Writing the best version of yourself

Writing the Best Version of Yourself

"Is there a way in which all of us are fictional characters, parented by life and written by ourselves?" asks James Wood in his book How Fiction Works. I read Wood's book several years ago now but remain fascinated by that thought -- particularly the notion that we in some sense write our own lives.There are external forces that shape us; we are "parented by life," as Wood says. But we should never lose sight of the internal forces at work; our lives are also "written by ourselves." It's … [Read more...]

Duck, duck, goose: The real story behind the Duck Dynasty uproar

Phil Robertson

The whole Duck Dynasty imbroglio comes down to this: Phil Robertson blasphemed one of the few gods our culture really worships, sexual liberation and unfettered self-expression. Robertson did it with all the class of white trash (his phrase) and that made it more off-putting than it might otherwise have been, but he was walking into a propeller blade no matter how he said it.It is not a free speech issue. No one's speech has been hampered by the state. It's a moral fight. We're just as … [Read more...]

You get more of what you focus on

Slug Bug

My son Fionn and I play the drive-time game Slug Bug. The idea, if you're unfamiliar with it, is to identify as many Volkswagen Beetles as possible while out and about and thereby rack up points against your opponent. Right now I'm creaming my kid, I'm proud to say.Don't feel sorry for him. He used to win all the time.One thing I've noticed is that since playing, I see Bugs everywhere -- all the time. Red ones, blue ones, silver ones, yellow ones, avocado-green ones, white ones. They're … [Read more...]

The gangster, the cardinal, and us

the gangster the cardinal and us

In You've got Mail, Tom Hanks's character says that all of life's questions can be answered by reference to The Godfather. Not quite, but close. For instance, just ask yourself why in a supposedly Christian nation things are so decidedly unchristian. There is a scene in The Godfather: Part III which provides an answer. … [Read more...]

How differing Christians can work together

standing together

The lack of unity among Christians is lamentable. But the divisions are oftentimes real and over genuine differences of interpretation and understanding. These cannot be papered over or wished away. But neither can we simply stay isolated, one from the other.It seems there are three ways to approach ecumenism: the nice approach, the eschatological approach, and the co-belligerency approach.1. The nice approachThe first is to look at the differences between ourselves and dismiss … [Read more...]

Defending absolutes

In our culture today, to believe in -- much less confess and defend -- absolutes is deemed arrogant. To insist that something is one way and not another provokes charges of egotism, presumption, and superiority. That's tricky for Christians because we absolutely believe in absolutes. … [Read more...]

Go ahead and live badly

Coming up short

Perhaps the most tiresome complaint about Christians is that they are hypocrites.Just typing the word makes me yawn. Yes, some professed believers are sanctimonious. Yes, some are false. Yes, some are even manipulative. But most are like me; they are garden-variety moral losers. And how boring is that?The majority of complaints about supposed hypocrisy are really complaints about moral weakness and failure, something that plagues everyone. Can it be any other way? Jesus tells us in … [Read more...]


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