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Mockingbird is devoted to connecting the Christian message with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.

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    A New Recipe: Grace in Family Life

    A New Recipe: Grace in Family Life

    This is an edited version of a talk given by the famed child psychologist, Dorothy Martyn, at the second annual Mockingbird Conference in 2009 and republished in our most recent issue of the magazine, the Deja Vu Issue. She died in January 2018. I suppose that you are, in some way or another, engaged in […]

    A Rock that Cracked

    From Lloyd Ogilvie’s Ask Him Anything:

    “What can you do when you’ve failed and denied what you believe?” This question and others like it came out of the heart of a person who had stumbled badly. He felt he had no right to pray, and when he tried, he felt self-incrimination and condemnation. We all deny our Lord in so many little ways, but what do you do when the denial contradicts everything you’ve stood for and believed? Is there a way back? How does the Lord deal with failures?

    The answer is vividly portrayed in the way Jesus Christ dealt with Simon Peter’s denial. Peter could not handle the anguish of his cowardly denial. He had to block it out, try to forget; but his efforts were futile. Was that why he now could not bear to look Jesus in the eye?

    What adventure Peter had known following the Master! He remembered with self-affirmation how on the road to Caeserea Philippi he felt the spirit rush within him. He had blurted out the conviction, “Thou art the Christ!” He would never forget the tone of the Lord’s voice when he told him that the church would be built on the rock of his faith. A rock? The recollection reverberated with shock waves within him. “A rock that cracked!” he said to himself.

    But the basic message of the story is this: the Lord’s love does not fail however much we fail him. Peter had built his whole relationship with Jesus Christ on his assumed capacity to be adequate. That’s why he took his denial of the Lord so hard. His strength, loyalty, and faithfulness were his self-generated assets of discipleship. The fallacy in Peter’s mind was this: he believed his relationship was dependent on his consistency in producing the qualities he thought had earned him the Lord’s approval. 

    Many of us face the same problem. We project onto the Lord our own measured standard of acceptance. Our whole understanding of him is based in a quid pro quo of bartered love. He will love us as if we are good, moral, and diligent. But we have turned the tables; we try to live so that he will love us, rather than living because he has already loved us. 

    Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Eighteen

    Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Eighteen

    From The Mockingbird Devotional, today’s entry was written by Matt Johnson. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18, ESV) You’ve heard the spiel. It’s practically a Christian summer camp mantra: you have a […]

    Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin

    Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin

    An immense honor to put this up for online reading. This essay from Dr. Simeon Zahl was originally given at the NYC Conference in 2016 and was republished in written form in our most recent issue of the magazine, The Déjà Vu Issue. To order one for your favorite sinner, go here. And if you […]

    An Air of Condescension: Why Working-Class Whites Don't Go to Church

    An Air of Condescension: Why Working-Class Whites Don’t Go to Church

    Grateful for this reflection by David Clay. In the 2016 film Manchester by the Sea, sixteen-year-old Patrick Chandler loses his father to congestive heart failure and finds himself in the custody of his uncle Lee, a laconic and depressed Boston janitor. Neither Patrick nor Lee are very excited about the situation; much of the movie revolves […]

    PZ's Podcast: T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)

    PZ’s Podcast: T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)

    EPISODE 257 Mrs. Zahl recently used the word “periphery” to describe our attitude, mine and hers, to increasing numbers of institutions, groups, and schools of thought to which we have been attached and for which we have been engaged for a long time. It’s not that one has changed one’s mind, or believes differently. Rather, […]

    On Our Bookshelf: From the Déjà Vu Issue

    On Our Bookshelf: From the Déjà Vu Issue

    If you get déjà vu scanning this list, it would be no surprise…you may have encountered some (but perhaps not all!) of these titles on this site. As compiled for the latest issue of The Mockingbird, these are the books we’ve been reading and re-reading this summer: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison: […]

    How to Deploy Survival Mode: Some Notes on Mental Health from the Ladies of Unmapped — Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips

    This excerpt comes from Mockingbird’s latest publication, Unmapped: The (Mostly) True Story of How Two Women Lost at Sea Found Their Way Home, by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips. One of the many zingers from this spiritual memoir duet, the following passage finds the authors wrestling with anxiety and mental health issues…as related to the gospel:

    The gospel gets a bad rap sometimes because it says you have to die before you can live. Which is a hard pill to swallow when you didn’t even want to take a pill in the first place.

    Here’s how it goes: girl has anxiety. Girl gets tools to deal with it. Tools help. (Occasionally.) But girl ends up in a situation (usually involving failure, humiliation, menstruation, her children, all of these things, or NONE OF THEM) in which she ends up feeling totally defeated by her anxiety; we mean, crushed. All hope appears lost. She thinks she will never get better. She can’t bear to think about the looks she will get when everyone sees she’s STILL a mess. She thinks she will actually die. None of the techniques help. She is drowning, and she cannot breathe. She is sinking, sinking, sinking…and everything goes dark.

    Awful, right? Like, Shakespearean tragedy-awful. Except there’s this other thing—death—and it relies not at all on the sinking girl, but on her being miraculously and improbably revived by something [Someone] entirely separate from herself. No strategy, no implementation, just plain being lifted up out of the depth of despair and placed atop some blessed rock. Death, but then…resurrection. See what we’re getting at here?

    We know it’s not as simple as a granted wish. We know there’s a whole lot of fist shaking, swearing into the sky, and despair. But it took Jesus himself three days, people. Settle in: this may take a while. Chances are, we’re probably going to be staring that bastard (mental dysfunction) in the face off-and-on our whole lives until we arrive at that beautiful buffet in the sky, where there’s endless white bread and the bill is already paid. But God is right with us. The ultimate hope—for us, for our kids when we fail them, for our friends when we hurt them, for our marriages when we flounder, for our jobs when we blow it—is in the throes of death that transform into the pangs of new life.

    Drown, resuscitate, repeat. Fail, get forgiven, go again. Despair, hope, defeat, redemption, over and over, until one day you wake up and you realize you’re still anxious, but you see it more clearly, for the cloudy lens it is, and you know—even though you’re not there yet, because TODAY IS A DOOZY—you know that you’re going to be okay. Ultimately, you will be whole. And you’re headed there. So you breathe, and you put one foot in front of the other while recognizing that you’re actually being carried. And your anxiety hasn’t disappeared; nope, it’s still following you around like a hot, wet rag someone keeps chucking at your face, but you’re no longer a table for two. You’ve got company, and it looks strangely like a lifeboat with all the provisions onboard (see what we did there?). You settle in, and soon other passengers come aboard your lifeboat, so you open a bottle of wine and hold hands and breathe together, everyone facing the same direction.

    Love and Wrath: A Personal Odyssey – Dorsey McConnell

    From our recent conference in NYC, the following testimony was given by the Rt. Rev. Dorsey McConnell. Here he discusses family, rage, and the time he almost killed his father…really! Incredibly moving. We’re very pleased to share this one.

    Love and Wrath: A Personal Odyssey – Dorsey McConnell from Mockingbird on Vimeo

    Previewing The Mockingapp!

    SUPER excited to announce that the long-awaited Mockingapp (for iOS) is being rolled out as we speak to our monthly donors. It’s got everything in one place: all our blogposts, podcasts, and even the entire Mockingbird Devotional! Suffice to say, it turned out way cooler than we had any right to expect. Many, many thanks to A. Ramey, J. Witten and Tom Martin for making this particular dream a reality.

    The Mockingapp be available to the wider public in mid-to-late October, but if you just can’t wait, sign up to become a monthly supporter here (which also gets you a subscription to our print magazine).

    Mbird Fall Conference in Oklahoma City – Less Than Six Weeks Away!

    Check out the trailer that the ever-talented Mark Babikow put together for our event next month in Oklahoma City (10/11-13)! You don’t want to miss this one:

    For more details or to pre-register, click here!

    The Pagan Priests of Mockingbird

    The Pagan Priests of Mockingbird

    Here’s one of the lists from this most recent issue of our magazine, The Deja Vu Issue, which should have arrived at your house by now. If not, well, you can remedy that now… One well-worn slogan that we’ve consistently enjoyed putting to the test is that “all truth is God’s truth.” Come to find […]