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Ancient Samaritans and 70s Seminarians

It was curious to me that the first Christians didn’t see the parable of the Good Samaritan as a purely ethical mandate. I’m talking about the oft maligned, rarely approved interpretation of the Good Samaritan parable that nearly every early church father embraced. If you dabble in the waters of church history, then you know […]

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 […]

G.K. Minds His P’s and Q’s: Why Human Happiness Depends on Good Doctrine

I hate to admit it, but I am not a DIY person. In an age where there are countless instructional videos online to walk me through any number of household tasks, I, for the most part, tragically remain a get-someone-else-to-do-it person. Call it what you will — apathy, entitlement, laziness — but it is a […]

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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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)

How Jesus Solves the Trolley Problem

There’s a famous thought experiment called the Trolley Problem that goes like this: imagine you are standing by a trolley track, and an out-of-control trolley car whizzes by. Looking ahead, you see that five people have been tied to the track by an evil moustache-twirling villain, and they will die if the trolley continues on […]

Help Kids Hear the Story: With StoryMakers

Like a lot of children raised in a denomination, I remember my Sunday school classes teaching me about my denomination. There were the seasonal colors, things about the liturgical calendar, and something to do with sheep. To be honest, I was never sure if the goal was to make me Christian or just to make […]

A God’s-Eye View (In the Grip of the Talons): Big Fish, Small Ponds, and the Fisher of Men

Every bus, trolley, and fire truck in my town has a proud slogan blazoned on its doors: “Charlottesville: A World Class City!” No doubt, what is meant to bring a sense of pride to our 40,000 residents is pretty cute to those who live in any actual city. The claim isn’t totally unwarranted: there’s a […]

Memory and the Trauma of History

What does remembering tragedies like September 11th accomplish here and now? What do we channel in remembering, and what dangers are there in it? “Remembering,” I once heard a minister claim, “is the art of the mature.” I wrote it beside the second verse of Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget […]

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 […]

The “Insane Refusal to Accept Help” – Kierkegaard and the Demoniac

What episode from the Gospels fascinates you? For John Kaag, it’s the Gerasene Demoniac. Even now, after leaving his churchy childhood and growing up into an agnostic professor of philosophy, that story still holds his focus. Apparently it’s grabbed Mockingbird’s attention, too, since the story has appeared a couple of times here on the site. […]

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!