Sunday’s Best: FoxTrot on Fire

While it’s unfortunate that we don’t get new FoxTrot strips throughout the week, I’m glad that we at least get something new from the mind and pen of Bill Amend on Sundays.  Here’s today’s FoxTrot strip from

FoxTrot MarshmallowsIt’s fun seeing Paige one-up her brothers.  Which also happened in a last-panel turn last Sunday.

FoxTrot WishesI always like season-inspired strips.  And Sunday strips help bring out the sense of the season at its best.

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We’re just over one week into the new school year (at least class-wise).  Things haven’t quite settled into a rhythm, but that will happen eventually.  It’s always interesting to see the personalities of each class, how the same course content (and even the same jokes) get a different response based on time of day and mix of students.  Not having the chapel piece has been nice for me, has opened up some mental space and kept Monday’s from being overly-packed.  We’re gearing up for our final England trip evening meeting, which is exciting.  I got more of the itinerary in from the tour company Friday, which was great.

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I’ve obviously been struggling with consistency with this site lately.  Blame it on the summer, I suppose.  I’ve also been spending good time with great friends, which is a more-than-decent trade-off.  My reading has also slowed down dramatically.  At this rate, I hope to finish Broken Homes by the end of the month.  I’ve got one essay left in Cavadini’s Augustine collection to annotate.  I just started reading a book that goes a good distance in repudiating some of Augustine’s weakest theological points.  Will be a good contrast for me, I think.

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Sunday’s Best: Better Than a Security Blanket

There were a couple of great comic strips today.  But by nature of it being a Chuck and Patty under the tree talking, the classic Peanuts wins the day.  As is often the case, Charles Schulz captures something so simple and profound about childhood while reminding us of the sadness that comes from loss.

Peanuts Back Seat(image from

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Sunday’s Best: When Calvin Doesn’t Know

Maybe the only thing better than when Calvin is a know-it-all is when he talks to his dad about things he doesn’t know.  Case in point, today’s classic Calvin and Hobbes strip by Bill Watterson.

Dad's Knowledge(image from

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SHIELD’S Sixth Season End

Marvel just announced that the seventh season of Agents of SHIELD will be its last.  The show is such an odd duck.  It never quite got the interconnectedness with the Marvel Cinematic Universe that we were hoping for.  At the same time, it never got the interconntectedness with other Marvel properties that you find with the DC heroes on the CW.  Even still, ABC has kept it around, giving it time to create its own twisty world full of interesting stories.  The show’s six season is about to come to an end, and what an interesting season it has been.  Two odd storylines, one on-world and another off, converged a few weeks ago into something quite different from both.  Here’s the Comic-Con trailer that points to how things might wrap up.

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Wendell Berry and “The Commitment That Doesn’t See Any End”

Wendell BerryAt the end of a recent interview with Amanda Petrusich of The New Yorker, Wendell Berry characterized the life of faith with some interesting wording.  When asked about religion, particularly in terms of his parents’ faith and his upbringing, Berry responded:

I attended church under protest. I disliked enclosure, and as I came to consciousness I objected to the belittlement of earthly life I heard too often—but not from my parents. I heard the King James Version quoted and read, and I’m still attached to it. To me, it’s not just an influence on English, some of that is English. What Ruth says to Naomi? And Luke’s passage about the birth of Jesus, and John’s account of Mary’s visit to the tomb—my goodness, that’s my language.

I tried to get along without it, because I thought I was going to be a modern person. But you can’t think about the issues we’re talking about without finally having to talk about mystery. You’ll finally have to talk about the commitment that doesn’t see any end. That’s a life that you are not going to be able to prescribe, that finally you’re not in charge of. I think my dad was speaking religiously when he said, “I’ve had a wonderful life and I’ve had nothing to do with it.” That was a submission.

“You’ll finally have to talk about the commitment that doesn’t see any end.”  What a wonderfully sober way of thinking about the Christian life.  Don’t get me wrong: it’s clear to me that there are some point about the Christian faith that Berry and I probably don’t see eye to eye on, but this descriptor is not one of them.  Sure: there is an “end” to the Christian life.  But the road between here and there can often look or feel description-less, far more open-ended in certain ways that are difficult to articulate because life is a mess from our end unpredictable.  The life of faith requires a certain kind of openness.  Not an openness that says “anything goes.”  That’s a mistake that will shipwreck you.  It’s an openness captured in a great hymn: wherever He leads, I’ll go, even if it is through the valley of the shadow of death.

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There’s a lot more of value in the interview, by the way.  Berry says interesting and challenging things about limits and marriage and joy, all worth reflecting on.  I might come back to some of those things later.  But next I want to go to a recent First Things article and what it says about one of our primary guides on this commitment without visible end.

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Sunday’s Best: How Does Your Garden Grow?

In this week’s all-new FoxTrot by Bill Amend, Jason Fox seems to be master of both the garden and the market.

Jason's GardenI imagine that most of us have something like that garden, something others ask us to steward that we would just as soon do away with or use as leverage.  Heh.

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The school year officially starts up for me this week.  My first official meeting for the year is Tuesday.  Thankfully, it’s a lunch meeting.  Then Wednesday is a full day with all kinds of moving pieces.  The goal is to do well through Friday evening, which ends with our freshman orientation.

This is also a big week of change.  My church’s new pastor flies in tomorrow with his family.  They’ll jump right in next Sunday.  It’s crazy to think back on the pastor search process.  I am modestly hopeful for the future.  And that modesty isn’t a bad thing; it’s a realization of what is possible while thinking well about what is needed.  Beyond that, our new high school Christian ministries coordinator starts.  Granted, it won’t look like a full hand-off for some time, but that’s okay.  Beyond that, my new title and responsibilities at work will start in earnest.  That’s on my mind a lot right now, too.

The summer hasn’t quite ended as I thought it would.  Things have been a little more irregular for me since returning from Tennessee.  The routine is slowly returning, though, which is good.  If you look over this site from the last few weeks, you know that I haven’t produced much by way of writing.  Which isn’t to imply that I have nothing to say.  Quite the contrary.  I’m just looking for the right words.

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San Diego Comic-Con was this weekend.  There were a few interesting announcements for me.  I’ll probably share out some trailers over the next few days for a couple of things (mostly TV shows).  The comics news was okay: nothing too collection-shattering.  The Marvel Studios announcement was interesting if not somewhat predictable.  Phase Four is very different from all things previous, both in content and in medium (Disney+ makes things interesting).  I think we’re looking at a couple of years of enjoyable, somewhat low-stakes fare.  Time for some world (re)building, which is good.  I imagine MCU movie fans will get to experience something that long-time comic readers have come to accept about how things move on from major events/epochs like the Infinity Saga.

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Sunday’s Best: What’s That in Your Hand

Always a lesson for Calvin, it seems.  Another classic Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strip by Bill Watterson that is product of its time that points to truth great and small.  And the kid’s facial expressions are amazing, as always.

Calvin's Water BalloonsThe summer, at least as the school calendar calls it, is quickly coming to an end.  After a good trip back to Tennessee, I’ve spent the last few days taking care of odds-and-ends while slowly nudging my way back into work.  I well remember the frustrations of last fall, frustrations that I would like to avoid as the new school year begins.  I have a school trip to England and Scotland to look forward to, of course, and that brings me a great deal of joy and good hope for a mid-semester break.  But there’s a lot to get done even before things really get started.

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I’m about halfway through Whispers Underground, the third book in Been Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series.  It’s fun having a still-running series of novels to catch up on.  The series follows policeman Peter Grant as he discovers some level of magical ability.  “CSI meets Harry Potter,” some have said.  Perhaps the way the series is most like Harry Potter is the deepening sense of history that comes with each book.  Whispers is a good recovery after a somewhat discursive second volume.

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Now that Spider-Man: Far From Home has dropped, there’s not much at the theater to see.  I might make my way to see Yesterday if the timing of the week allows it.  I’ve no real interest in Disney remakes, so neither Aladdin nor Lion King are real options for me.  Far From Home was a good way to end the season, though, a good and funny and intense story with great effects.

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