In addition to buying loads of diapers and attending birthing class with Ursula, our German midwife, the primary way I prepared for fatherhood was to design a family crest. I spent the better part of gestation considering what parts and pieces, characteristics and virtues I most want my progeny to embody. After many hours of prayer, reflection and hand drawn concepts, our graphic designer friend, Weylon Smith, put it all together in a way that captured exactly what we dreamed… Read more

1. NICKEL CREEK: A Dotted Line Perhaps my most anticipated record of the past few years, this is a reunion album. After nearly a decade since the release of Why Should the Fire Die? (2005), Chris Thile (mandolin) and brother and sister duo, Sara (wicked fiddle) and Sean Watkins (guitar) joined forces once again after years apart doing their own thing musically. The mandolin virtuoso, Chris Thile, is a MacArthur Fellow and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship or “Genius Grant.”… Read more

This is the fourth and final installment of my series on the great hymns of Advent. To learn more about Advent, you can read the introductory post: On Advent: What It Is & Why You Need It. Part 1 on the hymns of Advent can be read here: O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Part 2 can be read here: A Hymn of Advent. Part 3 can be read here: Savior of the Nations, Come. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus by… Read more

“Savior of the Nations, Comes” by Holy City Hymns from Advent No. 2 (2014) Savior of the nations, come, Virgin’s Son, here make Thy home. Marvel now, O heaven and earth, That the Lord chose such a birth. Not by human flesh and blood, By the Spirit of our God, Was the Word of God made flesh Woman’s Offspring, pure and fresh. He will come, he will come, He will come down and rescue us. Brightly doth Thy manger shine,… Read more

This is the second installment of a series on the great hymns of Advent. To learn more about Advent, read my previous post: On Advent: What It Is & Why You Need It. The first installment on the hymns of Advent can be read here: O Come, O Come Emmanuel. “A Hymn of Advent” by Matt Scott from Poets and Saints (2013) Israel long awaits the promised king She will find, find in him her liberty When he comes, he will… Read more

This is the first installment of a series on the great hymns of Advent. To learn more about Advent, read my previous post: On Advent: What It Is & Why You Need It. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by Sufjan Stevens from Songs for Christmas (2006) O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer… Read more

Check out these great Advent resources. Please buy from my links to Amazon and help support the Transcendentalish blog. Enter promo code HOLIDAY30 and you’ll get 30% off any one book.  The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper This brand new daily Advent devotional walks you through a biblical text and brief exposition by John Piper. God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas by Dietrich Bonhoeffer a daily devotional compiled from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters and other… Read more

Each year, the season of Advent commences on the fourth Sunday before December 25. Unlike the Gregorian Calendar (the calendar most of the world observes), the Church year or liturgical year begins not on January 1 but on Advent Sunday. It is no accident that the Christian year begins with Advent. This season frames how we ought to view God, ourselves, and the entire arc of human history…. not a bad reminder for the start of each new year. The… Read more

Spoiler alert (or should I say plot revealer?). If you don’t 1) already know what “Calvary” means and/or 2) don’t want to know some revealing details about the plot, read no further. As I said, this review is a bit of a spoiler – but no more than the title itself. If you know anything about what “Calvary” means, you’ll know how the film must end. Calvary is – get ready for it – the Anglicized version of the Latin… Read more

Academic work, for the modern imagination, is often dominated by the idea that school is but a stepping stone to the next best thing. This is the rat race: One goes to the best pre-K in order to get into the best kindergarten. One goes to the best elementary school to get into the best middle school. One goes to the best middle school to get to the best high school. One goes to the best high school to get… Read more

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