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Mockingbird is devoted to connecting the Christian message with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.

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    On Comic Books: Our Commonly Felt Need and the Search for Hope – Kyle Tomlin

    Right on time for the new Watchmen series, this video from our recent conference in NYC features commentary on the graphic novel, among other classics. Guided by “God and Comics” co-host Kyle Tomlin, we consider stories of superheroes and what they tell us about who we are, who we think we are, and what we are ultimately longing for. Characters include Superman, Billy Batson, Batman, the Joker, Doctor Manhattan, and others.

    On Comic Books: Our Commonly Felt Need and the Search for Hope – Kyle Tomlin

    Frederick Buechner’s Bad News

    A choice reflection from Frederick Buechner’s Quote of the Day (h/t KW):

    The Gospel is bad news before it is good news. It is the news that man is a sinner, to use the old word, that he is evil in the imagination of his heart, that when he looks in the mirror all in a lather what he sees is at least eight parts chicken, phony, slob. That is the tragedy. But it is also the news that he is loved anyway, cherished, forgiven, bleeding to be sure, but also bled for. That is the comedy. And yet, so what? So what if even in his sin the slob is loved and forgiven when the very mark and substance of his sin and of his slobbery is that he keeps turning down the love and forgiveness because he either doesn’t believe them or doesn’t want them or just doesn’t give a damn? In answer, the news of the Gospel is that extraordinary things happen to him just as in fairy tales extraordinary things happen. Henry Ward Beecher cheats on his wife, his God, himself, but manages to keep on bringing the Gospel to life for people anyway, maybe even for himself. Lear goes berserk on a heath but comes out of it for a few brief hours every inch a king. Zaccheus climbs up a sycamore tree a crook and climbs down a saint. Paul sets out a hatchet man for the Pharisees and comes back a fool for Christ. It is impossible for anybody to leave behind the darkness of the world he carries on his back like a snail, but for God all things are possible. That is the fairy tale. All together they are the truth.

    – Originally published in Telling the Truth

    Emily Dickinson in Autumn

    Besides the Autumn poets sing
    A few prosaic days
    A little this side of the snow
    And that side of the Haze –

    A few incisive mornings –
    A few Ascetic eves –
    Gone – Mr Bryant’s “Golden Rod” –
    And Mr Thomson’s “sheaves.”

    Still, is the bustle in the Brook –
    Sealed are the spicy valves –
    Mesmeric fingers softly touch
    The eyes of many Elves –

    Perhaps a squirrel may remain –
    My sentiments to share –
    Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind –
    Thy windy will to bear!

    (123B, Franklin Variorum 1998)

    Image credit: Deng Yingyu

    Life, Love and Other Impossibilities: Your Savior is Not You – Nick Lannon

    In our next video, Nick Lannon, author of Life Is Impossible (And That’s Good News), speaks at our annual conference. Topics include: asking out a crush, turning your frown upside-down, Saving Private Ryan, the Sermon on the Mount, a tyrannosaur, and a double quarter-pounder with cheese. Bombs away!

    Life, Love and Other Impossibilities: Your Savior is Not You – Nick Lannon

    A Full Grown Man & His Sad Jelly Belly

    A confession from Matt Magill: I have a complicated relationship with sugar. It’s really the candy that does me in. The guilty verdict on my perpetual adolescence needs no further evidence than my wicked sweet tooth and embarrassing proclivity to indulge it. No matter how often I throw out “Not today Satan!”, I trend towards […]

    Shouting Louder (Mark 10:46-52)

    This morning’s devotion is taken from Larry Parsley’s book An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark. …they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he […]

    NOW AVAILABLE! StoryMakers – Advent

    Thrilled to announce that StoryMakers’ next kidzine has arrived and is available through the online shop! In addition to Creation and the Flood, children can now journey through Advent with comics, striking visuals, plays, and more. Activities are recommended for ages 6-12.

    Advent Comic Series: Joy to the world…! Advent is here and so is our Comic Series. Order one Comic per child and discover the true meaning of the season. This 4-week series takes you through the epic arrival of Jesus. Kids will discover the incredible events that led up to the birth of our Savior. This illustrated comic brings the season of Advent to life.

    Advent Pageant: Dive right into the story of Jesus’s birth. The StoryMaker pageant tells the story from the perspective of two shepherds. The story is simple and easy for any group of children to engage. There is plenty of room to add barn animals, angels, and stars as non-speaking roles. Remember to delve in, use your imagination, and have fun!

    Advent Guide: The Christmas story can be a little tricky to teach little ones. There are many dramatic elements, miracles, and the appearance of angels, which leaves plenty of room for questions. Our Guide for Grown-Ups does the heavy lifting and will help any teacher or parent navigate the depth of the Christmas story. All you need is one per class or parent.

    Advent Starter Kit: Includes all of the above: our seasonal Comic series, a Christmas Pageant, and a Guide for Grown-Ups. The Advent Starter kit has everything you need to share the greatest story shared every year.

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    Seculosity and the Future of Guilt Management – David Zahl

    From this year’s annual Mockingbird conference in NYC, here is David Zahl speaking about and reading from his new book Seculosity. Topics include Soylent, anxiety, toxic religions, and snow days:

    Seculosity and the Future of Guilt Management – David Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter Four Verses Three Through Four

    This entry comes from Paul Walker’s “Almost Daily Devotional”:

    It’s been said that life is like a courtroom. We find we need to defend ourselves against the judgment and accusation of others. Sometimes that judgment is real; more often, it is imagined. Another person’s “success,” or what appears to be success to us, will cause us to judge ourselves. You know the saying: “you are your own worst critic.” So many of our prison sentences are self-imposed.

    St. Paul knew this universal proclivity but also knew the way to commute the sentence. “I care very little, however, if I am judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not vindicate me. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4). What Paul is saying is the lens by which we perceive judgment — whether from ourselves or others — is so warped and faulty that it is better to disregard the accusations altogether.

    And in any case, the only person fit for the job of judgment is the Lord. And if that is the case, then go ahead and walk scot-free out of that courtroom door. And while you’re at it, put your hand in the hand of the man who said, “I did not come to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12:47). For He is our only Mediator and Advocate.

    “Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we are to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.”  (Proper 22 – Book of Common Prayer p. 234)

    PZ’s Podcast: Susan, Downhill Racer, and Under a Cloud

    EPISODE 280: Susan Human nature is extremely vulnerable. I’m thinking of one’s inwardness, and the way a seemingly small rejection, loss or blow of some kind can be enough to unravel a person’s entire equilibrium. You can compare yourself, even if you’re basically a coper — many people aren’t — to the seemingly impregnable ‘Death […]

    Hopelessly Devoted: James Chapter One Verses Two Through Four

    This morning’s devotion comes from Rev. Paul Walker’s “Almost Daily Devotional,” delivered to inboxes…almost daily. Grateful for today’s message: “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.” “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that […]

    A Poem for Remembering

    The Vast Hour
    by Genevieve Taggard

    All essences of sweetness from the white
    Warm day go up in vapor, when the dark
    Comes down. Ascends the tune of meadow-lark,
    Ascends the noon-time smell of grass, when night
    Takes sunlight from the world, and gives it ease.
    Mysterious wings have brushed the air; and light
    Float all the ghosts of sense and sound and sight;
    The silent hive is echoing the bees.
    So stir my thoughts at this slow, solemn time.
    Now only is there certainty for me
    When all the day’s distilled and understood.
    Now light meets darkness: now my tendrils climb
    In this vast hour, up the living tree,
    Where gloom foregathers, and the stern winds brood.

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