Laughing at life, or at death–a pre-Lenten Pastoral Backstory – February 23rd, 2017
Feb23

Laughing at life, or at death–a pre-Lenten Pastoral Backstory – February 23rd, 2017

February 23rd, 2017 There’s an old joke: Two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of them says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know, and such small portions.’ Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life — full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. Woody Allen   It’s the assumption of many,...

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Art lurking in life – Pastoral Backstory – December 15th, 2016
Dec15

Art lurking in life – Pastoral Backstory – December 15th, 2016

December 15th, 2016 We’re going to make a party out of art this weekend (more on that below). But art, as we’ve noted here and there, has a presence far wider than galleries or museums. Art’s purview extends into domains we don’t typically associate with creative expression. In this Backstory we consider three: in difference, in repentance, and in our common life.   First the art of disputation. The...

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Nuancing Narratives – Pastoral Backstory – July 14th, 2016
Jul14

Nuancing Narratives – Pastoral Backstory – July 14th, 2016

    July 14th, 2016   It’s a word that’s been in our lexicon for centuries. But it’s begun to permeate our discourse like at no time in history. It’s the word “narrative,” and since Google is well equipped to count just about everything, here’s a chart documenting its historical usage within the millions of books included in its digitized collection. This is data only up until...

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There’s an Art to Morality – Pastoral Backstory – June 30th, 2016
Jun30

There’s an Art to Morality – Pastoral Backstory – June 30th, 2016

    June 30th, 2016 For weeks we’ve been listening to arguably Jesus’s most famous words–His Sermon on the Mount. And we’ve argued that He is outlining a whole new way to envision life–a reimagined life. That life has goodness in mind from its center to its circumference. So though the word is a bit hackneyed and freighted with unwanted associations, Jesus is reimagining a whole moral outlook....

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