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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.


Author Archive

    Not Weak on Sanctification: Christians Grow in Reverse – Nick Lannon

    In this most prestigious breakout session from the 11th annual Mockingbird conference, Nick Lannon discusses the paradox of sanctification. Subtopics include: dentistry mishaps, good deeds, Han Solo, and the caverns of the heart.

    Not Weak on Sanctification: Christians Grow in Reverse – Nick Lannon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Lord, I Was Faithless – Mary Karr

    Another wonderful poem from Mary Karr’s newest collection Tropic of Squalor:

    Lord, I Was Faithless

    I murdered you early, Father
    My disbelief was an ice pick plunged
    In mine own third eye

    Like damned Oedipus
    Whose sight could not stand
    What his hand had done

    And I—whose chief grumble
    Was my kidhood (whose torments
    Did fill many profitable volumes)

    Refused your pedigree
    I revised myself into a bastard
    Orphan rather than serve

    Like a poppet at your caprice
    One among many numbered
    To live size extra small

    Whole years I lost in the kingdom
    Of mine own skull
    With my scepter the remote

    I sat enthroned in a La-Z-Boy
    Watching dramas I controlled
    Only the volume on

    I was a poor death’s head then
    In my hook-rug empire
    With snowflakes of paper

    My favorite button is power

    PZ's Podcast: The Spider and the Fly

    PZ’s Podcast: The Spider and the Fly

    EPISODE 251

    Benjamin Britten’s ‘Spider and the Fly’ number from his Suite for “Johnson over Jordan”, by J.B. Priestley, takes you by surprise. It sounds like Gershwin at the start, then becomes a kind of danse, and is ultimately sinister. The composer meant it like that, for he was drawn to Priestley’s play because it concerns life after death; and Britten was interested in life after death during this period of his career.

    Priestley broke an English taboo, you might say — but it’s a taboo in our country, also, in practice — in his 1939 reflection on purgatory, and salvation, which…

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    Transgressors, Transgression, and the Perilous Bridge of Forgiveness – Ethan Richardson

    This packed-out session from MockingbirdNYC was all about the nitty-gritties of forgiveness in real life, the psychology of it, the messiness…and the risk. From editor-in-chief of The Mockingbird, and featuring clips from Three Billboards and This is 40 — you’ll laugh and cry:

    Transgressors, Transgression, and the Perilous Bridge of Forgiveness – Ethan Richardson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    The Great American Search for Happiness

    The Great American Search for Happiness

    With the Land of the Free in mind — and the inevitable FOMO that comes with the summer holidays — we’ve pulled this one from our archives. A collaboration of Ethan Richardson and David Zahl:

    In her article “America the Anxious” Ruth Whippman provides a Brit’s perspective on happiness, or at least, the American fixation on it. As a jumping off point, she talks about the palpable differences between the Facebook feeds of her friends on either side of the Atlantic. While her British friends are often dismissively even-keel about their daily lives, her American friends are perpetually fitting the narrative of…

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    For the Record: Summer Reading (From the Humor Issue)

    For the Record: Summer Reading (From the Humor Issue)

    Here’s to hoping there’s a beach in your future, or some other cosy spot to kick up your feet and soak in a good book. Below, you’ll find staff picks for this summer, taken from the recently released Humor Issue.

    On Our Bookshelf

    Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved) by Kate Bowler

    After having her first child and landing her dream teaching gig, Kate Bowler found out, at the age of 35, that she had stage IV colon cancer. Since then, she has had to live life in 3 month increments between treatments and scans, in the presence of…

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    PZ's Podcast: Bells Are Ringing

    PZ’s Podcast: Bells Are Ringing

    EPISODE 251

    This is a short riposte to the politicization of basically everything just now; but not in the way of taking sides, but rather in the way of digging deeper. I mean, digging deeper to the best and true interests of human beings.

    The best and true interest of human beings, the necessary condition for our welfare, exists in the direction of connection with another person; and, most typically (tho’ not absolutely always), a romantic connection. The best interest of us does not consist in political concerns and goals. As Sting sang it, in “Spirits in the Material World” (1981), “There…

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    Two Girls, Same Ocean – Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips

    In this talk from our recent conference in NYC, Mockingbird writers Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips attest to how God disrupts our lives—and rescues us from ourselves. Featuring life jackets, stretchy pants, and a warm sense of humor, there’s never been a Mockingbird talk quite like this one.

    You can find Charlotte and Stephanie’s book, Unmapped, here!

    How to Make Your Morning Devotion Go Viral (from the Babylon Bee)

    How to Make Your Morning Devotion Go Viral (from the Babylon Bee)

    For the past two-plus years, we’ve relied on the Babylon Bee for good, fresh humor that speaks to the unique…comedy of the Christian life. Here’s an excerpt from their book, How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living. This, from “Chapter Five: Looking Really Spiritual Online.”

    It begins with an epigraph:

    “If a man reads his Bible but fails to post pictures of it on the Internet, did it really happen?” – Chinese Proverb, circa 2500 BC

    …to begin to revitalize your prayer life, you need to learn the biblical practice of posting pictures of yourself during your quiet times…

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    The Revolutionary Message of Won’t You Be My Neighbor

    The Revolutionary Message of Won’t You Be My Neighbor

    Grateful for this write-up on the new Fred Rogers documentary, opening in theaters this month! By our friend Mike Cosper:

    One of the achievements of Morgan Neville’s new documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, is the profound contrast he’s able to demonstrate between the world of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and the rest of children’s entertainment.

    We’re shown clowns being pounded in the face with pies, gun-wielding Transformers and grenade-throwing GI Joes, and (perhaps the most serious offenders) Ren and Stimpy committing various acts of violence upon one another. Then we see Fred Rogers, speaking gently and slowly into the camera, entertaining with…

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    Playing with the Enemy – Jamin Warren

    This wonderful talk from our recent conference in New York City features Jamin Warren, founder of videogame arts and culture company Kill Screen. Below, Jamin speaks about how fun and games help us cross the great divide:

    Playing with the Enemy – Jamin Warren from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    PZ's Podcast: Sanctification (Is Making Me Late)

    PZ’s Podcast: Sanctification (Is Making Me Late)

    EPISODE 249

    Ellis Brazeal recently pointed out a clear-and-present fact about what we call “sanctification”. Ellis observed that the moment we begin to think we have it, or have made it, it is completely nullified. In other words, the only actual sanctification at which one ever arrives is un-self-conscious.

    Another way of putting this would be to say that no amount of or “espece de” virtue-signalling will ever cut it. The moment you draw attention to your “growth” or “discipleship”, at that exact moment it gets disqualified as evidence of moral improvement. The only material sanctification is, to the evincer of it,…

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