• I was supposed to be on a plane to Ireland this morning.

    We were supposed to spend St. Patrick’s Day with our dear friends Heidi and Glenn outside of Belfast; catch AP’s concert in Newtownards; catch a […]

    • Oh, beauty and truth. Thank you for this encouragement and wider view.

    • I absolutely love your perspective. We are being given so many gifts in the midst of these days if we will only have eyes to see. Despite the many disappointments and cancellations, the slow pace, puzzles, music, books, and dancing in the kitchen have renewed our spirits. I believe this break from the crazy pace we have kept is the equivalent of a divinely appointed nap.

    • Oh Lanier, what a sad loss for you after all those years of hard work-my oh my. Thank you for turning your tears into this beautiful reminder, it is a balm to my soul.

    • I love this so much! It is the perfect summary of the hopeful spirit, and sincere introspection, that we all must carry forth today. Thank you!

    • Lanier, I am celebrating your academic achievement today. I am remembering all the views of Oxford golden stone I have seen in scenes of “Morse” I have been knitting through. I am drinking cups of Earl Grey Cream to your honor. You are celebrated, not just for what you have gained, but for what you brought back, within yourself, and are sharing. Thank you and many “Huzzah’s”!

  • As a child, I heard a lot about the end of the world—the mark of the Beast, the demise of America, the million-man army that would spread destruction over the face of the earth. Things were going badly wrong, t […]

    • Thanks, Helena. In the end, believers are in a comedy, we all get hitched in the end. So put them berries in the bucket! So looking forward to 1/2 bald hill’s release.

    • “The Romans, he said, insisted on “life marked out in squares.” They built straight roads and sent square units of soldiers, unfeeling phalanxes, to conquer the world, to claim yet more land and draw yet more squares. Their minds were full of lines and corners.”

      Ah! The Romans were Borg!

      i CANNOT wait for this book to come out. i’m going to fling it at so many people.

    • I grew up in that looming shadow of the apocalypse too. As a kid, if my mom and my sister didn’t get home on time, I’d have to push down panic that they’d been whisked away, leaving me behind to eat my way through a seven-layer burrito of suffering and wrath. I don’t think I FULLY got out of that story and into a better one until I discovered the Rabbit Room. Deep thanks to you and everyone here who keep telling that better story.
      That said, waiting for this book to release is becoming a tribulation of its own. If the world ends before I get to read it, I’m going to have words with somebody.

  • Most of the light in the universe is invisible to the human eye. We see an estimated .0035% of the electromagnetic spectrum, and that estimate is based on what we can measure with current information and […]

    • Helena, your post sent me to my copy of Word in the Wilderness to soak in the words of this poem. The lines and thoughts about maps have been echoing these days, as well as the word ‘open’ in a way that says ‘surrender.’ I want to hold my map close, with its worn out folds and creases as if I could chart my way through challenges and failures. God is constantly reminding me how gracious His care is. Never mind my own sin (which is ever before me) but the challenges through uncharted territory of a virus outbreak in my Seattleland backyard have been pushing me to lean on God’s care and love, growing my trust moment by moment.
      Thinking of you all in the Nashville area….your words are a gracious gift in these tentative times.

  • I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as a touchy-feely person. If you give me a 5 Love Languages test, physical affection just barely sneaks into the number three spot. I know I carry internalized messages for h […]

  • I’m embarking on what may well prove a fool’s errand tonight with this essay (for can one ever really explain the glimpses that catch at one’s heartstrings?)—but at the very least, it will hopefully excuse […]

    • @caleb-fetterhoff Thank you, Caleb, for this kind and thoughtful response!

      For my part, I think a meditation on the words “Blessed Virgin” and the significance of Mary’s life might easily invite the foreshadowing of her grief, since the reality of it is there in the gospel accounts from the beginning (“and a sword will pierce through your own soul also”).

      But for Lauridsen (see p. 16-17 of the “Thunderstruck by Art” piece, linked above), Francisco de Zurbaran’s “Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose” appears to have had a direct effect as well — he was so moved by the painting that he wanted to weep. This was the experience he wanted to relay musically, and to do so he caught the “contrast between the [slightly withered rose, signifying Mary] and the other objects in the painting” through his dissonant note and its contemplation upon her suffering. Salvation was to come at a price — indeed the highest of all prices — to which Mary would have a front-row seat, so that even her blessedness in being favored and chosen by God was not the untroubled and happy thing we might otherwise imagine it to be. “Blessed Virgin,” therefore, is a phrase that must communicate all of the above if it is to be truthful: the favor, the sorrow, the goodness of God that sees beyond the simple human grasp of “good” and blesses through suffering in order that unimaginably greater joys may be secured on our behalf.

      These are only my own thoughts, not those of Lauridsen or anyone with musical or artistic expertise. What are yours?

  • In 2017, my husband and I suffered a devastating house fire, which meant, among other things, a year-long exile to a camper in the backyard during the restoration. It was a painful, exhausting, overwhelming, […]

  • [Editor’s note: Throughout Advent, we’ll be sharing one meditation at the beginning of each week, each taken from a delightful little collection called The Grand Miracle: Daily Reflections for the Season of […]

  • [Editor’s note: Recently, the Rabbit Room staff has been struck by the sheer amount of awesome new stuff being released during the month of October. So this month’s blog content will be punctuated by posts that […]

  • You would have laughed to see it—that mound of walruses piled on the Russian coast. Laughter was my first inclination. I wondered when a male walrus would begin an awkward mating dance or heave his bulk at a p […]

    • Whoah.

    • Wow. This is powerful.

    • I remember reading that the only real difference between a grasshopper and a locust is behavior: that “locust” is just a term we use for grasshoppers that gather together in a swarm and devastate the land around them. If beliefs drive behavior, maybe the only difference between a grasshopper that trusts God to lead it forward into a land of giants, and a locust that rushes to get its fill before all the others take it all, is what they believe about their relationship to the Creator and the abundance He’s given them.

    • This is awesome, Helena.

  • One of the most brilliant aspects of The Faerie Queene also makes this work inaccessible to most modern readers. For approximately 35,000 lines, Spenser writes in verse (tight poetic form).

    Because I’m a r […]

  • “How do you know when you are finished with a piece of writing?”—Evie, age 10

    Evie, you’ve asked a stumper. I wish I had a clear, concrete answer for you. Turn around three times, shout “B […]

  • It’s mid-July and unusually hot for Oxford. Sweat rolls down your spine, and your feet are on fire. Half a block down, you see an indie bookshop. No air conditioning, but they have a basement.

    Eighteen s […]

    • Yes! The Faerie Queene is one of my all-time favorites. I’m mighty glad you’re doing this. And transposition…I’m so glad you hit on that word instead of “translation.” I was worried about that.

    • This makes me excited. Especially because my favorite young weirdo will be right in that sweet spot when it’s finished.

    • I’m in! Sounds like an epic worth reading!

    • I’ve loved The Faerie Queene since discovering it in college so many moons ago. But I confess to feeling a little bit miffed that I can’t get away with sneaking into The Order of the Red Cross…

  • The year was 2005. I was a junior in college, and it felt like the world was both beckoning me to a wide open future and coming apart at the seams.

    We millennials may joke about the “dumpster fire” of the […]

    • Blair, I’m so happy to hear that! Yes, I’ve been a fan for… oof… 20 years now, I guess? 🙂 Jon Foreman is one of my all time favorite songwriters… it’s amazing how these songs keep finding me wherever I am in life. Have you had a chance to dig into his solo albums yet? So much goodness in there. (You might enjoy this about the 25 in 24 documentary as well: https://rabbitroom.com/2018/04/jon-foremans-25-in-24/)

    • HOLY MOLEY. This article. Wow. I’m so thankful to revisit my fave Switchfoot album. Thank you, Jen.

    • I worked a table for them in college, when they were on their first tour for Legend of Chin. They were such nice kids then, and I fell in love with their optimism and how it came through in their songwriting. I think Jon is one of the finest lyricists of our time. Switchfoot remains, nearly 25 years later, my favorite band. I’m not ashamed to not place some “off the grid”, underground sleeper as my favorite instead. Switchfoot’s songs and lyrics full of hope and challenge have seen me through many different situations in life. They are the most positive rock band I can find, who actually make great music, and they manage to constantly remain relevant to current music trends, without sounding too much like current musicians. I’m not sure which album is my favorite though, and partially because I have most of their catalogue on my phone on shuffle, which are so great together. (minus “Chin”, “Human” and “Breathe”, which to me don’t have the same musical continuity that “Letdown” and after have.)

    • Jen, thanks for this. I’ve been singing “The Blues” all week, especially in the wake of last weekend. “Does justice never find you? Do the wicked never lose? Is there any honest song to sing besides these blues? And nothing is okay until the sky falls down, and the hungry and the poor and deserted are found…” I can barely type those lyrics without tears forming in my eyes. Potent as ever.

    • Drew, ahhh I wanted so badly to talk about The Blues, but I couldn’t figure out how/where to fit it in. So good I feel like any words I come up with would come short.

    • So good, Jen! I’d forgotten about this album, but it feels so prescient now. Just found my new (old) jam for the rest of the summer…

    • Thanks so much for this. I’ve listened to this album a few times now since I first read this. As someone else mentioned, “The Blues” is so so moving this week. I also was able to share it with a friend (and fellow Switchfoot fan) who has been going through a tough time, and had also forgotten about this album. We have both been listening and getting soothed by it all week. Beauty in the pain, and the hope that it will be (has been) redeemed!

    • Santosh & Shiny… I love this so much! I’ve definitely had the same thought as your kids: “It’s like they really believe what they’re singing!” That and there’s just so much joy and love for the audience radiating from what they do. I think that’s why I’ve stuck around as a fan for so long.

      I missed the Bangladesh video, but I’ll be sure to check it out. And… Vice Verses is probably my second favorite album so I could totally gush about it too, haha. I don’t know if you two will be at Hutchmoot again this year, but if you are, I would love to hear about your church. And geek out about Switchfoot with you. 🙂

  • “Jesus didn’t come to change God’s mind about us. Jesus came to change our minds about God.”—Richard Rohr

    Someone asked me recently why the Bible always presents God in masculine form. She wondered […]

  • The weird thing is, I’ve never liked U2. From the few short clips I’d seen, Bono seemed arrogant and intentionally obtuse. Pictures of U2 concerts felt too big and too flashy to be sincere. I didn’t like how u […]

    • Whew. This really spoke to me this morning. Thanks for these thoughts; I’ve has a similar journey with Bono.

    • I was a U2 from 1999 to 2015 – probably to an unhealthy level. I studied the music, analyzed the lyrics, found the touchstones of those lyrics in Scripture, memorized The Edge’s gear settings (down to how many milleseconds of delay for most of their songs – Streets? 354. Bad? About 437 for the main delay – there’s a second in series . . . and on and on . . .). I loved going to their shows, and I attended them all over the U.S: Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Nashville, Had tickets to Hawaii before Edge’s daughter got sick and they cancelled). I bought the books on Bono’s faith . . . I collected pastors’ sermon notes that incorporated U2’s lyrics. I did it all, even though I didn’t always agree with the more pronounced of U2’s political views.

      Then, in 2015, while at one of their Chicago shows at the United Center. That all came to a a screeching halt.

      Instead of U2 bending toward using their music to echo the Gospel (if not directly preach it), they took a huge negative turn and decided to trade truth for “love” (or, rather, what they perceived “love” to be). Right there, in the middle of the concert during “Pride” (a song that depicts Christ’s persecution and resurrection through the lyrics “One Man caught on a barbed wire fence / One Man he resist/ one man washed up on an empty beach/ one man betrayed with a kiss”) , Bono took a rainbow flag from someone in the crowd, wrapped himself in it, and declared to the audience “Gay Pride In the Name of Love”. Then, at the end of ‘Beautiful Day’, he pontificated that “[Ireland] did something very important . . . more people turned out to vote for marriage (sic) equality than turned out for anything before . . . This song goes out to . . . two beautiful girls who made their vows here in Chicago . . . this is for you.” He then went on to declare that if love wasn’t equal for all kinds of relationships, it wasn’t actually love.

      It broke my heart. Corruptio Optima Pessima.

    • @Rockne,

      Thanks for the comment. That’s a fair protest. But we can also disagree with Bono (and anyone else) on any number of things and still appreciate and laud them when they tell the truth well. Bono loves Christ and we agree on much more than we may disagree. That’s what we’re choosing to focus on here.

    • I’m a little late to this conversation, but I just came across this 8 minute clip from NPR’s American Anthem series, where they take an iconic American song and analyze it, along with its social and cultural impact on the country: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/26/743620996/u2-i-still-havent-found-what-im-looking-for-american-anthem.

  • Sometimes you find great music, and sometimes it finds you. One day, I got an Instagram message from someone I’d never met, asking for some thoughts on her husband’s new independent worship album. A few mes […]

  • There’s a certain kind of loneliness that comes of never being asked the right questions. Many of us go years at a time subsisting on questions like How’s the job? and How are the kids? Even the slightly sup […]

    • “Or sit with someone who is weeping and feel the exposure of silence. Endure the stilted conversation. Share the meal. Take the risk. Ask the hard question.”
      How I love this. Thank you for the encouragement and invitation to tune our hearts to the deeper places, and the One who created them, and us for them.

    • Excellent diagnostic skills- I needed this for my own counsel today as much as I needed it as a tool to counsel others.

    • Articles like this are why I so greatly enjoy The Rabbit Room: when I read and say to myself, “Oh, yes, I’ve been thinking something like that! Ah, how lovely to see that other people think that way too.” Mentally as I read I was adding my own thoughts and anecdotes (which I will spare you the length that it would make this comment) and thinking I would like to share this with so many people. For quite some time I have struggled with answering the question, “How are you?” because of the length of time it would take to explain that, and the depth. If that is being asked of me in greeting it feels so insincere. Yet I have not found a replacement, or a good reply. So I particularly appreciate your last paragraph regarding good questions; and you list some very good ones. Thank you for the thoughts you have put into writing and shared with us.

    • I am crying after reading this. Thank you for articulating the intimacy with Him and people I have tasted, but that oh so often as of late is elusive to me. This is more true of my normal experience: ” The only possible fruit of searching the Scriptures to figure out what is right and wrong—to gain the knowledge of good and evil—is death. Why? Because of the terrible distance between knowing about and the kind of knowing that happens in relationship. Distance yourself from the One who is Life, and you enter the realm of death.” Why do we distance ourselves? I do miss being asked good questions that offer space to share my heart, but may I still try to ask them, and even more important, may I hear Him asking me and respond.

    • This reminder comes at a good time for me, as I am trying to use technology and social media in a healthier way, spending less time scrolling through all the opinions and pictures, and more time experiencing people as their true selves and presenting my own true self. To do that, I want to ask the right questions.

    • ALL the applause for this. I have too much to say in response to say it all on here. Hopefully you’re up for a conversation in person some time. Just yes. Yes to all.

    • Thank you for this reminder and deep, strong challenge. Your words piece together thoughts I’ve only scratched the surface of.
      I’m reminded of Chaim Potok saying the best question someone can ask is “What are you going through?”

  • It started with an open mic and a semicircle of chairs in a church classroom in Nashville, TN.

    We weren’t sure anybody would come; we weren’t even sure how many poets were hanging around at Hutchmoot 201 […]

  • I wrote this post before starting to read Mark Meynell’s book A Wilderness of Mirrors. Now I wish I had another six months to process what I’m learning so that I could integrate his wisdom here. After reading his […]

    • Phew! Wow! Amen!
      Thank you for this immensely strengthening and encouraging post Rebecca!
      It speaks so deeply into the world/culture/relationships is which I find myself these days.
      It provokes me to a similar response as Paul – to simply worship – the author who loved us and gave himself for us.

    • You just explained deconstructionism, recent evangelical history, and Ephesians 3 in a clear, helpful, and entertaining fashion – using Zelda. I formally invite you to write more books.

  • I remember what it was like to want a baby.

    I remember how it felt to walk through the grocery store
    watching others dispose so recklessly
    of everything I ached to be.

    I remember mothers
    (or so-called […]

    • I have blessed with two little boys who call me “Mommy.” But this year on Mother’s Day, I thought about all of my students (I work with struggling readers in middle school) and the ways I have mothered them, long before I held a baby. This year I got a note from a girl thanking me for being “the mother she never had.” And it reminded me that I am accountable as a mother to so many, not just two little boys.

    • 😭😭😭
      This is beautiful.

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