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In Praise of Excess: The Beauty of Babette’s Feast

In Praise of Excess: The Beauty of Babette’s Feast

Another sneak peek into the Food & Drink Issue, which will be on sale at the conference this weekend! Ethan’s essay is all about grace in the 1987 Danish film (and Oscar winner) Babette’s Feast.

Last winter, my wife Hannah found out she has celiac disease, the rare autoimmune disorder that means you can’t eat gluten. Contrary to the many gluten-free fads that have taken the nation by storm, people with celiac suffer a gluten intolerance that is microscopically comprehensive. The smallest gluten part per million—a dust particle in a vat of soup—can wreak havoc on her stomach.

The fact that we’re in…

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Finding Hope After 13 Reasons Why

Finding Hope After 13 Reasons Why

This post comes to us from Heather Strong Moore. 

What was your worst day? In what ways do you still think about it? How does it still effect you now? We all carry around our own personal blend of wounds and disappointments. This may be a factor in the show 13 Reasons Why becoming such a phenomenon among young people. A Netflix original, it has only been out for a couple of weeks and already is one of the most viewed series they’ve created.

Based on a book by the same title from author Jay Asher, this show follows a teenage girl named Hannah Baker. You…

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Retreat, Not Advance (or How I Made It to New York Without a Wallet)

Retreat, Not Advance (or How I Made It to New York Without a Wallet)

A wonderful post from Connor Gwin:

“It is called a ‘retreat,’ not an ‘advance.’”

That was the advice given to me by a Brother from the Society of St. John the Evangelist before my first week-long retreat.

This is not what I wanted to hear.

Think of all the books I could read with a week of silence. Think of all the writing I could do.

You should know that I am big on plans. I make plans in my head for pretty much everything. I plan how my day will go. I plan how phone conversations will turn out. I plan the shape of…

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All the Grief We Can’t Relieve: A Meditation on Pearl Jam and Holy Saturday

All the Grief We Can’t Relieve: A Meditation on Pearl Jam and Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday may have come and gone, but its meaning and importance remain ever with us. This moving piece was written by John Alexander.

My friend Dave died in a car accident in 2007. The ten-year anniversary of his death roughly coincides with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction of Pearl Jam, a band that is inseparable from Dave’s life and times. Their debut album Ten recently turned 25 years old (the Hall of Fame’s minimum age requirement for a band’s nomination), which was Dave’s age when he died. Their induction ceremony was held in Brooklyn last weekend, on…

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Easter is God’s Great Yes to Earth

Easter is God’s Great Yes to Earth

This Easter Monday reflection comes to us from our friend Chad Bird.

This is the annual time of year some Christians roll their eyes as they tsk-tsk over eggs and bunnies smothering the real meaning of Easter.

I beg to differ. If anyone needs to roll his eyes, it’s God as he sees some of his followers more interested in heaven than he is.

Easter is God’s great affirmation of the earth and all it contains. The day when God says Yes to chocolate eggs and white bunnies, little girls’ pretty dresses and elaborate family dinners, trumpeting lilies and bodies of flesh and blood.

Easter…

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Sharks in the Water: In the Event of a Failure (on Good Friday)

Sharks in the Water: In the Event of a Failure (on Good Friday)

I come from a pretty competitive family, so it should have been no surprise to find them enjoying the latest season of Shark Tank. Of this show’s many seductions — the edge-of-your-seat deliberations, the outlandish pitches (looking at you, Pinot Meow) — the biggest hook may be the sense of judgment hovering throughout each episode: a trembling entrepreneur stands up and pitches his or her idea before a squad of potential investors — the sharks! — who decide whether or not the business is worth their money.

The show’s producer, Mark Burnett, made an appearance at Unpolished 2015, an entrepreneurship conference described by Mya Frazier in her recent Bloomberg article, “What Would Jesus Disrupt?”…

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When Jesus Gets Crucified and Churches Get Bombed: Take a Seat this Holy Week

When Jesus Gets Crucified and Churches Get Bombed: Take a Seat this Holy Week

As has been well before established, I was not raised with parents who fixated all that much on church. We went every Sunday. But there weren’t a lot of “extras.” We didn’t come back for any Wednesday programming. I honestly cannot remember a potluck supper. And my mother would have straight up told you that anyone who attended worship on Christmas Day needed their head checked.

I don’t blame them. They are self-described “Recovering Southern Baptists,” of the most rural of rural Souths. Their two-services-on-Sunday-supper-on-Wednesday-oh-have-you-accepted-Jesus-Christ-as-your-Lord-and-Savior-because-if-not-hell-awaits-you box was checked years ago. 

But once, maybe by mistake, they took me…

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Viva La Resistance: Personal and Pastoral Resistance to Grace – Paul Zahl

Here is the last talk from our recent conference in Tyler, TX — and what a finale it is!

Viva La Resistance: Personal and Pastoral Resistance to Grace – Paul Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

How to Have (Just) One God – A Conference Breakout Preview

How to Have (Just) One God – A Conference Breakout Preview

Perhaps the most basic piece of information about the Christian faith — so basic that in the West it is more assumed than taught, even to the unchurched — is that there is one God. We don’t have to think much about this. When somebody says they are religious, we assume that they believe in one God and not many. People might ask, “Do you believe in God?” or say, “I don’t believe in God,” but the question, “Which of the gods do you believe in?” would take most of us by surprise.

It isn’t only Christians who speak of one…

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When #adulting Gets Real: A Christian Response to Suffering

When #adulting Gets Real: A Christian Response to Suffering

I’m slightly ashamed to admit that at least once in the past three years, I have used the hashtag #adulting without the least bit of sarcasm. We were on a weekend trip with two other couples to Pittsburgh, where we visited the Warhol museum, ate at a nice restaurant, and drove out to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. It was a totally stereotypical weekend trip for millennials, and we knew it. But #adulting felt fun. We felt “mature.” Yet in reality, we were less “being adults” and more “playing” at some version of what we thought it meant to be…

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Please Help the Cause Against (Middle Age Male) Loneliness

Please Help the Cause Against (Middle Age Male) Loneliness

The plan was to hit some tennis balls before heading to dinner. Take advantage of the beautiful weather, maybe grab a drink al fresco on the way to the restaurant. Sounds awesome, I nodded, and I meant it. They always have a blast together, my wife and her friends.

I didn’t feel left out. Nor did I begrudge putting the kids down on my own. I was glad this was happening. So too, I’d wager, were the other dads involved. But that didn’t mean we’d follow suit. Occasionally we talk about organizing a male-only outing, but nothing has ever materialized. Which,…

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Where Is God Without His Megaphone?

Where Is God Without His Megaphone?

This op-ed was written by Peter Wehner in the Sunday Review of the NYT. In it he talks about those suffering in the wake of “great pain,” not just for the deaths that have stirred their lives, but also for the seeming absence of God in those moments. His description of what Christianity offers–consolation–is so much better–so much realer–than the answers we’re often given (admittedly, also in Christian circles).

I’m no theologian. My professional life has been focused on politics and the ideas that inform politics. Yet I’m also a Christian trying to wrestle honestly with the complexities…

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