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11 Beautiful Lesser-Known Hymns for Ordinary Time

Ahh, Ordinary Time… that long dull humid period in the church calendar when livin’ is easy, fish are jumpin’, and the cotton is high. Or something like that. For the low-church among us, let me explain: Ordinary Time is a phrase used by Catholics and some Protestants to denote a two-part season in the liturgical […]

Enjoy Your Forgiveness

A few years ago an interesting phrase began popping into my head, and it began to have a big impact on me and my thinking. That phrase is Enjoy Your Forgiveness. I want to share a few thoughts about that phrase, along with its origin in my thought process. It was during an Easter season […]

Tolkien’s Advice for Preachers

I don’t pretend to be a Tolkienologist or any sort of expert in Tolkien’s literary oeuvre. I’m more like a wannabe in that regard. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and I’ve read through the Middle Earth quests several times. But also: Peter Jackson’s adaptation is the best […]

Grandmommy’s Grace

This one comes to us from Will Ryan. My birthday, May 14th, has always been a source of pride for me. It’s not a particularly momentous day in the grand scheme of things, but in the particular year I was born, that day happened to be Mother’s Day. I’ve always reveled in being able to […]

Amateurs in a Time of Crisis

The following was written by Avery Ross. I never thought one of the most impactful lessons I would ever learn would come from a bunch of middle-aged ministers at a bar. A few years ago, I found myself in a hotel bar in London with fifteen ministers from some of the largest churches in the […]

Beyond Fear: How Religious Organizations Respond to COVID-19

This one comes to us from Elaine Howard Ecklund. “Be not afraid.” I remember first hearing these words, a refrain found repeatedly in the Bible, in a Sunday school class when I was five years old. If my memory serves me correctly, our teacher was trying to allay our fears about entering kindergarten. As COVID-19 […]

Maundy Thursday Never Mind

I am the elder brother of the prodigal son (and the younger brother — but we’ll save that for another day). I line up my ducks and leave them so aligned. I can make a plan. I struggle to rest. Not only can I make a plan, my salvation is often in plan-making. When I […]

Behind the Music: Clergy Edition

The book cover designer, Chip Kidd once told a story, the punchline of which was so good, Mockingbird contributor Adam Morton said it could be turned into a devotional. Chip was standing near the KFC at Union and 14th when a guy walked up to the counter and ordered three buckets of 21-piece original-recipe chicken. […]

Happy Easter: Paint the Damn House in Hope

The other day our daughter did the math and realized that she will not have her long hoped for kindergarten Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. This is a time-honored tradition in our household. As people who give communion to newly baptized babies, it is perhaps the closest she gets to a First Communion she will […]

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:

Dear Pastor, How Is Your Soul?

Dear Pastor, How is your soul? I only ask because things are a bit wild right now. The ground feels a bit shaky; the future uncertain. You have become a new kind of pastor to meet a new kind of world. You are rising to meet an unprecedented challenge. You are live-streaming, prerecording, checking-in, and […]

Remembering Sy Sperling — and Your Pastor, Minister, or Priest

A timely suggestion from a pastor friend of Mbird. Pour one out (pluck one out?) for our man Sy Sperling, the greatest theologian of late-night TV ads from the early 90s and late 80s. He died in February at age 78. Don’t remember Sy Sperling? What are you, Gen Z? He was everywhere on TV […]