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The Psalm'ish Imagination

The Psalm’ish Imagination

This reflection comes to us from Cole Deike.

We have bloody imaginations.

As an opposite to the bloody imagination, I think of the Pixar animated movie Up. Early in the film, there is a montage of a young couple falling in love with one another. In one of the scenes, the young couple lays on a blanket and gazes up at clouds that breeze across the blue, summer sky. There is no audio of their dialogue, but they are pointing at specific clouds and talking about their shapes: this one reminds me of this animal, that one reminds me of that animal,…

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Through Thick N' Thin: Imputation in Paul

Through Thick N’ Thin: Imputation in Paul

To survey much of theology and biblical scholarship nowadays, you’d think that “imputation”, or the idea that God gives/reckons a moral status of righteousness to the otherwise ungodly believer, is a passé relic of former ignorance. On the biblical studies side, N.T. Wright has made half of a career out of refuting imputation. Peppered throughout his otherwise circuitously Reformed theology (surprise!) are direct refutations and veiled damnations of this reformational doctrine. For Wright, imputation is a grave misunderstanding of Paul’s theology and aims; imputation is “mistaken” (Paul in Fresh Perspective, p. 25), “misleading”, “a straightforward category mistake” (Justification, p. 232),…

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Five Feet High and Rising: Finding God…While Drowning in Fear ~ Aaron Zimmerman

From our recent conference in Tyler, TX, here is the wonderful Saturday morning talk by Aaron Zimmerman, president of the Mockingbird board, who speaks about fear, middle school dances, and Jesus calming the storm.

Five Feet High and Rising: Finding God…While Drowning in Fear by Aaron Zimmerman from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

How to Annoy Jesus ~ John Zahl

Excited to start sharing videos from our recent conference in Tyler, TX! (You can catch all the recordings here.) First up, the inimitable John Zahl, with how to annoy Jesus:

From Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Inside the Bounds of Grace: The Not-So-Lovely Love Story of David and Michal

Inside the Bounds of Grace: The Not-So-Lovely Love Story of David and Michal

This piece was written by Stephanie Matthiessen.

I’m writing a novel about Michal, the first wife of David and the daughter of Saul. Don’t worry, no one else has heard of her either, unless maybe they’re from Israel. Someone recently asked me what the book is about and, instead of giving my usual, vague, I’d-rather-not-say answer, I actually told them. Spoiler: it’s about forgiveness. Unconditional forgiveness. I added the qualifier for fear one would assume it’s about personal atonement and self-improvement. It’s not. It’s not a self-help book in disguise. It’s a love story.

Michal and, of course, her much more famous…

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Hopelessly Devoted: ‘Grace At Work’ – James Chapter One Verse Seventeen

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Grace is not always guaranteed to work on the horizontal plane — i.e. as we attempt to steward it in the midst of our relationships with one another. We can however be sure that grace is always at work. We don’t get to define what this has to look like. We don’t always get the privilege of discerning its results or activity. In fact, grace specializes in disappointing and confounding our every expectation of what God ‘should be’ and what His people ‘should be’.

You’re free, though you often feel like a slave. You’re forgiven, though you often feel the weight of judgment. You’re victorious, though you often feel like a chump. The gospel confronts our self-righteousness and confirms the righteousness of Jesus as being ours. We walk by faith, not by sight…yes, but rarely in an experiential or functional manner. All we have ultimately is the faithful witness (James 1:17) of the indwelling Spirit bringing us back to a ridiculous, impossible-to-believe verdict: “You are absolved.”

Wakanda is Where the Real Wonder Women (and Men) Live

Wakanda is Where the Real Wonder Women (and Men) Live

I am not a big fan of superhero movies. Blame it on my low anthropology or disdain for a predictable plotline. It’s both really. So when a big budget comic book film comes out that I am interested in, I go with gusto.

Which is why I H.A.T.E.D. Wonder Woman. The whole thing made me want to tear my (long flowy) hair (extensions) out. I was promised feminism. I was told I would feel empowered. Instead, they gave me a boob-tastic babe with a child-like affect in the world. At one point, Wonder Woman seems oblivious to the fact that she has…

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Sting and Linger

Sting and Linger

This one was written by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

From the backseat, our four-year-old firstborn asked why the road sign said 100. An unusual formulation of the question, I thought, and continued to drive, while his mom explained from the passenger’s seat. She spoke of how a number can also be a name and then the child’s mind fluttered to other things. But I reversed to five years ago when that slick Mazda flew past the stop sign and stung our old Volkswagen’s right front bumper, spinning us into the median and the previous Route 100 sign.

Our firstborn’s favorite question is, you guessed…

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Is Jesus Really God?

Is Jesus Really God?

I’ve waded through the arguments and read the commentaries, and most scholars agree. When it comes to the question of the divinity of Jesus, it seems there is one, inescapable conclusion: Jesus isn’t God. Whoever you imagine God to be, Jesus isn’t him (or, if you prefer, her). The standard, unsatisfactory, argument goes something like this. The God of the universe created all things: the universe, stars, planets, all creatures great and small, humanity, and this fragile earth, our island home. God is infinitely powerful, infinitely present in all things, infinitely knowing of all things. Jesus, as it is said…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Numbers Chapter Thirteen Verse Thirty Through Chapter Fourteen Verse Four

Hopelessly Devoted: Numbers Chapter Thirteen Verse Thirty Through Chapter Fourteen Verse Four

I don’t know about you, but Numbers has rarely been my “go-to” for a good word in the morning… But this passage, from The Mockingbird Devotional, seems fitting for a sleepy Monday. With their eyes on the land of Canaan, the Israelites begin doubting (yet again!) God’s providence. Commentary by Javier Garcia:

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among…

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On Anxiety Attacks and the Fiction of Scientific "Reality"

On Anxiety Attacks and the Fiction of Scientific “Reality”

This one, from our archives, remains every bit as relevant (and comforting!) as when Ethan wrote it in 2013.

A typical description of an anxiety attack or a panic attack goes something like this: a routine behavior suddenly and emphatically goes rogue. You are driving, you are eating an orange slice, taking a test, conversing at a party, and the moment becomes obstructed by an impossible–not just mental but also physical–and inimical weight. You suddenly feel you cannot breathe, that your chest is closing like one of those cavern doors in the Temple of Doom. Or maybe you feel like your…

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Unordained in the Diocese for the Sake of Porcupines: Some Thoughts on "Detachment" in Ministry

Unordained in the Diocese for the Sake of Porcupines: Some Thoughts on “Detachment” in Ministry

“I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” was how I started the conversation with my buddy’s wife. And yes, I was quoting Zoolander, but it was the perfect description for my experience of being friends with her husband. I felt awkward talking to her about it, but I wasn’t sure what else to do. I remember we were sitting outside their home, and I was fiddling with a leaf plucked off some landscaping, making my own ersatz fidget spinner. That particular habit has proven to be a fantastic way to discover which plants cause me contact dermatitis. Quite a few as…

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