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Posts tagged "Frederick Buechner"

"Ken M" and the Wisdom of Trolls

“Ken M” and the Wisdom of Trolls

It must have been Mockingbird that first introduced me to the “genius of Ken M.” Since then I’ve grown addicted to his commentary. Ken M (aka Kenneth McCarthy) is a 30something comedy writer masquerading as an opinionated 70something, dropping random comments on the internet. Flood Magazine called him “the world’s preeminent Internet troll,” only Ken M manages to use his superpowers for good. His comments, at times haughty-conservative, or faux-intellectual, or grumpy-everyman (but always ridiculous), are designed to draw the ire of fellow commenters.

When, for example, the Associated Press produces an article about “space junk” littering the orbit, Ken M responds:…

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MLK, Bobby Kennedy, and the Monumental Grace of Sleep

MLK, Bobby Kennedy, and the Monumental Grace of Sleep

This wonderful reflection was written by Benjamin Self.

I.

The great error in Rip’s composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labor. It could not be from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock…and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble.

— Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle”, 1819

Between 1959 and 1968—the year he was assassinated—Martin Luther King, Jr., gave at least five speeches in which he referenced the early 19th-century American short story, “Rip Van Winkle”. These speeches included a commencement address…

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Why Won't You Apologize?

Why Won’t You Apologize?

“Okay,” [Charlotte] conceded. “Anything I did that was wrong, I apologize for.

“But,” she added, addressing Alice’s receding form with increasing volume as Alice got farther down the stairs, “anything I did that was not wrong, I don’t apologize for!”

There are at least four reasons why this little scene from The Last Days of Disco has been replaying itself in my head this past week. First, and most embarrassingly, I found myself issuing just such a non-apology to someone close to me the other day. I had made a boneheaded scheduling mistake that had seriously inconvenienced this person (again), and needed…

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The Losing Economy of Forgiveness

The Losing Economy of Forgiveness

Originally published in The Forgiveness Issue of The Mockingbird magazine.

Somewhere in North Minneapolis in February of 1993, Mary Johnson received a visit from the police informing her that her only son, 20-year-old Laramiun Byrd, was dead. He had been shot and killed by a sixteen-year-old boy named Oshea Israel after a confrontation at a party. During the first months of grieving and into the trial period, Johnson said that she believed she had forgiven her son’s killer. In her court statement, she said this was because “the Bible tells us to forgive.” But then she realized she hadn’t really. “The…

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The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

Our family of four was shopping the other day (and by shopping, I mean my husband was pushing a cart stuffed with two whining kids while I looked for an escape hatch) when we dead-ended into one of those homespun signs that make me cringe a little. I read the words, looked at my husband, and rolled my eyes forcefully enough that I’m still waiting to hear back from the ophthalmologist. “GOD,” I hissed in a combination of prayer, exasperation, and self-righteousness. “So now it’s the non-cleaners’ turn to define what’s good?”

Full disclosure: I am one of the cleaners. To the…

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The Crucial Eccentricity of the Christian Faith (According to Frederick Buechner)

Thanks to Key Life for bringing this wonderful, Mr. Rogers-esque clip to our attention. Great final line:

God in The Storm

God in The Storm

Like you, I’ve currently been trying to move through season three of House of Cards as slowly as possible, and not watch the whole thing in one sitting. It’s hard to do, even though this season is a lot less binge-friendly than the first two. And it’s hard to do predominantly because the Underwood’s ‘house of cards’ is nearly finished, and also never finished. While manipulative play after manipulative play proves time and again that control is only one move ahead of them, the thrill in watching the show comes from this precise tension–that one slip of the hand, or…

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Frederick Buechner on the Confusion of Faces

Frederick Buechner on the Confusion of Faces

A great section from Frederick Buechner’s The Hungering Dark, a book of meditations on the light that can be found in the darkness of doubt. Reminiscent of a staircase invention we’ve heard of before…

There is a silly little jingle that goes something like this:

My face I don’t mind it
For I am behind it,
It’s the people out front get the jar.

But, on the contrary, the person inside gets the jar too. You catch sight of your face in the mirror when you are brushing your teeth in the morning or combing your hair, and often…

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Frederick Buechner on the Annunciation

For today, the Feast of the Annunciation, from his 1966 Classic, The Magnificent Defeat:

rembrandt167[1]Here at the end let me tell a story which seems to me to be a kind of parable of the lives of all of us. It is a peculiarly twentieth-century story, and it is almost too awful to tell: about a boy of twelve or thirteen who, in a fit of crazy anger and depression, got hold of a gun somewhere and fired it at his father, who died not right away but soon afterward. When the authorities asked the boy why he had done it, he said that it was because he could not stand his father, because his father demanded too much of him, because he hated his father. And then later on, after he had been placed in a house of detention somewhere, a guard was walking down the corridor late one night when he heard sounds from the boy’s room, and he stopped to listen. The words that he heard from the boy sobbing out in the darkness were, “I want my father, I want my father.”

Our father. We have killed him, and we will kill him again, and our world will kill him. And yet he is there. It is he who listens at the door. It is he who is coming. It is our father who is about to be born. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hopelessly Devoted: Genesis Chapter Three Verses Four through Seven

Hopelessly Devoted: Genesis Chapter Three Verses Four through Seven

This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional, if following the Daily Office index, comes from Addie Chapin. The devotion for today’s date comes from Aaron Zimmerman, which we’ve posted before, here.

But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ (Genesis 3:4-5, NRSV)

At a recent rehearsal dinner, the father of the groom related his interpretation of this passage: “We all know there’s a difference between naked and nekkid, don’t we? Naked means you don’t have…

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Christmas Itself Is By Grace: Frederick Buechner Riffs on the Incarnation

Christmas Itself Is By Grace: Frederick Buechner Riffs on the Incarnation

Christmas is coming (ready or not!), and while Mockingbird can’t help trim your stockings or stuff your tree, we hope in all humility to be able to offer a little food for thought this season.  In that vein, here’s a gospel bomb of a yuletide quote from Frederick Buechner:

Christmas itself is by grace. It could never have survived our own blindness and depredations otherwise. It could never have happened otherwise. Perhaps it is the very wildness and strangeness of the grace that has led us to try to tame it. We have tried to make it habitable. We have roofed it and…

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"Through the Litter of Anyday": A Friday Prayer from Frederick Buechner

“Through the Litter of Anyday”: A Friday Prayer from Frederick Buechner

From Frederick Buechner’s Alphabet of Grace.

What’s to be done? Do what you need most to do this day and what is most needed of you… Guide thou my feet. O Thou invisible, manifest thyself in this visible day.

Darkness moved upon the face of the something or other, and something like a voice said, ‘Let there be…Buechner. Let there be something like Buechner,’ and there was, there is, here in the bathroom with sleep in his eyes and the rain washing at the windowpanes as he pulls on his trousers one leg at a time.

Come unto me. Come unto me, you…

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