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Posts tagged "Simul Iustus Et Peccator"

Francis Schaeffer on the Problem with Thomas Kinkade's Optimistic Art

Francis Schaeffer on the Problem with Thomas Kinkade’s Optimistic Art

Several months ago I wrote a post on the well known and now deceased “Painter of Light,” Thomas Kinkade. I addressed Kinkade’s tragic backstory of suffering and how his pain never came through in his I’m-OK-you’re-OK artwork. Most of all I lamented that Christians in particular promote his brand of sentimental artwork because it is safe. What I originally thought would be an obscure post actually got a lot of attention. I was surprised that it struck such a nerve. One redditor called me patronizing: “F*ck Matt Schneider. This piece was condescending and nauseating.”

I don’t usually criticize individual artists and thinkers publically,…

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Considering "Our Mommy Problem"

Considering “Our Mommy Problem”

A few weekends ago I traveled to South Carolina to spend a long weekend with six of my closest college friends. Between the seven of us, we left eleven children behind to be cared for by some combination of dads, grandparents and babysitters. The trip was incredibly restful. Even more restful than the naps, the clean home, or the leisurely cups of coffee every morning was the experience of being with a group of people who don’t identify me as or relate to me as my children’s mother. My college friends are scattered coast to coast, and we have never…

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Sinner and Saint Vincent

Sinner and Saint Vincent

St. Vincent arrived in theaters just in time for All Saints’ Sunday, the day the church recognizes and remembers those in the parish community who have died, and all the other “saints” that went before them. It is not a coincidence; first-time director Ted Melfi must have known what was on the church calendar in some regard, given the assignment that’s handed out by Brother Geraghty (Chris O’Dowd), to his middle school class. The assignment is this: to find out about and present on a living saint in the community—not Athanasius, not Mother Teresa, not even Pope Francis—but a “saint…

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Fanny Howe and Ilona Karmel are "Keepers of the Image"

Fanny Howe and Ilona Karmel are “Keepers of the Image”

This comes from an essay Fanny Howe wrote, called “Keepers of the Image,” about her mentor, Ilona Karmel, and a short essay she wrote, also called “Keepers of the Image.” Howe describes Karmel, a Jew who survived the WWII Polish labor camps, as a woman of Dostoevskian realism, someone who sought to write about her experiences not for sentimental purposes, but for an exact depiction of abject human darkness. She wrote of the conflict in each person, between the self they know everyday, and the self they long to be, the “secret self.”

Like Dostoyevsky, Ilona Karmel pursued truth (without quotes)…

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Telling Truth from the Underside

Telling Truth from the Underside

Despite a few recent Mbird nods, as of three weeks ago I had no idea who Nadia Bolz-Weber was. But she has come up in conversation, in text messages, and in my Facebook feed about a dozen times since then. So I decided to pay attention and buy her new book, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. Because I’m always on the lookout for how the humorous dimension links up with the theological, I was pleasantly surprised to read that Bolz-Weber is a former comedian with some thoughts on how standup comedy is an attempt at telling the…

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As Long As You Love Me: Impulsive Tweets, Indecision, and Longing for Absolution

As Long As You Love Me: Impulsive Tweets, Indecision, and Longing for Absolution

The relationship between Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees is a drama-filled one. Earlier last week, A-Rod tweeted about his being medically cleared to play baseball again, after undergoing rehab for a serious hip injury. Yankees owner, Brian Cashman, wasn’t exactly thrilled about A-Rod’s impulsive tweet, and told ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand that Alex should, “just shut the f*** up.” It only goes downhill from here…

Following the infamous tweet and Cashman’s shocking response, A-Rod and the Yankees have been going back and forth about whether or not Rodriguez will play baseball this season. Contrary to his tweet–which conveyed enthusiasm about…

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The Duality of Lance Armstrong: Simul Jerk et Humanitarian

The Duality of Lance Armstrong: Simul Jerk et Humanitarian

I have been in mourning over the revelation of cyclist Lance Armstrong’s guilt for several months now since the preponderance of evidence seemed to point toward his having indeed doped (using banned performance enhancing substances) during his seven-year Tour de France reign. Of course, the man himself finally confirmed his guilt last week during a highly publicized two-part interview/confession with Oprah Winfrey. Now I find myself at a new place with the story since I am finally viewing Armstrong (and the many other cyclists allegedly guilty of doping) through a theological lens. In fact, I found Armstrong’s confession to be…

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The Armstrong/Hamilton Conundrum

The Armstrong/Hamilton Conundrum

Despite the title, this is not a post about a Big Bang Theory episode. This week, we’re interacting (again) with humanity’s seeming inability to grasp the moral complexity of the rest of humanity. As Lance Armstrong gets dumped by Nike, a major sponsor, is stripped of his Tour de France titles for doping, and steps down from the chairmanship of his Livestrong Foundation, talking heads (on TV and otherwise) wonder what to make of the man. After all, he has, almost through force of personal will, raised tens of millions of dollars for the fight against cancer. On the other…

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Aristotle is of Two Minds about Jay Cutler

Aristotle is of Two Minds about Jay Cutler

In sports journalism, athletes are constantly being referred to as “embattled.” Perhaps quarterbacks are given this label more than any other athlete. It’s safe to say then, that embattled Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is one of the more embattled people in the world. Sort of like how The Dude is the laziest man in Los Angeles county, which puts him near the front in the running for title of laziest, worldwide.  Cutler is a highly talented thrower with a knack for juxtaposing every breath-catching feat with a jaw-dropping interception. It doesn’t help that his default facial expression is “I…

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Drowning Swimmer or Swimming Drowner? Human Nature in the YMCA Pool

Drowning Swimmer or Swimming Drowner? Human Nature in the YMCA Pool

This post will be an embarrassing one.

I’ve started swimming at the YMCA in an effort to keep in shape. I think my choice of activities is partly due to residual Olympic-watching  excitement, and partly due to my longstanding hatred of running without a goal to score or basket to make. Swimming, I’m also told, is among the best total-body workouts. So I hitched up the OP board shorts, grabbed a beach towel, ordered a pair of goggles from Amazon, and made my way to that chlorinated paradise. After 50 meters, I hauled myself out of the water, (practically) crawled into the…

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Forde Friday: Spiritual Progress = "Shut Up And Listen"!

Forde Friday: Spiritual Progress = “Shut Up And Listen”!

Here’s another zinger about our misguided ideas of spiritual progress from our favorite late Lutheran Theologian, Gerhard Forde. For those that tend to get sucked into fruitless spiritual introspection (ahem, that would be me), let this be salve to your soul. This quote is from page 50 of Justification: A Matter of Death and Life.

We see that the law simply cannot bring into being what it commands… The law says, ‘Thou shalt love!’ It is right; it is ‘holy, true, good’. Yet it can’t bring about what it demands. It might impel toward the works of the law, the motions…

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The Paradox of The Power and the Glory: Piety and the Whisky Priest

The Paradox of The Power and the Glory: Piety and the Whisky Priest

Continuing our three-part series on Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, we take a look at the paradoxical power of simul iustus et peccator in the nature of the whisky priest, the catholicity of the human experience, and the disarmament of piety in the name of love. For Part One, click here.

A priest passed to and fro before the altar saying Mass, but he took no notice: the service no longer seemed to concern him…someone out of sight rang the sanctus bell, and the serving priest knelt before he raise the Host. But he sat on, just waiting, paying…

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