She Makes It Look Easy

By the time we arrived at the wedding reception, the room was overflowing with people we didn’t know. Ordinarily Christian and I are both highly functional introverts, able to fake it so long as we’re together and/or we know our role in a given situation. We often bicker at home about who has to call…

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How Building A Boat Can Be A Work Of Mercy

Sometimes I take things too seriously. Shocking, I know. No one would ever have guessed that from reading this blog. (Ahem.) For five months I’ve been focused on how hard mercy is to live out. And it is a challenge, each and every day. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a drudgery. Alex and…

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In Which A Conversation With A Homeless Man Shapes My Future Self

The light at the top of the exit ramp was red when I pulled up to it. There was a man there. Grizzled. Curly beard. I recognized him. I’ve given him protein bars before. I pulled one out of the box between the seats and rolled down my window. “Here you go,” I said. “Oh,…

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When Forgiveness Seems Impossible

There are offenses that we as a culture consider unforgivable. Murder, child molestation, adultery: These are the three that come to mind right now. Crimes that seem to absolve us from the responsibility of offering forgiveness and reconciliation. How do we apply “mercy” in these situations? I’m not going to pretend I have a pat…

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Maybe I Really Am Living With An Angel (A Mercy on a Monday Post)

It was last December when I read the post that kicked off this exploration of mercy. This post, specifically, in which Rory Cooney suggests that we have a bad habit of substituting confession for actual mercy. I thought, “Wait…there’s more to mercy than confession?” Then I thought, “Maybe I’d better dig into this a little…

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Mercy (or the lack of it) on the road to the White House

My title today probably evokes an instant reaction. Everyone is well aware of the nosedive in common courtesy—a baseline standard for treating others with mercy—shown by the candidates in this presidential election. And lest you think I’m aiming this only at one side of the Great Political Divide, let me say that I have only watched…

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Seeking the Best (instead of expecting the worst)

I was on the hunt for little boy dress shoes when I discovered the tight bundle of clothes wadded up and shoved behind a storage bin in the boys’ closet. In that bundle I found a pair of khakis and a school uniform fleece that I had given to Nicholas less than twenty-four hours before…

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Mercy Begins With Me

The things that wake me in the middle of the night and make me writhe with shame are never memories of things I did that were actually wrong. Generally speaking, they’re memories of moments in which I made a fool of myself. It’s easier to forgive myself for having done something wrong than for making…

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On Sarcasm, Mercy, and having your conscience walking around in the body of a six-year-old

It didn’t take long for this list of ways to live out the year of mercy to nail me between the eyes: 1) Resist sarcasm; it is the antithesis of mercy: “”Set, O Lord, a guard over my mouth; keep watch, O Lord, at the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3). Um…ouch. Sarcasm is the cloak I wear…

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A Word With No Meaning?

I once attended a workshop on writing liturgical texts in which the presenter challenged us to take out all the church-y words and see if anything of substance remained. “Mercy” is one of those words. A throwaway word, overused into gibberish. At least, it has been for me. So when I heard about an extraordinary jubilee year…

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