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Richard Rohr on Why We Kiss the Cross

Richard Rohr on Why We Kiss the Cross

The “performance principle” is a guiding mythology that, according to Richard Rohr, guides the first half of our religious lives. It is the mythology that suggests we are defined, more or less, by our achievement. It is also a mythology that is rooted in and propelled by fear: the expectation of punishment....
The Love That Will Not Let Us Go

The Love That Will Not Let Us Go

A few weeks ago, there was a shooting in our quiet Houston neighborhood. It was random and terrible. I hurried our kids inside and made them sit in the room that seemed safest. I had to explain to the five-year-old what was happening because he was unwilling to come inside...

David Feherty: The Addict Who Is a “Plaid Jacket at a Funeral”

David Feherty: The Addict Who Is a “Plaid Jacket at a Funeral”

If you watch only “Major” golf on TV like I do, it means that you limit your golf viewing to the four Majors (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA). My favorite day among the majors is coming up Sunday. The final round of the US Open always falls on Father’s...

The Short-Term Memory of God: The Gospel According to Finding Dory

The Short-Term Memory of God: The Gospel According to Finding Dory

Finding Dory–Pixar’s latest box office smash–picks up where Finding Nemo left off, a year after that rebellious little clownfish was found and rescued from the dentist’s tank in Sydney, Australia. Nemo’s friend, Dory, a ‘natural blue’ who suffers from short-term memory loss, isn’t adjusting well to daily life in the Great...

Shaped By What You Love: Scottish Horror Stories, Sexy Sailboats, Soulful Cycles & Lemonade Cleanses

Shaped By What You Love: Scottish Horror Stories, Sexy Sailboats, Soulful Cycles & Lemonade Cleanses

81c5f747f4d7ad8b919c28797fa9ca A hearty thank you to all who helped put on the event last weekend in Orange County, especially Nick Bogardus and the good people at Cross of Christ Church in Costa Mesa. What an amazing and hilarious time. The rundown of...
When You Marry the Wrong Person

When You Marry the Wrong Person

A few months after my wife and I got engaged, an older friend of hers pulled me aside and tried to do me a favor. He told me that if there was anything he wished he could have told his premarital self, it was that, no matter who you marry,...

Unless You’re God, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice

Unless You’re God, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice

This week The New York Times published an op-ed by Adam Grant entitled, “Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice.” Grant highlights what we might call “the law of just being yourself,” the widespread cultural mandate that, when followed correctly, should guarantee both freedom and success.

We are in the...

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The Short-Term Memory of God: The Gospel According to Finding Dory

The Short-Term Memory of God: The Gospel According to Finding Dory

Finding Dory–Pixar’s latest box office smash–picks up where Finding Nemo left off, a year after that rebellious little clownfish was found and rescued from the dentist’s tank in Sydney, Australia. Nemo’s friend, Dory, a ‘natural blue’ who suffers from short-term memory loss, isn’t adjusting well to daily life in the Great Barrier Reef–she repeatedly stings herself swimming into the sea anemone and regularly disrupts Nemo’s class, and although she has found a place to call home, her memory loss continues to affect her and everyone around her, every moment. In some ways, it consumes her identity so completely that it becomes her.

The…

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PZ’s Podcast: What’s Going On

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EPISODE 218

Just how “effective” are collective expressions of grief? Do they work?

Every time I see a vast concourse of people gathered at the site of a massacre, I honestly “feel with” the grief; and yet remain a little skeptical. It’s one thing if you yourself lost someone you love as a result of the crime; or if you know someone that lost someone. It’s another thing if you are grieving by association or in relation to a category or collective identity.

Do you think you’ll be thinking about instances of collective loss that took place in your life, when you are dying? I wonder. I know you’ll be thinking about instances of personal loss that you suffered.

This podcast asks you to consider “exiting from history” (Milan Kundera) in order, well, to really live. Focus on the individual instance — on you, in other words! I cite the novels of Rider Haggard in this connection, who understood as well as almost anyone the persistence of the eternal in the life of the individual. There’s the rub, and there’s why Haggard’s “Zulu” novels are a kind of summit of racial reconciliation in English literature. These novels understand human beings as one, due to shared suffering, shared loss, and the shared aspiration to love and be loved. I wish Haggard were here today to write about Orlando.

Oh, and listen closely, if you can, to Dave Loggins at the end. Loggins said that after he wrote the song — in one night — he realized he hadn’t written it. He didn’t know where it came from, but he knew it didn’t come from him.

Another Week Ends: Poolside ICUs, Distracted Reflections, Simulated Apocalypses, Helicopter Observers, Urban Sombreros & Mrs Christ

Another Week Ends: Poolside ICUs, Distracted Reflections, Simulated Apocalypses, Helicopter Observers, Urban Sombreros & Mrs Christ

Couple of quick announcements before we dive in: This coming Wednesday (6/22) in Stamford, CT, we’re kicking off our summer series of “Religious Hope from the Movies” screenings at the Avon Theater. Very excited about this! The first selection is Whit Stillman’s Barcelona, and my father and I’ll be tag-teaming a short intro before the curtain lifts at 7:30pm. The following day, I’ll be speaking at Christ Church Greenwich (7pm) about Mockingbird and A Mess of Help. Spread the word – would love to see you! Lastly, click here to listen this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an…

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Let Us Now Praise Fathers: On Taking the Patriarch for Granted

Let Us Now Praise Fathers: On Taking the Patriarch for Granted

A few weeks ago one of my girlfriends asked me to pray for her husband. They were getting back some major test results and she was worried he might be critically ill. He wasn’t. Thank God. But what she said on the phone about the possibility stayed with me. She said, “I feel bad for thinking this. But there’s just so many things he does. I don’t know what I would do without him.”

I knew immediately what she meant. I do not know what day the trash goes out. I hate driving anywhere I do not have to. And the…

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Original Sin on the Sussex Coast – John Betjeman

sonoframbowNow on this out of season afternoon
Day schools which cater for the sort of boy
Whose parents go by Pullman once a month
To do a show in town, pour out their young
Into the sharply red October light.
Here where The Drive and Buckhurst Road converge
I watch the rival gangs and am myself
A schoolboy once again in shivering shorts.
I see the dust of sherbet on the chin
Of Andrew Knox well-dress’d, well-born, well-fed,
Even at nine a perfect gentleman,
Willie Buchanan waiting at his side {—}
Another Scot, eruptions on his skin.
I hear Jack Drayton whistling from the fence
Which hides the copper domes of {“} Cooch Behar {“}.
That was the signal. So there’s no escape.
A race for Willow Way and jump the hedge
Behind the Granville Bowling Club? Too late.
They’ll catch me coming out in Seapink Lane.
Across the Garden of Remembrance? No,
That would be blasphemy and bring bad luck.
Well then, I’m for it. Andrew’s at me first,
He pinions me in that especial grip
His brother learned in Kob‰ from a Jap
{(}No chance for me against the Japanese{)}.
Willie arrives and winds me with a punch
Plum in the tummy, grips the other arm.

11-22-63-16{“} You’re to be booted. Hold him steady, chaps! {“}
A wait for taking aim. Oh trees and sky!
Then crack against the column of my spine,
Blackness and breathlessness and sick with pain
I stumble on the asphalt. Off they go
Away, away, thank God, and out of sight
So that I lie quite still and climb to sense
Too out of breath and strength to make a sound.
Now over Polegate vastly sets the sun;
Dark rise the Downs from darker looking elms,
And out of Southern railway trains to tea
Run happy boys down various Station Roads,
Satchels of homework jogging on their backs,
So trivial and so healthy in the shade
Of these enormous Downs. And when they’re home,
When the Post-Toasties mixed with Golden Shred
Make for the kiddies such a scrumptious feast,
Does Mum, the Persil-user, still believe
That there’s no Devil and that youth is bliss?
As certain as the sun behind the Downs
And quite as plain to see, the Devil walks.

Richard Rohr on Why We Kiss the Cross

Richard Rohr on Why We Kiss the Cross

The “performance principle” is a guiding mythology that, according to Richard Rohr, guides the first half of our religious lives. It is the mythology that suggests we are defined, more or less, by our achievement. It is also a mythology that is rooted in and propelled by fear: the expectation of punishment. Our achievements are meant to secure for us a way out of this punishment. In short, we live to prove. I don’t know a better summation of the Law.

What must happen, then, is death. Our first self must die. Thankfully, as Rohr’s meditation illustrates, this is the nature of the cross…

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David Feherty: The Addict Who Is a “Plaid Jacket at a Funeral”

David Feherty: The Addict Who Is a “Plaid Jacket at a Funeral”

If you watch only “Major” golf on TV like I do, it means that you limit your golf viewing to the four Majors (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA). My favorite day among the majors is coming up Sunday. The final round of the US Open always falls on Father’s Day–the perfect license for a full throttle veg-out session on the sofa. I’m not a golfer, but I find the Majors compelling, mostly when I hear the affable Irish commentary of David Feherty. He doesn’t sound like the other (rightfully ridiculed) dime-a-dozen commentators who speak in hush tones lest they…

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Love Imputed: Grace in Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program

Love Imputed: Grace in Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program

This one comes to us from our friend Lindsey Hepler.

At a conference in Philadelphia two weeks ago, I heard Jane Golden, the Founder and Executive Director of the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, speak about her work in the city for the past three decades. Established in 1984 as a city-funded anti-graffiti project under the leadership of Philadelphia’s first black mayor, the organization is now the largest public art program in the U.S, with a collection of over 4,000 murals. Their programs address many of the city’s “intractable problems” through civic engagement, art education, restorative justice, and mental health services….

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From Grace in Practice: “Grace in Everyday Life”

From Grace in Practice: “Grace in Everyday Life”

The following is an excerpt from pages 73-76 of Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life by Paul F. M. Zahl. Soak it up!

Grace has the power of the mallet. Every other prong and heavy-lifting device that seeks to change people is an expression of law and accomplishes the opposite of what it intends. People fear that grace will give permission to be bad. This is the classic fear: that grace will issue in a license–“007”–to do whatever you want, without consequences.

Yet that never happens! In fact, the opposite happens. When you treat people gracefully, they always end up…

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Shaped By What You Love: Scottish Horror Stories, Sexy Sailboats, Soulful Cycles & Lemonade Cleanses

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A hearty thank you to all who helped put on the event last weekend in Orange County, especially Nick Bogardus and the good people at Cross of Christ Church in Costa Mesa. What an amazing and hilarious time. The rundown of the evening was:

  • An Introduction from Nick Bogardus
  • Mike Cosper telling Stories of Scottish Corpses
  • Jeff Mallinson Surfing the Tao (on a Sexy Sailboat)
  • Yours truly on Foodie Cults and Fitness Fads

Here’s a taste, pun intended:

The audio files can be downloaded via the Recordings page and we’ll have the other videos for you on Friday.

The Love That Will Not Let Us Go

The Love That Will Not Let Us Go

A few weeks ago, there was a shooting in our quiet Houston neighborhood. It was random and terrible. I hurried our kids inside and made them sit in the room that seemed safest. I had to explain to the five-year-old what was happening because he was unwilling to come inside just because I had told him to. So I blurted out, “There is a man outside with a gun. And he is shooting people.”

Thus began several hours of questions about who and why the bad guys exist. Our son kept asking me, “Why is this happening? Why haven’t they caught…

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From the Archives: Don’t Look Now But Your Soul Toupee Is Showing

From the Archives: Don’t Look Now But Your Soul Toupee Is Showing

Ah, the difference between who we’d like to be and who we actually are. Such a perennial theme these days (and source of anxiety), what with the advent of social media and its carefully constructed/curated presentations of self. The discrepancy between the real and the ideal has become so prevalent a part of our everyday lives, in fact, that it may be worth reminding ourselves just how much this phenomenon pre-dates the Internet.

Take for instance the following passage from Mbird fave Tim Kreider’s masterful essay, “The Czar’s Daughter”, collected in We Learn Nothing. The essay is a rumination on, and…

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