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While we are currently at our maximum number of regular contributors, Mockingbird is happy to publish quality writing from guests. To submit something for consideration, simply email it to info@mbird.com. We can’t promise anything, but we will take a look. Naturally, the best way to get a sense of what we are looking for is to read the site.

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    The Road Beaten Hard

    The Road Beaten Hard

    This one was written by Maddy Green. 

    By the time I’ve finished breakfast, I’ve planned out the whole day, to the half-hour, for both myself and my spouse. I’ve mapped out the car schedule to be most fuel-efficient and to maximize ride-sharing to and from work; I’ve squeezed in a grocery shop and several other not-so-pressing errands I’ve decided “must be done today.” And I’ve already read my devotional (duh), so I know technically that the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus pointing out that even striving towards a full and total adherence to the Law of the Hebrew Bible will…

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    For God So Loved the World Cup

    For God So Loved the World Cup

    This post was written by our World Cup correspondent, Sam Bush.

    Every four years, there is a striking contrast between the Olympics and the World Cup. The older child (born in 1896)—noble, beautiful, self-aware—verses the wilder youngster who would rather skip the opening ceremonies and just play the game. We congratulate the Olympics for making the world a better place, but people seem to care more about the Cup. Why? I think because it’s more fun. The closing ceremonies of the Olympics is the commencement address that no one remembers, but the whistle for that first kick-off is like the bell on the last…

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    Theorizing, Grieving, and Feeling Scared: Grappling with Modern Discourses on Suicide

    Theorizing, Grieving, and Feeling Scared: Grappling with Modern Discourses on Suicide

    Very grateful for this piece by Sarah Gates. 

    Almost five years ago, my father died from suicide. The violence of his death, and the suffering that preceded it, marked the tearing of a temple curtain in my life. Since then, I’ve found myself in positions I never imagined that I’d be in—traumatized by certain violent images, angered by misuse of mental illness terminology, and sitting, severely uncomfortably, on my hands as coworkers have confoundedly speculated about why suicide happens.

    As high-profile suicides of seemingly happy and successful individuals continue to catch us off guard, people want to understand it and figure it…

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    Not What We Seem: Christian Oxymorons and Imposters in Church

    Not What We Seem: Christian Oxymorons and Imposters in Church

    The following reflection was written by the Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase.

    “We are treated as imposters, and yet are true.” – 2 Corinthians 6:8

    The above sentence seems oxymoronic at first glance. St. Paul says that he and his companions are “treated as imposters, and yet are true.” St. Paul was speaking to a divided church in Corinth; one that had broken into factions. Each claimed the one true faith, while consigning all others to the status of imposters. So St. Paul says that while some of his readers in Corinth think he’s an imposter, he’s in fact truly proclaiming to them…

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    Heavenly Bodies: Irreverence, Faith, and Art

    Heavenly Bodies: Irreverence, Faith, and Art

    This one was written by Sarabeth Weszely.

    There’s been a bit of a buzz, at least around New York City, about the recent Met Gala and its corresponding exhibit, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” “Heavenly Bodies” is the largest Costume Institute exhibition yet, split between three separate exhibits in the Met and Met Cloisters. Most of the designers are practicing or former Catholics, who, with the Vatican’s permission and aid, worked for over a year around the theme of Catholicism’s belief, tradition, hierarchy, and history.

    Some Catholics (and non-Catholics) have accused the Met of cultural appropriation and irreverence due to…

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    The Real Battle Lines in The Incredibles 2

    The Real Battle Lines in The Incredibles 2

    This one was written by Jeremiah Lawson. Spoilers ahead!

    Brad Bird’s films may be some of the most misunderstood animated films released under the name of Disney/Pixar, thanks to film critics who, over against any of Bird’s own public statements, insist that he embraces and endorses an Ayn-Rand-style objectivism. There have been inevitable attempts to read Bird’s new film The Incredibles 2 as a state of the union film. There have also been reviews proposing that Bird’s new film is trying to say so many things it may not be saying anything; or that the politics of the film seem hard…

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    Turn with Me to The Book of Ryan

    Turn with Me to The Book of Ryan

    This one was written by Blake Nail.

    The people of the Bible are often described as heroes. We see this in secular culture, where the characters of the “good” book are often mocked for “goody good” morals and ideals, which they supposedly manifest. We see this even in our churches. (At least from my limited experience in the land of heroes of Orange County, California.) Christians often think the Bible is full of these highly moral people who achieved a status that we should aim for. Obviously, this leaves churchgoers with two options: feeling broken and beat-down by the Law, or self-righteous…

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    Comma, Grace

    Comma, Grace

    A wonderful, grammatical reflection, by Andrew Taylor-Troutman:

    I was taking a mid-afternoon break at my favorite coffee shop. The brew was dark, organic, and fair trade; the scone, buttery and soft with little treasures of cranberries buried beneath the surface; and the people-watching, exquisite. Take the guy with the cryptic tattoo on the back of his neck. I was trying to crack the code when, just a couple of tables away, a young woman exclaimed to her coffee partner, “And I was like, comma, you just don’t get it!”

    What exactly was not gotten I will never know, for she dropped her…

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    Sharing Hospital Joy and Misery

    Sharing Hospital Joy and Misery

    This one comes to us from Bryant Trinh.

    I often find myself in the humor and satire section of The New Yorker. I absolutely love a good laugh and am usually labelled as the troll in one of my circles of friends. However, as I was perusing, I ran across a piece that was delivered as a commencement address earlier this month at UCLA’s Medical School by Atul Gawande — a surgeon, public-health researcher, and author of the best-seller Being Mortal.

    Growing up in an Asian-American household, it isn’t surprising that at one point or another I was aspiring to…

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    The Role of Art (Or, the Limitations of Self-Help) in Life and Work

    The Role of Art (Or, the Limitations of Self-Help) in Life and Work

    This one comes to us from Mark Casper.

    Recently I came across an article in The New Yorker that nearly bowled me over. It’s called Improving Ourselves to Death by Alexandra Schwartz, and it thoroughly outlines the negative consequences of living in a “self-improvement culture.” You may remember the post that appeared on Mockingbird earlier this year about it.

    At one point, Schwartz quotes a line from British journalist Will Storr, author of Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us. “We’re living in an age of perfectionism, and perfection is the idea that kills,” Storr writes. “People are suffering and dying under…

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    On Deserts: What Sexual Assault, Star Wars, and Salvation Have in Common

    On Deserts: What Sexual Assault, Star Wars, and Salvation Have in Common

    We’re very grateful to share this powerful piece by C. Marcus Odden.

    Editor’s note: the following recounts a story of child abuse and should be read with discretion.

    Alone Together In Our Third Places

    Alone Together In Our Third Places

    The following was written by Rachel Gaffin.

    It’s 9 o’clock on a Tuesday night. Breezy pop-punk spills out of the speaker system of the coffee shop I share with thirteen other people. All but two sit in front of laptops; most are plugged into headphones. The man across from me reads a purple tome titled Theories of Truth. We avoid eye contact.

    In this silent yet soundtracked space, people politely vie for real estate near the outlets, getting up only to go to the bathroom or maybe to order a second latte. In short, the perfect place for me to write. And…

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