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Mockingbird's Favorite Books (2010-2019)

Mockingbird’s Favorite Books (2010-2019)

When I set out to assemble a Mockingbird-themed end-of-decade books list, some guiding measures came into focus. We decided to stay away from books that came from our own imprint — of which many made a good splash this decade. Notably, ten years is a long time — so this...
Auburn Sandstrom and the Pinhole of Light

Auburn Sandstrom and the Pinhole of Light

This, as the kids say, is everything. Everything we fumble toward in our writing and everything we hope in, especially at Advent Christmastime. No idea how it escaped our attention before but good god almighty… Take 10 minutes today – you won’t regret it, ht CWZ.
NOW AVAILABLE: "FAITH ONCE DELIVERED," SERMONS BY PAUL N. WALKER

NOW AVAILABLE: “FAITH ONCE DELIVERED,” SERMONS BY PAUL N. WALKER

Couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that “Faith Once Delivered,” a collection of sermons by Paul N. Walker, is now available through our online store and Amazon! Collected over many years, through both tragedy and celebration, these sermons are for every season in life. Preface here: It was a few...
Consuming 2019: Favorite Music, TV, Humor, Podcasts, Books, and Journalism

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

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...
10 Best TV Shows of 2019, I’m Assuming

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...
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Among the Other Gods: A Christian Air Force Chaplain’s Weird Work

Thankful for this distinct perspective from Clifton Hanson. At the beginning of Advent, I found myself leading a tree lighting ceremony. I’ve been part of tree lighting ceremonies before—this was no ordinary one. Sure, we did the usual stuff: important people addressed the crowd, we read the Christmas story from St. Luke’s Gospel, and of […]

Are We the Romans?

I remember purchasing Botch’s We Are the Romans at Earwax on State Street in Madison in October of 2003, and I remember buying along with it Dying Fetus’ latest record, Stop At Nothing. This was a time in which I not only listened to bands with names like Dying Fetus but also took perverse delight […]

I Am Not a Morning Person

This one comes to us from Kate Campbell. It’s no secret to basically anyone who knows me that I am not a morning person. No matter how many different schemes or habits or alarm clocks I have tried, I have never successfully established a morning routine. I am 100% a night owl — that’s when […]

Sorting Out the Voices in Our Heads with Kylo Ren in The Rise of Skywalker

And I listen for the voice inside my head. Nothin’… I’ll do this one myself – Pearl Jam, “State of Love and Trust” This write-up is filled with spoilers… “I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head,” utters Emperor Palpatine as Kylo Ren approaches him in an attempt to prevent him […]

Freud, Wish Fulfillment, and the Gospel

Thankful for this one from David Clay. The chief end of man, according to my two-year-old daughter Ellie, is to eat as many cookies as possible. Her destination of choice is “the bakery,” which is not a specific location but rather a term encompassing any number of local coffee houses, restaurants, and at least one […]

Vacations, Adventures, and Restless Hearts

As I am writing this, I am back on my break. You know, the one where the kids are at school and the house is peaceful and quiet. My family and I had a blessed Christmas and New Year, but I have to admit (with some feelings of guilt) that I consider the breaks from […]

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 […]

Little Women and the Truth We’re Too Scared to Say

This response to the hit film comes to us from Grace Leuenberger. Back in August, the first trailer for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women was released to the world wide web. I watched it approximately fifteen times, enraptured by the casting, the energy, the excitement surrounding a new version of a movie I loved growing up. […]

New Year, Who Dis: How A Love That Ruins Everything Gives You a New Beginning

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose, new feet, a new backbone, new ears and new eyes. … Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is […]

January Playlist

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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 […]

Gravy: A Prayer for You at Year’s End

I preached a funeral for a friend a few weeks back — ironically, a day before Thanksgiving. I was under strict instructions not to speak the name of the disease that had ended her earthly life (hint: it starts with “c”; a six-letter word that acts more like a four-letter word). I couldn’t ignore that word’s presence altogether, since it had surely been a contributing writer on the screenplay of her life. But I never uttered the word and did my best to give Jesus top billing.

Raymond Carver managed to accomplish something similar in one of his final poems, “Gravy.” He looked back over the last sober decade – the love he experienced from Tess Gallagher, the vital work of writing and teaching and living. It is a mere 125 words. And not to nag you like your 10th grade English teacher or anything, but I do believe it would reward the time you spend reading it:

“Gravy” by Raymond Carver

No other word will do. For that’s what it was.
Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don’t forget it.

May I pray this prayer for us?

Lord Jesus, another year is gone, and only you know what awaits us. For those things we fear are “building up” and “breaking down,” we pray for healing and endurance in the days to come. And as we reflect on 2019, Lord, focus our minds on the gravy — the moments we weren’t promised, the work that kept us “alive,” the remarkable disasters we mysteriously avoided, and most importantly, the grace that raised us up when we were “going nowhere but down.”

Gravy. Pure gravy. Please pass the gravy. Amen.