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Posts tagged "Robert Capon"

Jennifer Lawrence, the Irony of Normalcy, and the Righteousness of Faith

Jennifer Lawrence, the Irony of Normalcy, and the Righteousness of Faith

This piece was written by our friend Brad J. Gray.

She caught our eye in 2007 on a short-lived network comedy. Then, she broke through with an independent drama in 2010 that earned her national acclaim and attention. She flew into the stratosphere and became the mega-star we know and love with a summer blockbuster in 2012, the success of which she’s likely still riding the coattails. If you didn’t already catch it, I’m referring to Jennifer Lawrence. “J-Law,” as she’s lovingly known on the “Interwebz,” made a name for herself on The Bill Engvall Show during its brief run on…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Psalm One Hundred Three Verse Fourteen

Hopelessly Devoted: Psalm One Hundred Three Verse Fourteen

If you imagine God looking at you, what expression does he have on his face?

This question was posed by a Bible study curriculum I did in college, and it has always stuck with me, convicting me of my inaccurate perception of my heavenly Father.

If I’m honest with myself, my default answer would be that God looks at me with frustration or disappointment, wondering why I can’t get my act together, why I can’t get a grip on that sin that just won’t go away. My perception of God is tied so closely to how well I think I’m fulfilling the…

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Hopelessly Devoted: John Twelve Verse Twenty Four

Hopelessly Devoted: John Twelve Verse Twenty Four

This one comes to us from Luke Roland.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Lately I’ve been meeting with a lot of clergy. They have unanimously said the same thing to me, “you are going through a slow death-like experience!” I feel like I should start preparing for some sort of weird metaphorical funeral.

Here lies Luke Roland the dearly departed. Or as Richard Pryor so eloquently says:

“We are gathered here today on this sorrowful occasion to say goodbye to the…

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Robert Capon on the Purpose of Confession

Some Lenten wisdom from the boss, via the Prodigal son chapter in Kingdom, Grace and Judgment:

“Confession has nothing to do with getting ourselves forgiven. Confession is not a transaction, not a negotiation in order to secure forgiveness; it is the after-the-last grasp of a corpse that finally can afford to admit it’s dead and accept resurrection. Forgiveness surrounds us, beats upon us all our lives; we confess only to wake ourselves up to what we already have… We are not forgiven, therefore, because we made ourselves forgivable or even because we had faith; we are forgiven solely because there is a Forgiver.”

RFC’s Between Noon and Three contains a pretty amazing zinger on the same subject: “Confession is not the first step on the road to recovery; it is the last step in the displaying of a corpse.”

Of Lice and Life: The Relief of Naming the Mother in the Room

Of Lice and Life: The Relief of Naming the Mother in the Room

As God’s providence would have it, a few weeks ago one of my fellow suburban moms said to me, “Sarah, you are either a lice family or a butt worm family.” Today, I found out we are the former. And yes, butt worms are a thing. They have a more scientific name. But really, do you want to know more than that?

Upon receiving the school email I started to grapple with my new reality. I left work. I went to the drug store. I bought the lower shelf in a section marked “itchy.” And then I went home to my husband who had…

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Salty Lamb: The Ludicrous Legacy of Robert Farrar Capon

Don’t stop til you get enough! Of our Spring Conference in NYC, that is. Here comes Mr. Richardson, talking about one of our heroes:

Salty Lamb: The Ludicrous Legacy of Robert Farrar Capon – Ethan Richardson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

A Totally Biased Review of Robert Farrar Capon's Between Noon and Three

A Totally Biased Review of Robert Farrar Capon’s Between Noon and Three

There are precious few books that elicit tears; even fewer books of theology. Walker Percy echoed T.S. Eliot’s “dissociation of sensibility” in saying that the modern person “cannot think and feel at the same time.” Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace, named for the period of darkness just before Christ’s death, comes as close as any contemporary book I’ve read to proving Percy wrong. Robert Farrar Capon, that masterful connoisseur of grace, weaves together thinking and feeling, storytelling and theology, in what he described as “a watershed experience… the most important piece of writing I have ever done.” At…

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In Loving Memory of Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013)

A real hero of the faith died yesterday, Robert Farrar Capon. I almost wrote that he “went on to his reward” but I doubt Dr. Capon would have liked that phrase very much.

jamie_capon2Readers of this site will know how deeply indebted we are to Dr. Capon, how inspiring he has been and continues to be. Author, theologian, food critic, Episcopal clergyman, the man was an unwavering advocate for grace in its most radical and Christocentric expression–a prophet if the truth be told–and we will not see his like again.

We’ll run some lengthier tributes next week, but for today, I invite you to take some time and acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with his work. Note the pastoral insight and rhetorical brilliance, the uncontrived playfulness (and occasional snark!), the sheer creativity–it is astounding. Words and turns of phrase leap off the page in Spirit-filled exuberance. The man didn’t just talk about freedom, it dripped from his every sentence.

As anyone who has read Kingdom, Grace, Judgment (or leaned on it, week after week, for sermon and bible study “help”) knows, Dr. Capon was that rare scholar whose love of the Bible was truly contagious. And anyone who has read/experienced Between Noon and Three knows that he was also a provocateur after God’s own heart, unafraid to follow the Good News into every crevice of human experience. I consider it to be one of the true privileges of my life that he granted us that one final interview in 2011 and would like to think, in some small way, that we carry on his work. I pray we might.

We are grateful for the life of Robert Farrar Capon and look forward to the day when we will get to toast him at the heavenly banquet about which he wrote so beautifully. He won’t be hard to find–the life of the party never is.

A few highlights of our Capon coverage over the years:

  1. A Parable of Gracious Infidelity: The Marriage to Merit-Demerit
  2. The Layoff of the Accountants
  3. Junk Bonds, Grace, and the End of Religion
  4. God Is Not Your Mother-In-Law
  5. Divine Lifeguards and Our Fatal Love Affair With the Law

The only footage of Dr. Capon on youtube comes from a retreat he led in 2004 following the release of his final book, Genesis: The Movie. It captures him in all his salty glory:

What I Didn't Do On My Summer Vacation

What I Didn’t Do On My Summer Vacation

It’s official: leisure has gone the way of the leisure suit. At least according to an excellent “long read” by Jenny Diski in The New Statesman, “Learning How to Live”, which explores the question of why we find free time so terrifying. If it sounds like an essay-length rumination on DFW’s brilliant observation about muzak in The Pale King, it’s not far off. But you don’t have to read her piece or wade through The Pale King to confirm the truth of what she’s saying. Just ask any sixth-grader on the East Coast what they did over the summer. You…

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That's Some Arthur You've Got There: Robert Farrar Capon on the Layoff of the Accountants

That’s Some Arthur You’ve Got There: Robert Farrar Capon on the Layoff of the Accountants

A particularly vivid unpacking of Christ’s lesson on dinner party etiquette in Luke 14:1-14, this time from pages 282-284 of Father Capon’s Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus:

That, I take it, is the point of Jesus’ words against reciprocation and repayment. Jesus is saying, ‘Listen, you are absolutely mired in your scorekeeping, bookkeeping lives. You are so busy trying to hold the world together by getting your accounts straight that you hardly have time to notice that it’s falling apart faster than ever. Why don’t you just let go? Thumb your nose at the…

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More 2011 Favorites: Books, Documentaries, Musical Discoveries and Web

More 2011 Favorites: Books, Documentaries, Musical Discoveries and Web

Books and Film

Favorite Piece of Fiction (Read During 2011): Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. Not just a favorite of the year, but a favorite, period. It’s a rare work of art indeed that can shed light on both The Royal Tenenbaums and the Jesus Prayer. Unbelievably wise, delightfully funny and deeply religious (in the best possible sense), I’m not sure Christ had a better spokesman in the 20th century than Zooey Glass. And has Salinger’s dialogue ever been bettered? I’m only embarrassed it took me this long to discover it. Favorite novel released in 2011 would have to be…

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Robert Downey Jr, Mel Gibson, and the Idiot Forgiveness of God

Robert Downey Jr, Mel Gibson, and the Idiot Forgiveness of God

No idea how I missed this when it aired a couple weeks ago, but BRAVO! We all know about Mel Gibson’s considerable trespasses of the past few years – vile stuff, to say the least – depending on who you ask, he might have even committed an unforgivable sin (or three). So Downey Jr’s speech hits like a thunderbolt, does it not? In remarkably preacher-like fashion, he steps out on a serious limb, quotes JC and references Yom Kippur, in the process highlighting the severity of the Law in its secular expression and the self-righteousness that pariahs always inspire. In…

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