Sometimes I wonder if God knows what he’s doing. I wonder that right now, nearing the end of a summer in which funerals have been a more common occurrence in our family than weddings or graduation parties. When I last wrote, we’d experienced three deaths since May. We just had another family member pass this past weekend. Just as we’re all preparing for vacations to recover from a tough summer, we had another tragedy strike. It’s overwhelming. It’s all too… Read more

Odds are, we’ve never met. Unless you’re one of my friends or family members, you probably happened across this post because it appeared on Patheos, you saw it someone’s social media feed or you stumbled upon it inadvertently. We don’t know each other. We’re not friends. I’m just another content creator giving you a few minutes of distraction at worst or illumination at best. We’re strangers. So why the hell have I wasted so much time trying to impress you?… Read more

In the past two months, my family lost a generation of matriarchs. In May, my maternal grandmother, my Nana, died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. The same week she was diagnosed with the disease, my wife’s grandmother, her last remaining grandparent, received the same diagnosis and prognosis; she died two weeks ago. Last Thursday, my father’s mother was rushed to the hospital after an aneurysm burst. A woman who I had never seen sick — indeed, who I… Read more

During some vacation sightseeing a few years back, my wife and I visited a small bookshop in a Florida beach town and set to browsing. Nestled in the Religion section, I found several copies of Anne Lamott’s “Traveling Mercies” stacked together. I had honestly been on the cusp of purchasing the book before, but never committed. I felt that this many copies were my sign to pick it up. I immediately fell in love with Lamott’s neurotic, poignant and honest… Read more

I could create an entire podcast out of the lessons I’ve learned from Jim Henson. The beloved entertainer and puppeteer was a hero of mine as a child, and as an adult my respect for his passion, creativity and optimism only continues to grow. Not only did I learn how to read and count from “Sesame Street,” but Henson’s creations taught me the value of entertainment, the importance of friendship, the beauty of diversity, and the humor of explosions. My… Read more

A few weeks ago, I attended my niece’s dance recital. I can’t say I expected much more than to sit and smile for my niece and the other 5 year olds in her group. I didn’t expect to be moved by the elegance, particularly of the older dancers, and awed by their precision and energy. I certainly didn’t expect to walk away with a refreshed soul. I don’t know what it was that moved me so deeply. These weren’t professional… Read more

When I started the CROSS.CULTURE.CRITIC. podcast a little over a year ago, my original plan was to do a show of interviews with people who had been instrumental in the Christian culture scene and in my life. The show changed for the better when Joe came aboard, but interviews were still a priority for me. I had a list of people I really wanted to talk to, and I’m still humbled that I was able to talk with the likes… Read more

I was not a Mr. Rogers kid. I’ve made no secret of my love and borderline obsession for Jim Henson, both as a child and an adult. Growing up, “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” was too subdued for my tastes, and it was just the show I sat through to get to “Sesame Street.” I wanted the raucous imagination Henson brought to the table. The truth is, I probably thought that Mr. Rogers was bland, too goody-goody. Even as I grew to… Read more

It takes a lot to turn off the new album by your favorite artist one song in, but that’s what happened the first time I heard Derek Webb’s “Fingers Crossed.” The album, released last fall, chronicles the singer’s recent turmoils, including the dissolution of his marriage and the loss of the faith that once fueled his albums. He’s described it as “a tale of two divorces,” and it’s a wrenching listen, often sad, sometimes angry, at times defensive. Webb seemed… Read more

I know, I know. Writing has been sparse the past few weeks. I’m sorry and I think that we’re about to turn a corner on that. I wish I had a better explanation for the sporadic nature of posts than “life,” but really that’s what it’s been. We’ve been balancing twice-a-week T-ball, summer break, a major project in my master’s class, and a busy writing load at my day job that makes it a bit less appealing to sit and… Read more

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