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Religious

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 […]

The Preacher Goes to Fashion Week: Jim Carrey's Gospel Madness

The Preacher Goes to Fashion Week: Jim Carrey’s Gospel Madness

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,     vanity of vanities! All is vanity. God, in his mercy, sends preachers. Some are well-educated and institutionally-approved folk serving the faithful in fine old churches, but in these last days we should take no alarm that the same Lord who spoke through Balaam’s ass might again choose an eccentric […]

A Welcomed Interrogation

A Welcomed Interrogation

John le Carré knows spy craft. A master of espionage fiction, he also once served as an intelligence officer in Britain’s MI5. In a recent interview with Terry Gross of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” while promoting “A Legacy of Spies,” le Carré discussed the art of interrogation. He expressed his firm conviction that the “rough stuff” […]

Heroin in the Hymnals

Heroin in the Hymnals

There is a moment deep into Netflix’s underrated Ozark (spoilers below), where the raising of a cross atop a church emits ripples of fear, as if recreational Missouri were ancient Rome. Whatever the show’s imperfections, I submit that restoring a sense of the scandal of the cross to America’s Bible belt is a considerable accomplishment. […]

A Reminder from Fleming Rutledge

From page 345 of The Crucifixion:

“…distinctions between the “innocent” and the “guilty,” while provisionally necessary in this fallen world, lose their power when seen from the perspective of the end-time. Categories of more and less guilt, and declarations of amnesty, so inadequate in this age of Sin and Death, become meaningless in the light of God’s new day as we come to understand that in the sight of the Lord “there is not one righteous” (Ps. 14:3; Rom. 3:10). This is the heart of biblical understanding concerning the entire human race. In the light of what was permitted to be done to the Son of God by the machinations, duplicity, and collaboration of all the “best people,” we come to see ourselves in bondage to forces far stronger than we are.”

Another Week Ends: Empathy Gadgets, Billy Joel, Axl Rose, Campus Sinners, Finnish Sports, and an Arvo Pärty

Another Week Ends: Empathy Gadgets, Billy Joel, Axl Rose, Campus Sinners, Finnish Sports, and an Arvo Pärty

The biggest news of the week is, of course, the news that Mbird is hosting a Reformation Conference in D.C. this October! Check out the conference page for details, mark your calendars for October 27-28, and get ready celebrate 500 years of the Christian tradition we love so much. Now: onto our regular wrap-up. 1. […]

Living and Dying with Rich Mullins: Reckless Raging Fury

Living and Dying with Rich Mullins: Reckless Raging Fury

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music. See part 1 here. You don’t often hear a singer downplay the next song on the setlist; you don’t often […]

The Celebration Department

The Celebration Department

I want to be clear about something from the very start: I adore my cell phone. From the very first time I found myself in the grocery store, not knowing if my wife wanted tuna fish packed in water or in oil and I was actually able to call and find out, I was in […]

Yet <i>Another</i> "New Start": Karl Holl on Luther's Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

Yet Another “New Start”: Karl Holl on Luther’s Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

The following is an excerpt from Karl Holl’s booklength essay, “What Did Luther Understand by Religion?” (trans. Meuser & Wietzke) in which Holl draws out Luther’s theology beginning with his history. As you’ll see, Holl maintains a refreshing emphasis on everyday heart-level matters, compared to other scholars of his caliber. Still, you might want to […]

Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music. I didn’t know the signs. Rich Mullins sang “Creed” as I and the rest of the retreat’s super-secret Prayer Team […]

Riding Bikes with the Mitford Sisters, Six Feet Under.

Riding Bikes with the Mitford Sisters, Six Feet Under.

The training wheels came off at the cemetery. That sounds incredibly macabre,  like a snippet from an Edward Gorey book, but the reality is much more prosaic. With the cemetery a couple houses down from where I grew up on a busy state route, it was the safest place to learn to ride. My great-grandfather, […]

Champions She Shall Never Want

Champions She Shall Never Want

I recently decided to leave Mockingbird. I do not mean that I was convinced over a bourbon-fueled colloquy with a recent Catholic convert that Sylvester Prierias was unimpeachably correct to respond to Luther’s attack on indulgences by defending papal authority. Nor do I mean that I brushed up on recent Pauline scholarship and determined that […]