In her hilarious first novel, Amends, released this past August, Eve Tushnet brings together a lively troupe of totally unhinged characters to participate in a reality TV show about addiction. The novel’s “talent” (the cast) lugs around dark histories and fears and sins, but their instability makes them not only interesting but...
Don’t miss this seventh installment of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, you can find them here. New installments will be posted every two weeks, on Tuesdays.
We’re searching for a collectively applicable definition of greed and, to help us do so, we’re investigating nine commonly cited concepts associated with the condition.
Last time we looked at relativity and learned that economically we compare ourselves to people just ahead of us in wealth and, comforting for our consciences, somebody always has more than we do, allowing us…
This one comes to us from Scott Larousse.
Last spring I was sitting in on a seminar on marriage at a prominent California university. The professor put forth a hypothetical about whether the state should recognize an intimate relationship based on a shared love of muscle-cars (rather than sex). Like a sort of intimate muscle-car form of romance. Although the bulk of students would’ve likely described themselves as liberal, it seemed like the hypothetical stretched them some. The appreciation in the room was palpable, like when you’ve been looking at a rabbit for several seconds but finally, you see the duck.
Today’s entry in The Mockingbird Devotional comes to us from Dylan Potter:
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7, NIV)
The topic of Romans 14:1-15:13 is love and Christian liberty. Those who are “strong,” Paul says, tend to look down upon the “weak,” and their attitude is counterproductive to genuine Christian community. It’s certainly no less tempting now to gauge others: in the work place or in church Bible studies, the everyday appraisals are everywhere. In the previous chapter, Paul reminds the church in Rome not to allow their familiarity with grace to become a “stumbling block” to other believers— I shudder to think that he is writing about me.
Acceptance is a word we value in principle, but we’d rather not act on it. Acceptance simply goes too far for our tastes: we talk about “tolerance” or “hospitality,” but to think of acceptance in terms of Christ’s self-emptying kind of acceptance is veritably repulsive. At every corner we are inclined to say we have earned our stripes, that we have merited the privileges we so quickly withhold from those around us. A pastor once told me we only invite presumption and promote despair when we impose metrics upon others. He is correct because the word “accept” in 15:7 seems as if God is asking me to accept others as I’ve been accepted, and that acceptance isn’t one of my character traits.
The New Testament records numerous accounts when the early believers stumbled over this very same stone: Jew and Greek, male and female, slave and free. In fact this section is essentially Paul’s call for the Jewish believers in Rome to accept their Gentile counterparts, not as interlopers, but as brothers and sisters. The curious thing is that there is something about accepting the other that brings praise to God, perhaps because it best summarizes the condescension of Christ—to accept the other in Christ is to tell another person that we are just as shocked that God would welcome us. To view ourselves as Gentiles—this is still our stumbling stone! But most importantly, who knew that his resurrection was itself the confirmation that we are accepted by the Father every bit as much as he is accepted?
Another Week Ends: Processing Pope Francis, Kelly On My Mind, Writhing Babies, and Resurrection on a Soap Opera
1. This week, The New York Times ran an article all about forgiveness: “Forgive me for stating the obvious, but forgiveness is in the air these days. Every week, our newsfeeds fill with someone or other asking for forgiveness.” Everyone from the Pope to Hulk Hogan (to Mockingbird!) is talking about forgiveness. I’d like to think that the Holy Spirit is the reason for this, but maybe, as the article suggests, it’s just the vanity of man:
Are these public figures modeling the type of forgiveness we all should adopt? Frederic Luskin, a psychologist and the…
From Prayers of Life. This section sounds like a modern mixture of Jesus calming the storm (Mt 8) and the psalmist’s cry in the night (Ps 6). Quoist then gives us God’s response.
I’m at the end of my rope, Lord.
I am shattered.
I am broken.
Since this morning I have been struggling to escape temptation, which, now wary, now persuasive, now tender, now sensuous, dances before me like a seductive girl at a fair.
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know where to go.
It spies on me, follows me, engulfs me.
When I leave a room I find it seated and waiting for…
In her hilarious first novel, Amends, released this past August, Eve Tushnet brings together a lively troupe of totally unhinged characters to participate in a reality TV show about addiction. The novel’s “talent” (the cast) lugs around dark histories and fears and sins, but their instability makes them not only interesting but also completely approachable. Reading about screw-ups is always healthy: you’ll be reminded of the refreshing axiom that ‘no one is perfect,’ or at least that you aren’t as messed up as these guys, thank God. Featuring a wolf-girl, a confessional with a camera, some dangerously hard apologies, and any number of avant-garde sexualities, this…
To make sure that (amazing) Gold Connections song gets turned into an album, click here.
This week, Sherry Turkle picked up where she left off in her NYT article a few years ago, “The Flight from Conversation.” This time, Turkle, who has a new book out, is talking about the lack of conversation skills in today’s young people, but more importantly, how their lack of face-to-face interaction has deeper consequences for learning the lessons of empathy.
It’s almost yawn-worthy to hear yet one more scare-piece about the waning of human attention, or the prospect of a monstrous grown-up millennial generation, but it continues to be on our radars. As we discuss in the upcoming Technology Issue, we simply do not have the…
However much attention it once received, “Pascal’s Wager” doesn’t seem to get much traction in today’s God debate/discourse. I’m referring to the idea put forth by the 18th century Jansenist sage Blaise Pascal that belief in God is a good “bet”–there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain from taking the leap of faith. In other words, the real question is not why a person should believe in God so much as why not. I can only presume the argument was more captivating in a pre-digital age than it is now.
If I were to theorize about the reasons for the…
Not that I’m a 300-pound drunk biker guy covered with tattoos ode to my mother, but my favorite thing to yell at any live show is “FREEBIRD!!” I know, I’m like the cliché bar-scene from every movie you’ve ever seen.
But seriously, no matter the cliché, I love this song. It makes me feel…free. Like stop-shaving-wave-a-lighter-in-the-air free.
Freedom is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I wish I could say it’s because of the refugees pouring into Europe right now, fleeing the brutal tyranny in their home countries. Or because I’ve been so deeply inspired by the Pope’s visit to…
Did you cry at any point as you watched Pope Francis in action during his visit? If you did, when was it? What made you cry?
Now it wasn’t just John Boehner! I noticed as I watched the Pope inter-acting with individuals, and especially with individuals in acute need or distress, that it was those encounters that touched me personally. (I was abreacting all over the place.)
I don’t have spina bifida. I’m not in a wheelchair. I’m not six years old, nor…