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Another Week Ends: Silicon Valley #Seculosity, Airborne Absolution, Big Law Kills, Maslow's Smartphone, Stan Lee's Humor, and True Detective Pikachu

Another Week Ends: Silicon Valley #Seculosity, Airborne Absolution, Big Law Kills, Maslow’s Smartphone, Stan Lee’s Humor, and True Detective Pikachu

Wrapping up the latest from the week, we’d be remiss not to recap the biggest news, which is that DZ’s new book Seculosity is now available for your pre-ordering pleasure! For a preview of the content, go here, and to get in your pre-order, go here. (According to those ‘in the know,’ pre-orders are actually what make […]

The Straight Road Out of a Buried World

The Straight Road Out of a Buried World

November 11 came and went as unexceptionally as any Sunday ever does, a day living under the permanent shadow of Monday, almost exclusively spent hoping against hope to recuperate before the work week resumes. Most Sundays, however, don’t mark one hundred years since the armistice that halted the First World War and gave the day […]

To Dissolve the Line Between Man and Machine: Reflections on Cyberpunk and Suffering in the Meatspace

To Dissolve the Line Between Man and Machine: Reflections on Cyberpunk and Suffering in the Meatspace

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel” ​(Neuromancer, pg. 3) If I self-reflect on how geeky my hobbies are, I’m nothing if not consistent. For the past year or so, some friends and I have been meeting in a basement after work and playing a fantastic Dungeons […]

The Difference Between Despair and Dependence

The Difference Between Despair and Dependence

Regular readers know the high esteem in which we hold Orthodox priest Fr. Stephen Freeman, and how much inspiration we’ve drawn from his writing, especially over the past couple of years. If it’s true that God often speaks to us through unexpected vessels and out of our blindspots, then he represents something of that for […]

You (and Kirk Cousins) Are Going to Die

You (and Kirk Cousins) Are Going to Die

Kirk Cousins, the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, has a sculpture outside his house with an odd purpose: it’s intended to remind him that he’s going to die. Well, sort of. Planning to live to 90, the quarterback has a jar of 720 stones (one for each month he intends to live) at his home. […]

Fear and the Reality of Horror, Part 1

Fear and the Reality of Horror, Part 1

Is there a place for fear in Christianity? And if there is, what value does the horror genre bring to the Christian life? To answer these questions we must uncover what sort of world it is we inhabit, and we mustn’t be too hasty in presuming to already know. For if the world is a […]

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 […]

Say Something

Say Something

The world is too much with us; late and soon. We are surrounded by suffering. It will follow us until we leave this earth. There is no cure while we are yet here. Grief is coming. To you. To me. To every single one of us. Over and over again, until the end. (I’m as […]

<i>Therefore I Have Hope:</i> The Blessed Assurance of an Objective Gospel

Therefore I Have Hope: The Blessed Assurance of an Objective Gospel

I remember the exact place where I was standing on campus at Ole Miss when my mom called with the news that Cameron Cole’s three-year-old son, Cam, had died. I don’t think I believed her at first. Surely, I had misheard what she said. There was just no way that this was happening. Why, God? […]

Chewing Tinfoil, Wanting God: Christian Wiman’s <i>He Held Radical Light</i>

Chewing Tinfoil, Wanting God: Christian Wiman’s He Held Radical Light

What is it we want when we can’t stop wanting? Christian Wiman’s new essays resist review. Reviews of art are always a strange effort, anyway. An exhibition of paintings or a play or a concert or a novel or a poem, all are experiences, experiences of difference—when our action is displaced but our hearts and […]

How to Deploy Survival Mode: Some Notes on Mental Health from the Ladies of Unmapped — Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips

This excerpt comes from Mockingbird’s latest publication, Unmapped: The (Mostly) True Story of How Two Women Lost at Sea Found Their Way Home, by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips. One of the many zingers from this spiritual memoir duet, the following passage finds the authors wrestling with anxiety and mental health issues…as related to the gospel:

The gospel gets a bad rap sometimes because it says you have to die before you can live. Which is a hard pill to swallow when you didn’t even want to take a pill in the first place.

Here’s how it goes: girl has anxiety. Girl gets tools to deal with it. Tools help. (Occasionally.) But girl ends up in a situation (usually involving failure, humiliation, menstruation, her children, all of these things, or NONE OF THEM) in which she ends up feeling totally defeated by her anxiety; we mean, crushed. All hope appears lost. She thinks she will never get better. She can’t bear to think about the looks she will get when everyone sees she’s STILL a mess. She thinks she will actually die. None of the techniques help. She is drowning, and she cannot breathe. She is sinking, sinking, sinking…and everything goes dark.

Awful, right? Like, Shakespearean tragedy-awful. Except there’s this other thing—death—and it relies not at all on the sinking girl, but on her being miraculously and improbably revived by something [Someone] entirely separate from herself. No strategy, no implementation, just plain being lifted up out of the depth of despair and placed atop some blessed rock. Death, but then…resurrection. See what we’re getting at here?

We know it’s not as simple as a granted wish. We know there’s a whole lot of fist shaking, swearing into the sky, and despair. But it took Jesus himself three days, people. Settle in: this may take a while. Chances are, we’re probably going to be staring that bastard (mental dysfunction) in the face off-and-on our whole lives until we arrive at that beautiful buffet in the sky, where there’s endless white bread and the bill is already paid. But God is right with us. The ultimate hope—for us, for our kids when we fail them, for our friends when we hurt them, for our marriages when we flounder, for our jobs when we blow it—is in the throes of death that transform into the pangs of new life.

Drown, resuscitate, repeat. Fail, get forgiven, go again. Despair, hope, defeat, redemption, over and over, until one day you wake up and you realize you’re still anxious, but you see it more clearly, for the cloudy lens it is, and you know—even though you’re not there yet, because TODAY IS A DOOZY—you know that you’re going to be okay. Ultimately, you will be whole. And you’re headed there. So you breathe, and you put one foot in front of the other while recognizing that you’re actually being carried. And your anxiety hasn’t disappeared; nope, it’s still following you around like a hot, wet rag someone keeps chucking at your face, but you’re no longer a table for two. You’ve got company, and it looks strangely like a lifeboat with all the provisions onboard (see what we did there?). You settle in, and soon other passengers come aboard your lifeboat, so you open a bottle of wine and hold hands and breathe together, everyone facing the same direction.