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Mission: Difficult

Mission: Difficult

The following was excerpted from Nick Lannon’s fantastic new book Life Is Impossible: And That’s Good News—a fundamental distillation of the law and the gospel in everyday life. This comes from the third chapter “Mission: Difficult.” I have heard the Christian life described in many different ways. Some have compared...
2019 Mbird Tyler Recordings: The Future of Grace

2019 Mbird Tyler Recordings: The Future of Grace

A Texas-sized thank you to everyone who helped put on our conference in Tyler earlier this month, especially the fabulous–and ridiculously ecumenical–steering committee, led by the indefatigable Matt Magill. Huge thanks to all the sponsors as well: B3 Ministries, Bethel Bible, Christ Episcopal, Redeemer Pres Tyler, Moon River Naturals, Porch...
NOW AVAILABLE: StoryMakers - Adventure One: Creation

NOW AVAILABLE: StoryMakers – Adventure One: Creation

Pleased to announce that StoryMakers’ first kidzine has landed and is available through our online shop and StoryMakersNYC.com! When we give kids stories that spark the imagination, we aren’t giving them distractions to tide them over until they can handle “the big stuff.” Stories ARE the big stuff. And the...
Announcing: "Grace, Peace, and Personal Survival for the Preacher": A Mockingbird Conference in Lancaster, PA

Announcing: “Grace, Peace, and Personal Survival for the Preacher”: A Mockingbird Conference in Lancaster, PA

Excited to announce our (fast!) approaching Mockingbird conference in Lancaster, PA, hosted at the historic Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. With its theme—“Grace, Peace, and Personal Survival for the Preacher”—this intimate, impromptu conference aims to minister to those who minister. But of course all are welcome, not only preachers. Topics may...
<i>Seculosity</i> Has Landed!!

Seculosity Has Landed!!

Beyond excited to announce that my new book Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What To Do About It is officially out today! So excited, in fact, that we made another video to celebrate #markbabikowisagenius: A few ways to support the cause...
Camp: Notes on Grace

Camp: Notes on Grace

What does grace look like? If it made a movie or wore a dress, how would you describe it, aesthetically? It might be twee or kitsch, since the Gospel is such a personal message that, in our self-absorption, we often sentimentalize, then mass-produce. It could be sublime, as the drama...
ANNOUNCING: <i>The Youngest Day</i>, by Robert Capon!

ANNOUNCING: The Youngest Day, by Robert Capon!

When it comes to grace, no one writes with more elegance, humor, and well, grace, than Robert Farrar Capon. Since his first publication hit shelves in 1963, Robert’s voice has served as one of the guiding lights for the Christian faith from generation to generation. Now, in this final book...
Don't Ruin Brunch: A Mother's Day Primer for the Church

Don’t Ruin Brunch: A Mother’s Day Primer for the Church

I’ve got an idea for churches this upcoming Sunday. Please just ignore Mother’s Day. I do not know why we started to attach the church to this secular holiday, but for the love of all that is sacred and holy, she wants us to stop. I got a desperate note...
I Am No Jean Vanier

I Am No Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier, the Canadian naval officer turned philosopher and founder of the L’Arche Communities, died yesterday morning. News of his death hit me harder than I imagined it would. I have read plenty of his books and followed the work of L’Arche for many years. It was only after his...
Latest entries

Another Week Ends: Breakfast of Lutherans, Celebrity Prayer Candles, Junkyard Playgrounds, All the Correct Opinions, and the X-Men Family

Another Week Ends: Breakfast of Lutherans, Celebrity Prayer Candles, Junkyard Playgrounds, All the Correct Opinions, and the X-Men Family

1. On this week’s Killing Eve, the morally obscure mastermind Carolyn Marten (Fiona Shaw) refused to eat breakfast, instead taking a pull from a water pipe and saying, “I can’t stand breakfast. It’s just constant eggs. Why? Who decided?” The woman has a point. Whether yogurt, cereal, waffles, or bacon, our breakfast items of choice […]

The Wheel in the Sky Keeps On Turning: Penultimate Thoughts on <i>Game of Thrones</i>' Penultimate Episode

The Wheel in the Sky Keeps On Turning: Penultimate Thoughts on Game of Thrones' Penultimate Episode

Spoilers ahoy for Game of Thrones fans. Sadly, with the finale arriving Sunday, you are pretty much out of time to jump in and watch all 72 episodes before the show concludes, but there’s something here for the non-GoT community too. Also, like the caveats provided by the AV Club, this is post from a […]

What Do We Say to the God of Death? When Ministry Forces Us to Answer “Today”: A Conference Preview

Below is a preview for our fast-approaching Mockingbird conference in Lancaster, PA (June 11-13). This particular conference aims to minister to those who minister—though all are welcome. Do register promptly so we can be sure to know you’re coming! The following sneak-peek comes from speaker Tasha Genck Morton:

For those who don’t speak Game of Thrones, the answer to the question, “What do we say to the God of death?” is a very inspiring, “Not today!” But ministry and life force us to say “today” over and over again as parishioners, family, and friends die. Facing death on a regular basis seems to demand that we who are left live better and fuller lives than those who went before. Every death whispers “earn it” to the living. In this session, we will explore what the Gospel has to say to us in the face of the impossible demands of “near death experiences.” Heads up: major spoilers will be discussed for perennial Mockingbird favorite TV show The Good Place, so what are you waiting for? Watch it!

Register today for Mockingbird in Lancaster, PA!

When Your Friends Are the Devil

When Your Friends Are the Devil

Do you ever dread meeting with a friend? Do you involuntarily find yourself imagining the ways this is going to go all wrong? Do you feel a knot in your guts when you receive a text message asking to “connect” later (why that word?) and zero elaboration is given? You feel the foreboding circulate through […]

Children Are Horribly Needy People: And Other Reasons Why Jesus Loves You - Sarah Condon

Incoming! Continuing on with videos from this year’s phenomenal Mockingbird conference in Tyler, TX, themed “The Future of Grace,” here’s the Rev. Sarah Condon discussing fighting in school, early puberty, Curious George, the hardships of growing up in the world, and the child inside all of us.

Children Are Horribly Needy People: And Other Reasons Why Jesus Loves You – Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

All Pride Contains a Hint of Malice

All Pride Contains a Hint of Malice

Another heartening excerpt from David Brooks’ new work The Second Mountain. Here the Times columnist turns over the definition of grace with a little help from Martin Luther and Reinhold Niebuhr—but with the heavy-lifting from Anne Snyder, Brooks’ erstwhile research assistant, now wife. I was struggling with the concept of surrender and grace. I didn’t […]

By the Grace of Dog

You know the old truism: Wanna know unconditional love? Put your spouse and your dog in the trunk of your car for an hour. When you open the trunk, only one of them’s still going to be happy to see you…

As we’ve compiled the many essays and interviews soon to make up Mockingbird’s fourteenth magazine issue, The Family Issue, we noticed a glaring and certainly inadvertent omission. How in the world does one put out over a hundred pages of tender, nuanced reportage relating to the family unit—not to mention grace in the family unit—without paying homage to its most gracious member?

Yes, we’re talking about the family dog. While families are full of conflict, perennial victims and perpetrators of so many circumstantial slings and arrows, there is no greater emblem of unconditional love and, um, dogged loyalty. Some may call dogs “inferior” or just plain “stupid.” To those people, we offer our prayers, because they must have never heard the foolish wisdom of God. Dogs are heaven-sent. And so, in lieu of an entire essay, we’re asking you, dear reader, to send us your “By the GRACE of DOG” stories. Where has the furry, four-legged love of God found its way through the doggie door and into your heart? What blessed paw-marks has it left on your interior furniture?

Just one small paragraph will suffice. We’ll keep you confidential. Send your submissions to bythegraceofdogz@gmail.com. They can be funny, heart-wrenching, really weird, or really sweet. And then keep an eye out for your submission in the next issue. If you have a cat story, well, good for you…

Needles & Nails: Finding Identity in Ink

Needles & Nails: Finding Identity in Ink

I have little interest in getting a tattoo. Maybe it’s a matter of taste—I prefer expressing myself with music rather than body markings. Or maybe it’s my upbringing. Without a single tattoo in my immediate family there’s a sense of inertia working against me. But my wariness of tattoos is likely the fruit of a […]

2019 NYC Conference Book Table

2019 NYC Conference Book Table

Many thanks to all who attended and helped pull off the 12th annual Mockingbird conference in NYC! For all who couldn’t make it, and also those who could, each year we like to put together a virtual book table, with the various recommended readings and resources written by our speakers and guests. (Last week we […]

Is Nothing Sacred?

Is Nothing Sacred?

When a part of Notre Dame Cathedral burned, there was an instant, worldwide flood of money inundating a Catholic place of worship. And a national icon. And a place of romance. But more than that, Notre Dame is, by design and history, sacred. Would the Paris Opera House in flames evoke the gut-crushing pain of […]

Mission: Difficult

Mission: Difficult

The following was excerpted from Nick Lannon’s fantastic new book Life Is Impossible: And That’s Good News—a fundamental distillation of the law and the gospel in everyday life. This comes from the third chapter “Mission: Difficult.” I have heard the Christian life described in many different ways. Some have compared it to a race, or […]

Another Week Ends: Recovering Small Groups, the Problem with Happiness, Metrics of Judgment, Masculine #Seculosity, Love at L'Arche, and 20 Years of "All Star"

Another Week Ends: Recovering Small Groups, the Problem with Happiness, Metrics of Judgment, Masculine #Seculosity, Love at L'Arche, and 20 Years of "All Star"

1. In the first slot this week, Christianity Today published Kent Dunnington’s reflections on small groups and AA: Small Groups Anonymous: Why the best church small groups might take their cues from the Twelve Steps. An in-depth look at how AA works and why most small groups fail to transform character and practice, Dunnington’s piece […]