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Posts tagged "The Office"


Hopelessly Devoted: 1 Corinthians Chapter Three Verses Six and Seven

This morning’s devotion comes to us from none other than the President of the Mockingboard, Aaron Zimmerman.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7, ESV)

Here again we see Paul addressing the bickering problems among the Corinthians. But rather than addressing the external behavior, Paul realizes the real problem is internal and theological.

dwight-schrute-the-office-fan-artPaul knows that there are two approaches to life for all human beings. The first approach is human-centered. Men and women in this camp see themselves as in control of their lives. This is like The Office’s Dwight Schrute quoting Billy Zane’s character in Titanic: “A man makes his own luck.” In other words, human beings have the ability to judge people and events, map out their lives, and control their destiny. Students at elite colleges positively ooze with this kind of thinking. This is the human-centered view of life. In the spiritual realm, this view is called justification by works: making oneself acceptable to God through good behavior.

The second approach to life is God-centered. In this view, people are seen as they are, flawed and broken, prone to compulsive acting-out. Like the Harvard student who plays a video game for 10 hours straight, despite the fact that he has a paper due and is already on academic probation. Or like the suburban mother who regularly spends thousands of dollars on clothes she doesn’t need. Or the executive who is a furtive alcoholic. Or the high-achieving honor-roll student who is anorexic and cuts herself. Or the Bible study leader who obsesses over pornography. Thus, unlike in the human-centered view, the clear thinking God-centered man or woman no longer places the burden of “getting better” on the ones who are ill. The God-centered view knows that people need a divine rescuer—like sick people need a doctor—and that this never stops being true, even for “serious” Christians.

The Corinthians are decidedly human-centered. As a result, as we see in this passage, they quarrel about their spiritual leaders. Since they believe their personal growth is their responsibility, they know they better pick the right guru! Paul attacks this view. He steers them back to reality: God is the one who calls, redeems, saves, and continues to heal. Paul says that he and his co-pastor Apollos are nothing. An amazing thing to say! Can you imagine TV preachers saying that? But Paul says conclusively: only God gives the growth.

Do you feel like you control your closeness to God? Is your “walk with Christ,” your “spiritual journey,” all up to you? Paul says only God gives the growth. See the illustration Paul uses to close the argument: God is the gardener, and you are simply a plant in the field. So don’t do something, just sit there!

Andy Bernard to Give Graduation Speech at Cornell University … Ever Heard of It?

It has been a Mockingbird tradition to highlight worthy graduation speeches amidst the vast sea of snoozers. As the spring commencement season approaches, I want to point out that Ed Helms, the actor who played Andy Bernard on The Office, will be giving a speech at Cornell University’s graduation on May 24. This is noteworthy […]

Another Week Ends: Robots, Children, Busybodies, Grocery Store Flowcharts, Self-Hating Memories, Money-Burning Radio, Noah Dissent and Eight-Year-Old Guitar

 A quick update: we had some trouble with the Kindle version of The Mockingbird Devotional, but it’s now available here. It’s been tested with Kindle Fire and should work for older Kindles, too – Paperwhite compatibility is a little dubious (if there are problems, let us know so we can gripe to Amazon) – and it […]

Another Week Ends: Frictionless Sharing, Death Penalty, Modern Family, Community, Indie Bias, Maurice Sendak, Wilco and Walker Percy

1. A rather frightening article on Slate about Mark Zuckerberg’s proposed “frictionless sharing” entitled, “Not Sharing Is Caring.” As per usual, the vehicle in the world with the most potential for transparency continues to foster its exact opposite. Facebook is just the vehicle, of course, not the cause, but still… to mention escalating narcissism at […]

Michael Scott, American Male, R.I.P.

Over at Slate, Bill Wyman (not that Bill Wyman) examines of Steve Carrell’s achievement these past seven years playing Michael Scott on The Office with characteristic insight. He not only puts Scott in the context of post-Seinfeld nihilism and self-loathing – i.e. characters universally defined by their unchanging weakness and self-centeredness – he points out […]

Sometimes the Complaints Will Be False: Ricky Gervais on Easter

I am a massive Ricky Gervais fan. I swear by the BBC version of The Office, I laughed myself silly during Extras (the Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan episodes in particular), I’ve listened to every podcast and even enjoyed Cemetary Junction. I may have even felt a little glee during the Golden Globes this past […]

Another Week Ends: Wilco, Happiness, Evangelicalism, LOST, Dr. Spaceman

1. Wilco’s new record, Wilco (The Album), leaked earlier this week, prompting the band to stream it on their site for free. A serious review would be premature, but I will say that upon my initial listen, the songs strike me as stronger than those on Sky Blue Sky and the production a bit tighter. […]

The Japanese Office

Our series “The Gospel According To The Office” continues tonight! Last week we watched the “Christmas Party” episode and talked about Motivation, and this week we’ll be watching the “Performance Review” episode and talking about Judgment. Which will be much more fun than it sounds, I promise. If you’re anywhere near the tri-state area, please join us! It happens from 7-9pm in The Cave at St George’s (209 E 16th St). In preparation, check out this recent clip from SNL:

The Gospel According To The Office

In honor the series we’re doing this summer, which starts tonight (7-9pm at St Georges), here’s a compilation of the public service announcements that the stars of the show made a couple years ago. Some are definitely funnier than others, and a couple are a tad vulgar. Kelly’s are probably my favorite: