(The top three are ranked, the rest follow no particular order). 1. Bon Iver, 22, A Million This is far and away my favorite album of the year. Justin Vernon has kept himself busy with some cool collaborations over the past few years but this is his first full length album since Bon Iver (2011) and his life altering For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)… and dear “33, GOD” is this album beautiful and haunting. This album is strange in that… Read more

From its very foundation, the American imagination was formed by the so-called inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. This hallmark of what it means to be an American has evolved over the years but this evolution is not synonymous with progress. The pursuit of happiness has mutated into our national obsession with the end result of making us quite unhappy. Perhaps ironically, we Americans should heed the wisdom of two Brits who highlight the doomed-to-fail-project of the American obsession… Read more

An excerpt from Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000), pages 16-18. One aspect of the world [an atmosphere, a mood in opposition to the kingdom] that I have been able to identify as harmful to Christians is the assumption that anything worthwhile can be acquired at once. We assume that if something can be done at all, it can be done quickly and efficiently. Our attention spans have been conditioned by thirty-second commercials…. Read more

Below is most of the first chapter from Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ, a classic book in Christian spirituality. My favorite line is this: “Yet whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.” We cannot really know Jesus unless our life takes the shape of the life of Christ. “Imitating Christ and Despising All Vanities on Earth ‘He who follows Me, walks not in darkness,’ says the Lord. John… Read more

**Recent Update: Apparently the leadership of Crossway, the publishing house of the ESV, has come to its senses. They’ve recently decided to change course and make the ESV translation not-so-permanent. They write this on their website: In August 2016, we posted on our website that “the text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway.”…We have become convinced that this decision was a mistake. We apologize for this and for any concern… Read more

While explaining his understanding of the Atonement in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis acknowledges the fact that the only way Jesus could serve as a substitute for sinners is if he was himself both God and man. He then addresses a common objection. He writes: I have heard some people complain that if Jesus was God as well as man, then His sufferings and death lose all value in their eyes, ‘because it must have been so easy for Him.’ Others… Read more

Alex Garland’s Ex Machina is a smart, sci-fi thriller starring Domnhall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander. Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson), a prodigious programmer is chosen by his employer Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the creator of Blue Book, the world’s most popular search engine, to administer a Turing test on an artificial intelligence prototype (played by Alicia Vikander). That prototype has a name, Ava, and she is the most advanced AI ever designed. She was secretly created by Nathan in his secluded… Read more

This poem by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894) is my favorite poem I’ve read in a long while. Raised in London, Rossetti was the daughter of exceptional parents. Her father, Gabriele Rossetti was an Italian poet, Dante scholar, and professor at Kings College. Frances, her very sharp mother, devoted herself to her children’s intellectual formation, steeping their imaginations with the words of the Bible, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and Augustine’s Confessions.  She was a Victorian poet whose poetry reflects her deep and abiding… Read more

This is the manuscript of a sermon preached at Stone Hill Church in Princeton, NJ. After the sermon, I led the congregation in a time of prayerful reflection of the center panel of Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece (a cropped version is above). If I were brave (and perhaps wild) enough to be a part of that wandering band of men and women that constituted his initial followers, I never would have expected to see Jesus hanging on a cross. And yet… if… Read more

READING (PRAYING?) FOR SPRING Lectio Divina is Latin for divine or sacred reading. The contemplative practice dates back to at least the fourth century where we have the first recorded mention of it in The Rule of Saint Benedict. For over 1600 years, lectio divina has served as a tool in the church’s toolbox enabling the church to encounter the living God in deeply personal and profound ways. Lectio divina may best be understood as a particular mode of reading… Read more

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