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Forty, Finitude, and Me

Forty, Finitude, and Me

A lovely personal reflection from Katy Attanasi: This is a story about the tension that exists between Christian triumph and human frailty, between the ideal and the real, and between the myth of unlimited potential and the reality of constrained choices. Once upon a time, my 21-year-old self was on top of a world that […]

What If Millennials Were Enough?

What If Millennials Were Enough?

The list of safe topics to bring up at a dinner party is, as we all know, shrinking. It used to be just politics and religion that were outlawed from “polite society.” But then everything became political — and politics itself became an object of widespread religious faith (#seculosity) — and to get along, you […]

Now Available! Exit 36: A Fictional Chronicle, by Robert Farrar Capon

A priest’s suicide. A lover’s confession. A web of mysteries. The latest installment in Mockingbird’s Robert Farrar Capon series is available today! Exit 36: A Fictional Chronicle explores the secret life of a clergyman and the ultimate mystery of redemption.

In our discussions about Exit 36, Valerie Capon used one word repeatedly: “mystical.” She was adamant the book should have a colorful cover that could reflect the unique otherworldliness of this particular work. To me, her insight did not at first square with what appeared to be a coarse, noir-tinged novel about a suicide. “The suicide is the hook,” Valerie said. “Robert wasn’t really writing about that.”

So what was he writing about?

The Rev. Mark Strobel, our friend in Fargo, ND, says this book reads like one of Jesus’ parables. Brooding, humorous, a little outrageous, Exit 36 tells the story of Father William Jansson, an Episcopal priest with an unruly libido who receives an urgent phone call from a woman who knew the suicide victim (intimately). In her grief she turns to Jansson, who falls backwards into the four themes of eschatology: Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven. It’s undoubtedly one of Robert’s earthier works—grungy, sultry—but, as Valerie suggested, the persistent promise of the resurrection glows under its surface. The climactic sequence left me stunned.

This new edition of Exit 36 is the fourth entry in Mockingbird’s Capon collection and features a brand-new, deeply moving foreword by our friend Chad Bird. You can now find Exit 36 in our online bookstore and on Amazon, along with Mockingbird editions of Robert’s other works. As always, we welcome your help in spreading the word!

Happy reading,

CJG, editor

“Capon looks directly at the agony of a fallen world through the mystery of the reconciliation of everything and everybody in Christ. Whatever scandals one might find in this book, however, the scandal of grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus triumphs over it all. Capon’s voice is needed now as much as it ever has been.”

—The Very Revd Mark Strobel, Fargo, ND

“Running parallel to the good old-fashioned mystery is a long look at our deepest anxieties about death, sin, forgiveness when forgiveness is outrageous and impossible, and love. The romance of love is dealt with unabashedly. But the humanity of love – the Jesus who lives in us all and frees us from sin — is revealed by our narrator’s own searching thoughts, bold self-examination, frank dialogue with parishioners and quietly stunning acts of compassion.”

—Laura E. Bondarchuk, East Marion, NY

You can find Exit 36 in our online store and on Amazon!

You can also find Mockingbird editions of Robert’s other books: More Theology & Less Heavy Cream, The Man Who Met God in a Bar, and Bed & Board.

All the Lonely People

All the Lonely People

A mom who doesn’t feel any freedom to be honest about how difficult motherhood is for her. A college freshman who turns to boys and alcohol because she knows she’s too much, because she knows she’ll never be enough. A man who is interviewing for a new job, hoping this will be the one that […]

A Better Promise Than a Better You

A Better Promise Than a Better You

The fall season has finally come and you know what that means? Football. Pumpkin spice everything. Apple keynotes. A few weeks ago, Apple, Inc. CEO Tim Cook took the stage to show off the latest generation of wearables and handhelds from the minimalistic tech company. This year’s crop of devices featured slightly upgraded internals with […]

Reckoning with Female Rage

Reckoning with Female Rage

Thankful for this one from Sarah Gates. One of my favorite podcasts is “Call Your Girlfriend,” self-described as “a podcast for long-distance besties everywhere,” co-hosted by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman. I listen to it nearly every Friday for a number of reasons, including the no-holds-barred attitudes of the hosts, their passionate feminism, and their […]

A  Pirate Looks at Forty-(Nine)

A Pirate Looks at Forty-(Nine)

Yes, that’s right, as of today I am officially starting to feel…old. I know there are some readers who will regard forty-nine as young, but please bear with me, because it’s still so new to me. A quick scan of the Internet this morning reveals all that I have to look forward to in the […]

On Being the Center of the Universe: A Reminder for the Narcissist in Me

On Being the Center of the Universe: A Reminder for the Narcissist in Me

Without giving anything away, NBC’s The Good Place (returning September 27) features six major characters, one of which is Tahani al-Jamil: a tall, gorgeous philanthropist with a sophisticated English accent. In the afterlife, Tahani wears only the finest clothes and throws extravagant parties for her recently deceased community of do-gooders. She also finds a way […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Chapter Seven Verses One Through Three

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-3, NIV)

I find obedience to this command to be very elusive in my life. It’s tricky, and I can never quite get the hang of it. Sin truly lies waiting to ambush us…and the worst assault is our blindness to what we’re indulging. So often, I find myself judging people before I even realize what I’m doing. In the moment, it just seems like normal assessment and observation. I think I’m seeing the real, flesh-and-blood, image-bearing person…but I’m really viewing a perverted caricature I have created in my mind. For me, that individual’s faults have literally become who they finally are. It’s so unconscious most of the time… Yet sometimes I know what I’m doing but can’t stop…

I’ve heard it said that unbelief is the sin beneath all sins/sinning. I want to argue then that self-justification is the pleasure beneath all pleasures. There is something intoxicating and pacifying about that moment when I look at my neighbor and feel in my heart, ‘I’m glad I’m not like that…’ It’s pacifying, but not satisfying. The only satisfaction we can find is the satisfaction of the law which Jesus accomplished for us.

How do I resolve this tension? I don’t want to judge, but I do. I want to see the real person in front of me, but I can’t. Thanks be to God: Christ incarnate literally embodied and fulfilled ‘judge not’ (see John 8:11). Christ crucified was judged with a harsher measure than we judge one another. You were crucified with Him. You are hidden in Him. You were judged and found innocent…therefore the record of not judging your brother is perpetually and eternally yours. Even while you secretly thank God you are not like others…the Spirit graciously reminds you, you are like His Son.

Justice, Serena Style

Justice, Serena Style

She is not playin’, sports fans, even when she’s playin’. That’s what I have come to love about Serena Williams. She’s been one of the top five athletes in the world for years now, but she has never stopped being Serena. If you haven’t heard about the U.S. Open Women’s Final from Saturday in Flushing […]

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

The Great Things We’ll Accomplish in the Grave

The Great Things We’ll Accomplish in the Grave

We’ve all had influential people in our lives who remain unaware of the impact they had on us. An elementary school teacher who inspired us to dedicate our lives to educating others. An older friend of our family whose kindness and generosity we’ve tried to emulate. Maybe it’s a random stranger who, like a guardian […]