Imagination as an Agent of Healing (Part 1 of 3)

By Hannah Mitchell

Imagination is absolutely critical to the quality of our lives… Without imagination there is no hope, no chance to envision a better future, no place to go, no goal to reach.

—Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score
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Encanto and the Miracle of Empathy

By Shigé Clark

One of the reasons I love fantasy as a genre is because of the inclusion of magic. In fantasy stories—the good ones anyway—magic can reveal the spiritual realities that we all sense in life but can’t see, and have no material frame to express.

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The Habit Podcast: Amy Baik Lee Notices Small Splendors

By The Rabbit Room

This week on The Habit Podcast, Jonathan Rogers interviews memoirist and essayist Amy Baik Lee. Amy writes essays and short memoirs for The Cultivating Project and on her own blog, A Homeward Life. She is also the co-director of the Arts Guild of The Anselm Society.

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On Poetry, Programming, Chaos, and Cosmos

By Micah Hawkinson

A few years ago at Hutchmoot, Pete Peterson said something that has been enriching the leaf-mould of my mind ever since. Quoting Walt Wangerin, Jr., Pete talked about how the Sanskrit word cinoti “makes of the poet ‘a heaper into heaps, and a piler into piles.’”

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Stuff We Liked in 2021

By The Rabbit Room

No matter what your 2021 held, you were no doubt helped along by some comforting art, music, and story. You might have discovered an album that seemed to name precisely your own emotional landscape; perhaps you stumbled on a book that you could count on as an escape in the silent hours of the night; or maybe it was a TV show that kept you hooked from its pilot to its finale. Whatever it was, we want to hear about it! So please share in the comments section below. In the meantime, we’ve got some excellent recommendations from the Rabbit Room’s staff and blog contributors to get the conversation started.

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The Light that Shines in Darkness

By Lanier Ivester

It was the 26th of December, the second day of Christmas by the traditional reckoning, and I’d spent the balance of it on the couch, nursing the cold I’d sustained thanks to late nights and early mornings and running out barefoot onto the frost-touched grass for just one more branch of holly. But I couldn’t have been happier—behind me, a glad and golden Christmas Day crowned with laughter and the faces of those I love; before, a long week of indolence punctuated by last-minute gatherings with friends and small flurries of merrymaking.

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The Habit Podcast: Justin Whitmel Earley and Better Habits

By The Rabbit Room

It’s a new year, and a new season of The Habit Podcast. If you are looking to form better habits, heed Justin Whitmel Earley, author of The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose in an Age of Distraction. His most recent book is Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms.

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There’s Joy in the House of the Lord

By Janna Barber

A justice centered, theologically rigorous, people-affirming, life-giving, and Spirit-breathed church is possible because God is still in the blessing and miracle-working business.

—Yolanda Pierce, In My Grandmother’s House
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No One’s Forgotten About Us

By Kelsey Miller

A few months ago, I first learned about the phrase “trail magic.” It’s a thing out there in the hiking world to leave behind sustenance for other travelers at particularly difficult parts of the trail. You might reach beneath a bench as you are gasping for breath and find a much-needed granola bar and bottle of water. It might be that you stumble into a gorgeous view right as you were about to give up. It might be the encouragement from a fellow hiker that keeps you moving up a steep incline. It’s all trail magic: what you need when you need it.

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“Emmanuel:” A Christmas Day Reflection by Thomas McKenzie

By The Rabbit Room

Merry Christmas from the Rabbit Room! In celebration, we’re sharing a Christmas Day reflection by Thomas McKenzie from his Advent devotional The Harpooner, accompanied by Sara Groves’s nativity song “Just Like They Said.”

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Battle Hymn of the Body

By Shigé Clark

[Editor’s note: As we enter into the celebration of Christmas, we’d like to share with you a profound piece from Shigé Clark that has grown more deeply pertinent since it was first published in 2019. In it, she explores the history of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in tension with the ways in which the gospel testifies that peace will come to earth.]

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Waiting to Love Well: Advent, Friendship & the New Creation

By Carly Marlys

Advent has always been described to me as a time of waiting for the coming of the Christ child, and throughout my childhood, I accepted that information and didn’t waste too much brain space on it. Even when I did consider the implications of Advent, it always seemed so ceremonial and almost archaic to me, a beautiful ceremony without an abundance of practical application. The birth of Christ had already happened in time and space, in history, and while I understood the need and desire to celebrate that fact, I didn’t really understand why we still insisted on waiting. The light of the world has come. What are we waiting for in the Advent season specifically? Is it just a reminder? A sacrament like the Eucharist that mysteriously points back to the crucified Christ and forward to the renewal of all things? Maybe. I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert, but this year, Advent has meant something else to me.

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