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Grace in Practice


Human Being > Human Doing : A Favorite Piece of Spiritual Advice and Mary Oliver

In my first year of college, a few simple but profound words poured light into the deep, dark depths of my depression-riddled world. The words came to me thanks to an old friend of my dad’s who also happens to be a leader in a ministry I was beginning to dip my toes in. His […]

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 […]

Netflix’s “Cheer”: Law and Grace in Action

It took just three days to plow through the six episodes of Netflix’s latest docuseries Cheer, but it was well worth it. I’m not a cheerleading expert, or even a casual fan, but my initial skepticism was quickly won over by the show’s tear-jerking storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, the flips are as amazing to […]

A Top Ten TV List for the Decade

The following is not a definitive list or an official “Mockingbird list” — it’s just my list. Responses are welcome below! Criteria: Must be a scripted TV series (no reality shows or documentaries, etc.) Series must have “begun” in 2010 or later (hence why you don’t see Breaking Bad) Shows with much love here at […]

Mr. Archie and Waiting in Advent

Every month, we pay a certain sum of money for music lessons. In theory, this is so that our children will learn how to read music, perform in front of a crowd, and take direction. In reality, they learn so much more than that, and that music tuition is worth every penny. Our youngest, Ben, […]

Mockingbird’s Favorite Books (2010-2019)

When I set out to assemble a Mockingbird-themed end-of-decade books list, some guiding measures came into focus. We decided to stay away from books that came from our own imprint — of which many made a good splash this decade. Notably, ten years is a long time — so this is a long list! But […]

Auburn Sandstrom and the Pinhole of Light

This, as the kids say, is everything. Everything we fumble toward in our writing and everything we hope in, especially at Advent Christmastime. No idea how it escaped our attention before but good god almighty… Take 10 minutes today – you won’t regret it, ht CWZ.

Law, Gospel, and Sexual Harassment

Grateful for this anonymous contribution: The man who sexually harassed my wife at work was fired this week. Here’s a light-on-the-details summary of what happened. When she began a recent job, her supervisor quickly started in. “I wish your skirt was a little shorter.” “That’s a nice tight sweater you’re wearing.” There was also the […]

Good Hair, Grace, and a Better Image

In October of this year, Paragon Charter Academy in Michigan informed the parents of 8-year-old Marian Scott that her red extensions precluded her from participating in picture day. According to the school’s official policy, students should only wear natural hair tones in order to have their photos taken. Marian’s style violated more than school policy, […]

The Quiet Dances and Grace in Jojo Rabbit

Loud and rambunctious: a couple words that might describe the trailer for Taika Waititi’s satirical new film Jojo Rabbit. We might also add to those: crass, audacious, daring. After the release of Joker a couple weeks prior, the world needed a film that would be a little more light-hearted and encouraging. This is where I […]

The Parable of the Pop Quiz

There once was a Chaplain who worked at a school in Virginia. As part of his work, he taught a course in Comparative Religion to high school seniors. His class was made up of students from around the world with varying religious and non-religious backgrounds. Given one semester to cover the major world religions, he had […]

Classic Jazz, Pinot Noir, and Law/Gospel Couplets

He had ice water, I had the remnants of a large bottle of pinot noir. We clinked cup and bottle in a toast. He had been invited into the fellowship of the fellas — my exclusive man-cave or rather man-dungeon (I’m poor after all). It had been a long weekend filled with parental demands and […]