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Grace in Practice


Thou Shalt Be Needed but Never Needy: Sad Clowns, Lonely Husbands, and COVID Friendships

Sad clowns. That’s the term used to describe me and my peers. It’s not flattering. As far as I know, it was coined in a Boston Globe article a few years ago about middle-aged male loneliness. A sad clown is a man of a certain age whose default agreeableness and readymade dad jokes mask his […]

“Can I Ever Be Forgiven?” On the Radical Unity of Sinners

I live in a northern suburb of St. Louis, MO, a city which has been the per-capita homicide capital of the USA for the last several years. In 2020, the city stands a good chance of breaking its previous record, set in 1993 when its population was larger by about 80,000 people. In the ’90s, […]

Advent in the Time of Corona

Advent is a pretty weird time. While we’re all listening to jingle bells, putting up lights around the house, and buying gifts for everyone, Advent speaks of a crazy-man prophet and the end of the world. Usually the gloom of hellfire feels out of place with the non-stop Mariah Carey we cannot avoid. But this year, the end of the world doesn’t sound all that crazy. Cause, you know … COVID.

So who’s up for hearing some good news?

Over the next few weeks, Mockingbird is releasing a series of devotional videos from a variety of contributors to brighten the darkness just a bit. Full of all the joy, insight, warmth, and grace we all need right now, they can be found on our Facebook and Instagram accounts!

DZ kicked off the series yesterday with his phenomenal sermon, “Can’t Hardly Wait.”

God’s Hands Across America

In 1986, there was a nation-wide campaign called Hands Across America, in which 5 million people held hands in a human chain for fifteen minutes along a path across the continental United States. It took a staff of 400 people and a slew of celebrity cameos nine months to prepare and publicize. The event was […]

The Power of Love: Grace in Augustinian Perspective

In anticipation of the publication of John Barclay’s book, Paul and the Power of Grace, Part Five of our “Defining Grace” series continues with this essay from Simeon Zahl, Lecturer in Christian Theology at Cambridge University. He is the author of the books The Holy Spirit and Christian Experience (excerpts of which can be found here) and Pneumatology […]

The Bondage of My Inbox

I currently have 0 unread messages in my email inbox. This may not be shocking to you, but if you tell my husband, he will probably fall over. Before you start thinking too highly of my organizational skills, however, you might want to know how I accomplished it. It all started with my Zoom small […]

How Dirty Dancing with Jesus Can Set You Free

Thankful for this post from Chip May: It is late, almost midnight, and I call an emergency staff meeting. Sitting in a circle, as I prepare to speak with our 14 college-aged summer staff members, I feel like a fraud. I told them that we could do this. That God would bless our efforts. We […]

When the Solution is to Listen: The Timely Reminder of Helena Dea Bala’s Craigslist Confessional

I have a solution for COVID. I have opinions on whether schools should reopen. I also have plenty of advice for staying sane during these times, plus some simple ideas for closing the wealth gap. I have little patience for identity politics. And while I’m at it, I have a few roughly sketched plans for peace […]

What is Grace? Defining the One Word Everyone Needs to Know

If you’re not a Christian, “grace” isn’t one of those words you come across every day. It’s not in advertisements, street signs, on the news, and it’s certainly not on Twitter. It’s a pretty churchy word, really. The typical 5-year-old knows over 2,000 words, but “grace” probably isn’t one of them. Adults will know the […]

Eff-up Nights: Breaking the Power of Failure and Shame

This post comes to us from Joseph McSpadden: In the opening scene of Patton, the brilliant WWII commander as played by George C. Scott has some stern words for his audience. “Americans love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell […]

Don’t Overthink It: The Gospel We All Need

Thankful for this post from Matt Metevelis: I lead with my head. I am always more comfortable with things when I can analyze and argue about or with them. My wife is very leery of asking me questions that involve more than a simple answer. I’ve been interrupted and asked for the “Reader’s Digest Version” […]

Elevator Encounters

I have been in two heated race-related situations in the past six months. Both of them have happened at elevators. Several months ago I was leaving a doctor’s office and looking for the restroom in the corridor. A black man walked out behind me with a name tag and a clip board and I assumed […]