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What is Faith?

What is Faith?

Leave it to the Mockingcast to awaken me out of my summer-long blogging slumber. On it, they discussed a hilarious McSweeney’s article called “I am the Universe, and Humans are Interpreting my Signs.” The idea of the post is simple: God (or “the Universe”) is a living God who is...
A Long Obedience in the Wrong Direction

A Long Obedience in the Wrong Direction

Author’s note: Over the past several months I’ve been asked the same question by multiple people, all in a very particular way. In the middle of a conversation, they will suddenly ask, “Who are you?” It’s not phrased in a demeaning way, but definitely with a politely confused inflection. My life doesn’t quite add...
The Déjà Vu Issue is Here!

The Déjà Vu Issue is Here!

Dear readers, Issue 12 is officially out to print and will be in your hands in a matter of days! Maybe you’ve wondered to yourself, “What is Mockingbird all about? And what should I read to get some insight?” If you have, or know your nosy roommate has, this is the...
2018 Fall Conference in OKC (10/11-13): Register Today!

2018 Fall Conference in OKC (10/11-13): Register Today!

Super excited to announce that pre-registration for our Fall Conference in Oklahoma City in now open! Join us October 11-13th at All Souls Episcopal Church in OKC as we explore what “Grace in an Age of Distraction” might look like. Speakers include Steven Paulson, Jady Koch, Carrie Willard, David Zahl,...
My Church Is Not CrossFit

My Church Is Not CrossFit

I cannot do CrossFit. I’m not being sarcastic. I really wish I could, but a medical condition prevents me from taking part in the Workout of the Day (WoD). I have many friends that swear by CrossFit. They find it meets a multitude of needs, both physical and social. When I was newly...
The Jeffersonian Ideal and the Unexpected Solution to Racism

The Jeffersonian Ideal and the Unexpected Solution to Racism

As you may know, Mockingbird HQ is situated here in happy, wealthy, intellectual, pastoral Charlottesville, Virginia. When I moved to Charlottesville for college almost 15 years ago, it was considered “America’s Happiest City” and one of the best places in America to raise a family. It still is. For this reason,...
<i>Eighth Grade</i>: AKA Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Eighth Grade: AKA Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

This reflection comes to us from Andy Clack. Middle school. Boys. Girls. Assemblies. Lockers. Meatloaf. Gym class. Talent shows. Choir practice. Braces. Acne. Whispering. Giggling. Blushing. Looking away. FREAKING OUT. Your mind grows. Your body changes. Your spirit breaks. Your parents suck. No, seriously, they’re the worst. Middle school. I...
Wait for It: The Surprising Perks of Suspense

Wait for It: The Surprising Perks of Suspense

Waiting, of any kind, is generally just stupid. We can all agree on this. We are on the same page here: I don’t like waiting, you don’t like waiting, nobody likes to wait. We want what we want, and we want it yesterday. Veruca Salt got this (“give it to...
Latest entries

On Our Bookshelf: From the Déjà Vu Issue

On Our Bookshelf: From the Déjà Vu Issue

If you get déjà vu scanning this list, it would be no surprise…you may have encountered some (but perhaps not all!) of these titles on this site. As compiled for the latest issue of The Mockingbird, these are the books we’ve been reading and re-reading this summer: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison: […]

Failure

Failure

It is inevitable: some things sometimes do not work out. Who loves control more than an architect? I have been one of those for 40 years, with 800 things built. But we’ve started over 1,000. We, I, failed over 200 times to build what we were designing. Today, I lost the chance to work with […]

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.

My Church Is Not CrossFit

My Church Is Not CrossFit

I cannot do CrossFit. I’m not being sarcastic. I really wish I could, but a medical condition prevents me from taking part in the Workout of the Day (WoD). I have many friends that swear by CrossFit. They find it meets a multitude of needs, both physical and social. When I was newly ordained and working on a […]

We Once Were Lost

We Once Were Lost

This reflection comes to us from Andreas Thiel. Two afternoons every week, I take a short drive to our local Long Term Care facility. On these occasions, I put my day-to-day parish responsibilities aside, for the purpose of serving as Chaplain to this community of (mostly) senior citizens. Now into my fourth month on the job, […]

Of Millstones

Of Millstones

One of the most stark and terrifying verses in all of the world’s religions is attributed to Jesus not once, nor twice, but three times identically in three different gospels: “Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he were thrown into […]

Justice, Serena Style

Justice, Serena Style

She is not playin’, sports fans, even when she’s playin’. That’s what I have come to love about Serena Williams. She’s been one of the top five athletes in the world for years now, but she has never stopped being Serena. If you haven’t heard about the U.S. Open Women’s Final from Saturday in Flushing […]

Love and Wrath: A Personal Odyssey – Dorsey McConnell

From our recent conference in NYC, the following testimony was given by the Rt. Rev. Dorsey McConnell. Here he discusses family, rage, and the time he almost killed his father…really! Incredibly moving. We’re very pleased to share this one.

Love and Wrath: A Personal Odyssey – Dorsey McConnell from Mockingbird on Vimeo

What is Faith?

What is Faith?

Leave it to the Mockingcast to awaken me out of my summer-long blogging slumber. On it, they discussed a hilarious McSweeney’s article called “I am the Universe, and Humans are Interpreting my Signs.” The idea of the post is simple: God (or “the Universe”) is a living God who is regularly involved in the everyday […]

Bringing You The Gospel, pt 46

Hopelessly Devoted: Second Corinthians Chapter One Verse Twenty

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

– 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)

The Bible declares that “the body of sin has been destroyed…. God has condemned sin in the flesh.” We don’t have to fear the Old Adam anymore…even though we still see and experience his residual phantom manifestations.

Sin has no eternal consequence anymore. Do we still sin? Of course. Do we still wrestle with sin? Yes. Does sin still have mundane experiential implications? Absolutely. But our sure confidence is in the gift of the leading of the Holy Spirit: the verdict of “no condemnation.” By his grace, through faith, we trust that we are clean, we are righteous, we are washed, we are justified…despite what the apparent evidence in our lives says.

Daily life damns us. Life consistently says “failed.” Grace faithfully says “forgiven.” Life always says “no.” God always says “enough”…because He has given us his ultimate and eternal “yes” in Jesus.

Another Week Ends: Cognitive Bias, Christian Impurity, Authoritarian Safetyism, Evil Nuns, Self-Care, and the Gentle Whisper of the Divine

Another Week Ends: Cognitive Bias, Christian Impurity, Authoritarian Safetyism, Evil Nuns, Self-Care, and the Gentle Whisper of the Divine

1. The theme that binds today’s links seems to be cognitive bias: the way our brains maneuver away from rational thinking, particularly under duress or in highly pressurized situations. Much of the pop-coverage of this topic, post-2016 (and there has been quite a bit), has been political: seeking to answer how anyone could be so […]