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Year In Review


Another Year Begins: An Epiphany for the Haters (and Anyone Else Tempted, Like Me, to Call it on 2021)

“Make the world go away / Just get it off my shoulder.” Elvis sang those lines in 1970 and the refrain has been ringing in my head the last few days. This is a week, after all, usually spent generating excitement about the new year. Brainstorming, organizing, “casting vision,” setting balls in motion, girding loins, […]

Mockingbird Update: What’s in Store for 2021 and How You Can Help

The rumors are true: 2021 is almost here! Much as I hope you’ve been spared the brunt of this year’s challenges, odds are, that January page in the calendar looks mighty enticing. I know it does for me.

At the same time, I couldn’t think of a better season to have released a new 365-day Mockingbird Devotional (Daily Grace). Just so happens we’d been working away on it for three-plus years! So the launch felt providential, as did that for the Sports Issue of our print magazine, which also shipped last month. The response to both thus far has been nothing short of rapturous. In fact, the initial print-run of the devotional sold out in about two weeks (now back in stock!).

As folks have been forced to look online for spiritual sustenance, we’ve been gratified to hear how Mockingbird has served as a lifeline of hope and faith. Our virtual audience increased by almost 30% during COVID, and episodes of our principal podcast, The Mockingcast, now average over 10,000 downloads. Our recent Advent video series attracted close to 3000 views per installment.

I am so grateful God put us in such a strong position to minister grace to people during this trying time. No “pivot” required!

What’s next? First up in 2021 is the long-awaited launch of the overhauled mbird.com, which we cannot wait for you to see! A whole new level, right in the nick of time. While we wait to discover what form our events can take — likely some mixture of in-person and virtual (look for an announcement soon) — we’ve been working on several exciting new podcast and video projects. We’re also prepping the Surprise Issue of the magazine and an updated, hardcover edition of Grace in Addiction.

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. We need to raise $360,000 to keep fulfilling our mission in 2021. For more info about where the money goes, click here. Three easy ways to help would be:

  1. Become a monthly supporter. Close to 400 people give automatically to Mbird every month, anywhere from $20 to $2000. 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 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 with 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 articles on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. Use one of our resources at your church or in your small group. Invite someone to an event, once they resume. 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.

The Top Theology Books of 2020

If there’s one thing this year has been good for it’s books. That, and the additional time to read them. The following are some of the most interesting theological books published in 2020 that made the forever staying-at-home life a little more bearable. Click here to see last year’s list. Paul and the Power of […]

Consuming 2020: Favorite Music, Television, Podcasts, Journalism, Humor, and Publications

Time for our annual round up of favorites. 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 Most of my musical consumption this year tracked with the 2020 episodes of The Well of Sound, which covered Allen Toussaint, Van Halen, Supergroups, […]

The Top Literature and Culture Books of 2020

Though it was a bad year for many things, it was a pretty good one for readers. Tons of fascinating books came out — and we may have even had a little more time to enjoy them. Below, find poetry, fiction, cultural commentary, and more. The only thing off the table was theology, a full […]

Pot Kettle Black: Keeping the Mocking-Score in 2020

For those looking to while away the yuletide coma, here’s a rundown of what content got traction in 2020. It is limited to stuff that was posted in 2020 (pre-Dec 15th), rather than viewed then. Click here to read last year’s round-up. Enjoy! Most Popular Posts Published in the Past 12 Months People I Am […]

A Mockingbird Gift Guide: 2020 Edition

That time again! Click here to check out last year’s guide. For the Therapist Looking to Acknowledge the Season Without Triggering Any Patients: A WAUmanufacture Krippsta Minimalist nativity scene For the Friend From College With Whom You Re-Connected During COVID and Want to Commemorate That Somehow: A Masked Santa ornament or Joe Exotic action figure […]

The Films of 2019

This is not a comprehensive list of all the best films that came out in 2019 but rather a summary of several films that I enjoyed, or that impacted me, last year. There are so many titles missing from this review that either I didn’t have the chance to view or didn’t have time 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 […]

The Top Theology Books of 2019

Farewell 2019! Lots to love about the books that came out this past year. Several of these are instant classics I’ll be paging through for years to come! As always, feel free to let me know in the comments if I’ve missed a deserving book! I’m always on the hunt for a good read… In […]

Mockingbird Update: What’s in Store for 2020 and How You Can Help

With 2020 just a breath away, it’s time for our annual update on all things Mockingbird! The headlines may be filled with stories of a “church-pocalypse” but I couldn’t imagine a better time to be talking about the unflagging grace of God for non-theoretical sinners like you and me. And what a year we’ve had […]

Pot Kettle Black: Keeping the Mocking-Score in 2019

For those looking to while away the yuletide coma, here’s a rundown of what content got traction in 2019. It is limited to stuff that was posted in 2019, rather than viewed then (if we were including previous years’ output, for example, this post would’ve come in third). Enjoy!

Most Popular Posts Published in the Past 12 Months

  1. Mary Definitely Knew
  2. When The World Calls Them Otherwise
  3. Three Thoughts on Denunciations and Deconversions
  4. A Litany for the DMV
  5. When People Tell Me It’s Hard to Find a Church
  6. My Honest Recommendation
  7. When A Pastor Flushes a Congregation’s Religion Pills
  8. The Only Places on the Streets That Understand
  9. A Love Much Greater Than Evolution Requires
  10. As Happy As My Childhood Allows Me To Be
  11. Sobriety Broke Me to Pour Me Out
  12. Are You Burned Out?

Honorable Mentions: Don’t Ruin Brunch, The Failure to Find a Soulmate, When a Dragon Tried to Eat Jesus, What I Really Want For Dinner Is Not To Make a Decision, We All Get to Go Home with Beth Moore, The Peak Moments of Any Marriage, Things We Cannot Say, Stop Blaming the Devil, Raised by Narcissists

Three Most Popular Talkingbird Episodes

  1. Everything New Is Moralism Again – Jacob Smith
  2. Be Your Worst Self – Stephanie Phillips
  3. The Survival and the End of the Preacher – Adam Morton

Most Popular Posts on Facebook (Not Mentioned Above): This one and then, this one

Most Popular Instagram: This one and then, this one.

Most Downloaded Sermons

  1. God in the Midst of Our Secrets – Sarah Condon
  2. How Dare You Judge Me! – Paul Walker
  3. Jesus is Felicity Huffman – RJ Heijmen
  4. The Alien Word – Jason Micheli
  5. One Track Mind – Ryan Alvey

Most Watched Conference Talks

  1. Creedal Faith in an Age of Seculosity – David Zahl
  2. What The Hell Is Going On?: The Strangest Things about Stranger Things – Leigh Hickman
  3. When God Makes All Things Nude – Charlotte Getz
  4. The Unforgivables: Is There Hope Even For Those Consigned to a Secular Hell? – Jeff Mallinson
  5. God Isn’t Mad at You (I’m Not Blowing Smoke) – Steve Brown