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Pithy Preachers Proclaiming Perplexing Epigrams: On Preaching, the Pulpit, & Thomas Guthrie's Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints

Pithy Preachers Proclaiming Perplexing Epigrams: On Preaching, the Pulpit, & Thomas Guthrie’s Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints

This piece was written by Brad J. Gray.

It’s a turn of phrase that I’ve seen around the Internet and various other places in the past, but only recently has it been actually uttered to my face. I wouldn’t have thought much of it but it was said twice in a few short days and it got me to thinking about how prevalent the sentiment is despite its inherent falsehood and treachery. I am, of course, referring to the oft-quoted statement, “God helps those who help themselves.” No doubt you’ve heard this expression before, more than likely from a well-meaning person….

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What to Wear at Easter: A Sermon on the Resurrection

What to Wear at Easter: A Sermon on the Resurrection

This sermon was delivered yesterday by Paul Walker, Rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville. Happy Easter, everyone!

Welcome to Easter Day at Christ Church! Whether you are here every week or just once a year, Easter is THE day to come to church. The news we have to tell just doesn’t get any better than this.

Which is why the church is adorned with lilies and the choir is dressed up with brass. It’s also why you probably spent at least a little extra time thinking about what to wear on Easter Day. Easter stokes the urge, or remnant of the…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Twenty Seven Verses Three Through Five

Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Twenty Seven Verses Three Through Five

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself (Mt 27:3-5).

At the risk of impertinence, I’m just going to assume that everyone reading this (myself included) has already betrayed Jesus today. At least a few times. So I’d like to focus less on…

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The Psalm'ish Imagination

The Psalm’ish Imagination

This reflection comes to us from Cole Deike.

We have bloody imaginations.

As an opposite to the bloody imagination, I think of the Pixar animated movie Up. Early in the film, there is a montage of a young couple falling in love with one another. In one of the scenes, the young couple lays on a blanket and gazes up at clouds that breeze across the blue, summer sky. There is no audio of their dialogue, but they are pointing at specific clouds and talking about their shapes: this one reminds me of this animal, that one reminds me of that animal,…

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Through Thick N' Thin: Imputation in Paul

Through Thick N’ Thin: Imputation in Paul

To survey much of theology and biblical scholarship nowadays, you’d think that “imputation”, or the idea that God gives/reckons a moral status of righteousness to the otherwise ungodly believer, is a passé relic of former ignorance. On the biblical studies side, N.T. Wright has made half of a career out of refuting imputation. Peppered throughout his otherwise circuitously Reformed theology (surprise!) are direct refutations and veiled damnations of this reformational doctrine. For Wright, imputation is a grave misunderstanding of Paul’s theology and aims; imputation is “mistaken” (Paul in Fresh Perspective, p. 25), “misleading”, “a straightforward category mistake” (Justification, p. 232),…

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Five Feet High and Rising: Finding God…While Drowning in Fear ~ Aaron Zimmerman

From our recent conference in Tyler, TX, here is the wonderful Saturday morning talk by Aaron Zimmerman, president of the Mockingbird board, who speaks about fear, middle school dances, and Jesus calming the storm.

Five Feet High and Rising: Finding God…While Drowning in Fear by Aaron Zimmerman from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

How to Annoy Jesus ~ John Zahl

Excited to start sharing videos from our recent conference in Tyler, TX! (You can catch all the recordings here.) First up, the inimitable John Zahl, with how to annoy Jesus:

From Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Inside the Bounds of Grace: The Not-So-Lovely Love Story of David and Michal

Inside the Bounds of Grace: The Not-So-Lovely Love Story of David and Michal

This piece was written by Stephanie Matthiessen.

I’m writing a novel about Michal, the first wife of David and the daughter of Saul. Don’t worry, no one else has heard of her either, unless maybe they’re from Israel. Someone recently asked me what the book is about and, instead of giving my usual, vague, I’d-rather-not-say answer, I actually told them. Spoiler: it’s about forgiveness. Unconditional forgiveness. I added the qualifier for fear one would assume it’s about personal atonement and self-improvement. It’s not. It’s not a self-help book in disguise. It’s a love story.

Michal and, of course, her much more famous…

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Hopelessly Devoted: ‘Grace At Work’ – James Chapter One Verse Seventeen

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Grace is not always guaranteed to work on the horizontal plane — i.e. as we attempt to steward it in the midst of our relationships with one another. We can however be sure that grace is always at work. We don’t get to define what this has to look like. We don’t always get the privilege of discerning its results or activity. In fact, grace specializes in disappointing and confounding our every expectation of what God ‘should be’ and what His people ‘should be’.

You’re free, though you often feel like a slave. You’re forgiven, though you often feel the weight of judgment. You’re victorious, though you often feel like a chump. The gospel confronts our self-righteousness and confirms the righteousness of Jesus as being ours. We walk by faith, not by sight…yes, but rarely in an experiential or functional manner. All we have ultimately is the faithful witness (James 1:17) of the indwelling Spirit bringing us back to a ridiculous, impossible-to-believe verdict: “You are absolved.”

Wakanda is Where the Real Wonder Women (and Men) Live

Wakanda is Where the Real Wonder Women (and Men) Live

I am not a big fan of superhero movies. Blame it on my low anthropology or disdain for a predictable plotline. It’s both really. So when a big budget comic book film comes out that I am interested in, I go with gusto.

Which is why I H.A.T.E.D. Wonder Woman. The whole thing made me want to tear my (long flowy) hair (extensions) out. I was promised feminism. I was told I would feel empowered. Instead, they gave me a boob-tastic babe with a child-like affect in the world. At one point, Wonder Woman seems oblivious to the fact that she has…

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Sting and Linger

Sting and Linger

This one was written by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

From the backseat, our four-year-old firstborn asked why the road sign said 100. An unusual formulation of the question, I thought, and continued to drive, while his mom explained from the passenger’s seat. She spoke of how a number can also be a name and then the child’s mind fluttered to other things. But I reversed to five years ago when that slick Mazda flew past the stop sign and stung our old Volkswagen’s right front bumper, spinning us into the median and the previous Route 100 sign.

Our firstborn’s favorite question is, you guessed…

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Is Jesus Really God?

Is Jesus Really God?

I’ve waded through the arguments and read the commentaries, and most scholars agree. When it comes to the question of the divinity of Jesus, it seems there is one, inescapable conclusion: Jesus isn’t God. Whoever you imagine God to be, Jesus isn’t him (or, if you prefer, her). The standard, unsatisfactory, argument goes something like this. The God of the universe created all things: the universe, stars, planets, all creatures great and small, humanity, and this fragile earth, our island home. God is infinitely powerful, infinitely present in all things, infinitely knowing of all things. Jesus, as it is said…

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