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Grace for Those with Father Issues (AKA, Grace for Those with a Pulse): A Conference Breakout Preview

Here’s another NYC conference breakout preview. This one is from Dave Johnson, rector of Christ Church in Valdosta, GA and author of Grace Upon Grace.

Our breakout session “Grace for Those with Father Issues (aka, Grace for Those with a Pulse)” will be touchy-feely and warm-fuzzy because when it comes to this heavy topic, God’s grace is exactly that. Whether your father is your hero or someone you cannot stand to be around for more than twenty seconds or so—whether your father is someone whose approval you crave or someone whose disapproval you incite (and actually enjoy doing so in a twisted way)—whether your father is one of your best friends or someone you have never met (and are not sure if you want to)—or whether you are all of the above, none of the above, or a combination thereof, you may find this session helpful (or at least not boring). For some people, their father issues are front and center; for others, it is an episodic struggle that often rears its head when least expected.

We’ll connect this topic with literature, movies, television, rock ‘n roll, and personal stories. We are not offering any cut and dry “answers” for this issue because it runs too deep and defies such “answers.” Instead, we’ll look at it through the lens of God’s grace, because God’s grace connects with our lives (and our father issues) as they actually are, not as they “should be.”  Even though it can be a heavy topic, we’ll have fun with it, hopefully in a non-creepy way—but no guarantees. In the words from the promotional poster of one Hollywood’s greatest masterpieces, Wayne’s World (1992): “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll hurl” (hurling is optional). We’ll also have time for Q and A, and offer healing prayer from The Book of Common Prayer for those who would like that.  Hope you will consider joining us—if not, send your father.

If you haven’t yet registered for the 11th annual Mockingbird conference, you can do so here! It’s comin’ up fast. We hope to see you there!

From Ruth Graham: Why Imputation Parenting Books Will Never Sell

From Ruth Graham: Why Imputation Parenting Books Will Never Sell

Some years ago, when we had our first child, the trend of putting babies in a kind of “truth telling” onesie had begun. We got several as well meaning gifts. You know the ones. They blaze phrases like, Loud and Proud or Troublemaker in Training across an infant’s tiny chest. Interestingly, I was given many more of these for our son than I was for our daughter. But in either case, I could not bear to put my newborn into a onesie that read, IN CHARGE. And not because I felt like I was in charge. In the first few weeks of having a baby…

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'S' Is For 'Swaddle': On Baby Anxiety and New Parents

‘S’ Is For ‘Swaddle’: On Baby Anxiety and New Parents

There we were, him holding his newborn son and me with my 1.5-year-old clinging to my legs. We were talking, as men do these days, about baby books, and I was trying to remember the last two of the “Five S’s”. I had “Swing,” “Swaddle” and “Shush,” but couldn’t for the life of me remember the others. (Note: “Side” and “Suck”).

It’s not as though I lacked experience. My wife and I are currently cruising through month 90 of uninterrupted “diaper life”; babies have been our M.O. for what feels like forever. I should’ve had the lingo down cold. My friend…

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This is (Almost) 40

This is (Almost) 40

Until recently, if you had asked me the question: “If you had to re-live one time in your life, what would it be?” my answer would have been almost always: “My junior year of college.” With apologies to my husband and kids, who are lovely and the best things that ever happened to me, I really felt like I was hitting my stride that third year at a big university, and I will admit to missing the metabolism and sleep schedule of my 19-year-old self.

Now, though, I have a new answer to the question of whether I’d like to relive…

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Truly Beyond Deserving: Remembering Dorothy Martyn

Truly Beyond Deserving: Remembering Dorothy Martyn

This past weekend I learned that the pillar of grace known as Dr. Dorothy Martyn died after suffering a stroke at her home in North Carolina. An accomplished child psychologist (of the Freudian persuasion), Dorothy possessed a rare gift for helping the sufferers of the world, and I include myself in that number. We talk a lot about “grace in practice” on here. Dorothy Martyn was grace in practice. To me at least.

Every other week for about five years, I would drive out to the home she shared with her husband, Pauline scholar Louis Martyn, in Bethany, CT, where she…

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"Chip in My Brain": This American Life Buried the Lede

“Chip in My Brain”: This American Life Buried the Lede

Like many here at Mockingbird, I’m a big fan of This American Life and Serial/S-Town and all of those NPRish, WBEC Chicago Public Radio podcasts. I’ve been listening to the TAL podcasts for going on four years now, and “Chip in My Brain” (Jan 13, 2018) is the most compelling to date, for me. That’s a huge compliment in my opinion, because, while TAL (much like 60 Minutes) can be a bit “hit or miss,” it usually hits, and this time, I wonder if it even knows what it has stumbled upon.

Going forward here, there will be some spoilage, and that is significant….

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Because You Never Left

Because You Never Left

It’s no secret: I like God better when things are going well for me. Which makes 2017 a stellar year for the Almighty in my books. He landed us in Sydney, Australia, and provided a network of people and places to make us feel at home here: a beautiful home (actually, we’re on our second one, which we like even more than the first). A gym with childcare workers who love my kids and chat with me about movies and alcohol. Therapists for my older son who advocate for and adore him. His school, which embraces him. Friends…

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Go Gently

Go Gently

A beautiful reflection on family and the Advent season by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

And we think that we can’t write that for which we do not have words but actually sometimes you can if you go gently between the words. Brian Doyle

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. Isaiah 9:2

It is a week before Christmas and I tell my oldest son: “It is a big responsibility to be a big brother.” This three year old stares at me blankly from across the room, then continues playing with the nativity scene strewn across the floor in a mishmash of…

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Grace on a Gravel Road

Grace on a Gravel Road

By Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

One lazy afternoon when the light oozed in the air like honey, this old farmer told me that the school bus would come all the way down the gravel road to the driveway of the manse. He had stopped by to drop off Tommy Toe tomatoes from his wife’s garden. My wife and I had no children at the time. Six years later, our firstborn is getting ready to start kindergarten in the fall. But first we are moving away. I am about to begin a new call to another church.

***

The church I have served is…

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Volunteering to Love My Kids and to Eat Donuts

Volunteering to Love My Kids and to Eat Donuts

This is the time of year when my email inbox becomes full of “invitations” for me to volunteer. We have our children in two different schools, with different ways of doing things. And there is a steady stream of electronic missives with subjects lines like: Fall Festival, Donuts with Dad, and Pep Rally. Which has got me thinking, aren’t women in my neighborhood thin enough? Why can’t we have donuts too?

It also has me wondering if I am the only mother completely overwhelmed by the onslaught of participation asks. It can feel that way. Is everyone signing up to bring…

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The Cold Predictability of Law and the Utter Loving Chaos of Grace

The Cold Predictability of Law and the Utter Loving Chaos of Grace

In this week’s episode of Bad Theology and Good Intentions, a podcast/film/concept album I have no intention of actually creating, I read a friend’s post on social media in which she admitted grappling with her short temper around her kids. She cited having a newborn and a young toddler and not getting any sleep as contributing reasons for her blown fuse and confessed to yelling at her children and feeling horrible guilt about it. The flood of responses that followed were wholly supportive–but with an undercurrent of law. I saw verbal nudges to take a rest wrapped up by barely…

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Reading to Big Kids, Making Connections, and The Very Persistent Pirate

Reading to Big Kids, Making Connections, and The Very Persistent Pirate

Some of my most cherished memories of my kids’ younger years are connected to our children’s books. We read to our kids multiple times every day with The Carrot Seed, Caps for Sale, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, Curious George, and Olivia topping our list of favorites. When they got a little older, we added books like Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and The Velveteen Rabbit. Once our kids started reading, they chose chapter books—Amelia Bedelia, The Boxcar Children, Ramona, and more. My kids loved to read and constantly consumed books like athletes consume water after a grueling…

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