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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...
Monsters of Hope: Parenting in a Pandemic

Monsters of Hope: Parenting in a Pandemic

We are entering week two of quarantinacation with our two young children, and it is hard. Initially I over-functioned. I spent an obscene amount of money on books and art kits. I set up a printer so we could have actual math worksheets. I yelled the “F” word while trying...
Update on Conferences, Podcasts, Giveaways, and Grace in a Time of Corona

Update on Conferences, Podcasts, Giveaways, and Grace in a Time of Corona

So here’s the less-than-exciting news: After conferring with our hosts, we’ve made the painful decision to cancel this year’s NYC Conference. If you’ve been keeping track of the situation on the ground in New York, you know that hosting an international conference in late April has become simply untenable. Such...
I Take It Back

I Take It Back

I got what I asked for and I was wrong. (Isn’t that usually how it works?) Not long ago I wrote about wanting to skip church. Making every excuse I could to try to get out of it. Dreading Saturday nights before I’d have to go the next day. As...
Now Available: <i>The Elegy Beta</i>: And Other Poems, by Mischa Willett

Now Available: The Elegy Beta: And Other Poems, by Mischa Willett

Never before has Mockingbird published a book of poetry — but with The Elegy Beta, that changes. From critically acclaimed poet Mischa Willett, The Elegy Beta features impressionistic meditations on faith and everyday life. In concert with Rilke’s Duino Elegies, this collection simmers with luminous, transcendent language. It is elegant, sharp, and frequently...
On Things I Thought I'd Never Say, like God Bless the Internet!

On Things I Thought I’d Never Say, like God Bless the Internet!

About two weeks ago, Tim Kreider penned a column for Medium entitled, “It’s Time To Admit that the Internet Is Bad For Us.” I read it and nodded along, vigorously. A quarter-century in, [the Internet] does seem to have revolutionized consciousness, in much the same way as did nickel slots...
Romans 7 for Everyone: Death by the Hands of the Law

Romans 7 for Everyone: Death by the Hands of the Law

Disclaimer: This post does not mention the Coronavirus pandemic, Zoom, Zinc supplements, or social distancing. For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but...
The Couple Who Quarantines Together

The Couple Who Quarantines Together

It was one of those corny marriage memes that make the rounds every couple weeks. This one said something like, “in every relationship there’s one person who turns the lights off and another who always leaves them on.” I can’t find it now. But maybe you’ve seen its like. They’re...
Latest entries


For God So Pitied the Fool: Humor and Hope in this Present Age

“Neither man nor woman can be worth anything until they have discovered that they are fools. This is the first step toward becoming either estimable or agreeable; and until it is taken there is no hope.” – William Lamb (British Prime Minister from 1834-1841) Whenever I read the Book of Proverbs, I get uncomfortable when “the […]

Daniel Defoe on Preaching During a Pandemic

A resonant passage from A Journal of the Plague Year 1665, in which the author of Robinson Crusoe describes some of the preaching in London during that catastrophe, ht WDR:

Neither can I acquit those ministers that in their sermons rather sank than lifted up the hearts of their hearers. Many of them no doubt did it for the strengthening the resolution of the people, and especially for quickening them to repentance, but it certainly answered not their end, at least not in proportion to the injury it did another way; and indeed, as God Himself through the whole Scriptures rather draws to Him by invitations and calls to turn to Him and live, than drives us by terror and amazement, so I must confess I thought the ministers should have done also, imitating our blessed Lord and Master in this, that His whole Gospel is full of declarations from heaven of God’s mercy, and His readiness to receive penitents and forgive them, complaining, ‘Ye will not come unto Me that ye may have life’, and that therefore His Gospel is called the Gospel of Peace and the Gospel of Grace.

But we had some good men, and that of all persuasions and opinions, whose discourses were full of terror, who spoke nothing but dismal things; and as they brought the people together with a kind of horror, sent them away in tears, prophesying nothing but evil tidings, terrifying the people with the apprehensions of being utterly destroyed, not guiding them, at least not enough, to cry to heaven for mercy.

The Book of Sarah: On Eczema and Existential Despair

About a week-and-a-half ago, my body decided to have an a-cute eczema flare-up. Having only previously ever experienced mild eczema, I could tell you about how this was far from a delight. I could tell you about how I have changed my routines to accommodate it, abandoning showers and walks, as if eczema were a […]

The Cross Brings Mercy and Comfort

Yesterday morning, Comfort sailed into New York harbor. A few days ago, Mercy arrived in Los Angeles. I’m not sure I have ever witnessed a more powerful image of the Gospel.

On Things I Thought I’d Never Say, like God Bless the Internet!

About two weeks ago, Tim Kreider penned a column for Medium entitled, “It’s Time To Admit that the Internet Is Bad For Us.” I read it and nodded along, vigorously. A quarter-century in, [the Internet] does seem to have revolutionized consciousness, in much the same way as did nickel slots or crack. Studies have empirically […]

Lilian “Bloodworth”: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

There’s a beautiful tale told on NPR on the morning of Friday March 27, 2020 about Lilian Bloodworth. Lilian (now 92) tells the story that she can remember about when she had pneumonia before she was three. She was in a hospital, lying next to her brother who was giving blood for her blood transfusion, […]

To the Ends of the House

“Ends of the Earth” I think about traveling To the ends of the earth Across a sea, To another state, Or at least to a different city To share your love Your redemption story Isn’t that what you desire from me? Before I pack my bags to leave In search of excitement and glory You […]

Join Us For Morning Prayer

This week we’re streaming the service from St Albans in Waco, TX, with Aaron Zimmerman preaching:

Another Week Ends: Werner Herzog, the Annunciation, Pandemic Dating, Hope, Loneliness, and Humor

1. I’ll get to articles on our coronavirus life soon enough, but first I wanted to feature this amazing NY Times interview with filmmaker Werner Herzog. It’s everything you don’t need right now and more: a wide-ranging, thoughtful, and disarmingly funny back-and-forth with perhaps the most interesting person in the world. And that story of […]

Up All Night With the One Who Never Sleeps

You sure picked a high time to be a pastor, I said to myself. Ugh, you’re telling me. Ever since I was little, I knew that pastoring would be in my future. Being the son and grandson of pastors, you can imagine the inevitable bombardment of questions, usually something like, Are you going to be […]

Things My Grandmothers Taught Me That Are Helping Right Now

It is perfectly acceptable to save .02 ounces of macaroni and cheese in a Cool Whip container with a tin foil top. There’s nothing wrong with constantly having a pound cake in the house. There’s nothing wrong with elastic waisted pants. Children can watch hours of television and still feel loved if you offer them […]

I Take It Back

I got what I asked for and I was wrong. (Isn’t that usually how it works?) Not long ago I wrote about wanting to skip church. Making every excuse I could to try to get out of it. Dreading Saturday nights before I’d have to go the next day. As “good” as I know church […]