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Good Poems for Hard Times: A Love Letter to Garrison Keillor

Good Poems for Hard Times: A Love Letter to Garrison Keillor

In a preaching class in seminary we were all told to go around the room and tell everyone our name, where we were from, and who our favorite preacher was. While I knew it probably wasn’t the right answer, the truest answer for me was that my favorite preacher was,...

In a World of Suffering, the “And Yet”

In a World of Suffering, the “And Yet”

Well, Modern Love’s Daniel Jones is certainly not on vacation. This past Friday’s installment of our favorite relationships column was a heat-seeking missile into the dark depths of marital skepticism. Surprisingly, though, the article does not object to marital skepticism–it normalizes it. Ada Calhoun writes about her own 10+ years of marriage and the difficulties...

2015 Kanuga Renewal Conference: Rest

2015 Kanuga Renewal Conference: Rest

An enormous thanks to all those who make last week’s Renewal Conference at Kanuga happen. It was such a joy and privilege to be asked to provide the content, and spend a week with such a wonderful group of people (in such a beautiful place). Best of all, the time...

Why Harper Lee Is a Prophet

Why Harper Lee Is a Prophet

The overall response to Harper Lee’s newly published novel of sketchy origins, Go Set a Watchman, has been nothing short of hysterical. This review contains spoilers, but if you’ve Googled Watchman at all in the past week, then there’s really nothing left for me to spoil: Atticus is a racist,...

Anxious About Grace: Some Thoughts on Max Weber

Anxious About Grace: Some Thoughts on Max Weber

Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) has been immensely influential, with the “Weber thesis” being one of the most well-known Interesting Ideas around.  The idea, basically, is that Protestantism, especially in Calvinist and Wesleyan and Baptist and ‘Pietistic’ forms, has been a major contributor to...

The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow in Tomorrowland:  Disney Does Eschatology

The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow in Tomorrowland: Disney Does Eschatology

The futuristic city of Tomorrowland in the film Tomorrowland rises from the amber waves of a vast field of ripened grain, gleaming in the sunlight like, well, like the New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:2). But this is the City of Man, or at least...

Nerd Alert! The Curious Rehabilitation of Geeks

Nerd Alert! The Curious Rehabilitation of Geeks

Of all the reversals we’ve seen take place in our culture of late, one of the most unexpected has to be what’s happened with “nerds”. If you had told me in 1988 that the group of oddballs who sold me and my friends our comic books every Saturday would come...

From the Forgiveness Issue: A Q&A with Philip Yancey

From the Forgiveness Issue: A Q&A with Philip Yancey

For this fifth issue of the magazine, we had the privilege of talking to author and journalist Philip Yancey about the message of grace in today’s churches. We also got a chance to re-print a small sample of his most recent book Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?.

To...

CAST AWAY, US 2000 TOM HANKS CASTAWAY US 2000 TOM HANKS Date 2000, Photo by: Mary Evans/C20TH FOX / DREAMWORKS/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection(10305969)

Law & Gospel: News from Across the Sea

The following is excerpted from Mockingbird’s newest resource, Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints), which is available here. This comes from the beginning of the Gospel section:

‘News’ expresses something different from ‘knowledge.’ We live in a time of unprecedented knowledge: a day’s worth of new data now...

Latest entries

Another Week Ends: Soren Love, Bad Sleep, Mindful Corporations, Pocket Knives, Captive Mothers and Mountain Goats

Another Week Ends: Soren Love, Bad Sleep, Mindful Corporations, Pocket Knives, Captive Mothers and Mountain Goats

1. In a sea of inter-religious conflict and division, how beautiful it is to catch a glimpse of the opposite. Apparently a group of Muslims has raised close to $100K to help rebuild the black churches that were burned in the recent rash of arson. Amen to that, ht BB.

2. “I Still Love Kierkegaard” is the title of a wonderful article by Julian Baggini that appeared on Aeon. Favorite sections are the ones dealing with Soren’s Christianity:

What Kierkegaard showed was that the only serious alternative to atheism or agnosticism was not what generally passes for religion but a much deeper…

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Nerd Alert! The Curious Rehabilitation of Geeks

Nerd Alert! The Curious Rehabilitation of Geeks

Of all the reversals we’ve seen take place in our culture of late, one of the most unexpected has to be what’s happened with “nerds”. If you had told me in 1988 that the group of oddballs who sold me and my friends our comic books every Saturday would come to dominate the mainstream, part of me would’ve wanted to believe you, but wouldn’t have.

Back then, “nerd” was a label to be avoided not embraced. It wasn’t a synonym for shy or misunderstood or even studious as it is today (though those traits often fell under its umbrella). Nor was…

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Good Poems for Hard Times: A Love Letter to Garrison Keillor

Good Poems for Hard Times: A Love Letter to Garrison Keillor

In a preaching class in seminary we were all told to go around the room and tell everyone our name, where we were from, and who our favorite preacher was. While I knew it probably wasn’t the right answer, the truest answer for me was that my favorite preacher was, and still is, the magnificent Garrison Keillor.

To say that I loved Garrison Keillor with all my heart would be an understatement. I grew up on Public Radio in Mississippi. Which means that as a child I heard loads of classical music and Morning Edition. And while this was likely good…

Read More > > >

The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow in Tomorrowland:  Disney Does Eschatology

The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow in Tomorrowland: Disney Does Eschatology

The futuristic city of Tomorrowland in the film Tomorrowland rises from the amber waves of a vast field of ripened grain, gleaming in the sunlight like, well, like the New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:2). But this is the City of Man, or at least a possible city of humanity’s possible future as envisioned by writer-director Brad Bird. Bird’s vision is part utopian, part anti-dystopian diatribe, part pop eschatology, all wrapped up in a paradoxical package of American populist optimism mixed with elitist progressivism. With a little Steam Punk thrown in for good measure.

The city…

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Joy Williams on One Way Love

The Civil Wars’ Joy Williams released a new album, Venus, a few weeks ago, and it’s worth a listen. In particular, the song “You Loved Me” offers a penetratingly beautiful analysis of both the human condition and grace:

I thought you wouldn’t love me if I didn’t do everything right,
So I lied to tell the truth and hid myself most of all from you;
Good was never perfect, perfect never could be good enough for me.

But I tried, and I failed,
And you loved me.
Oh, I tried, and I failed,
And you loved me.

I had all the answers; that was easier than facing the dark,
And I sold my story until the story started falling apart.
Every secret spoken, out there in the open; I’ve pretended not to see.

And I tried, and I failed;
And you loved me.
And I tried, and I failed;
And you loved me.

From the Forgiveness Issue: A Q&A with Philip Yancey

From the Forgiveness Issue: A Q&A with Philip Yancey

For this fifth issue of the magazine, we had the privilege of talking to author and journalist Philip Yancey about the message of grace in today’s churches. We also got a chance to re-print a small sample of his most recent book Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?.

To order a copy of The Forgiveness Issue, look no further than here. There’s more where this comes from. 

In May of 2015, the Pew Research Center released its latest findings on the “changing religious landscape” of the United States. According to the survey, 70% of Americans identified as Christian in 2014,…

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A Tale of Two Podcasts

A Tale of Two Podcasts

I recently went back to work (does one day a week count as going back? I say YES!) and, with a thirty-minute-minimum commute each way, wondered how to make the most of my hour spent in the car. I wanted to use the time effectively–productively, even–because, as a parent of young kids, I look at blocks of alone time much like Gollum looks at the ring.

After completing and singing the praises of Serial, I searched for another podcast that could fill my commute and leave me more informed than when I ambivalently climbed into the car that morning, tears both blurring and…

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David Brooks Goes to the Basement

David Brooks Goes to the Basement

A buzzword like “character” could mean just about anything you want it to mean. Like a lot of reclaimed, lofty words from Ancient Greece or Rome — virtue, beauty, culture — character has picked up a lot of fuzz along the way, enough to become a proverbial lightning rod for just about any self-help guru and pop academic and thought-leader under the sun. Which is why David Brooks’ newest title, The Road to Character, did not exactly grab me like the earlier Bobos in Paradise. It sounded too much like the kind of book a dad pushes on an eighteen-year-old graduate. Or an HR executive plants in her office giftbags.

But Brooks is…

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Everyone Else’s Biggest Problem, Pt 1: An Introduction

Everyone Else’s Biggest Problem, Pt 1: An Introduction

Very excited to kick off a series of posts from Ted Scofield, author of the novel Eat What You Kill (soon to be a major motion picture from the acclaimed producer of Wall Street, American Psycho and many other films). Ted was a featured speaker at our 2015 Spring Conference in New York City, which is also where he and his wife, artist Christi Scofield, reside. Here comes the introduction:

“Slam Dunk”

I thought I had a slam dunk. No, I knew I had a slam dunk, and I told my editor so.

Two consistent data sets, with tantalizingly disconnected conclusions and implications….

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Why Richard Rodriguez and I Keep Taking Our “Inner Atheists” to Church

Why Richard Rodriguez and I Keep Taking Our “Inner Atheists” to Church

Maybe novelty is the currency of the blogosphere—but then again, maybe not. Sometimes the brightest-shining gems come out of an old closet at your grandparents’ house (or in this case, an old box of $1 books at a library sale).

It may be old (we’re talking last decade—you know, back when Pluto was a planet and “the Facebook” still had an article in front of it), but Richard Rodriguez’s essay “Atheism Is Wasted On the Nonbeliever” deserves to be talked about. Especially by those who claim to believe in something. Or are claimed by something to believe in, of whom I…

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PZ’s Podcast: PZ’s Fabulous New Dating Tips for Gals

EPISODE 190

This is a word to your future self. I’m not sure you can hear it now. But in five or ten years… OMG. You’ll hear it then, inside your head pounding like a perpetual hammer, and… you’ll remember.

It’s a comment on internet dating, and a massive warning. You may want to say back, Don’t take away the only hope I have for a non-alone life. Don’t pour cold water on the one thing I’ve got.

But it’s not cold water. It’s actually balm in Gilead. But to your future self! In five or ten years, and maybe in five or six months, “You’ll come running back” (Time Is On My Side, The Rolling Stones). You’ll hear this again and say, Dang!

Incidentally, at the end of the cast I offer a future. There is still a way. Love is out there, but… yet… nevertheless… however… better to be alone than be crucified on the altar of a man’s body and mind collapsing aeons before yours does.

This is your Ghost of Christmas Future speaking.

Another Week Ends: FitBit Ennui, Screen Addictions, Zeitgeiste und Glueckschmertzen, Little Prince and Black Jesus

Another Week Ends: FitBit Ennui, Screen Addictions, Zeitgeiste und Glueckschmertzen, Little Prince and Black Jesus

Alrighty, another truncated weekender as we head into the dog days. More of a list of links really:

1. This is exciting (fingers crossed): The Wall Street Journal has made the first chapter of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman available on their website!

2. As attention begins to turn toward the upcoming Technology Issue of our magazine, a few tech-related items have caught the eye, such as The Atlantic’s amusing, mid-year rejoinder to New Years resolutions, “The Ennui of the FitBit”:

One research firm, Endeavour Partners, estimates that roughly a third of trackers get abandoned after six months. A recent editorial in…

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