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Voiced.

Today I got up and dressed in black, and I went to class. We were reading Hebrews 11:8-22, a passage from the middle of the “by faith . . . ” litany. By faith, the passage goes, our ancestors obeyed God and gave up their land and their comfort and their rights. By faith, Abraham stayed in a foreign land and by faith Abraham died in a foreign land, and Abraham did not receive that which God promised him. Yet, Hebrews asserts, “from a distance, [Abraham and his wife and our ancestors] saw and welcomed” the promised things.

This is no blind faith. Abraham sees these promises far off; Abraham looks “forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Abraham desires — images — “a better country,” “a heavenly one,” one which “God has prepared . . . for them.” And faith, the author writes, is the assurance of things hoped for, the being of things not seen. That “being,” hypostasis in the Greek, denotes not just an intellectual certainty but an actual, physical reality. Faith, Hebrews asserts, sees with great hope what will be and what is not yet.

No — we don’t flee. No — we don’t go. No — we don’t fear. No — we stay in the land, and we seek, and we greet with joy the coming promises.

Here’s the one thing, Kate said last night while we worried. We know Hillary couldn’t fix the world anyway. Now the church has to do the things we know we need to do. Now the church has the opportunity to demonstrate that Christ is the source of true care, reform, and love. We still have to do our job, and now salvation can’t be attributed to the party.

Now we know, my Facebook feed was repeating over and over this morning, that voting is not enough. Now we know that casting a ballot isn’t enough to change the world. Now we know better than ever that we vote with our time, money, words, and heart. Now we go, do, be.

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Books I’ve Read In 2016.

In January, I began writing down the title of every book I finished reading.

Memed, My Hawk; Yashar Kemal Inheriting the Holy Land, Jennifer Miller The Meursault Investigation, Kamel Daoud A Community Called Taize, Jason Brian Santos Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk Dancing Arabs, Sayed Kashua Khirbet Khizeh, S. Yizar Seasons of Migration to the North, Tayeb Salih Fatelessness, Imre Kertesz Delancey, Molly Wizenberg By Night in Chile, Roberto Bolano The Periodic Table, Primo Levi The Door, Magda Szabo Infiltration, Yehoshua Kenaz All the Single Ladies, Rebecca Traister A Border Passage, Leila Ahmed Egypt on the Brink, Tarek Osman The File, Timothy Garton Ash It's Easier to Reach Heaven Than the End of the Street, Emma Williams The Discreet Hero, Mario Vargas Llosa Women of Sand and Myrrh, Hanan al-Shaykh Almost There, Laurel Garver Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari Washed and Waiting, Wesley Hill Spiritual Friendship, Wesley Hill Wounded Prophet, Michael Ford Killing a King, Dan Ephron In the Cafe of Lost Youth, Patrick Modiano The Japanese Lover, Isabelle Allende Chronicle of a Last Summer, Yasmine El Rashidi Parting Ways, Judith Butler

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Presence.

I believe one of the most basic acts of love is just to keep showing up, always and unconditionally. Sometimes the best you can do is to let somebody know they are loved, not alone, and not forgotten.
— Joe Callander in the NYT

A couple sentences which struck me today. I believe vehemently that they’re true.

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Hipster.

Let’s just propose a definition for “hipster,” shall we? Quit slinking around and say —

Today, hipsters are people who are interested in food; design, particularly Scandinavian and American mid-century styles; and processes of creation. The latter interest tends to spur a desire for purity, or “authenticity,” and hence an idealization of travel, the outdoors, and by-hand, or “artisanal,” production.

There. Done. It’s the Romanticism of the twenty-first century, really. I’ll chill a bit, I think; try to be careful, try to be critical, and whatever I wear will always look silly ten years down the line.

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Belief.

That’s how I feel; it’s so a part of me, I can’t escape it. I cannot escape it; it’s just a reality. [ . . . ] If I could be something other than Christian, especially if it was something cooler than Christian, I would totally do that! I cannot escape that it feels like God rescued me through this particular symbol system, this one, even though I had problems with it in the way it was given to me in my upbringing. It’s a very recent idea in human history, that you can choose your own symbol system.
Nadia Bolz-Weber on Fresh Air, 9/17/2015

Yep, basically.

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