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Did We Even See the Same Movie?: How Art Works, and Why It Matters – Alissa Wilkinson

Grateful for this wonderful talk from special guest NYC Conference speaker Alissa Wilkinson, film critic for Vox and co-author of How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, Faith, and Politics at the End of the World.

Did We Even See the Same Movie?: How Art Works, and Why It Matters – Alissa Wilkinson from Mockingbird on Vimeo

Abstract Doubt

Abstract Doubt

Even when procrastinating on YouTube, I still exhibit the embarrassingly obscure interests of a unadulterated nerd. A week ago, a friend caught we wasting time while mesmerized by a clip of English change-ringing—a intricate method of chiming church bells of various tones to produce an eerie, ordered clamor. Sometimes I also watch lectures on theology or literary theory (I spent not a few hours on the latter last summer). Mostly though, if I want to put off work, I find videos on art history, and I will happily consume anything from Lascaux to Nouveau to Rothko. Recently I stumbled…

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Getting to Know Fred

Getting to Know Fred

My childhood memories involving Mr. Rogers were probably pretty average for kids my age; he was the nice storyteller that my parents trusted enough to give full control over our afternoon TV; his show always moving at a infuriatingly slow walking pace, with enriching guests like Yo-Yo Ma and other musicians showing up to uphold virtuous habits and innocent ways of looking at the world that the rest of the shadowy empire of children’s television was ruining so thoroughly.

Do I sound cynical? While Mr. Rogers has always been held relatively dear in my mind, he wasn’t exactly the most…

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Tully: Ever-Present Wounds and Subdued Joy

Tully: Ever-Present Wounds and Subdued Joy

The following review was written by Caleb Ackley. Tully is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and other outlets as of today, July 17. Spoilers below.

Charlize Theron isn’t a name typically associated with the average in society. Known best for her roles which require both acting ability and incredible athleticism — think suave assassin in Atomic Blonde or shaven-headed warrior in Mad Max: Fury Road — the name of Theron rarely evokes the pedestrian struggles of a stay-at-home mom. But the year is 2018, after all, and anything, it seems, is possible.

Enter Tully, the latest offering from director Jason Reitman, which stars…

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Char and Steph Wander the Desert: A Flashback to Ancient Israel

Char and Steph Wander the Desert: A Flashback to Ancient Israel

The following play — a precious relic from ancient Israel — tells the untold story of motherhood in Exodus. It was published in Mockingbird’s latest book, Unmapped, a memoir duet about spirituality, family, and finding home in unexpected exile. This is Act I of IV:

Char and Steph Wander the Desert
A Play by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips
ACT I

CHAR and STEPH, two young-ish Hebrew women, work side-by-side in a field making bricks out of clay and straw. They are just two women amongst thousands, and the sun beats down on them all without a trace of shade in sight.

CHAR (wipes…

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New Blackened Dawn Approaching: Deafheaven as a Mirror in the Darkness

New Blackened Dawn Approaching: Deafheaven as a Mirror in the Darkness

There’s something deliciously ironic in the fact that a blisteringly hot summer such as this one should serve as a portal for bone-chillingly cold black metal in the form of a new Deafheaven LP. But yea verily, the underworld doth cackle at the fittingness of said album launching on Friday the 13th. Swirling within this nebula of polar opposites and apposite poetics is the culmination of Deafheaven’s development, an album whose cohesion and strange sonic palette shows the world they are more energetically themselves than ever.

To date, Deafheaven have released three full-lengths: Roads to Judah (2011), Sunbather (2013), and New…

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Sleeping the Pain Away: A Young Woman Takes a Chill Pill in "My Year of Rest and Relaxation"

Sleeping the Pain Away: A Young Woman Takes a Chill Pill in “My Year of Rest and Relaxation”

When asked about her favorite holiday, writer Ottessa Moshfegh says, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been on holiday…?” And then laughs.

On the one hand, I suppose she could be speaking literally. But I take the above response as an invitation, a question: Do human beings ever really relax? After all, we never catch a break from the predominant source of our exhaustion: us.

This points to the central conflict in Moshfegh’s haunting (and darkly funny) new book My Year of Rest and Relaxation, which reviewers have called “the finest existential novel not written by a French author.” (It’s already been optioned…

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The Apostles' Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism

The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism

I always judge books by their covers. In part, this habit is a terrible prejudice, but I also think it’s a useful way of deciding how to use limited time on an unlimited supply of books. Thankfully, Lexham Press crafted a beautiful design for their recent book The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism. It’s the first in their “Christian Essentials” series, set to cover the Ten Commandments, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Prayer, and corporate worship.

In this book, form and content match beautifully. The design, which merges traditional iconography and contemporary minimalism, reflects the…

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Feeling Pretty, Feeling Loved

Feeling Pretty, Feeling Loved

Most of the time, I do not feel anything close to “pretty.” On some rare days, I feel like a bombshell the likes of Margot Robbie or Lauryn Hill. But most days, I feel a little ashamed when I look in the mirror. My eyes are too puffy. The skin under my chin is starting to descend down my neck. I look tired, all of the time. My upper arms are too jiggly and I pretty consistently appear to be at least several weeks pregnant. Most days, I put on a light layer of make-up and resignedly think to myself,…

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Suicide, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and the Irresistible Father

Suicide, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and the Irresistible Father

I know that there’s already been quite a bit said about suicide on this site, but I’d like to add my own two cents, and this from the standpoint of an ordained pastor who is called to step into these situations as a representative of Jesus Christ—to actually try my best not to make the situation worse.

During my summer of clinical pastoral education (something required of most seminarians), on my second night of rounds as a newly minted hospital chaplain, I was summoned to the critical care unit. A young man had been brought in with a terminal gunshot wound…

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On Praying in the Bathroom, and Giving Up on Self-Control

On Praying in the Bathroom, and Giving Up on Self-Control

Leslie Jamison’s book The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath uses a broad scope of material to construct the experience of addiction and attempts at recovery: through personal memoir, research into historical figures, and reflection on the methods and theories associated with treating substance abuse. There are many, many reasons to read this book, and none of them are explicitly prescriptive. Instead, Jamison ends up talking a lot about her experience with alcoholism, and gently exploits the memoir genre to create a case which is so intimate with her own reality that it will not leave its readers alone after they…

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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