Had my wife and I been born a hundred years ago, our lot might have been quite different. Our family has a history of bipolar disorder, you see. Mental illness was looked upon with even greater stigma in days of yore than today. The canon of schoolchild literature hailing from 1850 through the 1970s is littered with characters subject to one stripe of insanity or another. Mr. Rochester’s first wife in Jane Eyre, Conrad’s demigod Kurtz, Boo Radley, Robert Cormier’s Adam Farmer in I Am the Cheese, Mr. Hyde, and the tragic cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest all come to mind.
Way back in 2011, Rabbit Room Press was proud to shepherd into existence Russ Ramsey’s first book Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative. Over the past seven years, it’s been a joy to watch Russ grow and stretch his legs as an author—since that first book, he’s published his second and third (Behold the King of Glory, and Struck). Today we’re delighted to help him celebrate the release of his fourth, The Mission of the Body of Christ. Read More ›
Have you ever felt confused by someone’s inability, or refusal, to listen to the viewpoint of another?
One episode of this that plays in my mind was grad school days at Notre Dame: I was a teaching assistant for one of the theology professors. He assigned an essay by Leo Tolstoy to his class. It was one of Tolstoy’s classic scathing essays of social critique. When the prof opened the class up for discussion on the reading, the first student to make a comment said: “I did not know Tolstoy was a heretic.”
I think I made the wrong move. At least that’s how it feels.
A few weeks ago I resigned from my job as the teaching pastor at a church, a role I’ve held for the last two years. In the days immediately following the decision and announcement, I met with several people to explain my decision further. One meeting was particularly probing, a concerned acquaintance who was intense in his queries, almost investigative.
When I was going through a particularly hard time a few years ago, a friend encouraged me with a story from Corrie ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place. As a child, Corrie was having a difficult time dealing with the fact that her father would die one day. She and her father had this dialogue:
Janie said it could be the beginning scene of the indie movie about my life that, if you ask me, will probably never be made. On my first day of therapy three summers ago, I walked into the front room, confused by the lack of official-looking-person who was to tell me what to do. Couches. Doors. A vase of flowers. Peaceful noisemakers drowning out the sounds of tears and sorrow (I couldn’t imagine then that laughter might be an option). But there was no front desk, no greeting. I sat down on the couch. I stood up. I walked down the hall, but the rooms with open doors were empty and the ones with closed doors? There was no way I was going there.
[With the release of the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (which you should all go see immediately!) we thought we’d repost this excellent article from Jason Gray.]
“L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” (What is essential is invisible to the eyes – from Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince)
These are the words on a plaque that hung in the office of my new hero. Who might that be you may wonder? Kierkegard? Billy Graham? Bono?
Would you be surprised if I told you it was…Mister Rogers? Read More ›
That’s right: you may now order a copy of Every Moment Holy from the Rabbit Room Store (or Amazon!) and expect to receive it in the mail in an altogether reasonable amount of time. To celebrate this milestone as well as the travel-filled season of summer that is now upon us, we share with you “A Liturgy For Leaving on Holiday.”
There I stood, in front of the fireplace with my guitar strapped on and dozens of lyric sheets in my hands with songs like “This Is My Father’s World” and “Be Thou My Vision.” I turned to my left and gave the nearest student that familiar instruction to “take one and pass them back,” watching the sheets of paper make their way around the circle we had formed along the perimeter of the room. On this Wednesday morning, chapel was held not at school, but at our neighboring nursing home. In the middle of the room, couches were filled with residents, some smiling pleasantly, others vacantly, and still others giving the appearance of being annoyed at the general state of things. The smell of artificial maple syrup wafted through the air.
Last week, I got to sit down with Buddy Greene and ask him all about his new retrospective record, Looking Back, as well as the narrative of his musical and spiritual life and how they have informed one another. Our conversation was a delight and I am pleased to share it with you here.
My two youngest children sit together on the floor in a bedroom. They spend their days playing beside each other with a myriad of toys, co-imagining worlds filled with talking construction equipment, neon-hued horses, and plot lines that range from pedestrian to strange and violent, often within seconds. It’s fun to stand around the corner and listen to them, but invariably, I have to intervene and referee a dispute.
Kind words, and kind hands, I say. We share our things.
God was always reminding the Israelites of the story they were dropped into at birth. The story that began long before they were born, before their people were even a people; the story that would continue long after any individual had reached the end of his or her life span. Old Testament scripture records those repeated remindings of identity, calling, and sacred responsibility, until those scriptures themselves became a perpetual reminder.