21 Jul 2021

God’s Story (Part 1)

Human beings love stories. Good stories. Bad stories. Funny stories. Sad stories. Fanciful stories. Stories about real life. We just can’t get enough of them. We have whole sectors of our lives devoted to telling and remembering and sharing stories. The movies we watch, the books we read, the social media that we share, the time we spend with family and friends—they all revolve around stories. Every part of human life revolves around stories. The

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The Good Place
12 May 2021

The Insufficient Eternity of the Good Place

Welcome! Everything is fine. That’s what the wall in front of you says the moment after you die. Or, at least, that’s what The Good Place suggests that the wall in front of you says immediately after the moment of your death. Appearing on NBC from 2016 to 2020, The Good Place is a fantasy comedy series that traces the journeys of four “Good Place” residents (along with their celestial architect friend and his AI

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09 Dec 2020

Tell Me the Same Old Story

I once received an e-mail from a former parishioner. Catherine had been a star student in my youth group, and she was now enrolled in a fine Roman Catholic liberal arts college. I was delighted to hear from her, but alas, she wasn’t writing to catch up. She was having a crisis of faith, and she needed to talk. Her letter painted a candid picture of how her faith had run aground. She had taken

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06 Sep 2018

The Siberian and the Statue

Parable There once lived an early modern Siberian man who loved nothing more in life than to mold statues. In fact, his whole soul was fulfilled to the utmost by the process of his labor and the results of his art: beautiful, good statues of virtuous humans. He too was a virtuous man, possessing habits that facilitated his happiness. As such, he was looked upon by his community as honorable. One day, the man was

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A man with a video camera silhouette; American flag in background.
08 May 2017

Are We Hypocrites or Antiheroes?

The leaders we follow are often problematic. But are they hypocrites, or “morally-complex” antiheroes? What’s the difference? And what about you and me?

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31 Jan 2017

The Bible in Thirty Chapters

What If… The Bible is a pretty large book. Although we might not immediately think of it as such, how many other 2,128-page1 books do you have laying around your home? Or which reader has four different versions of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare on their bookshelf? The Bible is unique, not only for its contents, but also for its construction and history. Though rightly regarded as the most important book you could ever

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20 Jan 2017

The Orchard and the Enchantress

Long ago, in a far off land, there lived a noble king. The king and his wife had an extensive orchard full of every fruit one could imagine: pears, plums, apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, and the like. This fruit was picked by the king’s servants and made into jellies, jams, and preserves. In accordance to the proportion of this orchard, nearly everyone in the kingdom would enjoy the jellies, jams, or preserves at feasts and

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05 Oct 2016

Will Beg For Work

Ray Gator was the owner of a successful family hot dog stand named O’Peter’s Pedigreed Dogs. Ray decided it was time to expand his borders, so he went to the best corner in town to open a new stand. When he got there, he found the corner was already occupied— by a homeless man, holding a sign that said “Will Work For Food”. Ray saw this as a boon: he acquired a corner and a

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23 May 2016

The Blur in the Brushstrokes

Particulars matter. Of course, so do Universals and Forms. I hold to a healthy mix of Aristotle and Plato, tempered by Jesus and his word. I find it interesting that the particulars make up the whole, even if the universal was set into place first. For example, God said, Let there be light, and there was; then he went on to make the sun, moon, and stars. The universal preceded the particulars. However, we live

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25 Mar 2016

Betrayer

Hushed conversation is weaving itself all around me, yet I am nothing but a loose thread in the tapestry, cut off while still in the picture. A battle is waging within me, to go or stay. Do I keep my promise to the religious leaders, or keep faith with the master? If I break either faith or promise I will break into pieces. My palm craves the silver I have been offered, yet I recoil

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29 Jan 2016

Rise Up, O Church

A challenge to churches to rise up to their calling Often a friend of mine tells the story about when his wife became a Christian, “She started reading the Bible in Genesis and began to get bogged down. I told her to skip all that and start with Matthew.” Sometimes I wonder if his wife ever got horribly confused to begin reading the story three-quarters of the way through. It would be like reading The

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19 Jan 2016

On Choosing Our Stories

For whatever reason, God made human beings inside of time. We are creatures of linearity, of cause and effect. We experience events in single direction. There is no going backwards, not even in memory; for when we remember things, we are creating a new story in our minds, one that becomes hazier and more indefinite the further removed we are from the events in question. Even if we were to somehow invent a machine to

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12 Jan 2016

The Water Magician

Avestan was tired of the desert. Not the most astrologically-minded of the magicians, Avestan had wandered far longer than he had intended—not that any intend to wander to begin with, but once one starts wandering, it is hard to stop. Avestan had begun wandering one day when he tired of looking up all the time, and decided the stars really had nothing to say to him. Everything he needed was on his camel, his back,

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31 Aug 2015

Fear, Love, and Identity in Age of Ultron

“Yeah, what kind of monster would allow a German scientist to experiment on him to protect his country?” “We’re not at war.” “They are.” And with one short exchange, Age of Ultron immediately signaled something new and powerful; at least in this one instance, the enemy is a friend. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the Captain America of another nation, a nation just as valuable as our own, a nation filled with loves, hates, fears,

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25 Aug 2015

Courtship in Crisis | Book Review

As I thought about writing this book review, I realized that I couldn’t write it as only a typical book review. Every so often books are published that represent significant paradigmatic evolution within a culture or discourse. Courtship in Crisis: The Case For Traditional Dating by Thomas Umstattd Jr. is one such book. I feel this post could reasonably be titled “How Courtship in Crisis Has Changed The Christian Matrimonial Discourse as We Know It.”

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16 Jul 2015

Falling Prey to Confirmation Bias

Over the past several days, I’ve been seeing a story pop up in my newsfeed claiming that a man has filed a $70-million lawsuit against two Christian publishing houses over the verses about homosexuality in the Bibles they publish. There’s only one problem: the story isn’t news. Although the Today Christian website presents the story as though it occurred this past week (without any links or references that check out, mind you), a quick Google

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19 Jun 2015

Creativity Begets: How Story Inspires

As the cerulean sky bleeds into water-coloured grey storm clouds, my thoughts are somewhere between Middle Earth and Pluto. Ringing in my head is a stunning symphonic melody about Saturn—its strength in Beauty has captured my memory. Reverberating in my ears is the sound of Tolkien’s prose—read aloud to hear the simultaneously earthy and heraldic tones played in his words. Treading the paths of my thoughts are an interesting pair, hand-in-hand. The first is a

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05 Jun 2015

Life is Deeper than Fiction

What shapes our ideals about what life ought to be like? Frighteningly, I think many individuals are shaped by various forms of banal media more than by their families and mentors, or by historical figures and enriching arts. The up-and-coming generation’s expectations and ideals of high school and college are too often formed by teen fiction a la Twilight and a host of other semi-pornographic novels marketed towards pre-teens and high schoolers. Ideas of what

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21 May 2015

Why the Fall Makes No Sense

A Baffling Story Christians need a coherent account of the Fall, but our forebears have not given us one. If they had, 20th century biblical scholars would not have written things like this: “The sheer irrationality of the command, not to eat of the tree, and of the threat to deprive of life if it was eaten, has had great effect on the history of understanding. . . . God . . . is placed

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03 Mar 2015

Freedom

Freedom, I’m told, is the absence of tyranny. I realized one day that everybody’s got an idea of the kind of freedom they ought to have, mostly inaccurate. History and human nature proves that humans have a strange habit of running straight to tyranny at the least provocation. It’s because we’re mixed up about freedom.  Without comprehending tyranny in its worst form, no one will cling to real freedom. Real freedom isn’t doing whatever we

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