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An Ordinary Nine Innings

All baseball games begin with no runs, no hits, no errors, a player scuffing his shoes at the plate, and nobody on base, but I’m going to start by telling you the final score: John Sexton’s Baseball as a Road to God is a flawed but insightful look at how something as ordinary/pedestrian/unchurched/free from theology/etc as baseball can help us explore the deeper meaning of things. First Inning Sexton loves the game of baseball. For many years he has taught about the game at... Read More

What Are You Waiting For? A Meditation on Isaiah 61:1–4, 8-11, Luke 1:53, and Luke 3:7–18

All the time John the Baptist spent waiting and preparing in the wilderness was in order to steep his identity in God.1 Even before John’s conception, God had already claimed his life; John’s primary identity would always be in relation to Jesus and in how John lived out his call to ministry. Someone like John is makes us uncomfortable because his very existence points us away from ourselves and toward the kingdom of God. We do not naturally and without some inner resistance... Read More

Water Mission

My father is a missionary in Saigon, and every day he sits or stands in his white cotton shirt and talks to servicemen and the Vietnamese about Jesus. While my mother rests through the heat of the day, I walk behind him to Buddha’s temple. There, in a small public pump house, open on four sides and draped in flowers, he chooses one of the dozen brass water spouts under the pagoda-shaped roof and fills our collapsible plastic vessels with water purified by filters and blessed... Read More

The Invitation

To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there to stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all-seeing, within you. — Theophan the Recluse The place is humid: four rooms, maze of red, easy to lose yourself inside. Occupy aorta and ventricle, lounge in any chamber you’d like. Feel at home enclosed by blood and beating. The walls speak. They will keep you up all night.  Read More

Evil, Justice, and the God that Failed: The Pathos and Pathology of Metallica

One of the classic yet banal arguments that inevitably arises between bored record store clerks is the question of who is the greatest rock band ever. One clerk will of course say the Beatles. The clerk who says this has passed through her rebellious phase, has integrated herself into a vast realm of authority that includes consumers and critics, and has made an informed decision. The record store clerk who is still angry with his parents will counter that the Rolling Stones are,... Read More

We The Village

In the days when our courthouse was being built, a mason—we don’t know who—came to our village in the night and inscribed a simple phrase on the building’s cornerstone: God’s will be done. We were, at first, outraged that someone had dared to soil our builder’s work, but over the course of generations, the mason’s phrase became our prayer, our devotion. Even now we gather at the courthouse every morning and evening and say those four words. It’s our way of life... Read More

Things that Fall and Things that Stand

Editor’s Note: In 2010, The Other Journal published The Spirit of Food: Thirty-Four Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God, a collection of essays and recipes that colorfully depict how our acts of eating echo the community of the church and the sacrament of Communion. Now, as a companion to Gregory A. Boyd’s recent essay on the randomness of evil, we publish an essay from The Spirit of Food that meditates on the same tragic bridge collapse that opens Boyd’s piece.[1]... Read More

Randomness and Assurance: Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

The Blueprint Worldview On August 1, 2007, a highway bridge several miles from my house collapsed during rush hour, killing 13 people and wounding 144 others. That night, a well-known local pastor blogged about a discussion he had with his eleven-year-old daughter as he put her to bed. He asked her what purpose God might have had for not “holding up that bridge,” even though he could have done so with “his pinky.” He affirmed her when she responded that God “wanted all... Read More

Suffering and the Love of God (A Tribute to My Wife)

A little over a year ago my wife was diagnosed with a rare, cancer-like disease called pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). This disease begins with an appendiceal or ovarian tumor that ruptures and begins to spread thick mucin throughout the abdominal cavity. The tumorous cells multiply, attaching themselves to organs and slowly filling the abdomen with a bright yellow Jell-O. If left unattended over a long period, the slowly reproducing mucin will begin to crush organs and shut down... Read More

Measured Hope: A Meditation on the Third Week of Advent

A couple months ago, I ran across an article in the Atlantic that I thought was a sure fake (Chelsea Fagan, October 18, 2011). I read it once in disbelief; I read it a second time and thought, I must have stumbled across something from the Onion. The story just seemed too outlandish. It was an article on something called the “Paris Syndrome.” It explained that every year about twenty tourists in Paris are diagnosed with a physical illness that manifests itself in hallucinations,... Read More