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I Am Not a Morning Person

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...
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...
Where Is the Gospel in Adoption?

Where Is the Gospel in Adoption?

Grateful for this anonymous piece: I became an orphan 37 years ago, somewhere in South Korea. I can’t be more specific — I don’t know when I was left, who left me, or even where. My orphanage paperwork only says that sometime that summer, “By request of [the police], we...
Netflix's "Cheer": Law and Grace in Action

Netflix’s “Cheer”: Law and Grace in Action

It took just three days to plow through the six episodes of Netflix’s latest docuseries Cheer, but it was well worth it. I’m not a cheerleading expert, or even a casual fan, but my initial skepticism was quickly won over by the show’s tear-jerking storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, the...
When Christmas Looks Like Easter: Reflections from the First 72 Hours of Processing Grief

When Christmas Looks Like Easter: Reflections from the First 72 Hours of Processing Grief

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth… – Isaiah 25:7-8 No one’s ever really gone – Luke Skywalker On Christmas Eve,...
The World Is Always Burning

The World Is Always Burning

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” – Frederick Buechner Warning: extremely first world problems dissected ahead. Sydney is burning. And I don’t like my house. These problems are not equal, but they are both real. The rest of the world has finally caught...
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...
When Your Theology of Pain Is Painfully Bad

When Your Theology of Pain Is Painfully Bad

All too often have I heard — and thought myself — that from a Christian perspective suffering is the doorway to new life and to freedom, even that suffering is good. Even that it is beautiful. Yet as Kate Bowler and others have so eloquently pointed out, this concept seems...
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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

Click here to listen on Spotify.

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.

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 […]

“All My Friends Are Finding New Beliefs” – Christian Wiman

Taken, presumably, from the esteemed poet (and Mbird fave)’s forthcoming collection Survival Is a Style, this one appears in the January Issue of Poetry Magazine. Couldn’t ask for a more fitting capstone to my year of #seculosity, ht MS: