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Parenting

The Father's Day Conundrum

The Father’s Day Conundrum

It’s not much of a secret in church circles that Mother’s Day is one of the best attended Sundays of the year, Father’s Day one of the least. The third Sunday in June is what’s known as a “low Sunday,” when the regular preacher often gives up the pulpit to a subordinate. If you happened to be in the pews yesterday, you may have even heard it referenced or joked about. What gives?

The dime store explanation goes something like this: moms want the family to be together on Mother’s Day and tend to value spiritual life more to begin with,…

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Summer Bucket Lists and Taking a Seat at the Table

Summer Bucket Lists and Taking a Seat at the Table

I ended the school year a few days ago by high-fiving my seniors au-revoir at their graduation and have now set about making lists of #allthethings I hope to do with my girls this summer. Enter: the Summer Bucket List. In sharing my ideas with friends and building said list, I was motivated by two things.

An authentic hope for my girls to have a fun summer, one characterized by laziness and rest as well as active play, adventure, and unstructured time with Mama and Dada.
A tangible way for me to literally check things off and accumulate motherhood points to win…

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The Things We Think And Do Not Say

The Things We Think And Do Not Say

I operated as if there’d be a verdict. An easy answer. A story. I operated as if we were setting the tone for the rest of our lives. It did not occur to me that we could simply muddle through. Change things later. Forgive ourselves.

I was a freshman in college when Jerry Maguire came out, and I remember watching through my fingers the scene in which he wrote his explosive mission statement (NOT memo) and wondering why he was getting so excited about interrupting the status quo. What’s wrong with just doing your job and flying under the radar? I thought….

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Correcting Joy in Swimming Pools and Pulpits: Do Y'all Need a Hug?

Correcting Joy in Swimming Pools and Pulpits: Do Y’all Need a Hug?

One of my least favorite parental duties is swimming lessons. They are tedious and trying and the teachers are far too patient. When I was a kid we took swim lessons everyday for two weeks. They dumped us in the pool. We gasped for air. And then we swam.

Nowadays, you take your child to a Swim School. They let the kids “acclimate to the water” as though they are encountering an alien substance. We are on lesson three and still have not put our head in the water. And by “we” I mean my daughter. But it kind of feels…

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Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

This little piece comes to us from the Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase.

In the film “20th Century Women,” there’s a compelling scene between a mother and her teenaged son. The mother has just brought him home from the hospital; he was rushed there after playing a game with his friends that went wrong. The game involved him hyperventilating while another boy stood behind him, wrapping his arms around his torso, and squeezing. Which caused him to pass out. Normally, a person comes to just a few seconds after this, but in this case, the boy remained unconscious. By the time his distraught…

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The First Chapter of Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon - New Edition Available Now!

The First Chapter of Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon – New Edition Available Now!

And now we present an excerpt from the most recent addition to our Robert Farrar Capon series, his greatly esteemed work Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage. An essential book for any Capon-lover, this was Robert’s first bestseller, and you’ll see why in this introductory chapter, reproduced below.

“Bed and Board is necessary and offensive in the best possible way.” – Sarah Condon

“…sage wisdom, biting humor, uncomfortable truths…never a page that must be forgiven for pedantic, sawdusty prose.” – Chad Bird

I.

ABSURDITY

The author celebrates the Holy Estate of Matrimony, professes disillusionment with the usual advices about it, and gives…

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Existential Angst, Just in Time for Mother's Day

Existential Angst, Just in Time for Mother’s Day

I almost didn’t have children.

I can hardly say that sentence aloud now, now that I am a mother, without choking on the words.

I almost chose not to have children.

I did not want the world to have more of me in it.

When I say that aloud now, people laugh, as though I’m joking. I’m not joking. And I wasn’t joking then, or being unnecessarily self-deprecating. I did not want the world to have more of me in it, and I did not want to put another person through the experience of being me. One of me seemed like plenty.

The luxury of…

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Announcing Bed & Board: Plain Talk About Marriage by Robert Farrar Capon!

It is a privilege to announce the latest installment in our Robert Farrar Capon series… Bed & Board: Plain Talk About Marriage.

This little book was Robert’s first best-seller, originally published in 1965. Now re-released for the first time, Bed & Board is Father Capon’s enduring, rambunctious counsel on marriage and family life—woven through with the message of grace that never changes, no matter the decade.

From inside:

“This book is not about those giants who tower over you: Psychology, Education, Maturity, Sexual Adjustment—not even Religion. They can take care of themselves. This is about you—that is, about me (for we are all unique, and practically identical). This is, to be honest, not a book at all. It is only a monologue, and not an entirely sober one at that. It is one peasant swapping stories with another in the cold backyard of the House of Important Subjects, while the grand seigneurs hold their solemn consultations within. The author’s qualifications therefore almost cease to matter. Indeed, he has arranged things so that only one is really necessary: He must be an expert in absurdity. And that is the only qualification that will be offered. An absurd Baedeker for an absurd journey; no apologies, no explanations…”

You can order Bed and Board: Plain Talk About Marriage, by Robert Farrar Capon here!

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

Message in a Bottle - An Excerpt from Unmapped Washes Ashore

Message in a Bottle – An Excerpt from Unmapped Washes Ashore

Mockingbird’s latest book—“Unmapped” by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips—is now available!

The following “Message in a Bottle” will give you a little taste of what you’ll find in this hilarious and (mostly) true story of two long-distance friends who found hope and grace in unexpected exile.

Announcing Unmapped by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips!

We couldn’t be more excited to announce Mockingbird’s latest book project, a sprawling and poignant “spiritual memoir duet” by two longtime Mockingbird writers, Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips. This book features a patchwork of personal essays, pocket liturgies, and pseudo-fictional plays, and not a dull moment between them.

Stephanie Phillips and Charlotte Getz never expected to raise their families anywhere but home, in the American South. But then…life happened.

Quirky, hilarious, and (mostly) true, UNMAPPED is the tale of two long-distance friends who found home—together and apart—in unexpected exile. This spiritual memoir duet is unlike anything you’ve ever read.

Pre-order here: Unmapped: The (Mostly) True Story of How Two Women Lost at Sea Found Their Way Home! 

Free domestic shipping on pre-orders made before May 7! Available in hardback and paperback.

The World's Greatest Dad

The World’s Greatest Dad

My wife is pregnant with our first child, which means that soon I will become the World’s Greatest Dad. I know this because I have done all the self-work necessary to understand how my parents failed me in my childhood. Using this self-knowledge, I will not make any of the mistakes my mother and father made. With mistakes eliminated, all that will be left is a good, healthy childhood. I just really want my children to have to “unlearn” as little as possible, you know?

Now to buy a baby book. Which one will show me the correct way to…

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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!