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Testimony

Notes on Beauty

Notes on Beauty

I am getting older. If you believe in science, which I do, then I guess we’re all getting older. The aging process for me has been underway for 35 years now, but I’ve only really become aware of it recently. My hands are starting to look like my mom’s. Things that were once firm and […]

The One Kind of Prosperity Gospel Kate Bowler Believes In

This is one for the ages, from the author of Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. Watch with tissues nearby. You’ve been warned:

I Once Was Blind but Now I Rock: Nine Conversions Put to Music

I Once Was Blind but Now I Rock: Nine Conversions Put to Music

The following list was compiled and annotated by David Zahl, and published in the latest issue of The Mockingbird magazine on Faith & Doubt. Best enjoyed with the volume up: The Road to Damascus has been well traveled in pop music. Perhaps not enough to make “conversion songs” a legitimate subgenre, but enough for a pretty […]

Swimming with Killer Whales, and Cars that Go Up, Up, Up

Swimming with Killer Whales, and Cars that Go Up, Up, Up

It is a scientific fact that there exists a space in the human gut that functions purely to process stories. We’ll call it the Story Organ. You hear a particular story and at once there begins this churning and grinding, like one of those plastic rock polishers you get from the nerd stores. Said Organ […]

Ten Resources For Those On The Fence

Ten Resources For Those On The Fence

Another glimpse into the Faith & Doubt Issue of our magazine, which you can order here. What resources would you add? Leave them in the comments below.  Usually the last thing any of us need when we’re in the midst of a genuine crisis of faith is a recommended book or sermon. However laudable the […]

I Have No Gift to Bring: Me and the Little Drummer Boy

I Have No Gift to Bring: Me and the Little Drummer Boy

Ever since I can remember, “The Little Drummer Boy” has been a Christmas favorite. When I was a kid, the fantasy of a cute boy drumming for Jesus made my pre-teen heart go rum-pum-pum-pum. I’ve always had a thing for musicians and he was just the sort of heartthrob Tiger Beat would have covered and […]

Forty, Finitude, and Me

Forty, Finitude, and Me

A lovely personal reflection from Katy Attanasi: This is a story about the tension that exists between Christian triumph and human frailty, between the ideal and the real, and between the myth of unlimited potential and the reality of constrained choices. Once upon a time, my 21-year-old self was on top of a world that […]

Many Good Things Start With a Grave

Many Good Things Start With a Grave

It seems like just about everyone I know right now is either grieving, infertile, or both. As a country and a global community, we’ve also had a lot of bad news. Our hurricanes are getting worse. There’s abuse. Addiction. “Politics” (I’ll let you unpack that one, reader). There’s prejudice. International affairs. Extramarital affairs. A TV […]

How to Deploy Survival Mode: Some Notes on Mental Health from the Ladies of Unmapped — Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips

This excerpt comes from Mockingbird’s latest publication, Unmapped: The (Mostly) True Story of How Two Women Lost at Sea Found Their Way Home, by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips. One of the many zingers from this spiritual memoir duet, the following passage finds the authors wrestling with anxiety and mental health issues…as related to the gospel:

The gospel gets a bad rap sometimes because it says you have to die before you can live. Which is a hard pill to swallow when you didn’t even want to take a pill in the first place.

Here’s how it goes: girl has anxiety. Girl gets tools to deal with it. Tools help. (Occasionally.) But girl ends up in a situation (usually involving failure, humiliation, menstruation, her children, all of these things, or NONE OF THEM) in which she ends up feeling totally defeated by her anxiety; we mean, crushed. All hope appears lost. She thinks she will never get better. She can’t bear to think about the looks she will get when everyone sees she’s STILL a mess. She thinks she will actually die. None of the techniques help. She is drowning, and she cannot breathe. She is sinking, sinking, sinking…and everything goes dark.

Awful, right? Like, Shakespearean tragedy-awful. Except there’s this other thing—death—and it relies not at all on the sinking girl, but on her being miraculously and improbably revived by something [Someone] entirely separate from herself. No strategy, no implementation, just plain being lifted up out of the depth of despair and placed atop some blessed rock. Death, but then…resurrection. See what we’re getting at here?

We know it’s not as simple as a granted wish. We know there’s a whole lot of fist shaking, swearing into the sky, and despair. But it took Jesus himself three days, people. Settle in: this may take a while. Chances are, we’re probably going to be staring that bastard (mental dysfunction) in the face off-and-on our whole lives until we arrive at that beautiful buffet in the sky, where there’s endless white bread and the bill is already paid. But God is right with us. The ultimate hope—for us, for our kids when we fail them, for our friends when we hurt them, for our marriages when we flounder, for our jobs when we blow it—is in the throes of death that transform into the pangs of new life.

Drown, resuscitate, repeat. Fail, get forgiven, go again. Despair, hope, defeat, redemption, over and over, until one day you wake up and you realize you’re still anxious, but you see it more clearly, for the cloudy lens it is, and you know—even though you’re not there yet, because TODAY IS A DOOZY—you know that you’re going to be okay. Ultimately, you will be whole. And you’re headed there. So you breathe, and you put one foot in front of the other while recognizing that you’re actually being carried. And your anxiety hasn’t disappeared; nope, it’s still following you around like a hot, wet rag someone keeps chucking at your face, but you’re no longer a table for two. You’ve got company, and it looks strangely like a lifeboat with all the provisions onboard (see what we did there?). You settle in, and soon other passengers come aboard your lifeboat, so you open a bottle of wine and hold hands and breathe together, everyone facing the same direction.

Love and Wrath: A Personal Odyssey - Dorsey McConnell

From our recent conference in NYC, the following testimony was given by the Rt. Rev. Dorsey McConnell. Here he discusses family, rage, and the time he almost killed his father…really! Incredibly moving. We’re very pleased to share this one.

Love and Wrath: A Personal Odyssey – Dorsey McConnell from Mockingbird on Vimeo

Wait for It: The Surprising Perks of Suspense

Wait for It: The Surprising Perks of Suspense

Waiting, of any kind, is generally just stupid. We can all agree on this. We are on the same page here: I don’t like waiting, you don’t like waiting, nobody likes to wait. We want what we want, and we want it yesterday. Veruca Salt got this (“give it to me noooow”), and so did […]

A Long Obedience in the Wrong Direction

A Long Obedience in the Wrong Direction

Author’s note: Over the past several months I’ve been asked the same question by multiple people, all in a very particular way. In the middle of a conversation, they will suddenly ask, “Who are you?” It’s not phrased in a demeaning way, but definitely with a politely confused inflection. My life doesn’t quite add up to them, and I […]