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From the Archives – Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

From the Archives – Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Well, we’re probably nearing our yearly limit for writing about anxiety, but great articles on the subject have been irrepressible. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our increasing need to self-actualize, and increasing avenues for doing so, is a root behind the contemporary epidemic of nerves that had 1 in 5 American adults on anti-anxiety or antidepressant meds in 2011, numbers which have presumably risen since. An organization called the ADAA (anxiety and depression, etc) reported that almost one-third of the nation’s health bill is caused by anxiety disorders. You could reasonably ask to vet the numbers there, but even…

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Leaky Pipes and Potty Training: How to Save a Life

Leaky Pipes and Potty Training: How to Save a Life

First-world/grown-up problems alert: the plumbing in our suburban home continues to flare up and send me into an anxiety spiral every few weeks. Our master bath shower, situated above the formal dining room we never use (#kids), will occasionally–usually once I’ve forgotten it’s a possibility–develop a leak that sends water dripping onto the floor below, causing our older son to rush in, point to the puddle, and proclaim, “Uh oh. Wet,” just before transferring his point upward to the ceiling and the makeshift opening that’s been there for months, a product of the first of four plumbers we’ve had evaluate…

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Unless You’re God, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice

Unless You’re God, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice

This week The New York Times published an op-ed by Adam Grant entitled, “Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice.” Grant highlights what we might call “the law of just being yourself,” the widespread cultural mandate that, when followed correctly, should guarantee both freedom and success.

We are in the Age of Authenticity, where “be yourself” is the defining advice in life, love and career. Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world. As Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, defines it, authenticity is “the…

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The Impossible Law of Just Being Happy

The Impossible Law of Just Being Happy

A few years ago I received a comment on my personal blog appraising my writing as too “depressing.” People were starting to talk, according to the commenter–an acquaintance brave enough to, ahem, virtually step forward. The message, enveloped in faux concern, delivered an insidious warning: you’re not saying the right stuff. P.S. Keep it up, and you can’t sit with us. I remember wavering between amusement at the projective nature of the opinion and rage at the idea that I could spend an afternoon writing a thousand heartfelt words only to have the verbal equivalent of a bag of flaming…

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Falling from Law

Falling from Law

This one was written by our fallen friend, Julian Brooks.

A few years back I was blindsided by the Gospel of Grace. Things I had heard for years about God’s love and forgiveness started to take on flesh and become more than just recited truths; they became a living person. And that’s when the downward spiral began. I started falling away. Everyone warned me this would happen if I focused too much on God’s love and forgiveness. I just didn’t expect it to happen so fast. The world of control and manipulation around which I had built my life and identity was…

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How to Succeed Without (Looking Like You’re) Trying

How to Succeed Without (Looking Like You’re) Trying

On a road trip last week, I caught up with the new season of Gimlet Media’s fantastic Start-Up podcast, a series that does exactly what you might expect, chronicling the ups and downs of getting a new company off the ground. To open their third season, which debuted only a couple of weeks ago, they decided to depart from previous go-rounds and withhold the name of the company being profiled. In order, one presumes, to amplify the suspense and shortcircuit any bias the listener might have up-front.

Clever move. As soon as a company “makes it”–especially in Silicon Valley–there’s a tendency…

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Don’t Look Now But Your Concept Is Creeping

Don’t Look Now But Your Concept Is Creeping

It’s a pretty common conversation among parents of young children. Clichéd even. Usually starts with a reminiscence about what things were like when we were kids:

“Can’t believe I was allowed to ride my bike to the library by myself when I was 7.”
“In summer I’d leave the house after breakfast and not come back home ’til it was dark”.
“A classmate of mine and I walked to school every day of first grade, no chaperone.”
“When I was a kid, parents weren’t allowed to stay to watch T-Ball practice–and they didn’t want to.”

The next part of the conversation involves indignation about how such actions would…

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Trump Semper Accusat

Trump Semper Accusat

Election season is always nasty, brutish and long. This cycle is no different, really, except that it’s worse. There are candidates running now who make some of the folks from the past few elections look like scholars and saints. Bread and circuses, indeed.

Of course, the chief offender is Donald Trump, and most of the culture hates him for it. Left, right, center, every major news outlet regularly publishes diatribes against him or exposés about him.

Some people have thought about Trump more creatively, though. For example, Paul Zahl used Trump as an instrument for identifying some of what ails modern American society. It…

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“I Should Know Better By Now”: God as the Older Brother

“I Should Know Better By Now”: God as the Older Brother

This post comes to us from our friend Julian Brooks.

Most of us have heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son and found ourselves identifying with one of the two sons. In fact, if we’re honest, we have to admit we are certainly a mixture of both. Whether we are self-righteous, angry older brothers or unrighteous riffraff, we know the story illustrates the desperate need that we all have for the unconditional love of the Father.

But have you ever noticed what happens to our perception of God the Father when we undermine the radicalness of the Gospel of Grace? I’m amazed…

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An Email Blast, A Cancelled Rally, and Straight-Line Power

An Email Blast, A Cancelled Rally, and Straight-Line Power

Among the odder stories of the 2016 election cycle so far has been Louis CK’s recent email blast urging fans not to vote for Donald Trump.

Did you know Louis CK has a new show, by the way? He’s self released it–it’s called Horace and Pete, and you can only get it through his website. Someone around the Mbird blogger crew will get to it eventually, especially since our previous profiles of Louis CK’s material have been cautiously approving. And! he co-leads the show with Steve Buscemi, which sounds incredible.

So if you’re on Louis CK’s email list, you’d have received an update…

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Richard Gossage pitching in game as New York Yankee

Goose Gossage and the MLB “Old School, New School” Collision

The New York Yankees learned yesterday to maybe be careful about which hall-of-fame ex-player they invite to Spring Training to be a guest instructor. Hall-of-fame relief pitcher Rich (Goose) Gossage was grabbed on the field by an ESPN reporter this week and asked about the “state of the game”. Uh-oh.

Here are some excerpts and my responses as a lifelong old school baseball fan who thinks Gossage is a tad bitter, kind of like me.

Gossage on “nerds who never played” running the games these days:

I’ll tell you what has happened, these guys played [fantasy] baseball at Harvard or wherever the [bleep]…

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Further Thoughts on The Donald

Further Thoughts on The Donald

A post-Super Tuesday reflection from Scott Larousse:

It’s likely that history will view Donald Trump in one of two ways: a flash in the pan, or the harbinger of a change in American politics and, to an extent, society. Many of us might hope it’s the former, in part because Trump as a President would lack the experience other candidates might have and would probably be more volatile – that is, there would be a wide range of outcomes if he were President, and many would agree that the odds of an extremely damaging action by him would be greater under…

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