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Posts tagged "Bible"

Shock Value

Shock Value

This one was written by Nathan F. Elmore. Se7en, David Fincher’s 1995 somber thriller, showcases my third-favorite villainous film character. It’s a dubious ranking, to be sure. Nonetheless, for me, in second place: Heath Ledger’s terroristic turn as the kind of Joker who is not kidding about burning it all down in Christopher Nolan’s Batman […]

Vulnerable: Rethinking Human Trafficking

Vulnerable: Rethinking Human Trafficking

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Tolstoy’s opening lines from Anna Karenina could easily be co-opted as the introduction to countless biblical stories. We barely get our feet wet in Genesis before the pool of family history becomes toxic. Adam blames both God and Eve for the […]

Muted Lights of the World: The Problem of Christian Assurance

Muted Lights of the World: The Problem of Christian Assurance

I recently got an invitation via email for a new social network for businesspeople, GoBuyside.com. While I know far too little about the finance world to receive an invitation, let alone reflect on it, I think buy side means the people who buy securities for investment, which seems like the more prestigious/lucrative: you can make […]

Another Week Ends: GiP, Skinny Law, Depressed Clowns, Motivational Luther, Hipster Businesses, Nickelback Hate, Father John Misty, and Penelope Fitzgerald

Another Week Ends: GiP, Skinny Law, Depressed Clowns, Motivational Luther, Hipster Businesses, Nickelback Hate, Father John Misty, and Penelope Fitzgerald

1. First, there’s Steve Hall’s remarkable podcast about one of our favorite books, Paul Zahl’s Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life. Thoughtful, heartfelt, and ingeniously brief, he manages to do the book justice–and capture something genuinely important–in a mere five and a half minutes: Those living in the tri-state area take note: Dr. Zahl will […]

Bible Tuesdays: The Serpent in the Wilderness

Bible Tuesdays: The Serpent in the Wilderness

It’s become fashionable in some Protestant circles to talk about inspiring virtue not through dry rules or frustrated self-discipline, but through a vision of the moral life. ‘Living into the Kingdom’, or looking at a beautiful vision of God’s restoration in the eschaton and ‘mapping backwards’ (see Ethan’s TFA piece in The Mockingbird) to see […]

Another Week Ends: Amy Chua's Three Traits for Success, Nietzsche's Subversion of Atheism, Why Fun Is Fun, The Eighth-Grade Ubermensch, Dostoevsky's Internet Anxiety and Lena Dunham's Eden

Another Week Ends: Amy Chua’s Three Traits for Success, Nietzsche’s Subversion of Atheism, Why Fun Is Fun, The Eighth-Grade Ubermensch, Dostoevsky’s Internet Anxiety and Lena Dunham’s Eden

1. What happens when you combine an unshakeable superiority complex with deep insecurity? Probably a nervous breakdown in mid-life, or Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan. But Amy Chua (of “Tiger Mother” fame) asks us to guess again. The real answer is… success. For those unfamiliar with her work on hyper-controlling parenting (using that adjective as value-neutrally as possible), it’s […]

Theology Thursday: The Law of 'I' and the Grace of God

Theology Thursday: The Law of ‘I’ and the Grace of God

René Descartes has been called the first modern philosopher, a turning-point in how we think of ourselves and our world. His famous principle was “I think, therefore I am.” He wanted to find a sure foundation for all available human knowledge. Anxious to please the Jesuit academy he admired, he even proved God – all based […]

Bible Wednesdays: Jesus Heals the Man at the Pool (from Competitive Urges)

Bible Wednesdays: Jesus Heals the Man at the Pool (from Competitive Urges)

This week, we turn to John 5:5-8 for the story about a pool, a paralytic, and Jesus.  “Do you want to be made well?” This is the classic question usually asked by discussion leaders on this passage. They mean, by this, that we can be made well by Jesus if only we ask. This view […]

Bible Wednesdays: Jesus Met the Woman at the Well

Bible Wednesdays: Jesus Met the Woman at the Well

We’ll be doing a new, five-or-six-week series on some stories from the Gospels as portraits of grace (or basically really, really good short stories that happen to be true). This week’s is on the woman at the well, found in John 4:1-42. You know the story: Jesus walks up to a new place, requests a […]

Culture, Language and the Tower of Babel

Culture, Language and the Tower of Babel

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile The short and simple annals of the poor. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave, Awaits alike the inevitable hour. The paths of glory lead […]

T.S. Eliot’s Parables of Self-Righteousness and Resurrection (A Conference Breakout)

T.S. Eliot’s Parables of Self-Righteousness and Resurrection (A Conference Breakout)

Perhaps this is not your issue, but I often find that the language we speak as Christians when talking about Christianity simply fails to really connect. Whether it be in a sermon, prayers, or music, full of talk of ‘justification’, ‘grace’, ‘redemption’, etc., when we hear the words, nod our heads in assent, but fail […]

The Least Shall Be the Greatest: Crippling Accomplishments and Restitutive Suffering

The Least Shall Be the Greatest: Crippling Accomplishments and Restitutive Suffering

Earlier, we looked at the narrative of David from 1 Samuel in relation to the theme of God’s preference for the least. In short, it is only by gratuitously choosing a young, poor, largely underqualified king that God reconstituted the people of Israel. This occurred because God’s choice of the least removes any meritocracy from […]