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Posts tagged "This American Gospel"

The Love We Can't Believe Doesn't Exist

The Love We Can’t Believe Doesn’t Exist

As we all know, love stories are often too good to be true.

On This American Life last week, NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, who now has his own podcast called Hidden Brain, tells the story of a love-letter scam created by a man named Don Lowry. In the 1980s, Lowry purchased the address lists of major men’s magazines and began sending catalogs advertising female penpals. Interested men could peruse this catalog of pretty girls, with photographs and extensive bios, and begin receiving letters and pictures for a subscription fee.

You might have an idea of what these pictures and letters…

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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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Innocent Bystanders, Assemble! The Viewer's Perspective in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Innocent Bystanders, Assemble! The Viewer’s Perspective in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

This reflection comes to us from Tim Peoples.

I’m no hero, and that was brought home to me in a three-month binge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (twelve films and three TV series…thanks very much, Age of Ultron marketing!).

Several works in the MCU follow a wider cultural trend of the deconstruction of the American male (ht DZ at the Love, Suffering, and Creativity conference), which shows us how low our anthropology should be. For example, the Iron Man trilogy is mostly about Tony Stark’s attempt to atone for war profiteering, and the third installment even provides a post-Iraq/Afghanistan meditation on post-traumatic…

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FEBRUARY BOOK SALE – 20% Off All Mbird Books!

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A little self-promotion: Whenever we find a theme here on the blog we’re especially excited about and feel we’ve done some of our best writing on, we’ll take a few months, get an editor onboard, and take the time to basically do it way better and more in depth than we can find time for on the blog – thus Mockingbird books. They’re a little underused, but we love all of them – and want you to, as well. So we’re offering 20% off through the end of February. Get some books, tell your friends. IMHO, they’re solid work. Catalogue below:

A Mess of Help, by David Zahl: Our newest book presents the best of DZ’s music writing, revised, rethought and expanded, plus a good bit of never-before-done material, too. Get to know the ‘cruciform’ shape of the lives/work of many of the best rock n’ roll artists, and don’t miss the ultimate annotated playlist.

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Eden and Afterward, by Will McDavid: Mockingbird’s most ambitious biblical foray yet, it gives a pretty good deal of thought/reflection on the beginning of the Bible, Genesis. By reading it with fresh eyes and a view toward its character as literature, EAA makes these old stories fresh, new, and surprising.

PZ’s Panopticon, by Paul F.M. Zahl: PZP does comparative religion through the only lens that really matters, i.e., how do the different religions look to a dying person? Immensely provocative, entertaining, and profound, in classic Paul Zahl style.

The Mockingbird Devotional, edited by Ethan Richardson and Sean Norris: Our bestselling book by a good stretch, this 365-day devotional, by over 60 contributors, provides the Gospel every day. Called the “best devotional on the planet” by Tullian Tchividjian.

Grace in Addiction, by John Z: When it comes to the bound will and the crucial question of if, and how, people change for the better, look no further. This is our most practical book, an extended meditation on the Twelve Steps with almost infinite application to ‘Christian life’, and inexhaustible comfort.

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This American Gospel, by Ethan Richardson: A rare work of what might be called ‘personal theology’, TAG starts in the gritty, everyday stories of the popular radio program “This American Life”, and it weaves them together beautifully into deep meditations on themes of human life. Packed with insight.

The Gospel According to Pixar, edited by David Zahl and Todd Brewer: Just what it sounds like; Pixar’s golden age not only resulted in exceptional children’s movies, but also a surprising Gospel bent to almost everything they did. Toy Story, Cars, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, and others strike a remarkable balance between story and parable. Perfect for young Sunday School courses, adult nostalgia, or a good cry.

Judgment and Love, edited by Sean Norris: One of our earliest books, Judgment and Love takes a bottom-up approach to the old theme of Law and Gospel, telling personal stories of how these themes play out in real life.

Promo code for everything is 4FYR46BT – except for Pixar and J+L, which are already discounted. Pick up yours today!

 

Another Week Ends: Modern Love, Measured Grief, Moral Progress, and Invisible Sciences

Another Week Ends: Modern Love, Measured Grief, Moral Progress, and Invisible Sciences

1) Kicking off this week’s roundup we have a story that posted last week over at Modern Love. Entitled, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” it posits the theory that intimate love can happen between any two people willing to open themselves up. We read to find that not only has this theory been tested, by a scientific researcher named Dr. Arthur Aron, but that it is also put to the test by the writer herself, on a first date, in a bar. And it works.

It sounds like another sensationalized love algorithm, but the thought behind it makes…

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Step Into Their World: The Parallel Universes of Alzheimer’s and Improv

Step Into Their World: The Parallel Universes of Alzheimer’s and Improv

By following the rules of improvisation, one family finds love and humor within the wilderness of dementia.

The episode “Magic Words” aired last month on This American Life and in it you’ll hear “Rainy Days and Mondys,” the story of Karen Stobbe, her husband Mondy, and her mother Virginia, who recently moved into their house because she has dementia.

Jesus (and TAL): Give Cash to Poor People

Jesus (and TAL): Give Cash to Poor People

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back” (Luke 6.30).

Of all Jesus’ commandments which his followers expressly disobey (my personal fave being Matthew 6:1 where he instructs his audience “not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them”–ironically enough, the lectionary reading for Ash Wednesday(!)), his instruction that we should “give to all who ask” is, perhaps, the one against which we have built the strongest fortification. In fact, if one were to reconstruct Jesus’ teaching on generosity based on the actions and teachings…

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We've Only Just Begun? The Law of Legacy and the Club of Hundred

We’ve Only Just Begun? The Law of Legacy and the Club of Hundred

The other day, I was asked a question that I dread. We were talking about Mockingbird, but the query would have inspired just as much trepidation if it had been concerned with my parenting or marriage. I was asked what success might look like. I’ll spare you my answer (which wasn’t really an answer). The exchange brought to mind an enlightening and brief essay that appeared in The NY Times a couple of weeks ago, Phillip Lopate’s “Midlist Crisis”, in which he laments his station as good-but-not-great writer, someone who has experienced a fair amount success but never that one…

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Another Week Ends: This American Life's 500th, Dustin Hoffman's Female Perspective, Midlife Crises, Man-Children, Spitzer, and Chickens

Another Week Ends: This American Life’s 500th, Dustin Hoffman’s Female Perspective, Midlife Crises, Man-Children, Spitzer, and Chickens

1) Heather Havrilesky, at it again, this time over at Aeon. Writing from the perspective of a “successful” middle-ager, she describes how nothing can really be enough nowadays. The avenues for comparison are as numerous as the avenues for self-expression. She has this to say about her own experiences:

This is the shape my mid-life crisis is taking: I’m worried about what I have time to accomplish before I get too old to do anything. I’m fixated on what my life should look like by now. I’m angry at myself, because I should look better, I should be in better shape,…

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Another Week Ends: Snowden Psychology, Child Stars Grown Up, Sleep Perfomance, the Science of Risk-Management, and Ira Glass on Jesus Freaks

Another Week Ends: Snowden Psychology, Child Stars Grown Up, Sleep Perfomance, the Science of Risk-Management, and Ira Glass on Jesus Freaks

1) I guess the graduation speeches were of quite the well-suited ilk this year—fitted more for the heart and less the diploma. Jonathan Safran-Foer spoke at Middlebury’s graduation (the transcript was then printed for the Times), and talked a lot about today’s ease of communication and, thus, today’s relational retreat. Entitled “How Not To Be Lonely,” he catalogues some of the cultural and social restraints of technology, something we love…to…talk…about, but what’s more interesting is the focus he takes on power of intervention and attention.

He remembers sitting in a park, next to a woman who crying in public. Not knowing…

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Another Week Ends: Poptropica Love, Retrospective Bullies, Foolish Proof, Colbert Logs, Lucille Bluth, and the Nabokov-Anderson Connection

Another Week Ends: Poptropica Love, Retrospective Bullies, Foolish Proof, Colbert Logs, Lucille Bluth, and the Nabokov-Anderson Connection

1) Club Penguin is one of several multimedia and game sites geared towards tweens from the ages of seven to twelve. Club Penguin itself has over 200 million registered users worldwide, and was purchased by Disney not long ago.  And there are plenty of others: Poptropica, Wee World, Moshi Monsters, Fantage. Alongside the sheer breadth of these programs’ appeal to children, they also seem to picking up the tendencies of commensurate older-kid web lives. In other words, 8-year-old kids are getting boyfriends and girlfriends online, ht JD.

Kids pair off by asking “say 123 if u want me” and break up…

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From This American Life: When Freedom Means Getting Caught

From This American Life: When Freedom Means Getting Caught

This comes from Jonathan Adams, co-pastor at Village Church Vinings in Atlanta, GA.

A few Saturdays back I was taking my weekend run and listening to my favorite radio show This American Life.   This time it was Episode 477: “Getting Away With It.” Famous host Ira Glass had just finished the Prologue and already my wheels were spinning on how many times I’ve gotten away with it, or at least thought I did.

Act 1 is enjoyable, but then Ira does something unusual. In Act 2 he opens the phone lines for people to call in and tell their deepest, darkest…

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