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Churches Dying for a Laugh

Churches Dying for a Laugh

Another glorious glimpse into The Mockingbird’s newest issue on Humor, this one from the Rev. Aaron Zimmerman. Copies can be ordered here, subscriptions here. 

“It’s a sin to bore a kid with the Gospel.” — Young Life saying

“The comedian always doubles down.” —...

The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

In our house, emotions were embraced. I was never told that “boys don’t cry;” it was never implied that men hide their emotions. When your dad is a professional opera-singing pastor-psychologist, and your mother a high-powered hospital executive, you get different messages about gender norms than most. As if you...

This Is Not My Fight Song

This Is Not My Fight Song

I was hungover on my wedding day.

I say this not because I think it’s cute—and certainly my mom and sister, who drove me to the salon to get our hair did while I retched into a bucket in the backseat (it was one of the greeting baskets we gave to...

The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)

The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)

The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world are not all they’re cracked up to be. However much we want to believe we live a coherent narrative, where the endless succession of events of life have clear meaning, the stories we tell are invariably based upon...

At Long Last...The Humor Issue!

At Long Last…The Humor Issue!

Ladies and gentlemen, wisecracks, cornballs, jesters, and twerps! After what has felt like eons of soliciting writers, fielding interviews, landing interviews, losing interviews, editing, copy editing, proofing, and an entire magazine REDESIGN, we have finally reached the best part. Childbirth. Out of the womb and into the world. After all,...

Announcing Unmapped by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips!

Announcing Unmapped by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips!

We couldn’t be more excited to announce Mockingbird’s latest book project, a sprawling and poignant “spiritual memoir duet” by two longtime Mockingbird writers, Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips. This book features a patchwork of personal essays, pocket liturgies, and pseudo-fictional plays, and not a dull moment between them.

Stephanie Phillips and...
2018 NYC CONFERENCE RECORDINGS

2018 NYC CONFERENCE RECORDINGS

Thank you to everyone who helped put on this year’s conference in NYC, especially our invaluable friends at Calvary St. George’s and The Pixie and the Scout! What a wonderful time it was.

Click on the image to subscribe

For the recordings this time around, we’ve decided to launch a brand-new...

Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

Spoilers ahead.

Consider yourself warned.

For ten years now Marvel has been patiently building a universe, populating it with heroes and heroines equal parts human and super-powered, propelling all of them towards a titanomachy we imagined they could be prepared for but in reality are largely powerless against.

Avengers: Infinity War offers our...

Latest entries

Another Week Ends: The Capacity for Every Crime, the Unimportance of Being Cool, Violence Ad Infinitum, Defiled Lunch Meat, the Dallas Street Choir, and the Essential Anthropology of Philip Roth

Another Week Ends: The Capacity for Every Crime, the Unimportance of Being Cool, Violence Ad Infinitum, Defiled Lunch Meat, the Dallas Street Choir, and the Essential Anthropology of Philip Roth

1. Lots of good reading material for this Memorial Day weekend! Our first article—a ripe one 😉 by philosopher Crispin Sartwell, for the New York Times—defends the concept of original sin, from a secular standpoint. And while the era of extreme division and gun violence might seem the perfect stage for the original sin renaissance, Sartwell, importantly, begins his argument not with everyone else’s problems but with the man in the mirror. (I’ve excerpted a good majority of the piece here; it’s all quite good. Hear an extended convo about it on this week’s Mockingcast!)

When I look within, I see…

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A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

This is a follow-up to a recent piece titled The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)—offering the other side of the coin.

Paul wasn’t much of a storyteller. For him, the advent of Christ was principally a revelation of something unforeseen at a human level. It was an invasion of liberation into an enslaved cosmos ruled by the powers of sin and death. This controlling metaphor of revelation colors his thought such that Scripture itself becomes not antecedent, horizontal events that set into motion a story, but prophetic testimony of God’s unconditioned, vertical intervention into the world.

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For Those We Love, A Healthy Dose of Pessimism

For Those We Love, A Healthy Dose of Pessimism

Alain de Botton explains why we are cruelest to the ones we are closest to. Most of it has to do with the fact that we have such devastatingly high expectations for them to meet our devastatingly deep neediness. A section on “Pessimism” from The School of Life’s book, Relationships. 

No one can disappoint and upset us as much as the person we’re in a relationship with–for of no one do we have higher hopes. It’s because we are so dangerously optimistic that we call them a c***, a s***head, or a weakling. The intensity of the disappointment and frustration is dependent…

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Correcting Joy in Swimming Pools and Pulpits: Do Y'all Need a Hug?

Correcting Joy in Swimming Pools and Pulpits: Do Y’all Need a Hug?

One of my least favorite parental duties is swimming lessons. They are tedious and trying and the teachers are far too patient. When I was a kid we took swim lessons everyday for two weeks. They dumped us in the pool. We gasped for air. And then we swam.

Nowadays, you take your child to a Swim School. They let the kids “acclimate to the water” as though they are encountering an alien substance. We are on lesson three and still have not put our head in the water. And by “we” I mean my daughter. But it kind of feels…

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The Weight of Silence

The Weight of Silence

This review of A Quiet Place comes to us from Sam Guthrie.

How do you survive in a world where you’re being hunted by blind monsters that possess a keen sense of hearing? According to the box office hit, A Quiet Place, you plan really well. You prepare, train, and pray that your children don’t make a sound, that life remains muffled, and you know where and when it’s safe to whisper.

In a post-apocalyptic world where a blind alien species has all but wiped out the human race, the Abbott family (parents played by real-life power-couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) has…

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Boycotting Communion (& Other Tales from a Divided Church and World) – RJ Heijmen

From our recent conference in NYC (themed “The Grace of God in Divided Times”), here’s Thursday night’s opening talk with Mockingcast host RJ Heijmen.

Boycotting Communion (& Other Tales from a Divided Church and World) – RJ Heijmen from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

We Are All Sad Ben Affleck on a Beach with a Back Tattoo

We Are All Sad Ben Affleck on a Beach with a Back Tattoo

When I first clicked through to the New Yorker piece, “The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck,” I’ll admit that it felt a little bit like seeing the sad ex-boyfriend of a close friend. The momentary thrill of schadenfreude: “you’ve done her wrong, and look at how that worked out for you.” Ben Affleck is not looking so great these days, and I feel a pang of satisfaction on behalf of his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner.

To be clear, Jennifer Garner is not my close friend, but she feels like a girlfriend to so many of us who came of age in the…

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LeBron, Rest, and Execution, and Will

LeBron, Rest, and Execution, and Will

I ran into a fascinating juxtaposition in a fascinating (for a difference reason) article recently. The article in question, an ESPN piece by Brian Windhorst, is about LeBron James “perfecting the art of resting while playing.” If that sounds counter-intuitive, it probably should. We’re used to thinking of athletes “giving 100%” (if not more; there’s always that mythical “110%” that people are always claiming to reach) while they’re on the court, field, pitch, or whatever. Then, they come out of the game and rest until they’re ready to go back in and give it 100% again. Of course, in sports…

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I Think We're Alone Now

I Think We’re Alone Now

We live in an age of loneliness.

As David Zahl pointed out at the recent NYC Mockingbird Conference, the age of anxiety has given way to an age of loneliness, the effects of which can be felt by everyone.

The U.K. has appointed a Minister of Loneliness.

We are divided from each other in myriad ways. We have built silos inside our silos and now we are all standing alone wondering where everybody else went.

The problem of loneliness is not a simple one and it does not have a simple solution. While some are quick to blame social media and technology, I…

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Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

This little piece comes to us from the Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase.

In the film “20th Century Women,” there’s a compelling scene between a mother and her teenaged son. The mother has just brought him home from the hospital; he was rushed there after playing a game with his friends that went wrong. The game involved him hyperventilating while another boy stood behind him, wrapping his arms around his torso, and squeezing. Which caused him to pass out. Normally, a person comes to just a few seconds after this, but in this case, the boy remained unconscious. By the time his distraught…

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Another Week Ends: Tom Wolfe, Royal Weddings, Unlikely Hospice Workers, Babylon Bee Book, New Marcionism, and More Loneliness

Another Week Ends: Tom Wolfe, Royal Weddings, Unlikely Hospice Workers, Babylon Bee Book, New Marcionism, and More Loneliness

1. As far as “theology of the cross” illustrations go, this one is unforgettable. A pastoral care initiative in a prison’s hospice wing, led entirely by fellow inmates, most of whom are convicted murderers serving a life sentence. Suleika Jaouad tells the story in this week’s New York Times Magazine, about the Pastoral Care Service Workers, a cohort of about two dozen inmates who have been trained and tested to provide end-of-life care for the sick and dying in the California Medical Center:

A job in the hospice is not easy to come by. To qualify, Lyman and the others first…

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Why Is Jesus Slumming with That Denomination?

Why Is Jesus Slumming with That Denomination?

This one comes to us from Chad Bird.

Let’s start with the obvious: Christianity is an outwardly fractured religion. You’d think Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and bloody each other’s noses over, like, Every. Single. Thing.” Just for perspective, note that there are far more denominations than there are languages spoken around the globe. We’ve out-Babelled Babel.

Even the most unrealistic optimist doesn’t believe this will improve. After all, we’ve been on this kick for 965 years. Humpty Dumpty has been on the ground for a long, long time. And all the king’s councils and all the king’s ecumenists,…

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