Favorite Covenant Humanity Classes

Preliminary thought: you could read the best work by the best authors at the best times, be taught the best techniques in the best way with the best supplies, but if the professor doesn’t 1) know how to articulate that what you’re doing is valuable or 2) actually believe that what you’re doing is valuable then you’re probably going to spend a semester just barely stimulated enough to not fall asleep. 

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An Open Apology to Sufjan Stevens

Dear Sufjan Stevens,

    I hope you don’t remember me because that would mean one of several things. Either a) that I didn’t actually bother you by sweatily interrupting your conversation with that tall man in the camel jacket, or b) that I did bother you by deciding we should meet, but that you’re also a terribly forgiving person who is sympathetic to all the twenty-something Anglo-Saxon, Protestant dudes who think you’re a big effing deal, or c) that you’re forgetful, which works because then, hey—no harm no foul.

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Let's Talk About Talking Porn

To pick up where I left off, I think we need to talk to and pray with each other about our sexual sin. But I have to bring up the verbal masturbation thing again. Our conversations should not be a corporate exercise in the very thing we are saying we hate doing. In conversations with one another in which we speak about our idiosyncratic turning away from what God has for us—whether that be celibacy, singleness, marriage, or something else—we shouldn’t speak for the pleasure of ourselves without also being helpful to one another.

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Let's Talk Porn Part I

About a year and a half ago, a friend mentioned a phrase to me that has continued to captivate my imagination and conscience: verbal masturbation. He saw it in a Facebook post by his previous painting teacher. In the quip, his teacher expressed his frustration with the self-importance of contemporary representational painters. He commended their work, but saw getting together as artisans to pat each other on the back for being such wonderful people, for making such wonderful work, as pointless. They weren’t developing their craft in those moments, weren’t moving forward towards anything. They were simply pausing to celebrate themselves—to indulge one another. His naming of this action as “verbal masturbation” has captured me because the metaphor is continues to bring a startling amount of clarity to several contemporary problems.

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