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Year In Review


The Top Theology Books of 2018

So many books, so little time (and money). Here’s a brief guide to some of the best academic theology books of 2018 for all those without the time (or the money) to waste on disappointing reads. For our picks of ‘trade’ religion releases, see the Consuming 2018 post. Militant Grace: The Apocalyptic Turn and the […]

TOP FILMS OF 2018

2018 has come and gone, and we’re a bit late on getting you our favorite flicks to hit the big (and small) screen this year. That’s just the type of year it was, though. Am I right? But this past year wasn’t all that bad. Superhero fans witnessed the Marvel Cinematic Universe grow EVEN BIGGER. […]

Mockingbird Update: What’s in Store for 2019 and How You Can Help

With 2019 busting down the door, it’s time for our annual update on all things Mockingbird! And what a year it’s been, praise God. Such a privilege to bear Good News, especially when the world feels like an increasingly merciless place.

At the end of last year, we launched a series of new initiatives called “Mbird 2.0.” Twelve months in, the first fruits have arrived—top of the list being The Mockingapp, the cutting-edge app for iOSx mobile devices we unleashed in October. Next would be StoryMakers, our new children’s ministry venture which is going gangbusters (look for their first offering in early 2019). And then there’s our spectacularly redesigned print magazine, two issues of which appeared in 2018.

We also held three conferences, published four books, and hosted five ongoing podcasts, including the revitalized lectionary guide, Same Old Song, which hit earbuds at the beginning of Advent.

What’s next? My own book Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What To Do About It drops in April and is already available for pre-order. I think you’ll love it. In addition to our annual conferences in NYC (4/25-27) and Tyler, TX (4/5-6), we have a pastor’s gathering on the books for June, as well as a Fall event in Virginia. The Faith & Doubt Issue of our print magazine will be out in January, and later that month, we begin work on a second 365-day devotional! We’re also stockpiling new pastoral resources for a planned overhaul of this site.

All this while the parade of high-quality written and audio content continues apace.

How You Can Help

Mockingbird relies on the generosity of individual donors and churches to fund its operations. In 2018 we ran into some unexpected (one-time) expenses, mainly having to do with web hosting and conference scholarships. We’ve cut our budget going forward but are still playing catching up and could really use your help. Specifically, we need to raise $360,000 to keep fulfilling our mission in 2019. For more info about where the money goes, click here. Three easy ways to help might be:

  1. Become a monthly supporter. Close to 250 people give automatically to Mbird every month, anywhere from $10 to $1200. We would love to see that number increase. Remember, anyone who signs up for monthly giving will receive a complimentary subscription to The Mockingbird. Same goes for those who give one-time gifts of $500 or more.
  2. See if your church can help. A handful of ‘partner’ churches support us every year with funds from their outreach budgets. Others give via discretionary accounts. If you attend or work at a church that is benefiting from our ministry but hasn’t gotten behind Mbird “officially” yet, be our advocate! Email us at info@mbird.com if you have any leads.
  3. Spread the word. If you’re not in a place where you can give, there are other ways to pitch in. Write a review of one of our books on Amazon. Rate one of our podcasts on iTunes. Publicize Mbird events and articles on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. Use one of our resources at your church or in your small group. Recruit folks to come to an event. Above all, pray for us!

If you believe in what we’re doing and want to ensure that it continues, consider making a donation to Mockingbird today. Thanks for reading, and we wish you the happiest of new years.

Consuming 2018: Favorite Music, TV, Movies, Humor, Books, and Media

Time for our annual round up of favorites, which now includes TV too. As always, these are predominantly personal picks, albeit with an eye toward Mocking-resonance. Click here to read last year’s list. Deep breath: Music Favorite Discoveries Josh White. Usually I have a pretty good idea of what to expect at the conferences we […]

Pot Kettle Black: Keeping the Mocking-Score in 2018

For those looking to while away the yuletide coma, here’s a rundown of what content got traction in 2018. It’s limited to stuff that was posted in 2018, rather than viewed then (if we were including previous years‘ output, for example, this post would’ve come in third). Enjoy!

Top Posts

  1. If Your Church Doesn’t Preach the Gospel
  2. Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin
  3. Closer Than You Think (The Trouble with Deconstruction)
  4. Why Imputation Parenting Books Will Never Sell
  5. What Happened After Mr Rogers Visited Koko the Gorilla
  6. Everything Happens For a Reason… And Other Lies I’ve Loved
  7. My Church Is Not CrossFit
  8. God’s Two Words: An Introduction
  9. Why Is Jesus Slumming With that Denomination?
  10. Grace in an Age of Fentanyl
  11. What They Don’t Show You on Fixer Upper
  12. Improve Thyself! On the Fantasy Self You’re Failing to Become

Honorable Mentions: Mother of All Mothers, We Were Not Made to Be Famous, Five Years of Grace and Bad Coffee, Johnny Cash and Our Culture of Mercilessness, The Gift of Profanity, Still in Diapers at Thirty, Wendell Berry’s Plea for Grace, On Being the Center of the Universe

Three Most Popular Talkingbird Episodes

  1. Experiencing the Spirit in Failure and in Love – Simeon Zahl
  2. A Lucky Break: How Grace Frees Us From Being Control Freaks – Michael Horton
  3. Comforting the Heart of Hearing: Distinguishing Law and Gospel as Pastoral Care – Jady Koch

Most Popular Facebook Post (From a Post Not Mentioned Above): This one and then, this one

Most Popular Instagram: Aw shucks

Most Downloaded Sermons

  1. Jesus Means Freedom – RJ Heijmen
  2. It’s All True – Sarah Condon
  3. The Great Invincible Surmise – David Zahl
  4. The Deadliest Catch – Jacob Smith
  5. Round Up the Usual Suspects – Matthew Schneider

Most Watched Conference Talks

  1. Everything I Never Learned From Seinfeld – David Zahl
  2. A Dirty Church, Body Shame and God’s Twisted Smile – Chad Bird
  3. Not Weak on Sanctification: Christians Grow in Reverse – Nick Lannon
  4. The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody – John Zahl
  5. Let Not Conscience Make You Linger – Timothy Blackmon

A Mockingbird Gift Guide: 2018 Edition

That time again! Click here to check out last year’s guide. And to make sure all the gifts below look their best, we recommend (w)rapping them in deliciousness or genius. For Your Small Group Leader Who Keeps Hinting That You Take Your Law/Grace Paradigm More Seriously Than Scripture Itself: An Easy Stroll Through a Short […]

Mockingbird Update: What’s in Store for 2018 and How You Can Help

A year of anniversaries–Mockingbird’s 10th and the Reformation’s 500th–is now behind us, and what a year it was. We published our first children’s book, released two issues of our magazine (Food & Drink and Love & Death), held three conferences, racked up 1.2 million pageviews on our website. We hired our fourth full-time and fourth part-time staff members (which makes a total of eight!). David Z enjoyed a rejuvenating summer sabbatical.

One of the first things we did upon his return was convene a group to brainstorm about the next stage of our work. Together we developed a slew of new projects and initiatives (and tweaks to old ones) that we’ve affectionately termed “Mbird 2.0”. The guiding principle was just as it’s ever been–to bring the “same old song” of the Gospel to people in fresh and creative ways.

The first wave of 2.0, due in early 2018, will include a native Mbird app for mobile devices, a reconfigured Mockingcast, and the introduction of curated weekly digest emails. The second wave will launch a revamped website with triple the number of pastoral resources, our first-ever set of mini-videos, and a second 365-day devotional.

All this in addition to our slate of regular activities: conferences in Tyler, TX (2/23-24), New York (4/26-28), and Oklahoma City (10/12-13); new volumes of our print magazine (Humor will be out in a few weeks!); more reissued titles from Robert Capon; not to mention the continued parade of awesome daily content on here.

Suffice it to say, the adventure continues–and we need your help! Scroll down for a few suggestions of how to do so. 

How You Can Help

Mockingbird relies on the generosity of individual donors and churches to fund its operations. Specifically, we need to raise $360,000 to keep fulfilling our mission in 2018. For more information about where the money goes, click here. Three easy ways to help might be:

  1. Become a monthly supporter. More than 200 people give automatically to Mbird every month, anywhere from $5 to $1200. We would love to see that number increase! Anyone who signs up for monthly giving (any amount) will receive a complimentary subscription to The Mockingbird. If you’re already subscribed but want to start giving monthly, we’ll send you the publication of your choice as a thank-you.
  2. See if your church can help. A handful of ‘partner’ churches support us every year with funds from their mission/outreach budgets. Others give via discretionary accounts. If you attend or work at a church that is benefiting from our ministry but hasn’t gotten behind Mbird “officially” yet, be our advocate! Email us at info@mbird.com if you have any leads.
  3. Spread the word. If you’re not in a place where you can give, there are other ways to pitch in. Write a review of one of our books on Amazon. Or rate one of our podcasts on iTunes. Publicize Mbird events and articles (like this one!) on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. Use one of our resources at your church or in your small group (our Law and Gospel is ideal for this). Above all, please pray for us!

If you believe in what we’re doing and want to ensure that it continues, consider making a donation to Mockingbird today. Thanks for reading, and we wish you the happiest of new years.

P.S. Discounted earlybird pre-registration for our NYC Conference (4/26-28) only lasts until January 15th!

The Top Theology Books of 2017

Were you given an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card, but don’t know what to spend it on? Or perhaps you’re a bibliophile like me and have an insatiable appetite for the latest and greatest theology books. In either case, I’ve got just the list for you: the top Mockingbird theology books from 2017. […]

Pot Kettle Black: Keeping the Mocking-Score in 2017

A little rundown of what content got traction in 2017 for those looking to while away the post-Christmas coma. The lists below are limited to things that were posted/released in 2017, rather than viewed then (if we were including previous years’ output, for example, this is the post that got the overall most traffic in 17). Fresh material will be fairly sparse until the new year:

Top Posts

  1. When Jesus Gets Crucified and Churches Get Bombed
  2. A Sermon For Charlottesville
  3. Ken M and the Wisdom of Trolls
  4. Fleming Rutledge Is Not Ashamed of the Gospel
  5. Masculinity in Crisis: Unexamined Libidos and Lady Birds
  6. Four Points about Martin Luther on 31 October 2017
  7. Please Help The Cause Against (Middle Age Male) Loneliness
  8. A Memo From Houston
  9. Learning About the Gospel from Self-Help, AA, and Tony Robbins
  10. Book Smart and Gospel Stupid
  11. Self-Righteousness at Home in the 21st Century
  12. The Zaccheaus Option

Honorable Mentions: 
The Sad Optimism of La La Land; Desmond Doss, the Coward; When Angels Show Up in Cadillacs; The Preacher Goes to Fashion Week; Publish and Perish; Accidental Killers and Cities of Refuge; #MeToo, and You; This Is Babylon

Three Most Popular Mockingcast Episodes

  1. Abandon Me…in Texas (Melissa Febos)
  2. Pastrix (Nadia Bolz Weber)
  3. Oh What a Feeling! (Simeon Zahl)

Most Popular Tweets (From a Post Not Mentioned Above): This one and, the runner-up, this one.

Most Popular Facebook Post (From a Post Not Mentioned Above): This one and then, this one.

Most Downloaded Sermon(s):

  1. “Looking for Jesus at 4 O’Clock” by Paul Walker
  2. “Where To Go When You Fail” by David Browder
  3. Living in the Gap” by Aaron Zimmerman
  4. “My Memaw Was Right” by Sarah Condon
  5. “Nevertheless She Persisted” by David Zahl

Most Watched Conference Talks

  1. Dear Reformation, It’s Not You It’s Me – Sarah Condon
  2. The Raising of the Crucified One – Fleming Rutledge
  3. Did It Have to Be Jesus? – Nicole Cliffe
  4. Hiding in Plain Sight – Simeon Zahl
  5. Hearing Law, Seeing Gospel – Matthew Milliner

Consuming 2017: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, and Books

Alrighty, my friends, it’s time for our annual round up of favorites, which I had way too much fun putting together. As always, these are predominantly personal picks, albeit ones with an eye toward Mocking-resonance. TV went live last week. (Click here to check out last year’s list). Here goes: Music Favorite Discoveries Jimmy Webb. […]

Seven Films from 2017 (An Abbreviated Wrap Up)

The following represents probably half of the films I had the privilege of enjoying this year. You can consider this ‘The Exhausted Dad’s Incomplete Guide to 2017 Films’. There’s a ton I missed this year, the least of which not being Novitiate, Lady Bird, Three Billboards, Justice League, Shape of Water, etc. I am counting […]

The Best of the Year in Television 2017

Doing things a little differently this year. As anyone who’s spent time on a couch this year knows, there’s simply too much quality television being produced these days to attempt a definitive list, even if rankings are generally more fun. So we’ve decided to farm out the assignment a bit more, ask various contributors to […]