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About Ethan Richardson

Ethan Richardson is a contributing staff member for Mockingbird. Born and raised in Lexington, KY, he graduated from the University of Virginia in 2009, majoring in Religious Studies and English. In June of 2011, he finished two years of teaching 5th grade in the inner city of New Orleans, and now lives in Charlottesville, VA and works for Mockingbird along with serving at Christ Episcopal Church.

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Author Archive
    
    Another Week Ends: Data Thugs and Emotional Scientists, René Girard and Johnny Cash, Hurricane Pop-Tarts, Personality Tests, and Mean Houseplants

    Another Week Ends: Data Thugs and Emotional Scientists, René Girard and Johnny Cash, Hurricane Pop-Tarts, Personality Tests, and Mean Houseplants

    1. A mishmash of articles coming our way this week regarding the search for objectivity in the public sphere. First, a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the “replicability crisis” in the field of psychology. If you’re uninitiated, this is the recent (and ongoing) debunking of numerous landmark studies in psychology, debunked […]

    The Jeffersonian Ideal and the Unexpected Solution to Racism

    The Jeffersonian Ideal and the Unexpected Solution to Racism

    As you may know, Mockingbird HQ is situated here in happy, wealthy, intellectual, pastoral Charlottesville, Virginia. When I moved to Charlottesville for college almost 15 years ago, it was considered “America’s Happiest City” and one of the best places in America to raise a family. It still is. For this reason, and others, there is a […]

    Another Week Ends: Aretha Franklin, Robot Lovers, Instagram Repetitions, Submarine Parents, Forever 37, and Forgiving Spouses

    Another Week Ends: Aretha Franklin, Robot Lovers, Instagram Repetitions, Submarine Parents, Forever 37, and Forgiving Spouses

    1. This weekender would have been done so much sooner had I not gotten completely entranced by Aretha Franklin YouTube videos, which I’ll smatter throughout this post. While the Queen of Soul has a litany of songs you have heard for decades, there are so many live performances (and so many stories) (and so many […]

    Anhedonia: The Disease of Happy People

    Anhedonia: The Disease of Happy People

    Falling in love stereotypically brings with it a come-what-may optimism. It is a symptom of what we are feeling so strongly at the present moment. Never in our lives have we felt so magnetized in the present moment than in these with this one person—we can sit and talk until three in the morning, the […]

    Another Week Ends: Startup Churches, Effortless Perfectionists, Food Tribes, Behavioral Economists, and Weak Men

    Another Week Ends: Startup Churches, Effortless Perfectionists, Food Tribes, Behavioral Economists, and Weak Men

    1. What says entrepreneurship like the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church? The subject of this season of Start Up, the popular podcast from the guys at Gimlet Media, is “church planting,” specifically one church plant in Philadelphia, its lead pastor, and the difficulties of getting such a church to self-sufficiency in a certain amount […]

    Another Week Ends: First Reformed, Millennial Gray, Self-Improvement B.S., Getting Back On the Bike (and Off Again), and World Cup Generosity

    Another Week Ends: First Reformed, Millennial Gray, Self-Improvement B.S., Getting Back On the Bike (and Off Again), and World Cup Generosity

    1. A new book out by Will Storr looks at the history of the self-esteem, and its rapid growth in the technological age. Storr’s book, Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us, focuses much of its history on the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA, and places like it, which […]

    The Like Button – Mary Karr

    From Tropic of Squalor, the latest collection of poems by former Mockingbird conference speaker Mary Karr.

    The Like Button

    Back in the before time
    those days of amber
    desire was an inner
    and often ugly thing.
    And if we wanted,
    my brothers and hungry
    sisters, we were oft flung
    far from each other. Think
    tin-cans-and-string far,
    plum-colored-smoke-signal
    far. No web wove the pinpoints
    of ourselves into a map. No
    upward thumb could be pressed
    to say yes or its detractor: no.
    Soon, we may each evolve
    a glow button maybe mid brow,
    so as we pass each other we can vote
    praise or scorn to light up yay
    or nay on a passing stranger’s face
    a thumb. At first the young celebs
    with asses you can serve drinks off
    will rack up zillions of votes
    till we tire of such bodacious butts,
    and then the smart, the brave,
    the strong will take their turns,
    but what if we start to like,
    say, the stout, the schlubby
    neighbor raking leaves or that
    subway sleeper who’s woven
    yellow crime scene tape into
    a jock strap—Police Line: Do
    Not Cross—till all the undeodorized,
    the unloved all their lives, start to feel
    their foreheads blip
    and blip as it becomes hip
    to love the oddest, the most
    perilously lonely. Imagine
    the forever dispossessed
    transforming as they feel the thumb
    of yes impress itself
    into the very flesh.

    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 […]

    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 […]

    What They Don't Show You On <i>Fixer Upper</i>

    What They Don’t Show You On Fixer Upper

    In keeping with the millennial stereotype of rustic appeal, my wife and I bought our first home this summer, a “fixer-upper” with a lot of character, wet insulation, and dead birds. We took a selfie out front, made a list of future projects, hired a contractor, personally knocked some walls out, and let some light […]

    Transgressors, Transgression, and the Perilous Bridge of Forgiveness – A Conference Breakout Preview

    In this past week’s Another Week Ends, I mentioned very briefly the newest season of Invisibilia, one of our go-to podcasts. That particular episode, “The Pattern Problem,” tells the story of a woman with a seriously checkered past, some her fault, some not at all. She’s the child of addicts, an ex-addict and ex-felon herself, and yet she’s made an against-all-odds comeback: after a couple stints in prison, she gets into law school and is now studying for the bar. A panel of judges overseeing the bar in her state is deciding whether or not her past precludes her from such an unlikely future.

    I won’t give away what ends up happening, but you can see where the focus on “patterns” comes into play. Does her criminal past foreshadow the future? Can we really be sure she’s changed? Patterns provide ways for people to make sober decisions. They are the conditional protective measures for how we decide to invest our time, our money, and in this case, our forgiveness. Courts as institutions are not known to be particularly forgiving—it’s not their job—but the same patterns are at work for us, in our minds, in the ways we read the news and process the actions of our strangers and friends alike.

    Human beings don’t just dole out our forgiveness to anyone. To the contrary, unforgiveness is tended to like a formal garden. Each garden has hard boundaries with designated entrances, and strict guidelines for keeping its delicate order alive. It has to be that way. Otherwise, the garden would be indistinguishable from the chaos surrounding it. I am not trying to be glib. This is really how it has to be.

    At the same time, social science has made it clear that unforgiveness will, in the end, kill you. For all the sensible order our fine gardens provide, they are solitary places, kept alive by stress, numbness to intruders, and estrangement. In other words, unforgiveness may simplify the “pattern problem,” but forgiveness, we are told by social science (and by the New Testament), is the way to new life.

    In this breakout, we will talk about the psychology of forgiveness, its proven biological and psychosocial benefits, its various meanings in our culture, and the real, totally practical hope it expresses in the Bible.

    Register for the 11th Annual Mockingbird Conference here! Miss out, and you’ll never forgive yourself…

    Another Week Ends: Jean Vanier, Amen Dunes, Father Freeman, Invisibilia, 1 Corinthians (Ortberg Translation), and A Flock of (Hotel) Seagulls

    Another Week Ends: Jean Vanier, Amen Dunes, Father Freeman, Invisibilia, 1 Corinthians (Ortberg Translation), and A Flock of (Hotel) Seagulls

    1. Stephen Freeman, at it again, this time translating the story of the rich man and the eye of the needle. Freeman offers that maybe we should read the pronouncement today as saying that it is impossible for the middle-class man to make it to heaven, not just the rich man. Freeman argues that whenever […]