happy holy-days.

happy holy-days.

At some point, I found that I have become the kind of person who says “happy holidays," not because I’ve traded in my Christian spirituality for that NPR tote-bag they hand out to everyone willing to self-identify as “agnostic and looking" during freshman orientation at your super liberal undergrad, but because “Merry Christmas” no longer means an interruption to violence parading as the only way to peace, it now actually means the very perpetuance of violence and partisan rhetoric parading as the only way to peace. 

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on sound, fury, and #schiaNO: how Knoxville and Tennessee football burned to the ground in an afternoon

on sound, fury, and #schiaNO: how Knoxville and Tennessee football burned to the ground in an afternoon

Regardless of the fanbase’s motivations for self-immolating at the news of Greg Schiano being named as the next Tennessee football coach, they did. And, for maybe the first time in college football history, a cabal of aloof, wealthy white people who run things for the rest of us plebeians paying 100 dollars for the pleasure of sitting inside wet plastic bags during a monsoon while our team loses by 3 touchdowns, relented

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almost advent: or how to give what you never got.

almost advent: or how to give what you never got.

When your life is about mitigating someone else’s pain you didn’t cause, it scars the universe by robbing all of us of the gift of who you are and what you’re here to do. If we’re going to make it as a civilization, we need all of you, not just the moldy leftovers. Which may also be why, counterintuitively, the only answer worth giving in the face of repetitive violence, cynicism, and pain isn’t superhuman strength, or resolve, or even a particularly astute psychotherapist, it’s the birth of a baby. 

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sometimes God's name is Brent.

sometimes God's name is Brent.

God's name, God's essence, God’s concrete realness is found not in the burying of our pain and baggage in the name of good religious marketing, but in their unearthing and enfleshing and sacrificial bearing for the liberation of others.

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leaving for the kids.

leaving for the kids.

I know it’s scary to imagine life on the other side of something you’ve spent the better part of your formative years lovingly pouring yourself into. It usually feels like failure to give up now, as if releasing yourself of the responsibility to sacrifice your life in an effort to right a ship that has already run violently aground is going to leave an indelible scar on your soul and the lives of the young’uns who are ALWAYS in the back of your van (even when you think they aren’t THEY STILL ARE). We all have this way of thinking that maybe we can fix it, maybe we can work it out, maybe we can ‘be the change,’ maybe we can catalyze a return to our “roots” as a tradition (which for most of us in the South were denominationally forged in the interest of perpetuating slavery). 

But we can’t, and deep down we know it, and we know that if we keep trying the dissonance is going to destroy us. 

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the pain is authentic: or why mid 2000s christian hardcore music is for lovers.

the pain is authentic: or why mid 2000s christian hardcore music is for lovers.

For too long, too many of us have spent our lives in relationships, systems, jobs, churches, families, and institutions that have convinced us that who they are, and what they believe, and what they do is worthy of our death. That salvation is somehow inextricably bound up in their maintenance and influence and ongoing power, and if we want to “make it” (whatever that might mean for your world), we best swallow our pride, and our spirit, and those weird parts of us that stick up no matter the amount of hair gel we use. 

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and the snark will save us all.

and the snark will save us all.

For most of us self-identifying to telemarketers as “Christians,” the degree of seriousness with which we hold the virgin birth, or the perfection of the Bible, or the post-mortem destination of everyone we find distasteful is determined by refusing to point out how ridiculous we look and sound from time to time.

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sometimes, the drowning is a baptism (of sorts).

sometimes, the drowning is a baptism (of sorts).

I suppose, rather unexpectedly, this is what being baptized is supposed to feel like. An experience where what you think you knew about yourself, about the world, about where you come from, about how these sorts of things should work, and about what holds all of us together is drowned (sometimes against your will) in the river outside town. No matter the circumstances or who did the plunging, what manages to float to the surface on the other side of whatever hell you went through in the process of becoming who you are is probably worth holding on to. 

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a statement on The Nashville Statement

a statement on The Nashville Statement

The word courage or “counter-cultural witness” is typically reserved for those willing to die themselves rather than a term for those using oppressed minority groups as a bullet shield for their own existential anxieties about losing political power in a changing world.

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we shape our Trumps, and then our Trumps shape us.

we shape our Trumps, and then our Trumps shape us.

When we persist in believing, across the partisan spectrum, that our God sides with the vengeful, wealthy, and punitive in his pursuit of power and control, it shapes our own, God-ordained incarnations of vindictive wrath in the pursuit of power for generation after generation after generation (no matter one’s particular generational predilection for church-going and the free-market, or avocado toast and the New York Times).

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stop calling people "the future of the Church"

stop calling people "the future of the Church"

Perhaps my own lack of fit involves a divine call to something other than providing hospice care for the final days of people who mostly believe the answers to the questions I (and those like me) have about the limping, partisan, anxious, and much-hotter-than-it-should-be-world they’ve left us, is to condescendingly allow me the privilege of directing the flow of ever-dwindling numbers of Buicks into the church parking lot. 

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white noise: an homage to Christian think-pieces

white noise: an homage to Christian think-pieces

Until White American Middle Class churches, denominations, parishioners, pastors, and priests start to interact with our actual communities from a place of generous, non-coercive, non-anxious interest in who they are, what gives them life, what sucks life out of them, and how they make sense of existence in 2017, we will continue to be little more than an aging, tone-deaf, and dangerously self-unaware cover band playing "the hits" for audiences that seem smaller and older than we remember. 

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how to survive the death of God.

how to survive the death of God.

the resurrection has become the only thing terribly interesting at all about the Christian faith. Namely, because the first time it happened not one person who knew Jesus personally expected it, not one person who knew Jesus personally planned for it, not one person who knew Jesus personally had any idea what to do with it, and not one person who knew Jesus personally would have chosen it for him or for themselves.

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blessed are the blessed.

blessed are the blessed.

What fills the nooks and crannies of my 32 year old heart is the prevailing understanding that if I have enough money I never have to explain myself, my choices, my renovations, my weekend plans, my preferences, my car(s), my beliefs, my politics, and my son’s exhausting extra-curricular calendar to anyone, ever.

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on how to be cynical.

on how to be cynical.

Optimism that silences dissent and releases the pressure of our convictions and beliefs about the way the world should work in favor of a religiously motivated abdication of personal and collective responsibility is laying waste to our churches, our faith, our world, and our God. 

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