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Theology

Kid Kierkegaard Chose…Poorly

Kid Kierkegaard Chose…Poorly

“Here I stand…not at a crossroads—no, but at a multitude of roads, and therefore it is all the harder to choose the right one.”
—Kierkegaard, in a letter to P.W. Lund, 1835

When I first read the above line by Christianity’s favorite philosopher, I thought, well, of course he faced a deluge of indecision in his white-haired smoky-armchaired nineteenth-century affluence—tea or coffee today? Hegel or Kant? Reading or writing? But it became more endearing, for me, when I realized that he was writing as a twenty-two-year-old and that I’d had the same exchange of words with a close friend the day before. Oh,…

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Flying by the Authority of Another

Flying by the Authority of Another

Chris Hoke’s memoir, Wanted, describes what it’s like to be a minister “through jail, among outlaws, and across borders.” This comes at the end of a chapter called “Birds of the Air,” which tells the story of Arnulfo and Magdaleno, two illegal migrants who are working in the camps where Hoke has been ministering. Hoke tells us that many migrant families move south as the weather cools, staying together, but Arnulfo and Magdaleno stay put in the Skagit Valley of Washington state.

Hoke learns they have no family. As everyone else in the migrant camps leaves for the season, he becomes…

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The Devil’s Whore

The Devil’s Whore

This post comes to us from our friend Laurel Marr.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!

(The Church’s One Foundation, v. 3)

Can the right amount of faith remove the suffering and sickness that interferes with our daily lives and our ability to faithfully serve our neighbor?  Francis MacNutt, a pioneer and a well-respected expert in the revival of the “ministry of healing,” suggests in his book Healing that by exercising faith, we can work…

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From the Archives: Modern Origins of Anxiety – Scientific Christianity and Epistemic Optimism

From the Archives: Modern Origins of Anxiety – Scientific Christianity and Epistemic Optimism

The question of what causes anxiety is one to which we’ve given an embarrassing amount of attention, especially within the context of Christianity. The Onion was good to remind us that “Anxiety [Isn’t] Resolved By Thinking About It Really Hard”, but the relationship between religion and anxiety is a fascinating and potent one; i.e., the decline of religion and rise of anxiety may not be completely independent phenomena… but by “decline of religion” we don’t just mean secularization, but also certain shifts within religion itself. As a Church called to look for the plank in our own eyes, I think our complicity in the rise of anxiety is as…

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Reading Gilead and the Tyranny of Should

Reading Gilead and the Tyranny of Should

This one comes to us from our friend Connor Gwin.

I have started reading Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead five times. I know, I know; I really should read it. Everyone says it is so profound and wonderful and moving. It won the Pulitzer for God’s sake.

And I haven’t finished it yet.

I bought the audiobook so that I could easily listen in my car but I haven’t made it past the first few chapters. Perhaps it is the narrator’s voice.

I know I should read it because my well-read friends have read it. I know I should read it because I want to be…

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Flipping Rest into Work, Grace into Law

Flipping Rest into Work, Grace into Law

This post comes to us from Samuel Son.

Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. – Mark 3:1-2 (New Living Translation)

No story gets me more steamed than this one of the Pharisees salivating because Jesus is about to heal a man on the Sabbath; it gives them the ammunition to finally “nail” Jesus with a Sabbath infraction, a serious charge. Jesus knows they are springing…

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The Law of “Needless Words”

The Law of “Needless Words”

Here’s another great one from Larry Parsley. 

For years I have referred to this well-worn paperback not by its title (“The Elements of Style”) but by the authors’ last names — “Strunk and White.” E.B. White (of New Yorker and children’s lit fame) was a college student at Cornell under English professor William Strunk Jr. White studied his professor’s self published volume, referred to by Strunk as “the little book.” It was, in White’s words, “a forty-three-page summation of the case for cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English.” In 1957, White (who had published “Charlotte’s Web” five years…

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LiquidLibrary

Major Expectations and Higher Ed Helicopter Parenting

A doozie of a note from The Washington Post earlier this month, one raised that raised the collective blood pressure of Academic Twitter and Parent Twitter at the same time. It is the time of year, after all, when college students are either validated or terrified by their choice of major. As infamous weed-out professors once again earn their tough reputations, it turns out that this year’s crop of freshmen are, more than ever, forced into their major by their parents. George Mason professor Steven Pearlstein writes:

“I have heard from many different colleges that there is now a considerable — and disturbing…

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The Spiritual Life of a Justified Sinner, Pt 2 – Ted Peters

Here’s the magnificent second part of Ted Peters’ presentation from our New York Conference last April. Find Part 1 here! 

Sin Boldly! The Spiritual Life of a Justified Sinner, Pt 2 – Ted Peters from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Parents in the Hands of an Angry God

Parents in the Hands of an Angry God

As I type, my fourteen month-old son is downstairs alone. He is still alive — this is attested by the sound of plastic stacking cups banging together, alongside the odd mutterings and outbursts of a being whose vocabulary includes kitty, Bernie (an instance of kitty), Walter (idem), dada, uh-oh, and duck, but not mama. Mama spends more time with him than I do, of course, but at the moment both of us have things to do that don’t include young John. This is fairly often the case. Our son is neither attention-starved nor dangerously neglected, yet neither parent can quite escape…

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Climbing Ladders with Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-26)

Climbing Ladders with Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-26)

The following is an excerpt from Eden and Afterward: A Mockingbird Guide to Genesis, available on Mockingbird and Amazon. The chapter below focuses on the story of Cain and Abel.

Here we follow the second generation of humanity, and we continue to see the effects of the Fall radiating outward. The first result of the Fall, in human relationships, was covering up and the second blame-shifting; the third will be murder. Cain’s competition with Abel follows so closely upon the Fall, and his crime is so closely linked with earning God’s favor, that a vital connection point with the later stories…

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The Justification Of Faith

The Justification Of Faith

I recently had a conversation on the Mockingcast with evangelist-turned-humanist-chaplain Bart Campolo. Those who’ve listened know it was a provocative exchange, yet one that was really stimulating for me. To follow up, I thought I’d write a few posts on the nature of Christian faith in the modern world. These are not meant as a rejoinder or refutation of anything Bart (who I count as a friend) said, per se. They are just thoughts that don’t quite fit with my role as interviewer and are probably too long and dense (and maybe boring?) for the roundtable segment of our podcast. 

Before…

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