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Year In Review


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

Consuming 2019: Favorite Music, TV, Humor, Podcasts, Books, and Journalism

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 Favorite Discoveries Roxy Music. 2019 was the year I fell for Roxy, and I fell hard. The well (of sound) with these guys is […]

10 Best TV Shows of 2019, I’m Assuming

The complete list, from Brian McMillen: Each year, as our society traverses deeper and deeper into the Golden Era of Television, it becomes increasingly important to acknowledge this form of entertainment’s substantial contributions to the zeitgeist. In the year 2019, we saw an abundance of brilliant shows created and conveniently distributed across the streaming platforms […]

A Mockingbird Gift Guide: 2019 Edition

That time again! Click here to check out last year’s guide.

For the Mockingcast superfan looking to spread the word in style: a Mockingcast throw pillow, matching mug set, iPhone case or one of the gazillion other products Redbubble can print a logo on

For your brother-in-law who loves a PBJ just as much as his kids do and is thrilled his youngest finally ‘graduated’ from that insufferably overbearing no-nuts preschool: a subscription to the Sqirl Bimonthly Jam Club

For the couple in your neighborhood who love to entertain but have been at loose ends since A Chef’s Life went off the air and could use some fresh inspiration: Edible spray paint – metallic 3-pack

For whomever you most enjoy binge-watching TV with, especially the good stuff: A Fleabag Season 2 mug, either illustrated or “I Got Chatty at Hilary’s Cafe” versions – and to pour into it, a bag of the 1517 Reformation Roast from Coffee by Gillespie

For your sister’s kids whom she’s privately confessed to you more than once that she feels genuinely enslaved to: The 10 Plagues Plush Toy Set and Sack from Zion Judaica

For your pastor who keeps dropping ominous references in his sermons to denominational turmoil that everyone pretends to understand: Jesus Is My Rock stress ball

For the parents at your bus stop, especially the one who is always on his phone while his kid pokes all the other children with sticks that are a little too pointy: A “Get in the Pool!” T-Shirt

For the Generation Xer who needs something to take their mind (and heart) off the escalating Boomer-Millennial tensions at their family Christmas party: A Set of All 3 ‘Breakin’ ReAction Figures

For your nephew working toward his undergraduate sociology degree who blames absolutely every social ill on Christianity but seemed genuinely intrigued at Thanksgiving when your sister told him that there’s “nothing more Western than being anti-Western”: Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland

For your literature-loving church friend with whom you’ve wondered aloud if your pastor and his wife have the same levels of family dysfunction you both do: The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

For your friend from college who used to be big on social media but then went off the grid without warning and you hear might now be in recovery and going back to church: a gift subscription to the Mockingbird magazine, the Future issue of which comes out in January!

For the most saintly-acting yet not necessarily saintly-looking lady in your life: “Dolly Parton Is My Co-Pilot” bumper stickers

For your exvangelical cousin who used to want to be Roman Catholic but doesn’t want to be Roman Catholic anymore and to whom your heart goes out, which isn’t to say you’re not also fascinated to see where this all ends up: The Heart Is a Full-Wild Beast by John L’Heureux

For your uncle who loves wearing, er, red baseball hats and you think could stand to mix it up a bit, especially when he visits his college-aged daughter at school: a Pizza Planet delivery cap

For the guy at church who does all the AV and without whom you’d really be up the creek, whose wardrobe suggests he’s super into classic rock n soul but who you’ve called by the wrong name one too many times: A copy of Neal Francis’s amazing new (conversion!) record Changes on vinyl or Silicone Boone’s uber-glorious debut The Reaches

For your aunt who went vegan after her divorce and you can’t help but notice has started to develop a bit of an aroma which you fear is impacting her romantic prospects more than anyone wants to admit: Serota’s Underarm Balm

For the young person who’s been out of seminary just long enough to realize that the people in the pew are more tired/sad than ill-informed – or for the faithful Same Old Song listener: Faith Once Delivered by Paul Walker (now available on Kindle!)

For the PZ’s Podcast Listener who’s non-averse to subtitles: The Criterion Collection edition of Bondarchuk’s adaptation of War and Peace

For your dear but technologically-challenged church administrator who’d finally gotten the hang of ClipArt only for her desktop to crap out the same week Christmas Eve bulletins were due: a subscription to the Font of the Month Club

For your workaholic colleague who’s always recommending podcasts that you can’t figure out when they have the time to actually listen to: Seculosity audiobook (coming 12/15!)

For your 9-year-old neighbor whose parents spend the winter months dreading that snow day phone call with every fiber of their being: Wearable Sled Legs

For the Well of Sound listener, AKA what I want for Christmas and will probably end up buying for myself: Radiant Radish t-shirt or Morrissey funko pop figure

For anyone whose favorite sound while watching The Mandalorian is that of Someone Else cleaning your home, AKA “The Willard Gift”: Robotic Vacuum, Stormtrooper edition

For your recently retired Mbird-reading/-tolerating parents looking for the trip of a lifetime: St Matthews Bedford’s “In the Footsteps of Paul” with Paul & Mary Zahl (and DJ JAZ too!) – March 15-28, 2020

For anyone you truly love: Earlybird tickets to the 2020 Mockingbird NYC Conference, April 23-25th. Prices go up on Feb 1! And maybe a Low Anthropology sticker for the envelope.

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 […]