Marilynne Robinson on faith and fear (& how we can be free not to worry)

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It'll sound like I am joking but I'm not: I was worried about reading this book about worry.Maybe it was the subtitle that had me most worried, partly because it touches a nerve -- I know that it is possible to "choose faith in a world full of worry" but it's a lot easier to return like a dog to the chew the old, tired bone of worry. In true worrywart fashion, I feel that adequately worrying my way through my litany of worries galvanizes me against the possibility of the things I worry … [Read more...]

Why a former sex worker says its not up to Christians to say “go and sin no more.”

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Anny Donewald lived her young life in the spotlight. Her dad was a well-known college NCAA basketball coach.When one of the players began sexually abusing Anny at the age of 13, part of her soul withered. She had been confident, athletic, and musical. By age 19, she was working as an exotic dancer and high-end prostitute.Today she offers hope to girls and women who are, as she says, living in hell, through her nonprofit organization, Eve's Angels. They don't just stand outside strip … [Read more...]

What happened when a self-declared dog-despiser accidentally adopted a Pit Bull

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Another guest post by my wonderful dad, written when Gracie-the-dog died more than twelve years ago. She was a good dog.The sign is what finally did it.  Day in and day out, week after week, its message insidiously worked its way into my brain until one day I could no longer offer any resistance.  Many of you will remember the sign.  Perhaps some of you happily fell victim to it as well.It was a large stuffed dog, situated along the Main Road in Southold.  Attached to it was a sim … [Read more...]

R.C. Sproul, Jr. : “a beard is a revolution on the face,” a “radical affirmation” of gender norms

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So this happened, merely the latest installment in the collection of "dumb patriarchalist sh*t Christian dudes say in order to rally the base and annoy those who already find them annoying." (What? You don't know this collection? It has a venerable history.)\Even better is the Christian Hipster Magazine RELEVANT chiming in to ASK, in a headline, HOW R.C. Sproul, Jr., feels about beards. (You need to ask? Isn't it pretty clear that they are absolutely definitive markers of … [Read more...]

The Best Pumpkin Spice Brownies You Will Ever Bake

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When did pumpkin spice everything become such a THING? I don't remember it happening, but that doesn't mean I don't still love the warm and heady spices that go into pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie itself? Not such a fan.Pumpkin spices + real pumpkin + chocolate? Yes please.That's what we have going on here: chewy pumpkin spice 'brownies.' They're actually more like blondies with pumpkin, dotted with chocolate chips. But let's call them brownies anyway. I first made these … [Read more...]

The Most Stunning Children’s Bible — That’s No Longer in Print (But Should Be)

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There is an appealing, almost haunting spareness to the Taize Picture Bible (1968) in both word and image. Published in the USA by Fortress Press (mine is a fourth edition, 1978), the “note to readers” says “The guiding editorial policy in this adaptation has been to facilitate understanding by readers of many age levels while remaining faithful to the words and meaning of the Biblical text.” There is nothing prettified or cutesy about the images or the storytelling in this book. In fact there’ … [Read more...]

The Things We Can’t — and Shouldn’t — Make Our Children Do

original cartoon courtesy Tom LaMothe

 When I was pregnant with our first child there were so many things I wondered and hoped. I hoped that we would like each other. That he would be interested in the world and that we would have at least some things in common. And I hoped he would like books. Like me."Don't worry," my husband said. "He will like what he likes."There was just so much uncertainty and so little control. I kind of hated that.We do indeed parent in the "age of anxiety." We worry … [Read more...]

8 good things about my dad

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Like any daughter, I've had my share of conflicts with my dad. Many of those ended when I was a teenager, but live on in our differing memories about that time. He says I was grumpy. I say he was grumpy. Probably, we're both right.In any case, it's my dad's birthday today. His GOLDEN birthday, as it happens, since he is turning, not eight, of course, but the double-digit number of the second half of the year that he was born (19?!). And so here are eight good things about my dad. Dad's of … [Read more...]

3 things that’ll help you understand the Ebola crisis

Two nurses standing in front of Ebola case #3, who was treated, and later died at Ngaliema Hospital, in Kinshasa, Zaire. (1976, public domain)

While I was waiting for a flight last week, all airport televisions were blaring ongoing 'coverage' of the man with Ebola in Dallas, and the people he may or may not have come into contact with, and who would or would not be responsible for disinfecting the apartment he'd been staying in. It was banal television scare-mongering at its worst, and I endured only a few minutes of it before inserting my noise-reduction headphones and blasting a compline service.It's been a mere six months since … [Read more...]

6 Simple Ways to Annoy Non-Christians

Sometimes we Christians get a little confused on best practices for alienating those who don't agree with us. The Bible is clear: sometimes it is just our faith itself that's the offensive bit. But we don't need to leave it at that. Here are six simple moves that help ensure that the non-Christian people around you find your Christianity thoroughly annoying.1. The bait-and-switchIn this move, you invite unsuspecting non-Christians to an event that is actually some kind of church service … [Read more...]


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