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Friday, July 12, 2019

Infected by Desire with Mark Galli


Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

Infected by Desire

I wish I had seen this essay, “Catching Desire,” before I finished the final draft of my book on desiring God. I’ll just have to write an online essay extolling its virtues. Its basic point is that desire is something that is caught from others. We wonder why it’s so crucial for those who want to love God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind to need to be in Christian community—well, one reason is that desire is not only caught but spreads in us as we associate with those similarly subject to this “infection.”
We often get infected by the desires of people around us. This should not surprise anyone. We also often start yawning when people around us yawn. And we get infected by the emotions of others—a film can seem much funnier if everyone in the audience is laughing out loud. Our emotions are influenced by the emotions of others. And our desires are influenced by the desires of others.
If this larger subject—the need for a deeper love of and desire for God—interests you, read my next installment in The Elusive Presence series on how too many churches have sidelined two principal means by which we can witness the love of God in church.
What to Do at the DMV: Pray
I will say, my recent experiences at the local Illinois DMV have been positive, both efficient and friendly. Much different than my experiences when I first arrived in Illinois 30 years ago. But there are still some places where a trip to the DMV is a trip to purgatory. I thought “A Litany for the DMV” might be the perfect way to spend the time. It might even earn one some merits.
The New Iconoclasts
I generally eschew outrage. There is so much to be outraged about, it could become a full-time job. It’s also bad for my character. But once in a while I indulge, as I did in reading about San Francisco’s board of education deciding to destroy a mural, a magnificent work of art, because it hurts people’s feelings today. Read it, and then ask for forgiveness.
Flannery O’Connor Redux
I’ve admitted earlier that I have the hardest time getting through Flannery O’Connor’s novels. When I said that here, I received a few kind emails suggesting why I should like her fiction, and how I could better appreciate it. Didn’t work. But I haven’t given up! She’s one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century, and I’m determined to appreciate her! This short essay, “The Story Behind Flannery O’Connor’s Stories” is prompting me to try again.
Good News in the Screen-Time Battle
Just when you think the world is way too addicted to screens and social media and the internet in general, along comes a new trend: “The Board Gaming Boom: Reviving Face-to-Face Play in a Digital Age.” This reminds me of an observation early on in the age of the internet, when people worried that virtual churches would make the physical church disappear. The observation was this: People really like being with other people—it’s the way God created us. Virtual reality may put a dent in that, but I’m not convinced it can eradicate it.
Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

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