Repost: Why I’m Quitting Cynicism

Believe it or not, the blog is almost a year and a half old. At this point, I think a look back would help remind all of us–but me especially–what this project is about. So over the next several weeks, I’ll re-up some “classic” posts that get to the core message of the blog. Yes, I know it’s weird to call your own posts “classic.” But I couldn’t think of another word…

So without further ado, here’s my blog’s very first post:

I was That Guy at my parents’ church.

You know the type:

  • Slouching in the back pew with raised eyebrow.

  • Smirking every time the pastor made a point during the sermon.

  • Stewing in the corner after services, reading something intellectual and avoiding conversation with the dull-eyed parishioners.

I was a cynical jerk. I started this blog because I’m trying to change that. Continue reading “Repost: Why I’m Quitting Cynicism”

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New Year’s Resolutions

Here are my New Year’s resolutions:

  • Spend more time reading and writing, and less time watching television
  • Get in better shape–work out a little less, and eat a little healthier
  • Be more proactive and efficient at work

These resolutions are as ordinary as they come. But they’re incredibly frustrating. Don’t worry–I’ll explain why. To do this, I’ll take you back in time. Starting when I was an oil-faced, frosted-tipped high schooler:

January 4, 2004

I’m in my school’s library for study hall. I was a junior, and eager to remake myself for my final year and a half of high school. Glancing at the cool kids at the other end of the table, I whip out my notepad, click my pen, and inscribe my resolutions for the New Matt.

Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions”

My Plan for America

As we all know, 2016 was the worst year since the fall of Constantinople.

That’s why, as a Christmas present to America, I’m sharing the best idea I’ve had all year. I don’t mean to oversell it, but this could transform America. Here it is:

Tim Tebow should devote himself to becoming the world’s greatest rugby player. Then he should captain the US rugby team to glory in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.1

This plan is both utterly feasible, and beneficial to everyone involved.

Continue reading “My Plan for America”

Guest Post: On Beauty, Truth, and Janitor’s Closets

I’m happy to introduce the blog’s very first guest post. It’s by Amy Lee–a fellow member writer in the Anselm Society Arts Guild. To get more of her (excellent) writing, visit her website, sunsteepeddays.com.

 

When I was a very young Christian, I went looking for truth in a janitor’s closet.

Thankfully the situation wasn’t as dismal as it sounds, because this was a rather exceptional janitor’s closet. It housed the library for a tiny international school, which took up the third and fourth floors of an old Korean office building. The closet was windowless and could only hold up to two patrons at a time — if the door was open — but what I found on its shelves had an enormous effect on my fledgling understanding of Christianity.

Continue reading “Guest Post: On Beauty, Truth, and Janitor’s Closets”

Not the Enemy

I meant to post this a couple days after the election, but a combination of work trips and Thanksgiving held me back. That’s probably a good thing. When your country just elected a reality star as president and you spend the next day staring out the window wondering if the whole world has gone insane, hot takes aren’t healthy. So instead, here’s my cold take…

Continue reading “Not the Enemy”

30 Years, 30 Lessons

If you’re reading this, that means I’m 30. Yes, today’s my 30th birthday. Sigh. I’m one of those people who hates their birthday–I don’t like the attention, I don’t like having to choose everything we do, and I don’t like all the reminders that I’m another year older. And 30 is a birthday I’ve been dreading. I may not be old, but I’m definitely not young anymore. Sigh.

But one benefit of being 30 is that I now have three decades of wisdom and observations to impose on the rest of you. So here it is: 30 life lessons for 30 years of life.

Continue reading “30 Years, 30 Lessons”

Sigh. My #NeverTrump Post.

So I’ve planned on writing my official #NeverTrump post for a while. It’s the thing to do. At least, all my Facebook friends seem to be doing it. I’ve written on Trump before. Like this piece on my blog, this one at Patheos, and this one at Mere Orthodoxy. But all of those lack the crisp thesis statement. So here it is:

I have never supported Trump, and will not vote for Trump. I plan on voting for Evan McMullin.

According to Facebook, my next step is giving every reason for rejecting Trump. That should be easy–there are at least a dozen independent reasons why Trump shouldn’t be President.

But I’ll be honest . . .I don’t want to.

I’m tired of this whole Trump thing. I’m tired of scrolling through Twitter and liking all the anti-Trump quips. I’m tired of lambasting the self-righteousness of Trump’s evangelical defenders. I’m tired of feeling self-righteous myself.

Continue reading “Sigh. My #NeverTrump Post.”

What Fundamentalists and Professors Have in Common

As you’ve probably heard, literary studies are on the decline. Because I was an English major who cares about the arts, I’m supposed to lament this with jeremiads against cultures who neglect the Life of the Mind, or craft an ode to learning for its own sake, or make some hackneyed argument that an English major has as much practical utility as engineering.

I feel fine. Maybe that’s because too many literature departments remind me too much of why I hated English class in eighth grade.

Continue reading “What Fundamentalists and Professors Have in Common”

Art in a Dark World

I’ve had art on the mind lately. This past weekend was the Anselm Society’s yearly kickoff event. Anselm is a fantastic organization dedicated to a “renaissance of the Christian imagination” by building up artists and the churches that support them. I’m involved with the Society as one of their official member artists. I’ve also been helping my local church’s Kalos group–a collection of artists from the church who meet to discuss each other’s art and the role of art in their faith. In other words, a big percentage of my “ministry time” out in the world relates to arts.

All this art time got me thinking. We live in a world of danger and oppression. With terrorism and rioting and unrest and injustice. With wars and rumors of wars. Our country, more hostile to religion by the day, has two major parties that are retreating from “Christian values” as quickly as possible. Problems from homelessness to poverty to sex trafficking are happening just behind my back.

With all that in the world, is art the best way to spend my free time?

Obviously, all those problems demand time and attention. But even as we fight all of those battles, we can’t forget about the arts.

If you don’t believe me, consider The Secret of Kells.

Continue reading “Art in a Dark World”

Why I’m Sorry About Being Sorry

You may have noticed that I haven’t updated the blog in awhile1. A big reason for this is that my posts had fallen into a rut, and I got frustrated.

Here’s my recent formula: I start with a very evangelical topic–prayer, missions, youth pastors, etc. I then carefully (oh so carefully) broach my difficulties with the topic. I do this through portraying myself as a sneering jerk lobbing unfair criticisms. But then I realized I was a jerk. After this breakthrough, I am free to love the topic, and admit that the only real problem was me.

There’s a reason all my posts hit these same beats–I didn’t want anyone to get mad at me.

Continue reading “Why I’m Sorry About Being Sorry”