Last Wednesday, I lost my dear Grandma. Many of you know she lived with my parents from very early on in their marriage, so I grew up in a multi-generational home. What a sweet gift to have my Grandma’s life so impressed on mine. With her passing and with the birth of my son (whom I will write more about later), I’ve been thinking a lot about family–how none of us exist independently, but we’re born into a network and a history so much bigger than one person. I’m so grateful for my family and the story we’re telling. Grandma certainly had a large role and a loud voice in that story. 

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Rejoice, Rejoice

This the week of joy in the midst of longing. A feast in the middle of mourning. A contradiction and a command.

Have you ever read The Chronicles of Narnia? Remember how often we find the Narnians eating, drinking, dancing, laughing, and generally making merry? Usually the way the heroes know they’re in the right place is there’s a party going on. What makes this ragtag assembly of men and animals and mythical creatures distinct from those around them is their capacity for joy. They’re fierce in celebrating the goodness they know and experience. The Witch’s power is broken. Aslan is on the move.

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On a Rainy Thursday

It took until Thursday afternoon of a long week off—four days of phone-scrolling or binge-watching or wardrobe-dusting finally came to this: the rain and the falling leaves and the words.

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Everything Sad is Coming Untrue

Sometimes I get discouraged about how broken the world is. I mean, I have a theological answer to suffering that makes logical sense, but that logic falls to pieces when faced with the senselessness and the depth of pain attached to something like slavery, or child soldiers, or the mass and systematic oppression of women around the world. It’s just too much to cope with, even for me, sitting in a trendy café with my MacBook and my $4 cappuccino. Darkness is overwhelming. And I can’t say I’m not nearly convinced by those who can’t believe a good God could exist in such a dark world as ours.

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Fanfare for the Common Man

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit (a large bit?) of a snob. I recently told someone I could be snobby about anything—I laughed afterward, but I wasn’t really joking. I’m that person who talks about local produce, can’t stand American coffee or Twilight, and flies first class. (Ok, listen, it’s free. But just because I can’t actually afford first class doesn’t mean I can’t loathe coach.) In almost any category from art to lifestyle choices, I have a pretty secure opinion about what is best.

This is partly because I just really enjoy good things. Why settle for “meh” when such wonderful goodness exists in the world? However, every so often I get a glimpse into how unabashedly pretentious I can be, and, ugh, I annoy myself. So in moments when I start feeling my nose rising into the air, I ask myself this question: What would G.K. Chesterton do?

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Blog Wars 2013

Some of you may remember August 13-19, 2012 as a week of intense blogging here on Act IV. Others of you may only remember being extremely annoyed by the copious posting. Most of you don’t remember it at all. But I will remember it as the birth of something beautiful.

One evening last August, after some sort of Twitter smack talk, my friends Kelcie, Cory, and I decided to have a week-long blogging competition. We had just a few simple rules, and whoever ended the week with the most posts would be named the champion. We called it Blog Wars.

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Old Friends

I’ve been pretty lucky in the friendship department, so one of my favorite parts about growing up is having “old friends.” Something effortless comes into a relationship with history, a settledness that does wonders for my slow soul.

I grin when I remember I’m approaching ten years of friendship with college friends like Elisabeth, Amy, Courtney, and Megan. The fact that they knew 18-year-old Erin, and have seen all the iterations since then, means I don’t really have to explain myself. It means one look or a familiar phrase can replace a paragraph. With them I’ve known some of the golden sessions C.S. Lewis talks about, when “Affection mellowed by the years enfolds us.” What joy.

I’ve been thinking today, though, about even older friends.

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Fellowship in the Light

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

I love John’s first epistle, and I especially love this verse. What a beautiful summation of a profound truth. It reminds me, too, of a sweet time in my life when I experienced this verse firsthand. I was nineteen, and in the midst of forming the friendships that are my dearest today. 1 John 1:7 was the theme verse for our residence hall, and it was perfect. Over the last year, the Holy Spirit had completely transformed my heart and mind, and He was faithful to give me friends who walked each step of the journey with me. The intimate fellowship we experienced as a result of our mutual transformation was, and is, precious.

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Brothers are the best. I mean, I get sad when I think about girls who don’t have one. Who gives them advice? Who helps them with their cars? Who gives them a hard time when they say stupid girl stuff? I happen to have the world’s greatest two brothers—don’t ask me how I got so lucky, but it’s true. And if you’ve ever heard me talk about either one of them, you know it’s pointless to try and convince me otherwise.

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Missing Someone

And I have penned the words
I made a vow, my heart is yours
But we have yet to meet
You and I

-Blake Stratton, “Leave on a Light”

I didn’t want to write this post. Even now, I’m not sure this isn’t a dumb idea. Doesn’t it seem hopelessly predictable to write about being single on Valentine’s Day? Predictable and slightly pitiful. My plan was to play it cool, let this day pass like any other day, write about Harry Potter or something. But would you like to know what I’m really going to do this evening? I’m going to cook a nice dinner for myself, maybe read through some old Facebook messages from men who shall remain nameless (don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about), then lay on my back and listen to “Love Song for No One.” And I’ll wonder again just how John Mayer got to the bottom of my soul … but that’s beside the point.

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