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It Could Be Worse: The False Gospel of Optimism (and Pessimism) - Carrie Willard

In this talk from our annual conference in New York City, Carrie Willard discusses the pitfalls of wearing rose-colored glasses when life gets hard. Topics include pleasantly surprised pessimists, the tyranny of positive thinking, Psalm 89, and Steel Magnolias. Has to be the most delightful talk out there about worst-case scenarios:

It Could Be Worse: The False Gospel of Optimism (and Pessimism) – Carrie Willard from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Devotion #1 - Larry Parsley

From our recent gathering in New York City, here is the first devotion by conference chaplain (and author) Larry Parsley. Here Larry discusses the gospel of Mark, Veggie Tales, and a nerve-racking playground confrontation. For your daily dosage of fast-but-authentic gospel, press play.

Devotion #1 – Larry Parsley from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

"We Are Them: Compassion as the Life-Blood of Pastoral Ministry": A Conference Preview from Nick Lannon

This preview for our upcoming conference in Lancaster, PA, was written by Nick Lannon:

Compassion, both for our congregations and for ourselves, is perhaps the most important thing for pastors to develop, protect, and remember. It provides the medicine that will keep our ministries alive, and its absence will destroy them. It is only when we see our people—and ourselves—as basically (and always) in need that we can serve them—and ourselves—in an enlivening, Gospel-rich way.

Join us June 11-13 to discuss pastoral ministry, grace in practice, and other related themes at the fast-approaching Mockingbird conference in Lancaster, PA! You can find more information about speakers, accommodations, meals, and more by visiting the conference website here.

Note: In order to get an accurate count for meals, we need all registrations by June 7th. Hope to see you there!

Isle of Snobs - Ethan Richardson

Patagucci. Children repping obscure literary magazines. Minimalism! Look out—snobs may be closer than you think. This morning we bring you the opening talk from our 12th annual conference in NYC. Ethan Richardson, editor-in-chief of The Mockingbird, makes low every mountain and discusses the fancypants in you and me.

Isle of Snobs – Ethan Richardson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

St. Paul Loves Bloomin’ Onions: (or: How To Live With People Who Are Not As Awesome As You) - Aaron Zimmerman

This talk by Aaron Zimmerman was given at our conference in Tyler, TX (“The Future of Grace”). Topics include: religious relatives, group identities, Merle Haggard, Outback Steakhouse, and Elaine Benes from Seinfeld — a concoction unlike any other:

St. Paul Loves Bloomin’ Onions: (or: How To Live With People Who Are Not As Awesome As You) – Aaron Zimmerman from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Six Dangerous Books: The Reformation in Print, with Adam Morton

This preview of our upcoming conference in Lancaster, PA, comes from Adam Morton:

16th-century books do not, as a rule, simply materialize in Pennsylvania church basements. The exception is more interesting than the rule, however, and so attendees will have a hands-on look at a small stack of Reformation books, including the first published collection of Martin Luther’s writings from October 1518, which were uncovered in the archives of Holy Trinity in Lancaster a few years ago. Even more, we will have a chance to consider these as artifacts with something to say to our own day and ministry, evidence of a live wrestling with dangerous, and even violently divisive, words.

Sign up for Mockingbird Lancaster today! All are welcome. Visit the site for more details on speakers, accommodations, and the location. Plus, the menu has been revealed…

Treasures of Darkness: Tales from a Wealthy Pirate - Josh White

From our recent conference in Tyler, TX, this wonderful talk features musician and pastor Josh White. Here Josh discusses limitation, suffering, and unconditional love in the midst of everything.

Treasures of Darkness: Tales from a Wealthy Pirate – Josh White from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Devotion (Tyler, TX) - Aaron Zimmerman

This short devotion, from our recent conference in Tyler, TX, features Aaron Zimmerman discussing this verse from Romans: “So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.” Topics include: gold stars, summer jobs, a manual transmission, and God’s grace.

Devotional – Aaron Zimmerman Tyler Texas 2019 from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

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!

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.

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 […]

2019 NYC Conference Recordings

Thank you to everyone who helped put on this year’s conference in NYC, especially our dear friends at Calvary St. George’s and The Pixie and the Scout! What a fantastic time it was.

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Once again, we’ve uploaded all of the recordings to our TALKINGBIRD podcast feed–your destination for talks given at Mockingbird events, past, present and future.


If you’d rather go a la carte, the individual files are now available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and our Resources page for you to listen to, download and share–minus Alfie Kohn’s which was an in-person-only deal. Videos will start rolling out in the next couple weeks.

Please note: As always, the recordings are free. We only ask that those who were not able to be there in person *consider* making a donation to help cover the cost of the event.

Major thanks go to Margaret Pope, Meaghan Ritchey, Melina Smith, and Chelsy Haynes for all their incredible work behind the scenes, to Mark Babikow, Lino Martinez, and Thomas Sireci for making our AV dreams come true, and to the super talented Casey & Travis Squyres at Stellate Photography for capturing it all on camera! A few highlights below:

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