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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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Author Archive

    When Your Worst Day Is Preparation Day (Mark 15:43-47)

    Morning Devotional from An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark

    “Dream at Bethel,” by Mischa Willett

    Quiet now, but for camels’ tongues,
    lopping fat and sticky in the young

    desert night, big wind in the black backdrop
    of sky, crickets and their ancient legs, log-pops

    from my small fire. Cool on my feet,
    this breeze after two days walking since the trees

    of my village waved their shaggy good-byes. My wool socks
    stuffed in boots, I relax; put a smooth rock

    under my head, start to dream the dreams of my life:
    I can fly like hawks, have green-eyed wives

    from the east, am a sailor with a swift ship,
    fish, kingdoms under me, then this:

    a ladder leaning into clouds reaching high as noon,
    quick as raindrops, up and down, angels, bright as moon.

    Then a whisper comes sliding too, down the ricket of the bars,
    promising peace and plenty, descendants like the stars.

    The fire is dim as voices when the drop
    of my leg wakes me. Blinking, I prop

    on an elbow and look around for stairs, an unnatural
    hint of spirits, but see only my bearded camels,

    some lights on a hill from town, my boots, provisions.
    I think better of my strange vision.

    At breakfast I splash oil on my pillow rock—
    it seems holy still—and get ready to walk, pack

    everything, give the camels some straw,
    call the place Church, to remember what I saw.

    From The Elegy Beta: And Other Poems by Mischa Willett. You can purchase this collection from the Mockingbird store, Amazon, and elsewhere.

    The Best Hope There Is: A Brief Devotion for Easter Monday

    The Bodily Resurrection of Christ

    Good Friday in a Time of Corona – Paul Zahl

    The latest from our “Grace in a Time of Corona” series of video devotionals:

    Grace in the Time of Corona – Paul Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Join Us for Palm Sunday!

    This week we’re streaming the service from All Saints Winter Park FL, with Stuart Shelby presiding and Paul Zahl preaching:

    Join Us For Morning Prayer

    This week we’re streaming the service from St Albans in Waco, TX, with Aaron Zimmerman preaching:

    “Come Crack the Frozen Branch-Ends / That’ve Had You So Long”: Foreword to The Elegy Beta

    Mark S. Burrows Introduces Mischa Willett’s Poetry and Reminds Us What Poems Are for

    Now Available: The Elegy Beta: And Other Poems, by Mischa Willett

    Never before has Mockingbird published a book of poetry — but with The Elegy Beta, that changes. From critically acclaimed poet Mischa WillettThe Elegy Beta features impressionistic meditations on faith and everyday life. In concert with Rilke’s Duino Elegies, this collection simmers with luminous, transcendent language. It is elegant, sharp, and frequently funny.

    The Elegy Beta is available today in hardcover and paperback. You can find it in our online bookstore, on Amazon, and elsewhere.

    Meet the author at the book launch in Seattle on March 10, and RSVP to the event here. Willett will also read at MockingbirdNYC in April. You can find out more at

    Meanwhile, early reviews are in:

    “Mischa Willett has an absolutely distinctive voice, angular, refractory, often unsettling in flashes of psychological and spiritual insight that go deep, by-passing  categories. The Elegy Beta begins in sharp, arresting jolts to consciousness and conscience, then moves in the grand title poem to a symphony of symbolic resonance that invites deep pondering and re-reading. A remarkable volume.” – David Lyle Jeffrey, author of In the Beauty of Holiness

    “Find a quiet spot where your tongue can delight your ears and read these poems aloud. For some you’ll want to kneel. For others, slap your thigh and guffaw. In some an epiphany will dawn like a sun surprising you at midnight. Dwell in the lilt of Willett’s play. He’s dead serious and death-defying.” – James K. A. Smith, Editor-in-Chief, Image Magazine; author of On the Road with Saint Augustine

    “Here is a striking and original collection which responds to both our biblical and poetic heritage with a fresh contemporary voice. The best response to poetry is itself poetry and in Willet’s new sequence The Elegy Beta, Rilke’s great Duino elegies are reimagined in ways that will spur readers on to their own creative response.” – Malcolm Guite, author of After Prayer

    “In a world awash in a flood of cheap chatter, and numb from the noise of ALL CAPS weaponizing of words, good poetry is a healing, sensitizing balm. Willett’s The Elegy Beta displays the capacity of poetic language to remind us of the world—its everyday glory and profound peculiarity—that gets lost in the noise. These poems neither weaponize nor worship words; they rather let words do their work, like the sun does its: warming, illuminating, drawing forth life.” – Brett McCracken, senior editor, The Gospel Coalition; author of Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community

    What We’re Watching and Listening To: February Edition

    Dracula, Miss Americana, Kevin Hart, and more.

    The New Mockingbird Digest!

    Dear everyone,

    We invite you to subscribe to our new e-newsletter, delivered conveniently to your inbox fortnightly (once every two weeks-ish). It will be a compendium of fresh posts, pertinent archived material, and other grace-filled goodies. Think of it, maybe, as your good-news news.

    Note: If you are already subscribed to the Mockingbird mailing list, this is not the same thing. Add your email below to receive new content on a more regular basis.

    A Future Not Earned But Given (THE FUTURE ISSUE IS HERE!)

    In celebration of the Future Issue hitting the PO today, here’s Issue 15’s Opener, as well as the Contents page. If you haven’t subscribed, the time has come! Like every person who sped through HBO’s miniseries Chernobyl, I immediately wanted to know what it all looks like today. After six-plus hours of radioactive waste and […]

    PZ’s Podcast: Indiana Wants Me, Down Down, Disco Inferno, World Contact Day, Lobo in Taiwan, and Pre-Code

    EPISODE 291: Indiana Wants Me The secret that explains life — I say “secret” because it’s an open but denied truth, known most directly in popular music but suppressed in most “narratives” and conceptual systems — is the aspiration for a connection of love with another human being. This aspiration transcends politics and affinities, affiliations […]