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PZ's Podcast: Sanctification (Is Making Me Late)

PZ’s Podcast: Sanctification (Is Making Me Late)

EPISODE 249

Ellis Brazeal recently pointed out a clear-and-present fact about what we call “sanctification”. Ellis observed that the moment we begin to think we have it, or have made it, it is completely nullified. In other words, the only actual sanctification at which one ever arrives is un-self-conscious.

Another way of putting this would be to say that no amount of or “espece de” virtue-signalling will ever cut it. The moment you draw attention to your “growth” or “discipleship”, at that exact moment it gets disqualified as evidence of moral improvement. The only material sanctification is, to the evincer of it,…

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Let Not Conscience Make You Linger: H.F. Kohlbrugge’s Comma – Tim Blackmon

What does Snoop Dogg have in common with the Netherlands’ best little-known theologian? Find out here, in this wonderful talk from our recent conference in NYC, featuring guest speaker Tim Blackmon.

Let Not Conscience Make You Linger: H.F. Kohlbrugge’s Comma – Tim Blackmon from Mockingbird on Vimeo

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

This is a follow-up to a recent piece titled The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)—offering the other side of the coin.

Paul wasn’t much of a storyteller. For him, the advent of Christ was principally a revelation of something unforeseen at a human level. It was an invasion of liberation into an enslaved cosmos ruled by the powers of sin and death. This controlling metaphor of revelation colors his thought such that Scripture itself becomes not antecedent, horizontal events that set into motion a story, but prophetic testimony of God’s unconditioned, vertical intervention into the world.

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We Are All Sad Ben Affleck on a Beach with a Back Tattoo

We Are All Sad Ben Affleck on a Beach with a Back Tattoo

When I first clicked through to the New Yorker piece, “The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck,” I’ll admit that it felt a little bit like seeing the sad ex-boyfriend of a close friend. The momentary thrill of schadenfreude: “you’ve done her wrong, and look at how that worked out for you.” Ben Affleck is not looking so great these days, and I feel a pang of satisfaction on behalf of his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner.

To be clear, Jennifer Garner is not my close friend, but she feels like a girlfriend to so many of us who came of age in the…

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LeBron, Rest, and Execution, and Will

LeBron, Rest, and Execution, and Will

I ran into a fascinating juxtaposition in a fascinating (for a difference reason) article recently. The article in question, an ESPN piece by Brian Windhorst, is about LeBron James “perfecting the art of resting while playing.” If that sounds counter-intuitive, it probably should. We’re used to thinking of athletes “giving 100%” (if not more; there’s always that mythical “110%” that people are always claiming to reach) while they’re on the court, field, pitch, or whatever. Then, they come out of the game and rest until they’re ready to go back in and give it 100% again. Of course, in sports…

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The First Chapter of Bed and Board by Robert Farrar Capon - New Edition Available Now!

The First Chapter of Bed and Board by Robert Farrar Capon – New Edition Available Now!

And now we present an excerpt from the most recent addition to our Robert Farrar Capon series, his greatly esteemed work Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage. An essential book for any Capon-lover, this was Robert’s first bestseller, and you’ll see why in this introductory chapter, reproduced below.

“Bed and Board is necessary and offensive in the best possible way.” – Sarah Condon

“…sage wisdom, biting humor, uncomfortable truths…never a page that must be forgiven for pedantic, sawdusty prose.” – Chad Bird

I.

ABSURDITY

The author celebrates the Holy Estate of Matrimony, professes disillusionment with the usual advices about it, and gives…

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Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

Spoilers ahead.

Consider yourself warned.

For ten years now Marvel has been patiently building a universe, populating it with heroes and heroines equal parts human and super-powered, propelling all of them towards a titanomachy we imagined they could be prepared for but in reality are largely powerless against.

Avengers: Infinity War offers our protagonists (and, sympathetically, the audience) various electives of sacrifice—not to elect between sacrificing and not-sacrificing, but to opt for one of the alternatives in a series of cruel binary determinations. Infinity War requires the surrendering of one or another of our heroes’ convictions to perhaps save the universe, but holds…

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Moses and the Millennials: Looking to a Second Millennium Man for a Millennial Question

Moses and the Millennials: Looking to a Second Millennium Man for a Millennial Question

This one was written by Abigail Russell.

Identity has been a buzzword in the Christian milieu for a few years now. We flock to personality tests and identity paradigms like MBTI and the Enneagram because having a title, a description, anything we can claim as ours pulls us in like an addiction. We take the tests over and over again wanting proof that we’ve changed and grown but also longing for consistency. We find our “type,” and it becomes like a friendly shadow following closely behind; it becomes the murky, undefined evidence that we exist. But despite all these identity handles,…

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40 Years in the Wilderness: God's Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) - Part 3

40 Years in the Wilderness: God’s Search for Bruce Cockburn (in 27 Songs) – Part 3

This is the third and final installment in a series on the music and spirituality of Bruce Cockburn. You can read Part One here, and Part Two here.

Act III: Uncertainty and Spiritual Drift (1987-1999)

In my mind, the first two “Acts” in this narrative arc of Cockburn’s career represent two different forms of certainty or assurance—the first, an assurance of religion, and the second of politics. Such assurance comes not merely from a certainty of beliefs, but from a certainty of purpose, a certainty in the core meaning that drives a person, which is as much felt as thought. And that certainty…

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Existential Angst, Just in Time for Mother's Day

Existential Angst, Just in Time for Mother’s Day

I almost didn’t have children.

I can hardly say that sentence aloud now, now that I am a mother, without choking on the words.

I almost chose not to have children.

I did not want the world to have more of me in it.

When I say that aloud now, people laugh, as though I’m joking. I’m not joking. And I wasn’t joking then, or being unnecessarily self-deprecating. I did not want the world to have more of me in it, and I did not want to put another person through the experience of being me. One of me seemed like plenty.

The luxury of…

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The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)

The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)

The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world are not all they’re cracked up to be. However much we want to believe we live a coherent narrative, where the endless succession of events of life have clear meaning, the stories we tell are invariably based upon the (mistaken) premise that we have a grasp, or understanding, of how it is the world works and what the best outcome should be for the narrative of our lives. Yet there is an almost indescribable gap between the logic that shapes our choices and their ultimate outcomes, one that…

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Announcing Bed & Board: Plain Talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon!

It is a privilege to announce the latest installment in our Robert Farrar Capon series… Bed & Board: Plain Talk About Marriage.

This little book was Robert’s first best-seller, originally published in 1965. Now re-released for the first time, Bed & Board is Father Capon’s enduring, rambunctious counsel on marriage and family life—woven through with the message of grace that never changes, no matter the decade.

From inside:

“This book is not about those giants who tower over you: Psychology, Education, Maturity, Sexual Adjustment—not even Religion. They can take care of themselves. This is about you—that is, about me (for we are all unique, and practically identical). This is, to be honest, not a book at all. It is only a monologue, and not an entirely sober one at that. It is one peasant swapping stories with another in the cold backyard of the House of Important Subjects, while the grand seigneurs hold their solemn consultations within. The author’s qualifications therefore almost cease to matter. Indeed, he has arranged things so that only one is really necessary: He must be an expert in absurdity. And that is the only qualification that will be offered. An absurd Baedeker for an absurd journey; no apologies, no explanations…”

You can order Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage, by Robert Farrar Capon here!

You can also find Mockingbird editions of Robert’s other books here: The Man Who Met God in a Bar, and More Theology & Less Heavy Cream.