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Theology/Religion

Why Is Jesus Slumming with That Denomination?

Why Is Jesus Slumming with That Denomination?

This one comes to us from Chad Bird.

Let’s start with the obvious: Christianity is an outwardly fractured religion. You’d think Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and bloody each other’s noses over, like, Every. Single. Thing.” Just for perspective, note that there are far more denominations than there are languages spoken around the globe. We’ve out-Babelled Babel.

Even the most unrealistic optimist doesn’t believe this will improve. After all, we’ve been on this kick for 965 years. Humpty Dumpty has been on the ground for a long, long time. And all the king’s councils and all the king’s ecumenists,…

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Shell of a Woman

Shell of a Woman

My husband and I met in Savannah, Georgia and lived there for six eventful years. Every summer in Savannah — steaming wet with humidity — the cicadas descended en masse, a plague to the Coastal Empire. They hummed like maracas this familiar refrain that still reminds me of impossibly late nights, warm beer, and the lemon-sweet scent of southern magnolias. The first sign of the summer cicadas was not their song, however, but the crisp empty shells left behind from their molting. On limbs, leaves, poles, railings, their shells were everywhere — in the exact likeness of their former selves…

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…Mistakes Were Made…

…Mistakes Were Made…

Some of us are so scared of being outed as human that we go to extreme measures to avoid any indication that we make mistakes. Architects, like me, are especially loath to admit error.

You could say architects are conditioned to have ‘ego on steroids’ since the job is to manifest complete confidence in the unbuilt. Hence, we are conditioned to project belief in the unknown. For me, fully flawed, I consider design an act of faith, not hubris. But for most of my peers, design is living out their truth, as revealed by their genius.

No, really, that is the ethic….

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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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Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

Spoilers ahead.

Consider yourself warned.

For ten years now Marvel has been patiently building a universe, populating it with heroes and heroines equal parts human and super-powered, propelling all of them towards a titanomachy we imagined they could be prepared for but in reality are largely powerless against.

Avengers: Infinity War offers our protagonists (and, sympathetically, the audience) various electives of sacrifice—not to elect between sacrificing and not-sacrificing, but to opt for one of the alternatives in a series of cruel binary determinations. Infinity War requires the surrendering of one or another of our heroes’ convictions to perhaps save the universe, but holds…

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PZ's Podcast: Shoe Horn

PZ’s Podcast: Shoe Horn

EPISODE 247

People are constantly trying to shoe horn their search for God into containers too tight for the Object of the search. This is probably true of some of your interests, whether it’s food or Hammer horror films or “Philadelphia Soul” — to name two of my current but chronic faves — or you name it. On something or someone, you are probably pinning very high hopes.

The blogosphere is full of such shoe horns — interests such as a movement or style or movie or type of music that attracts your “ultimate concern” (Tillich). But they don’t actually produce for…

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This Is Not My Fight Song

This Is Not My Fight Song

I was hungover on my wedding day.

I say this not because I think it’s cute—and certainly my mom and sister, who drove me to the salon to get our hair did while I retched into a bucket in the backseat (it was one of the greeting baskets we gave to the wedding guests with the itinerary, bottled water, and snacks! I emptied it first), did not think it was cute either. My mistake was borne of a week of too much anxiety and too little food—along with perhaps too much alcohol? (The jury’s still out on science.) Once our trio…

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Churches Dying for a Laugh

Churches Dying for a Laugh

Another glorious glimpse into The Mockingbird’s newest issue on Humor, this one from the Rev. Aaron Zimmerman. Copies can be ordered here, subscriptions here. 

“It’s a sin to bore a kid with the Gospel.” — Young Life saying

“The comedian always doubles down.” — Pete Holmes

The Church Is No Laughing Matter (Sadly)

Quick, grab a pencil and paper. Now, write down whatever words your mind conjures when you hear the word “church.”

I’ll wait.

What’d you come up with? High-strung hymn-singing hypocrites? Boring Baptist blowhards? Happy Hillsong hipsters? Purity-preaching pedantic Presbyterians? Long-winded Lutherans?…

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2018 NYC CONFERENCE RECORDINGS

Thank you to everyone who helped put on this year’s conference in NYC, especially our invaluable friends at Calvary St. George’s and The Pixie and the Scout! What a wonderful time it was.

Click on the image to subscribe

For the recordings this time around, we’ve decided to launch a brand-new podcast, TALKINGBIRD, which will be your destination for talks given at Mockingbird events–past, present and future.

After each conference, we’ll upload everything we have to that feed. In between events, we’ll pull a fresh talk from our archives each week and post it there as well. From here on out, The Mockingpulpit will be reserved for sermons only.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO TALKINGBIRD!

If you’d rather go a la carte, the individual files are now available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher (Spotify soon) and our Resources page for you to listen to, download and share–minus Alan Jacobs’s which was an in-person-only deal.

Please note: As always, the recordings are free. We only ask that those who were not able to be there in person *consider* making a donation to help cover the cost of the event

Major thanks go to Meaghan Ritchey and Melina Smith for all their incredible work behind the scenes, to Mark Babikow, Lino Martinez, and Robert Jefferson for making our AV dreams come true, and to the super talented Casey & Travis Squyres at Stellate Photography for capturing it all on camera! A few highlights below:

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The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

In our house, emotions were embraced. I was never told that “boys don’t cry;” it was never implied that men hide their emotions. When your dad is a professional opera-singing pastor-psychologist, and your mother a high-powered hospital executive, you get different messages about gender norms than most. As if you needed proof: my parents let me dress in a bathrobe and red heeled slippers and pretend to be Wendy from Peter Pan until I was four. If Peter Pan is a woman (the incredible Mary Martin), why can’t Wendy be a man?

That freedom was cut short. “Boys can’t play with…

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Moses and the Millennials: Looking to a Second Millennium Man for a Millennial Question

Moses and the Millennials: Looking to a Second Millennium Man for a Millennial Question

This one was written by Abigail Russell.

Identity has been a buzzword in the Christian milieu for a few years now. We flock to personality tests and identity paradigms like MBTI and the Enneagram because having a title, a description, anything we can claim as ours pulls us in like an addiction. We take the tests over and over again wanting proof that we’ve changed and grown but also longing for consistency. We find our “type,” and it becomes like a friendly shadow following closely behind; it becomes the murky, undefined evidence that we exist. But despite all these identity handles,…

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Devotion 1 – Sarah Condon

The first video from our recent NYC Conference is here! It’s the opening devotion from our chaplain, The Rev. Sarah Condon. Recordings should be ready any day now – just waiting on Apple to approve a dedicated feed (stay tuned!).

Devotion #1 – Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.