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Posts tagged "2014 NYC Conference"

NYC Preview: Everything New Is Moralism Again


We are really excited to once again be hosting the Spring Mockingbird Conference at St. George’s Church in New York City in a couple of weeks. The Old School Princeton Theologian, J. Gresham Machen once said, “Soon there will be so much applied Christianity that there will be very little Christianity to actually apply.” It seems to me that many of us who come to the Mockingbird Conference are being or have been burned by this so called, “applied Christianity.”  None of us, from the left or the right in American Christendom, have been safe from the grueling burdens of “applied Christianity.” This is because ultimately whether it is the latest seven-part-series-to-a-holier-you or new ways-we-can-make-the-UN-Millennium-Development-Goals-a-living-reality-in-our-churches, all of this new stuff is not the Gospel, but simply moralism again.

In my break out session “Everything New Is Moralism Again” I will be briefly walking us through the problem of American Christianity since the First Great Awakening. In this session I will be making the point that revivalism and an over-emphasis on social justice is not that helpful, and how our attempts at being relevant to society has ultimately made us irrelevant. Then I am going talk about the one thing that the church has been given-the very thing that draws us to this conference year after year-and why it is so freaking important. Spoiler Alert: it is The Gospel of Grace!  It should be a good time filled with lots of laughs and memories…so bring your cameras!

Sign up for the conference today!

NYC Conference: Talk Titles and PZ Reception!


Hard to believe we are less than four weeks away from our annual conference in New York City (4/3-5)! High time we announced the titles of the main talks, eh? Be sure to note the special reception taking place on the evening of the 4th:

Thursday April 3rd

6:30PM  “Can You See the Real Me? Lonely Ambition and the Roots of Freedom” – David Zahl

Friday April 4th

9:00AM  Morning Talks

  • “The Chimera of Identity in an Anxious World” – Paul Walker
  • “Communicating Grace Through Story” – Sally Lloyd-Jones*

2:30PM  Afternoon Talks

  • “Nietzsche & Me” – Tim Kreider
  • “Thomas Cranmer’s Gospel of Divine Allurement” – Ashley Null

5:30PM   Cocktail Reception in the St. George’s Chapel celebrating the release of Comfortable Words: Essays in Honor of Paul F.M. Zahl and PZ’s Panopticon (including Book Signing with Paul Zahl)

7:00PM   “Can You Say the Creed (And Still Call Your Soul Your Own)?” – Francis Spufford

Saturday April 5th

9:30AM   “The Rationalist Delusion and the Perils of Certainty” – Jonathan Haidt

10:15AM   “On Not Being C.S. Lewis” – Francis Spufford

*Sally’s session will not be recorded or taped.

BONUS TRACK: Check out the amazing menu that the caterers have prepared for us by clicking here. As you’ll see, we’ve upped the ante this year. There’s even word that Brooklyn Brewery may be sponsoring the event (say a prayer).


NYC Preview: I’m New Here. I Don’t Know Anyone. And What the &%*! Is Going On?

Recently, one of my current coworkers, whom we shall call Will, made a confession to me about his first Mockingbird Conference. A friend of mine, with whom Will worked at the time, had convinced him to come along, and so, after flying into LaGuardia, Will found himself in the backseat of my car on our […]



At long last, we can announce the full slate of breakout sessions at our upcoming conference in NYC. They are as follows:

  • I’m New Here! What’s Going On? – RJ Heijmen
  • Introducing The Fundamentals – Jacob Smith
  • What’s My Faction? (Teen) Angst in Dystopian Young Adult Fiction & Film – Deborah Leighton
  • National Lampoon: Stephen Colbert and the Ancient Pulpit of Satire – Ethan Richardson
  • The Uglier Ditch: First-Century Love in the Present Tense – Jono Linebaugh
  • Grace in Identity-Induced Despair: The Literature of Reynolds Price – Win Bassett
  • Ye Who Are Heavy Laden: Anxiety, Suffering, and the Gospel – Lauren Larkin
  • The Passion of the Childish Gambino: Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity – Bryan Jarrell
  • Arrested Development in Flannery O’Connor – Will McDavid
  • It Can’t Mean That: The Terrible Parables of Christ – Nick Lannon

Keep an eye open for previews of each of the breakouts, which we’ll be rolling out in the coming weeks. One final exciting detail to add is that The Rev. John Zahl will be serving as our conference chaplain this year! For more information, or to pre-register, click here.

Also, today is the final day to sign up for our mailing list if you would like to receive a free copy of the first issue of The Mockingbird. They ship first thing next week!



“I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.” –Franny Glass in J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey

Is there any question that inspires more fascination and worry, creativity and fear, than ‘who am I?’ Or, put differently, ‘who are you?’ No matter where we are in life, the search for–and maintenance of–an identity seems to be as fundamental as it is irresolvable.

Join us this spring as we delve into the subject that occupies an embarrassing amount of our waking hours—ourselves—and explore how the grace of God might fit in. To help us, we’ve enlisted seven quite disparate identities: a novelist/professor (Francis Spufford), a moral psychologist (Jonathan Haidt), a columnist/cartoonist (Tim Kreider), a children’s book author (Sally Lloyd-Jones), a Reformation historian (Ashley Null), an Episcopal minister/preacher (Paul Walker), and, yes, a mockingbird (David Zahl). We hope the event will shed some light and maybe even some calm on this most consuming of topics.


In addition to the main presentations, there will be a full slate of breakout sessions by Mockingbird writers and volunteers, covering a wide range of topics, from theology to literature, television to aging, music to parenting, etc. Look for announcement with more details in early February.

The event is open to anyone and everyone. Just be sure to pre-register ASAP, as space is limited.


This just in: art historian Dan Siedell has agreed to lead a pre-conference gallery outing for those who arrive early on Thursday the 3rd. Email us at if you’re interested.