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Posts tagged "FREEDOM"

Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom Isn’t Free

Another glimpse into our Food & Drink Issue. This essay is written by Connor Gwin. 

It is a funny thing, getting sober in seminary. I spent years discerning my call to ordained ministry and answering questions from committee after committee, only to find myself in front of the mirror in my seminary dorm room. It was the morning after a blur of a day spent drinking to celebrate St. Patrick. The celebration ended in a blackout, as they seemed to more and more, and there I stood in front of my bathroom mirror. I gazed into my own eyes and spoke…

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In Defense of 2016

In Defense of 2016

This past calendar year, known by many of us as 2016, was nothing if not controversial. Populated as it was by unexpected outcomes, celebrity demises, and global tragedies, the year stands out as, at the very least, memorable. And at the very most? Well, it may be the first time I’ve heard a quartet of numbers get accused of killing people. Who knew those four digits carried around a sickle and political machinations in their back pockets?

Whether the loss of Prince and Princess (Leia) ruined your year or just amounted to a footnote in it, overall apathy about the past…

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A Wheelchair Assassin Argues About Freedom

A Wheelchair Assassin Argues About Freedom

We promised there would be more excerpts from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest! This one comes from a clandestine mountain-top conversation between a Quebecois nationalist/”Wheelchair Assassin” named Marathe and the US undercover agent Hugh/Helen Steeply. Some people consider their (lengthy) sparring matches to be the lowpoints of book, real momentum killers (pun intended), and I’m not sure I’d disagree. Still, taken out of context, DFW packed quite a bit of beauty and weight and humor into them. Their standing disagreement about the nature of freedom sticks out as particularly quotable–and lest you think DFW is being overly didactic, be sure…

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Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Four Verse Thirty Nine

Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Four Verse Thirty Nine

This comes from Devotional co-editor Sean Norris.

He told me all that I ever did. (John 4:39, ESV)

What do I really want? What would make me feel better? How would I even know when I had it? In the midst of an aching feeling that there’s something missing, that I want something and don’t know what it is, I ask myself these kinds of questions.

Sometimes I think it’s an Audi R8. I know it wouldn’t solve my problems, but it might help. Other times I know it’s something more profound like freedom. While it is definitely true that freedom is something…

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The Beautiful Nonsensicality of The Way, Way Back

The Beautiful Nonsensicality of The Way, Way Back

The summer movie season has had its highlights for me (Much Ado About Nothing, The Great Gatsby, and – admittedly – Despicable Me 2). But it’s been the blockbusters that have often been biggest letdowns. Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and The Wolverine were all pretty underwhelming, each reaping as much destruction on their worlds as possible (and then some). Maybe I’m just tired of all of the buildings collapsing.

Yesterday, I found the perfect antidote in The Way Way Back, which tells the story of the 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) who is forced to spend the summer with his…

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Uncoerced Love in Chaos and Grace

Uncoerced Love in Chaos and Grace

An excerpt from Mark Galli’s Chaos and Grace: Discovering the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit:

Freedom is not some abstract concept about the ability of the human will. It is nothing less than a way to talk about love. When writing about love, I’m often tempted to add an adjective to it and talk about uncoerced love. True love is always uncoerced, always freely given. But we live in an age in which love is often construed as an obligation or a quid pro quo. We love our spouses because they love us. Or we are required to love the poor….

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The Most Harmful Fiction That's Ever Been Promoted Anywhere

The Most Harmful Fiction That’s Ever Been Promoted Anywhere

The philosopher Roger Scruton wrote something a couple years ago that’s really stuck with me. He said, “in order to see human beings as they are, therefore, and to school oneself in the art of loving them, it is necessary to apply a dose of pessimism to all one’s plans and aspirations.” It’s very similar to what a certain colleague meant when he observed that, as a Christian minister, he’s had a lot more compassion and patience for “his flock” since he realized that everyone, himself included, is pretty much insane. “That’s so dark”, you say. “It’s not the whole…

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The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

[Spoiler Alert – those who haven’t seen it, run don’t walk…it’s fantastic!]

“All their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest.”   -Ecclesiastes 2:23

“Put your sword back in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”   -Matthew 26.52

Nolan has now traced the Dark Knight’s journey from streetfighter to hero, from hero to villain, and from villain to…recluse. Wayne has died to the world and only holds on to the shadow-life of mourning for Rachel, and Alfred drops more than a few hints that…

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Mockingbird at the Movies: The American Bondage of an Easy Rider

Mockingbird at the Movies: The American Bondage of an Easy Rider

Flow, river, flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

It is a disservice to lump Easy Rider into the slews of “counterculture” or “indie” filmscapes of the late 1960s and early 70s. It’s not that these descriptors aren’t accurate–both are quite true–or that it wasn’t a hippie-handed film, standing against those “scissor-happy, beautify America” typesetters that George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) could still so aptly classify. What makes it different, though, and thus limited by such descriptors, is that it so inclusively sups with the whole (“All walks of life!”) far too…

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Freedom and Control According to Rudolf Bultmann

Freedom and Control According to Rudolf Bultmann

It is my contention that the ever-contentious 20th century theologian, Rudolf Bultmann, was nothing less than a committed Lutheran. To those somewhat familiar with him, this statement will come as a bit of a surprise. Especially within the English-speaking world, Bultmann is famous for being the father of de-mythologizing and form criticism! But it was one of the chief accomplishments in his career that he placed the present preaching of the Word at the heart of theology. While this took many different (and controversial!) forms within his scholarly life, this also indicates that it is within his sermons that Bultmann’s…

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Everything That Is Deep Loves the Mask: Jonathan Franzen in The Paris Review

Everything That Is Deep Loves the Mask: Jonathan Franzen in The Paris Review

I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of author Jonathan Franzen’s recent interviews. He not only advocates consistently and compassionately for a “somewhat more tragic view” of human nature, he puts the toxicity of the American growth imperative into words. So how I missed his lengthy discussion with The Paris Review following the release of Freedom last year beats me. Franzen speaks at length about his process and evolution, about the task of the novelist, about growing up, and most significantly, about the “maskless self.”

People tend to criticize Franzen for what they perceive as his self-involvement and/or superiority, claiming that…

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Angsty (Everyone) and Walker Percy (Part 3 of 3)

Angsty (Everyone) and Walker Percy (Part 3 of 3)

Earlier in the week we explored the loss of sovereignty over one’s experiences that occurs when we make the opinions of “experts” into a sort of Law, such that they have to certify our experiences as genuine. I can watch Midnight in Paris by myself and love it, but on my second showing with the film buff friends I do not enjoy the movie as something for me to watch. Rather, my highest satisfaction would be a positive review by my friend, which would certify my first experience as valid and authentic.

Not only do we surrender our opinions and experiences…

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