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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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    Soraya Roberts Is Redefining Success

    For Longreads, writer Soraya Roberts recently wrote a scintillating takedown of modern notions of success in her essay, “The Myth of Making It.” The central theme is the never-ending pursuit of “enoughness,” plus the suggestion that this nagging sense can never be appeased externally. Other topics include “comparing up,” the Skater of the Year Award, […]

    Lessons in Love from the Nursing Home Lobby

    The following was written by Grace Leuenberger. This summer, we threw a party to celebrate my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary. They were college sweethearts who married on June 11, 1949, a few weeks after my grandma’s 20th birthday. My grandpa proposed in the living room of my grandma’s parents’ house in Erie, Pennsylvania. “It happened […]

    Be Your Worst Self – Stephanie Phillips

    From our recent conference in NYC, Mockingbird contributor Stephanie Phillips shares wisdom on how to live your best life—psych! Topics include: anarchical deodorant, firemonster babies, the expectations of our best selves, Catastrophe, grief, and the presence of God.

    Be Your Worst Self – Stephanie Phillips from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Judgment, Grace, and Rest in Flannery O’Connor – Will McDavid

    Next up in our series of conference videos, Will McDavid discusses the lesser known short story, “A Circle in the Fire,” by Flannery O’Connor. A thorough take on a story that blazes…

    Judgment, Grace, and Rest in Flannery O’Connor – Will McDavid

    The Terrible Distance Between “Not” and “Yet”: On Family, Long-Distance

    The following excerpt was taken from the new book by Mockingbird contributor Andrew Taylor-Troutman. The book is “Gently Between the Words: Essays and Poems,” available this month from Torchflame Books.  There are, of course, many ways to be healthy, happy, and whole. As adults, my brother and I have made different choices about careers and […]

    NOW AVAILABLE: StoryMakers – Adventure Two: The Flood!

    Big news: we are pleased to announce that StoryMakers’ next kidzine has arrived and is available through the online shop! After the adventure of Creation, children will now explore the biblical Flood with prompts, striking visuals, shadow puppets, and more.

    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 entry into God’s ultimate account of love and mercy. StoryMakers offers kids a fresh approach: helping them to discover God’s redemptive narrative within their own story.

    “Spiritual formation” can feel like the heaviest responsibility we carry as parents or church leaders. For generations, the church has confused the role of savior, and often grown-ups are left feeling they are completely responsible for their children’s salvation. When we take on this burden, the most impossible task, we leave no room for fun, freedom, and creativity. Grown-ups are left with the expectation of “getting it right,” which perpetuates worry, measurement, and, in the worst scenarios, disconnection from the children we are hoping to form.

    StoryMakers recognizes that kids and grown-ups need GRACE first, recognizing our role as creatures, not creator. In that recognition, freedom, love, and discovery can begin to take root in our lives. So, how do we help young people connect to God’s grace? We tell them the stories of the Bible, even the hard ones. Our job simply becomes guide, one who points our children to a person, not moralism or a list of rules.

    Through our zines, we are inviting ninos to delve into the stories of the Bible, even the hard and dark stories, using their imaginations, play, and creativity. We guide them to connect to the ultimate StoryMaker, our Creator. So, as they grow and encounter their own Flood accounts, they can know for certain God is there in the midst of every storm we encounter.

    Jump into Adventure Two and discover how God is active, just, and merciful in the midst of the Flood. Ninos will discover that God covered Noah in an arc, just as he covers us in Jesus. They will also learn that God’s promises are ones we can count on, and he is actively reaching down to us.

    • Zine Two explores the story of the Bible over 12 weeks and includes art, fun facts, shadow puppets, and social-emotional connectors. There are plenty of fun details to dig deep. You can also order 5+ zines at a discount of 75% off!
    • The Guide helps grown-ups navigate the deep waters of the Flood. Sometimes it feels impossible to know where to begin. Our guide is here to support parents and church leaders. The Guide include: Field Notes, Thoughts to Ponder, History, and Activity instruction.
    • The Memory Cards are visual prompts to turn memorization into a fun game. Scripture is meant to encourage us and carry us through the challenging moments of life. Order this set of memory cards and get to know the Flood account and the visuals that prompt hope in the midst of chaos. Each card is visually compelling with cues to help your StoryMakers internalize God’s story.
    • The Playbook is tailored to help children enjoy Adventure Two by playing all the characters in the story. You can use your puppets, or jump into costumes and play all the parts to get to know this old story in a new way.
    • Adventure Two can be purchased in a set. Each kit includes a zine, a guide, memory cards, and a playbook. Every pieces enhances the StoryMaker experience and will bring Genesis to life.

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    ORDER YOUR CHILD’S NEXT ADVENTURE TODAY!

    Devotion #3 – Larry Parsley (Colossians 4:2-6)

    This morning’s video, from our conference in NYC, features pastor and author Larry Parsley, speaking on Colossians 4:2-6. In this one, Larry discusses what it means to season your speech with graciousness and…garlic. Yum:

    Devotion #3 – Larry Parsley from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Super-Moms, Über-Dads, and Other People Who Don’t Exist

    Another peek into the Family Issue, which is available now. If you’d like more to sample, there’s Ethan’s Opener here, and the special episode of The Mockingcast, here.  This article was adapted from Chad Bird’s newest book, Upside-Down Spirituality, available wherever books are sold.  Gathering dust in the far western portion of Texas is a […]

    Why Me Lord: A Brief Look at the Scoundrels, Buffoons and Ne’er Do Well’s Whom God Pursues in the Parables – Erick Sorensen

    Next in our series of conference videos, Erick Sorensen discusses a God who couldn’t care less about our lists of accomplishments, as illustrated by the parables of Jesus. Press play for a fresh take on familiar tales, which Sorenson re-casts in light of real-life stories featuring scoundrels, sinners, and nobodies…like us.

    Why Me Lord: A Brief Look at the Scoundrels, Buffoons and Ne’er Do Well’s Whom God Pursues in the Parables – Erick Sorensen

    Leslie Jamison on Self-Forgiveness and Shame

    The most recent edition of Image features a lovely interview with Leslie Jamison. We can’t stop writing about her, especially after her extraordinary talk at our conference this year in New York. In the interview, she discusses a number of other concerns—the fear that our feelings are clichés, that privilege and difference inhibit resonance with […]

    Carrion Comfort

    by Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
    Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
    In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
    Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
    But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
    Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
    With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
    O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?

       Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
    Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
    Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
    Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
    Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
    Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

     

    Featured image credit: Deepak sankat

    I Died and Didn’t Go To Heaven: Grace, Grief, and the Big Question – Connor Gwin

    Up next in our series of conference videos, Mockingbird contributor Connor Gwin tells of his sudden cardiac arrest and subsequent resuscitation. Thus the big questions are raised, and linen pants are worn, and Steel Magnolias is watched — and the reality of life and death is confronted. This talk is for anyone who has ever wondered “what comes next.”

    I Died and Didn’t Go To Heaven: Grace, Grief, and the Big Question – Connor Gwin from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

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