ten

The second video from our DC conference is here! Adam Morton’s devotion that opened our session on Saturday. It’s a beautiful one:

Devotion on Ezekiel 47:1-10 ~ Adam Morton from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Day Four of #AARSBL17 (and the Spiritual Roots of Theological Insight)

To read the previous round-ups of this year’s American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature (AARSBL), click here. Also excited to announce that we have the recording of Simeon Zahl’s lecture from the event, “Prayer and Affliction: Martin Luther on the Spiritual Roots of Theological Insight” available to stream/download here.

The final day of AARSBL feels like going to church on a snowy day. The publishers are still there and papers are still being given in the morning, but the excited “buzz” is gone as probably 50-75% of attendees have already left. Universities don’t usually…

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Kids, Camels, Needles & the Righteousness of the Law

Kids, Camels, Needles & the Righteousness of the Law

This one comes to us from Brad J. Gray.

Something my dad has said many times before, and something that I don’t think I’ll forget anytime soon, is that the keys to good biblical interpretation happen to also be the same 3 basic rules in real estate: (1) Location, (2) Location, and (3) Location. Or to put this in hermeneutical terms, we might say, Context, Context, and Context!

Context is king when it comes to reading, studying, and applying the Bible. (My dad should know a thing or two about this, as he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the same subject.) This is…

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Do You Need a Receipt to Return a Christmas Miracle?

Do You Need a Receipt to Return a Christmas Miracle?

I’m quickly coming up to the two year anniversary of when I nearly, nearly, shouted a four letter word in a crowded auditorium. And it wasn’t fire. I was at a Christmas concert, and the organizers had thoughtfully placed magnets with handwritten Bible verses underneath all of our seats. At a certain point in the evening, they asked us to reach under and collect them. I did. That’s the moment I wanted to shout…um…not-fire.

The verse was for me, for that very moment. The Lord answers prayers. This particular evening, I really didn’t want him to. Like, at all. It meant…

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The God No One Wanted

In her classic rendition of the Biblical narrative, The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd Jones informs us that Leah was “the girl no one wanted.” Of course she was…after all, she was (sort of) the mother of the God no one wanted! We can trace the bloodline from Eve to the promised head-crushing Seed through Leah, Judah, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Solomon…until we arrive at King Jesus (see Matt 1).

In 1 Samuel, a time when the nation of Israel resided only under priestly and prophetic authority, the people demanded of God, “Give us a king!” To which Samuel replied, “But you have God…you…

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Running from Law, Running from Grace

There’s enough indication in Scripture to make the case that we naturally run from law when it confronts us in everyday life: in the preached Word of God as a ‘first word’ and when we experience its damning effects and accusatory sting in the midst of our relationships. But more subtle and implicit is the notion that we also, in a sense, run from grace.

In the book of Jonah (Jonah 1:1-3) we see that the renowned “Prophet to the Nations” runs from the law…but in Jonah 4:1-2, we see that he despises the grace of God. Jonah ran from both……

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Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

When I was a kid attending Sunday School in a very traditional Baptist church in the Midwest, we learned Bible stories… I became familiar with the regular cast of characters like Adam and Eve, Noah, David, Moses, etc. I could tell you that Moses parted the Red Sea; Adam and Eve ate an apple; David slew a giant (thanks to a relative who gifted me one Christmas with 12-inch David and Goliath action figures!). As a teen, I would learn that the book of Leviticus was all about how family members in the same house should not undress in the…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Twenty-One Verses Thirty-Three Through Forty-Two

Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Twenty-One Verses Thirty-Three Through Forty-Two

The following sermon was preached yesterday by our friend Dave Johnson at Christ Church in Valdosta, GA.

In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are in fifth grade and whenever you are hanging out in your bedroom your radio is tuned into the local Top 40 hit station.  It is a beautiful spring evening and your window is open, an occasional cool breeze enters your room with the scent of freshly mown grass and that sense of hope that accompanies spring reawakens in your heart.  A song comes on the radio that immediately grabs your attention, immediately resonates with…

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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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Do Not Pass Go

Do Not Pass Go

Last week my parents visited a childhood acquaintance of mine named Russell. Russell and I are close in age, and his late mom and my mom were great friends. But that’s where most of our similarities end. Russell is disabled and has lived his whole life in a wheelchair. As a kid, I remember that Russell’s forearms were prodigious, and he could easily crack the knuckles of my puny hand when he shook it. Yet his world was so much smaller than mine, and his temper could sometimes get the best of him, and I was not the most…

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Seeing Tares

Seeing Tares

Grateful for this one by Jay Wamsted.

I could hear the trouble outside through my door. I taught ninth graders that year—a challenge even on the best day—and I should have been posted up in the hallway before my students returned from lunch, should have been using their inertia to usher them straight into class. Instead I was just a little late crossing the room from my desk, panicking as I unlocked the door. Though I was able to watch the tail end of an argument between two of my students—they were squared off in the shadow of my doorway, foot…

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