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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: Minimizers, Teachers & Solvers, Super Bowl Winners & Self-Help Fixers, Unhappy Undergrads and Cradle Episcopalians

    Another Week Ends: Minimizers, Teachers & Solvers, Super Bowl Winners & Self-Help Fixers, Unhappy Undergrads and Cradle Episcopalians

    1. Kate Bowler’s new op-ed in the New York Times this week is one for the ages. Bowler, who we’ve written about before, was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at 35, having just had a baby. She is also a professor at Duke Seminary, her research and first book on the history of the American Prosperity Gospel. In this op-ed she tackles the difficulty of conversations with someone like herself, how she represents the “Angel of Death” to most people, which prompts friends and family and acquaintances to awkwardly stumble around a difficult reality they spend much of their…

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    Another Week Ends: Breakfast with Dads, Dead Memoirist Romance, Twitter's Mercilessness, Sarah Silverman's Forgiveness, Metric Fixation, and the Wonder of Grace

    Another Week Ends: Breakfast with Dads, Dead Memoirist Romance, Twitter’s Mercilessness, Sarah Silverman’s Forgiveness, Metric Fixation, and the Wonder of Grace

    Click on the poster to see more about the Tyler Conference in February!

    1. Lots of amazing stuff hitting our inbox this week, including this news story from a middle school in Dallas. After deciding to hold a “Breakfast with Dad” event at the school, teachers worried that many of the 150 students who signed up for the breakfast would be without their fathers. So they took to Facebook and Twitter, asking for 50 male volunteers to come in their stead for the fatherless boys. Amazingly, SIX HUNDRED dads came.

    ‘I will never forget witnessing the young students surrounded by supportive…

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    A Genealogy of Wastrels

    A Genealogy of Wastrels

    Another great one from the Advent devotional, Watch for the Light. This one was written by Gail Godwin about the precariously long lineage recounted in Matthew’s Gospel, which moves from broken promise to broken promise, and finally ending with the Promised One.

    …These three minutes worth of tongue twisting names contain the essential theology of the Old and New Testaments for the whole Church, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant alike.

    Now that’s a pretty bold and sweeping ecumenical statement. But Brown tells us Zwingli was already preaching it back during the Reformation. Zwingli preached that Matthew’s genealogy contained the essential theology of…

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    Another Week Ends: Christmas Tree Frappes, Scrabble Therapy, Self-Esteem, Teenagers, Tech Angst, the Religion of Self-Hatred, and the Heroism of Tonya Harding

    Another Week Ends: Christmas Tree Frappes, Scrabble Therapy, Self-Esteem, Teenagers, Tech Angst, the Religion of Self-Hatred, and the Heroism of Tonya Harding

    1. A great story coming out of Modern Love this week, from Christie Tate, who talks about her ongoing conflation of relationships with accomplishment and success. After serially dating addicts and abusers, she starts going to a therapy group, and slowly comes to grips with the really vital ingredient: vulnerability. With the help of her group (and her therapist), she met her husband with whom she has a healthy marriage. Except for when her husband beat her at Scrabble. Losing at Scrabble, she soon realized, became an abreaction of sorts, a lens into all her previous ways of looking at…

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    Another Week Ends: Grindelwald and Kierkegaard, Homer and the Other, Faith and Fear, Athletica and Aging

    Another Week Ends: Grindelwald and Kierkegaard, Homer and the Other, Faith and Fear, Athletica and Aging

    1. The National Review published a take on the Roy Moore scandal that focuses less on the man’s misdeeds and more on the guiding theology that Moore’s Christianity espouses. David French’s article suggests there are two competing temptations within the Church today, one of which is total cultural assimilation (“the Church becomes the world, and the logic for its distinct existence disappears”) and the other being its opposite: the sectoring off of Christendom into a virtue haven for the righteous. This, French argues, is the Christianity of Roy Moore, “a form of hyper-legalism as a firewall to protect your family…

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    On Acting Like A Child: The Valuable Lesson of Regression

    On Acting Like A Child: The Valuable Lesson of Regression

    In his Introductory Lectures to psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud used a very simple analogy to explain the relationship between the id (our animal instinct) and the ego (our common sense). He described it to be like the relationship between a rider and a horse, which sounds simple enough. The animal is the id, the rider atop the animal is the ego. What was, and still is, unpopular about this analogy is that, for Freud, the horse—not the human—is the one in charge. Much as the rider may have the pretense of guiding the horse forward, to the destination he or she…

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    Another Week Ends: Anger at God, Tyrannical Histories, Pitmaster Preachers, Rom-Com Females, Money Metrics, and Here I Still Stand

    Another Week Ends: Anger at God, Tyrannical Histories, Pitmaster Preachers, Rom-Com Females, Money Metrics, and Here I Still Stand

    Bonnie Poon Zahl has an amazing interview in the Salvation Army magazine about the psychology of religion and anger at God. Bonnie, who wrote an amazing essay in our Mental Health Issue on attachment theory, here discusses the link between religious life and the life of the mind. Incredibly wise, she notes the fear Christians have of expressing their negative feelings and uncertainties towards God, very often because they have learned that such emotions mean a lack of faith. To the contrary, she says, such invitations to honesty comes directly from God:

    God gave us emotions as important cues. We need…

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    Kicking the Dog: The Not-So-Subtle Art of Displacement

    Kicking the Dog: The Not-So-Subtle Art of Displacement

    This begins a short mini-series on the wide world of defense mechanisms—how you and I do our very best to cope with the realities of pain.

    We all have our defense mechanisms. In psychodynamic terms, these are the ways our egos fend off stressors—situations or circumstances or, you know, very very rarely, people that conjure realities we just can’t handle. Sometimes these stressors waylay us with personal condemnation, sometimes they demolish a sacred belief we hold dear, sometimes they are random, traumatic events. Other times, the stressors aren’t bad: there’s an exciting new career opportunity or it’s a busy time of…

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    Another Week Ends: Sincerity, Repentance, Beatitudes, Michelin Stars, Hard Leisure, and Hard-Won Tribalism

    Another Week Ends: Sincerity, Repentance, Beatitudes, Michelin Stars, Hard Leisure, and Hard-Won Tribalism

    1. Mark Galli is at his best in his article, “Whatever Became of Repentance?” In a time riddled with righteous anger and categorical division on almost every level, it makes sense how the 500-year anniversary could be co-opted as a central reminder of the power of the Reformer and the Protest. Galli points the conversation in another direction entirely, towards a movement within rather than a movement without. Repentance, in fact, was the dawn of the Lutheran Protest. The return to the good news of true Christianity, Luther argued, was paved in the language of repentance. And as Galli notes,…

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    Skin in the Game

    Skin in the Game

    Wherever you get your news, you have surely read about (or skipped over) the ongoing National Anthem disputes among NFL teams on game day, a controversy fanned ever higher by President Trump’s continued Twitter-complaints about it. Media outlets have, of course, come around to sample their own spin on the conversation.

    And then, just yesterday, news broke about the FBI sting operation on multiple NCAA men’s basketball programs, allegedly in cahoots with sportswear giant Adidas for all kinds of illegalities, not least the funneling of hundreds of thousands of dollars to high school prospects’ families, in exchange for their contracts, both…

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    Rollo May's One Paradox of Courage

    Rollo May’s One Paradox of Courage

    An important (if not challenging) definition of courage from existential psychologist Rollo May, brother of writer and addiction counselor, Gerald May. This comes from Rollo’s famous book, The Courage to Create—a title dedicated to Paul Tillich’s The Courage to Be—and this section is a description of what May calls the paradox of courage. Courage, as he sees it, goes far beyond strong wills and resolution. It comes from the French word “coeur” or heart. It means something akin to being “full-hearted,” and therefore is incomplete without its ugly counterpart, fear or doubt. Replace “courage” with “belief,” and you have a…

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    Another Week Ends: Houston, Taylor Swift, Smartphones, Broken Window Policing, the Silicon Valley Hustle, and the Shape of Water

    Another Week Ends: Houston, Taylor Swift, Smartphones, Broken Window Policing, the Silicon Valley Hustle, and the Shape of Water

    1. A gut-punch for all of us smartphone-using Millennials (or parents thereof). The Atlantic’s massive feature piece, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” painstakingly catalogs all the ways that our devices have ruined the mental health outlook for today’s young people, referred to in the essay as “iGen” teenagers. These teenagers, who were born after the birth of the internet, and have had access to iPhones and similar “screen time” since early childhood, have staggering rates of depression and loneliness—moving towards what the author, psychologist Jean Twenge, describes as “the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.”

    Even when a seismic…

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