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The Body and the Coffin

The Body and the Coffin

This one comes to us from Kurt Armstrong. A few years ago I built a coffin for my father-in-law Walter. I made it with oak plywood, the oak a nice veneer, the plywood strong and stable so it wouldn’t warp or twist or cup. I built it, stained it, and...
A Future Not Earned But Given (THE FUTURE ISSUE IS HERE!)

A Future Not Earned But Given (THE FUTURE ISSUE IS HERE!)

In celebration of the Future Issue hitting the PO today, here’s Issue 15’s Opener, as well as the Contents page. If you haven’t subscribed, the time has come! Like every person who sped through HBO’s miniseries Chernobyl, I immediately wanted to know what it all looks like today. After six-plus...
Signals Lead to Earplugs

Signals Lead to Earplugs

In the office we recently ordered Kate Murphy’s You’re Not Listening. Murphy, a journalist based in Houston, is good at her job because she is good at listening, and has basically written a book about the lessons she’s learned in the field—what makes for a good listener, why pretend listening...
My Sober Mid-Thirties and the Etymology of Nothing

My Sober Mid-Thirties and the Etymology of Nothing

If you’d asked me as a teenager what my life would look like by my mid-thirties, I would have painted the most thrilling picture. There would be spotlights, awards shows, dreamy husbands, kids if I felt like it, adventure, and minutes and days just bursting with outrageous abundance. Let me...
The Despairing Place

The Despairing Place

Spoilers below. Early in the final episode of The Good Place, we find Jeff the doorman sitting at the gate between Earth and the afterlife. Jeff has an affinity for frogs, and as the episode progresses, he accumulates more of them — plastic frogs, plush frogs — until he barely...
Super Bowl Psychology: What This Year's Commercials Tell Us About Ourselves

Super Bowl Psychology: What This Year’s Commercials Tell Us About Ourselves

Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs, winners of Super Bowl XIV. Congratulations to everyone who got up for work today after a fun football game. As the old adage goes, the real reason for the parties we attended last night was not the sport itself, though I really enjoyed a...
When Atheists Have More Faith Than You Do

When Atheists Have More Faith Than You Do

Harold Braswell grew up a nice atheist Jew. Then, he researched hospices, and he started to ponder Jesus. The hospice he studied was Our Lady of Help in Atlanta, a free Roman Catholic facility for those who are dying but can’t care for themselves at home. The Dominican nuns there...
The New Mockingbird Digest

The New Mockingbird Digest

Dear everyone, We invite you to subscribe to our new e-newsletter, delivered conveniently to your inbox fortnightly (once every two weeks-ish). It will be a compendium of fresh posts, pertinent archived material, and other grace-filled goodies. Think of it, maybe, as your good-news news. Note: If you are already subscribed...
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The Body and the Coffin

This one comes to us from Kurt Armstrong. A few years ago I built a coffin for my father-in-law Walter. I made it with oak plywood, the oak a nice veneer, the plywood strong and stable so it wouldn’t warp or twist or cup. I built it, stained it, and varnished it, and I kept […]

Signals Lead to Earplugs

In the office we recently ordered Kate Murphy’s You’re Not Listening. Murphy, a journalist based in Houston, is good at her job because she is good at listening, and has basically written a book about the lessons she’s learned in the field—what makes for a good listener, why pretend listening is so easy to sniff […]

Another Week Ends: Purity Spirals, Plague Theology, Talking Horses, New York Grace and the Golden Girls of Super Bowl XIV

1. Of all the ballyhooing over Super Bowl LIV’s halftime show, Jennifer Weiner wins for the hottest take on J.Lo and Shakira’s lustful celebration of Latina culture and girl power. While some of us were clutching our pearls over stripper poles and close up crotch shots, and others of us were perhaps too gleefully joining […]

Because It Rains: Why Kobe Bryant’s Death Hit So Hard & Wide

The following was written by Isabella Yosuico. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45) Why has a death like that of Kobe Bryant—and his daughter and companions—hit so many so very hard? Even non-basketball fans have been […]

When Atheists Have More Faith Than You Do

Harold Braswell grew up a nice atheist Jew. Then, he researched hospices, and he started to ponder Jesus. The hospice he studied was Our Lady of Help in Atlanta, a free Roman Catholic facility for those who are dying but can’t care for themselves at home. The Dominican nuns there offer extraordinary service, and the […]

A Tennis-Ball-Shaped Anvil (and Other Things That Weigh on Us)

“It’s no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature.” – Andre Agassi Stumbling across Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open was like overhearing a parishioner’s confession to a priest. It doesn’t […]

February Playlist

This one serves as an unofficial soundtrack to the Future Issue, as well as a mini-companion to the new episode of The Well of Sound about Allen Toussaint. Oh and you can listen to about three quarters of it on Spotify by clicking here.

Pissed-Off Prayers

This one comes to us from Nathan Hoff. The god of my own imagining used to prefer edited prayers. Knee-deep in the psalter these days, I have greater appreciation for full-blown imprecation, even as a Christian. Imprecatory psalms—the ones that curse enemies—are that category that never gets read in public worship. They don’t fit with […]

Human Being > Human Doing : A Favorite Piece of Spiritual Advice and Mary Oliver

In my first year of college, a few simple but profound words poured light into the deep, dark depths of my depression-riddled world. The words came to me thanks to an old friend of my dad’s who also happens to be a leader in a ministry I was beginning to dip my toes in. His […]

My Sober Mid-Thirties and the Etymology of Nothing

If you’d asked me as a teenager what my life would look like by my mid-thirties, I would have painted the most thrilling picture. There would be spotlights, awards shows, dreamy husbands, kids if I felt like it, adventure, and minutes and days just bursting with outrageous abundance. Let me acknowledge what you pseudo-psychology nerds […]

Just Getting By, but Decadently: Christian Wiman’s Survival Is a Style

“In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing.” – Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest Camp is not the obvious center in Christian Wiman’s new book of poems. But given his title’s invocation of affectation — Survival Is a Style — and given that camp is the supreme aesthetic (obviously), it […]

The Despairing Place

Spoilers below. Early in the final episode of The Good Place, we find Jeff the doorman sitting at the gate between Earth and the afterlife. Jeff has an affinity for frogs, and as the episode progresses, he accumulates more of them — plastic frogs, plush frogs — until he barely registers any interest in them […]