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Hated For Loving: The World According to Morrissey

Hated For Loving: The World According to Morrissey

There was a a lot of music that sustained and soundtracked my recent sabbatical, but none more effervescent than that of the man in question. Which seems fortuitous, as his is a particularly comforting voice at moments when the veil is pulled back on the human condition, as it was here last week. What follows is a slightly revised version of the Moz chapter in A Mess of Help, a personal favorite which I was pleasantly surprised had never found its way onto the site (in its entirety). In that spirit, if you have five seconds to spare…:

You cannot write…

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After God’s Own Heart: Life, Death, and the Gospel in the Story of King David ~ Nick Lannon

In this wonderful talk from our recent conference in NYC, Nick Lannon helps us understand the story of King David in relation to our everyday lives.

After God’s Own Heart: Life, Death, and the Gospel in the Story of King David ~ Nick Lannon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

The Alt-Right Are Zombies. Stay with Me.

The Alt-Right Are Zombies. Stay with Me.

Think about it. They are wandering the streets. They want to destroy those who are not like them. They are screaming for blood. And they are obviously terrifying.

Christians have put out responses all over the map on this one. Tina Fey (a churchgoing Lutheran) has suggested we yell our anger into sheet cakes. Many of my colleagues have taken to the streets to show great love in the face of hate. Also, word on the street is that Beth Moore is pissed at these guys, too.

Believers are rightly upset. Racism is undeniably a sin. And apparently the alt-right missed the…

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Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Five Verses Twenty-Two Through Twenty-Seven

Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Five Verses Twenty-Two Through Twenty-Seven

This morning’s devotion was written by John Zahl. 

The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice…

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The Janus Face of Lofty Humanism (According to Charles Taylor)

Taken from page 687 of A Secular Age:

In replacing the low and demeaning picture of human beings as depraved, inveterate sinners, in articulating the potential of human beings for goodness and greatness, humanism has not only given us the courage to act for reform, but also explains why this philanthropic action is so immensely worthwhile. The higher the human potential, the greater the enterprise of realizing it, and the more the carriers of this potential are worthy of our help in achieving it.

But philanthropy and solidarity driven by a lofty humanism, just as that which was driven often by high religious ideals, has a Janus face. On one side, in the abstract, one is inspired to act. But on the other, faced with the immense disappointments of actual human performance, with the myriad ways in which real, concrete human beings fall short of, ignore, parody and betray this magnificent potential, one cannot but experience a growing sense of anger and futility. Are these people really worthy objects of all these efforts? Perhaps in face of all this stupid recalcitrance, it would not be a betrayal of human worth, or one’s self-worth, if one abandoned them. Or perhaps the best that can be done for them is to force them to shape up.

Before the reality of human shortcomings, philanthropy–the love of the human–can gradually come to be invested with contempt, hatred, aggression. The action is broken off, or worse, continues, but informed now with these new feelings, and becomes progressively more coercive and inhumane…

The tragic irony is that the higher the sense of potential, the more grievously real people fall short, and the more severe the turn-around will be which is inspired by the disappointment. A lofty humanism posits high standards of self-worth, and a magnificent goal to strive towards. It inspires enterprises of great moment. But by this very token it encourages force, despotism, tutelage, ultimately contempt, and a certain ruthlessness in shaping refractory human material. Oddly enough, the same horrors which Enlightenment critique picked up in societies and institutions dominated by religion.

…Wherever action for high ideals is not tempered, controlled, ultimately engulfed in an unconditional love of the beneficiaries, this ugly dialectic risks repeating itself.

Jesus Comes Aboard the Ship of Fools: A Sermon for Charlottesville

Jesus Comes Aboard the Ship of Fools: A Sermon for Charlottesville

The following incredibly powerful and comforting sermon was delivered yesterday by Paul Walker, Rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville (next door to the rallies from this past weekend).

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the…

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Top Hat Meets Obelisk

Top Hat Meets Obelisk

A great one from Richard Mammana.

For about a century, proud and dead Americans imagined themselves to be Egyptians. Throwing away the simple, hopeful crosses of common grave-marking, and setting aside the robust traditions of soaring angels and death’s heads of Puritan or German decoration, we erected obelisks in our own memory. It doesn’t seem to have ever extended to mummification and canopic jars, but it was a fad of fads that grew up following the Napoleonic spoliation of Egypt—and the sudden appearance of Cleopatra’s needles in Paris, Rome, London, and New York. It ended as abruptly as it began. But…

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The God of Order and the God of Cabbage Hill

The God of Order and the God of Cabbage Hill

Most Sundays you can find me in the pulpit of an imposing brick church on the western edge of downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania. One-way streets join in odd angles and strange numbers before its disused front doors; Cabbage Hill at once rises and descends behind it into a labyrinth of narrow alleys, overhead power lines, and crumbling Edwardian row houses. Not a hundred feet out of sight is our parking lot, one of very few in that corner of the city, but woe to the one who seeks it without aid of GPS. I have on occasion suggested a sign for…

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The Gospel as the Dynamite of Salvation and Vocation as the Scaffolding of the Christian Life: 500 Years of Salvation ~ Scott Keith

This video from our recent conference in NYC features the executive director of 1517 the Legacy Project, Scott Keith:

The Gospel as the Dynamite of Salvation and Vocation as the Scaffolding of the Christian Life: 500 Years of Salvation ~ Scott Keith from Mockingbird on Vimeo

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Eight Verse Thirty-One Through Chapter Nine Verse One

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Eight Verse Thirty-One Through Chapter Nine Verse One

This morning’s devotion was written by Sam Bush.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” (Mark 8:31-9:1, NRSV)

I was in the store the other day and…

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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, grandfather, most of my great-uncles, as well as my father and his siblings all helped take care of the cemetery at some point in their lives. One of my first summer jobs was helping my great uncle mow around the gravestones. The cemetery wasn’t a scary place to…

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The Essential Shift: Moving from Orphan to Beloved Son

A terrific talk from the 2017 Coming Back Stronger Conference in Birmingham, AL. Tray Lovvorn, one of the hosts of Undone Redone, talks about the different ways we understand our relationship to God: