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Posts tagged "Augustine"

A New Chapter

A New Chapter

One of the most memorable moments in all of Western literature is in Augustine’s Confessions. In 383, the future Bishop of Hippo was 29 years old, and not yet a baptized Christian. He was, however, a brilliant and earnest inquirer after truth, and Christianity was a young thing with many sharp competitors. Augustine had traveled from his birthplace in North Africa to Rome: the capital of its time and world, if not yet of gelato. He sought learning there in the schools of rhetoric, supported by his holy mother Monica, and working as a teacher to patrician Latin-speakers. In attitudes…

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Another Week Ends: Bootleg Bob Dylan, Converted Morticians, Your True Self, Anxious Teens, and Earning Points in The Good Place

Another Week Ends: Bootleg Bob Dylan, Converted Morticians, Your True Self, Anxious Teens, and Earning Points in The Good Place

1. This week brought some fantastic revelations, not the least of which was Bob Dylan’s bootleg (gospel-infused) song, “Making A Liar Out of Me”:

Needless to say, we’re eagerly awaiting this collection’s release. From Andy Greene at Rolling Stone:

Bob Dylan began writing gospel songs at such a furious rate in late 1978 that there was no way his record company could put them all out, even if they let him release two albums of Christian music just 10 months apart. Many of the songs that never made it on record were played live on the gospel tours of 1979 to 1981 and…

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Super Bowl Preview #1: The Atlanta Falcons Reject "The Disease of Me" by Embracing "Brothership"

Super Bowl Preview #1: The Atlanta Falcons Reject “The Disease of Me” by Embracing “Brothership”

Here is the first of two Super Bowl Previews (one highlighting each team) and why one can be justified in pulling for either team in Super Bowl LI. Legendary NBA executive and coach, Pat Riley wrote a book in 2013 called The Disease of Me, a treatise on how self-centeredness (being curved in on one’s self) can and does sabotage even the best of teams (be it a team in sports, business, family units, etc.). Riley speaks from a place of experience, having had both underachieving and overachieving teams as a coach and GM in the NBA.  Here are Riley’s key…

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Autoimmunity and the Heart Curved Inward

Autoimmunity and the Heart Curved Inward

I am sick. That’s pretty much all I can tell you about it with any real confidence. For two years, a harvest of strange and debilitating medical maladies have continued to hurl wrenches into the functioning of my poor and puzzled body (I’ve detailed some of that elegant saga here and here). In my time not writing about being sick on Mockingbird, I slug from one doctor to the next, submit myself to pokes, prods, needles, and indelicate personal questions. Everyone agrees things aren’t right. Yet I am still without a clear diagnosis. There have been rabbit-hole-suspicions by many-a-medical professional,…

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“Young, Scrappy, and Hungry”:  The Restless Hearts of Hamilton, Bruce Springsteen, and St. Augustine

“Young, Scrappy, and Hungry”: The Restless Hearts of Hamilton, Bruce Springsteen, and St. Augustine

This one comes to us from Nancy Ritter. 

If you had told me in 2010 that in six years I would spend my Saturday nights watching a documentary on a musical about Alexander Hamilton or cheering its star Lin-Manuel Miranda as he hosted SNL, I would have scoffed at you. I was in high school when a friend showed me the video of the Pulitzer Prize-winning star performing at the White House for the Obamas, rapping about the life of Alexander Hamilton. I had been raised on 1776 and was consequently a loyal John Adams girl.

“I’m not into it,” I told her….

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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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After Confession: From the Church, the Couch, and Civilized Life

After Confession: From the Church, the Couch, and Civilized Life

This post comes to us from Geoff Holsclaw, who was featured on the Mockingcast last week. Geoff is Affiliate Professor of Theology at Northern Seminary, and just published Transcending Subjects: Augustine, Hegel, and Theology. He is also co-host of his own podcast, Theology on Mission. 

From the confessional at church, to the therapists couch, and now in every public setting, we confess ourselves. It is the civilized thing to do.

Of course we bear our hearts without understanding them. We offer our souls without having grasped them. We confess our selves without really knowing them.

Truly I say, confession has become our new creed, and…

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Hopelessly Devoted: The Beauty Beneath February

This comes to us from one of our NYC conference speakers, the inestimable Paul Walker:

Things to love about February: 1) it is short and 2) the following month holds the dawn of spring.

But there’s more, even in the midst of these ongoing frigid temps. There is still the hope of a huge, pulverizing snow, which forces the suspension of all activity. (I realize this is not on the positive side of the ledger for some, but the inner child still pleads for a snow day!) And then there is Valentine’s Day. Again, maybe not everyone’s favorite day. And then there are the fires in the fireplace. Who doesn’t love fires?

What I really love about February, however, is the way its spare beauty points to God. Spring is bursting, summer is lush, autumn is burnished. Their beauties announce themselves, obviously. February’s beauty is a shy beauty – a demure month. What other time do you notice the skeletal branches against the flat sky? What other time does the cardinal pop so brilliantly against the snowy hedge? What other time do you so carefully observe the slowly lengthening days?

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When eyes are not overwhelmed with stimuli, they sometimes see deeply through the spare offerings. Is there a deeper beauty, a beauty below (or above, or within, or around) the beauty? St. Augustine thought so. In his famous passage, “What do I love when I love my God”, he says,

“It is not physical beauty nor temporal glory nor the brightness of light dear to earthly eyes, nor the sweet melodies of all kinds of songs, or the gentle odor of flowers, and ointments and perfumes, nor manna or honey, nor limbs welcoming the embraces of the flesh; it is not these I love when I love my God. Yet there is a light I love, and a food, and a kind of embrace when I love my God – a light, voice, odor, food, embrace of my innerness, where my soul is floodlit by light which space cannot contain, where there is sound that time cannot seize, where there is a perfume which no breeze disperses, where there is a taste for food no amount of eating can lessen, and where there is a bond of union that no satiety can part. That is what I love when I love my God.”

The Quirky Grace of Fandom: A Best of This Is SportsCenter Commercials

The Quirky Grace of Fandom: A Best of This Is SportsCenter Commercials

Being a fan’s a funny thing – you idolize certain players on your team, riding with them on their ups and turning critical on their downs. It’s tempting as a commentator on anything – sports, literature, movies, etc – to stand above all of it as the judge, the arbiter and critic, and SportsCenter does a good bit of that. But the critical attitude of standing above is opposed to the loving attitude of standing below, looking up. And the most charming parts of ESPN are not when they’re rating the five best closers in the NL East, but when…

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Science Is Not the Enemy (But with Friends Like These...)

Science Is Not the Enemy (But with Friends Like These…)

The New Republic recently posted some pretty provocative thoughts on (capital-s) Science – you know, the discipline that’s been martyred and victimized in the contemporary era like none other (?). Not that adjudicating on the territory of different fields of study is particularly fun or interesting, but there are definitely some nuggets in this piece, and also some coals – brownies n’ frownies, as one of my Bible study leaders from college put it.

The author, Steven Pinker, thinks that science shouldn’t be maligned or dismissed by the political left (for environmental/human rights atrocities made possible by Science) or by the right (for…

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Anthony Weiner and The Court of Public Opinion

Anthony Weiner and The Court of Public Opinion

The recent hubbub surrounding Anthony Weiner’s second exposure for “sexting” is immensely difficult to write about, but relevant. Recidivism? Check. Judgment? Check. Grace? We’ll see.

The media has spent a good portion of the past week trying to classify the New York mayoral candidate’s behavior. Is he a punchline? A sex addict? A narcissist? Classifications are easy, especially when they allow us to exempt ourselves. But the story clearly has broader implications, for example, the role of social media and the instantaneous affirmation we derive from it. We might look at exhibitionism as a misplaced instance of the fundamental desire to…

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Cracked Actors, Self-Propulsion, and the Will of God

Cracked Actors, Self-Propulsion, and the Will of God

The second preview from our publication Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody. This one comes from the chapter on Step 3 (“made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him”), pgs 64-69:

“Let me give you a truth that can make all the difference in the world: almost everything you think about doing to make something better is wrong and will only make that something worse… Trying harder doesn’t work.” -Steve Brown, Three Free Sins

Step 3 calls for a confrontation with the “unspiritual” life…

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