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The Grace of Ordinary Dog Days

It’s summer and the liturgical calendar rolls through Ordinary Time. True enough, the phrase “The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time” doesn’t exactly titillate the senses. But this “ordinary” does not imply commonplace or routine events. It refers to a sequence of ordinal numbers—first, second, third and so on. For followers of Christ, this “ordinary” denotes […]

Hands Full of Life in the Valley of the Shadow of Death

The Eucharist is honestly bizarre. To the untrained observer, the sight of a coterie of nicely dressed congregants sauntering up to an altar, kneeling with outstretched hands and soberly sanguine faces proves utterly bewildering. Of course this is only the modus operandi of some more traditional denominations; others have learned how to logistically and visually […]

The Church and the Whorehouse: What’s the Difference?

“The church and the whorehouse arrived in the Far West simultaneously. And each would have been horrified to think it was a different facet of the same thing. But surely they were both intended to accomplish the same thing: the singing, the devotion, the poetry of the churches took a man out of his bleakness […]

Boys, Please, No Ties on a Thursday

I’ve always considered myself a little too proud to read autobiography. Which person writing an entire book about themself really has that much to teach me? Well, one answer is Will Willimon. Willimon’s captivating and exuberant testimony (which comes out today!) is replete with grace, from the preacher’s childhood in Jim Crow South Carolina to his discovery […]

The Improbable Persistence of Calling

In one of his final stories for The New Yorker, “The Long Black Line,” former Jesuit John L’Heureux offers a funny and heart-rending tale of a Jesuit novice who leaves the order. [If you have the time, check out a beautiful reading and commentary on the story by one of his former students, and don’t […]

Lancaster Conference Audio Files: Grace, Peace, and Personal Survival for the Preacher

Several weeks ago in June, when this old world was just slightly younger, some of the Lord’s own rabble met in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for Mockingbird’s first ever conference for pulpit-lurkers: “Grace, Peace, and Personal Survival for the Preacher”. It was not a terribly large group, but the food and wine were plentiful, and the talks […]

The Unforgivables: Is There Hope For Those Consigned to Secular Hell? – Jeff Mallinson

The next video from our recent NYC Conference is here! This time courtesy of Dr. Jeff Mallinson. We’ve been referencing this one on an almost daily basis since he gave it. Brilliant, hilarious, and about as timely as it gets:

The Unforgivables: Is There Hope Even For Those Consigned to a Secular Hell – Jeff Mallinson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

The Handmaid’s Tale Is Not Here for Your Baby Dedication

In many churches across this country, when a child is born there is a short ceremony called a Baby Dedication. The child and his or her parents are processed in front of the congregation and they make promises to raise the baby in the way of faith. These ceremonies have always fallen a bit flat […]

In Ascension Love Remains

It has been forty days since their master turned the world upside by rising from the dead. But now, it appears, the end has come. An end the apostles could not have anticipated, to be sure. As Jesus approaches his departure they are simultaneously heavy and elated. Elated, as Jesus’ mission is at an end […]

The Only Places on the Streets That Understand

Way back on Christmas Eve of 2013, The Guardian ran a piece by photographer Chris Arnade under the provocative title, “The People Who Challenged My Atheism Most Were Drug Addicts and Prostitutes.” It remains one of the best and most heartening things I’ve read on that intersection. Arnade recounts how thoroughly his unbelief was challenged […]

Don’t Ruin Brunch: A Mother’s Day Primer for the Church

I’ve got an idea for churches this upcoming Sunday. Please just ignore Mother’s Day. I do not know why we started to attach the church to this secular holiday, but for the love of all that is sacred and holy, she wants us to stop. I got a desperate note from her in the mail. […]

The (Step)Ladder to Glory

This reflection comes from Rev. Will Ryan. I never thought I had outsized expectations of how my career would go, but I certainly did have expectations. Once I got through the first year of seminary—which admittedly was an eye-opener to this guy who thought he could turn in rough drafts and get A’s (spoiler alert: […]