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Culture and the Countercultural Cross – David Zahl

The talk given at the Here We Still Stand conference in San Diego last month, in which I offered up the first full-length taste of my forthcoming book #Seculosity (and had a lot of fun in the process). Many thanks to everyone at 1517 Legacy for putting it on:

PZ's Podcast: Revenge of the Creature

PZ’s Podcast: Revenge of the Creature

EPISODE 259 We’re talking about love today — wouldn’t ya know — and the relation of divine love to romantic love. It’s a familiar topic, but one that remains very fresh, at least as long as human memory and human loss remain conscious. Here is the key line, from a kind of monologue that occurs […]

My Dad, His Dad, Jesus, and His Bride

My Dad, His Dad, Jesus, and His Bride

Last month, my parents celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary…and the occasion caused me to realize that although my dad has never been a religious man in the traditional sense of the word, he was a picture of Jesus and the church, for me. The most succinct way I can say this graciously is that he […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

The Pagan Priests of Mockingbird

The Pagan Priests of Mockingbird

Here’s one of the lists from this most recent issue of our magazine, The Deja Vu Issue, which should have arrived at your house by now. If not, well, you can remedy that now… One well-worn slogan that we’ve consistently enjoyed putting to the test is that “all truth is God’s truth.” Come to find […]

Grace for Those With Father Issues (AKA Those With a Pulse) – Dave Johnson

Our next breakout video is one that really seemed to hit those in attendance right between the eyes. We’ve got our fingers crossed that Dave will turn it into a book:

Grace for Those with Father Issues (AKA, Grace for Those with a Pulse) – Dave Johnson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Do I Feel a Draft? Leaving the Door Open for Reconciliation – Carrie Willard

The next breakout vid from our NYC Conference is here–and it’s explosive! After you’ve recovered and are ready for your next dose of Willard magic, be advised: Carrie is giving one the keynotes at the upcoming event in Oklahoma City (10/11-13).

Do I Feel a Draft?: Keeping the Door Open for Reconciliation – Carrie Willard from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

PZ's Podcast: The Letter and My Antediluvian Baby

PZ’s Podcast: The Letter and My Antediluvian Baby

EPISODE 255: The Letter Pastorally — and generally — it is easy to miss the core of what’s going on with a person in pain. You may see some symptoms — tho’ sometimes even the symptoms are hidden — and may sub-rationally understand that something bad is taking place under the surface. But when it […]

Anhedonia: The Disease of Happy People

Anhedonia: The Disease of Happy People

Falling in love stereotypically brings with it a come-what-may optimism. It is a symptom of what we are feeling so strongly at the present moment. Never in our lives have we felt so magnetized in the present moment than in these with this one person—we can sit and talk until three in the morning, the […]