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Religious

The Necessary Execution: Preaching, Losing, and LeBron James

The Necessary Execution: Preaching, Losing, and LeBron James

I thought that the conventional wisdom was that sons turned into their mothers. It seems that, on the other hand, I’m turning into my mother-in-law.

We’re different in profound ways, of course—though we both love her daughter—but I’m discovering that when it comes to watching sporting events in which we’re heavily invested, I’m picking up her mannerisms.

It used to be that I was the only person I knew who could happily watch a sporting event on my DVR. I’d record the game, stay off social media, and watch it later, skipping through the commercials. I’ve heard, time and again, that live…

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Seeds of Renewal (According to Alan Jacobs)

Seeds of Renewal (According to Alan Jacobs)

We were so honored to have Alan Jacobs, esteemed author of How To Think (and many other books), speak at our 2018 New York Conference and are doubly grateful that he’s allowed us to post an excerpt from his second talk, delivered on Saturday, April 28th.

The world really does seem different now; there are, in many Western nations, legal as well as social impediments to active religious belief and practice; it is hard to see a way back to some earlier state of affairs at which (supposedly) it was easier to believe and easier to display one’s belief in the public…

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We All Have a Hunger

We All Have a Hunger

At seventeen, I started to starve myself.
I thought that love was a kind of emptiness,
And at least I understood then the hunger I felt,
And I didn’t have to call it loneliness.

Florence and the Machine’s new single Hunger comes out of the corner swinging. From the first line, you know this is not going to be a breezy summer jam.

If I am honest, I rolled my eyes when I first heard Florence Welch’s captivating voice sing that first line. I thought it was a bit much, especially for an opening line.

What happened next was musical magic.

I was gripped by…

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Let Not Conscience Make You Linger: H.F. Kohlbrugge’s Comma – Tim Blackmon

What does Snoop Dogg have in common with the Netherlands’ best little-known theologian? Find out here, in this wonderful talk from our recent conference in NYC, featuring guest speaker Tim Blackmon.

Let Not Conscience Make You Linger: H.F. Kohlbrugge’s Comma – Tim Blackmon from Mockingbird on Vimeo

J.B. Roane and the Case of the Belated Apology

J.B. Roane and the Case of the Belated Apology

This is the first in an ongoing series of original short stories featuring the Rev. J.B. Roane.

Thornton bought me a cup of coffee at the same Dairy Queen where he found my business card the previous day, pinned up a little crooked on a bulletin board next to the men’s room.

J.B. Roane – Pastor for Hire.

Available for odd jobs of a spiritual nature.

Thornton’s coveralls looked like they’d seen more than a few errant drips of coffee and splashes of ketchup. The small talk we tried to make was awkward. He struck me as a direct man, momentarily at a…

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On Deserts: What Sexual Assault, Star Wars, and Salvation Have in Common

On Deserts: What Sexual Assault, Star Wars, and Salvation Have in Common

We’re very grateful to share this powerful piece by C. Marcus Odden.

Editor’s note: the following recounts a story of child abuse and should be read with discretion.

A Great Insight

A Great Insight

I imagine it’s a common experience: Whether in Bible studies, or from the pulpit, or in one-on-one “discipling” relationships, Christian ministers often feel pressured to come up with something genius, something that will knock the spiritual socks off whoever it is they’re ministering to. If you say just the right thing, maybe you can save or convert or help this person.

And I have to admit, on this website, the quandary’s similar. When we begin writing, often our first (or ever-present) concern has to do with saying something new and brilliant. “But has someone already said this?” With eleven years under…

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PZ's Podcast: Dead Reckoning

PZ’s Podcast: Dead Reckoning

EPISODE 248

Pastoral experience in hospital pre-op units provides abundant evidence for the existence of the soul. I first saw this evidence in Birmingham years ago, when someone we knew and loved was having to go into the operating room twice the same day, because the first “pass” that morning had failed. The situation was in fact do-or-die, and I had never before seen the look of fear which had come over the patient’s face as she was being prepared for her second procedure.

Then another time, in Washington, as the gurney was being wheeled out to surgery, a kind of fluttering…

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Lessons on Prayer from the Cast of Jane the Virgin

Lessons on Prayer from the Cast of Jane the Virgin

When I found out that Netflix added the most recent season of Jane the Virgin to its streaming repertoire, I knew exactly how I would spend my weekend. I may or may not have watched all seventeen forty-minute episodes in about 72 hours, complete with a rollercoaster of emotions as I walked alongside these characters, whose rich development made me think I actually knew and loved them, as they experienced the joys and sorrows of life. But mostly I cried. A lot.

(Some spoilers lie ahead.)

Jane the Virgin, set in Miami, is The CW’s adaptation of a Venezuelan telenovela about a…

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Robert Capon to the Rescue of the Royal Wedding

Robert Capon to the Rescue of the Royal Wedding

This one was written by journalist and friend Anna-Liza Kozma.

I spent the other week working on and off on the royal wedding. I wasn’t frosting lemon and elderflower cake or plucking lilies at dawn. Or getting fitted for a fascinator.

Instead, I talked to people like the feminist historian Rosalind Miles about what she calls “the genius of a 2000-year-old monarchy to reinvent itself.” I won’t detail here my discussions with a Mohawk writer who spoke of the Queen as a Clan Mother or my dear BBC friend who took her aged in-laws to join the crowds around Windsor Castle and…

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Devotion 2 – Sarah Condon

The second devotion from our recent conference in NYC, given by our chaplain, the Rev. Sarah Condon:

Devotion 2 – Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

This is a follow-up to a recent piece titled The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)—offering the other side of the coin.

Paul wasn’t much of a storyteller. For him, the advent of Christ was principally a revelation of something unforeseen at a human level. It was an invasion of liberation into an enslaved cosmos ruled by the powers of sin and death. This controlling metaphor of revelation colors his thought such that Scripture itself becomes not antecedent, horizontal events that set into motion a story, but prophetic testimony of God’s unconditioned, vertical intervention into the world.

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