New Here?
     
The Strange Absurdity of Scorekeeping in <i>The Good Place</i>

The Strange Absurdity of Scorekeeping in The Good Place

A bonzer contribution from one Sam Guthrie: With seasons 1 and 2 of NBC’s The Good Place streaming on Netflix, Kristen Bell and gang bring the laughs with the show’s expository mirror reflecting the religiosity of our modern world. The Good Place follows the adventure of Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell)...
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...
Johnny Cash and Our Culture of Mercilessness

Johnny Cash and Our Culture of Mercilessness

There I was, standing in front of a class of undergrads discussing Johnny Cash’s legendary “Live at Folsom Prison” and getting absolutely zero response from the students. Cash has long been dead by now and I wondered aloud whether he was too far afield for this group 18-22 year olds....
Many Good Things Start With a Grave

Many Good Things Start With a Grave

It seems like just about everyone I know right now is either grieving, infertile, or both. As a country and a global community, we’ve also had a lot of bad news. Our hurricanes are getting worse. There’s abuse. Addiction. “Politics” (I’ll let you unpack that one, reader). There’s prejudice. International...
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...
Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin

An immense honor to put this up for online reading. This essay from Dr. Simeon Zahl was originally given at the NYC Conference in 2016 and was republished in written form in our most recent issue of the magazine, The Déjà Vu Issue. To order one for your favorite sinner,...
A New Recipe: Grace in Family Life

A New Recipe: Grace in Family Life

This is an edited version of a talk given by the famed child psychologist, Dorothy Martyn, at the second annual Mockingbird Conference in 2009 and republished in our most recent issue of the magazine, the Deja Vu Issue. She died in January 2018. I suppose that you are, in some...
Latest entries

Jesus, Save Patrick Mahomes

Jesus, Save Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes is the second-year (but first year as the starter) quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. He is lighting the NFL on fire. I know, I know…that metaphor isn’t quite right. He’s blowing the NFL up like a nuclear warhead. Mahomes had more touchdown passes through the first three weeks of the season than…anyone […]

From The Onion: Casual Christian Accepts Christ As His Lord But Not His Savior

America’s Finest News Source beating The Bee at its own game…

CALHOUN, GA—Admitting that he certainly likes the son of God but “doesn’t exactly love the guy, per se,” self-described casual Christian Brian Neely disclosed Monday that he accepts Jesus Christ as his lord but not his savior. “Listen, I know Jesus is the King of Kings, but I’m pretty sure I can deliver my own soul from eternal peril and reconcile myself with God the Father just fine on my own,” said Neely, 35… “Don’t get me wrong, Christ’s undying love and eternal wisdom guide me in my never-ending quest to lead an honest life, a life that reflects His values and teachings, but rescue us from the wages of all sin? I don’t care who your dad is, that’s a lot to ask from anyone.” Neely added that, while he finds God to be good, he is personally still on the fence as to whether He is, in fact, great.

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin

An immense honor to put this up for online reading. This essay from Dr. Simeon Zahl was originally given at the NYC Conference in 2016 and was republished in written form in our most recent issue of the magazine, The Déjà Vu Issue. To order one for your favorite sinner, go here. And if you […]

An Air of Condescension: Why Working-Class Whites Don't Go to Church

An Air of Condescension: Why Working-Class Whites Don’t Go to Church

Grateful for this reflection by David Clay. In the 2016 film Manchester by the Sea, sixteen-year-old Patrick Chandler loses his father to congestive heart failure and finds himself in the custody of his uncle Lee, a laconic and depressed Boston janitor. Neither Patrick nor Lee are very excited about the situation; much of the movie revolves […]

October Playlist

Leaning heavily on some upcoming episodes of The Well of Sound this time, along with our recent Christian Rock convo on The Mockingcast. Click here to listen on Spotify (minus two tracks).

Another Week Ends: Divine Dad Jokes, Social Media Dark Ages, Millennial Marriages, Cher's SOS, and a Swimming Pool Full of Sprinkles

Another Week Ends: Divine Dad Jokes, Social Media Dark Ages, Millennial Marriages, Cher’s SOS, and a Swimming Pool Full of Sprinkles

1. It’s the experience economy, in case you haven’t heard. In a previous vocation, that was the mantra by which we were expected to “pivot” our future plans. The new experience entrepreneurs have likely set up shop in your neighborhood too: we just got our first axe-throwing range to compliment our smashing-pottery-therapy studio and our […]

<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? […]

Where the Sinners and the Sinned Against Are Reconciled

Where the Sinners and the Sinned Against Are Reconciled

There is a complicated tension that we deal with in a theology of boundless grace, undeserved mercy, and unearned forgiveness. As Christians, in our rush to affirm the hope of God’s grace for sinners, we can inadvertently (or intentionally) silence the victims in the room. We want to move past the transgression and into the […]

T-Minus 2 Weeks ’til OKC: Talk Titles (and Darwin’s Appeal)

In two short weeks, we’ll be gathering in Oklahoma City for our Fall Conference (10/11-13)! Our theme is “Grace in an Age of Distraction” and the details are coming together beautifully. The finalized talk titles are as follows:

  • Grace in an Age of Distraction I&II – Steven Paulson
  • In Praise of Distraction – Curt Benham
  • Marriage-Salvation Events – Ellis and Debbie Brazeal
  • Instagram Scrolling and Twitter Rants: Today’s Solutions to Luther’s Anfechtung – Kelsi Klembara
  • Grace in Distracted Parenting – Nathan Carr
  • Walker Percy on Distraction and Selfhood – Scott Johnson
  • The Distraction of Our Lives – Jady Koch
  • I’m So Worried: How God Loves Me Through Anxiety – Carrie Willard
  • Sinners in the Hands of—SQUIRREL! – David Zahl (ht AJ)

Keep your eyes peeled to the conference site for further details as they develop, including the menus from The Kitchen at Commonplace. And to whet your appetite even more, here’s one more passage from Steven Paulson, this time via his essay “Life Without a Preacher: Darwin’s Origin of Species,” ht AD:

“Is it any wonder why a person would prefer the law’s death to the gospel? Darwin did not reject the beginning of Genesis as a preached God because its science is faulty, but because its divine election is appalling. God elects humans over plants for no legal reasons. God elects Jews who had become idolaters and were taken away to Babylon, only to be freed by Cyrus, the strangest of all Messiahs… Yet, as Darwin traveled around the world he naturally asked, what about all these people who have never had a preacher? What about the unnamed animals of Galápagos? There must be a more rational way God operates than that. Why not make God into a silent pigeon breeder? So Darwin bravely went about discovering life without a preacher. Indeed, that life seems to be a much better arrangement than the election by baptism in opposition to the law—unless, of course, you are the weak.”

Click Here to Pre-Register

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 […]

Everything for Nothing: <i>The Berenstain Bears</i> and the Black Hole of Pressure

Everything for Nothing: The Berenstain Bears and the Black Hole of Pressure

Fatherhood has become my most cherished title. I love being a dad and watching my daughter grow and learn and play and become who she is. Fatherhood has also, though, baptized me in the waters of children’s television, which, if you’re unfamiliar, is a genre of entertainment rife with princesses, anthropomorphic animals, and seemingly no […]

Turnips, Kiddies, and Icons

Turnips, Kiddies, and Icons

This reflection comes to us from Kim Kaufmann, part of the team at StoryMakersNYC (our awesome new children’s ministry initiative). Hold up an old, dried, brown, and knobbly turnip to a kid, and what do they say? “That looks like Gramma!” “It smells like poop!” “I bet there’s a fairy living inside!” “It’s a tree for […]