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Tough Love Lessons in a Year of Jail Ministry

Tough Love Lessons in a Year of Jail Ministry

Before even beginning this post, you probably noticed the one giant, smug asterisk that naturally attached itself to the title: *Oh goodness, that’s right. Can’t believe I forgot to tell you! I do jail ministry. NBD. I’d love to, you know, grab a beer and tell you more about it...

Pretentious Believers and the Law of Authenticity

Pretentious Believers and the Law of Authenticity

There was a period of time, and I’m not proud of it, when the worst insult my friends and I could lob at a person/place/thing was that they were ‘pretentious’. It connoted everything we didn’t like: phoniness, humorlessness, and haughtiness.

At least, in theory it did. Over time, the word became...

Grace in the Grind: 10/28-29 in Oklahoma City!

Grace in the Grind: 10/28-29 in Oklahoma City!

Couldn’t be more excited to announce our Fall Conference in Oklahoma City (10/28-29), pre-registration for which is now open. Details below.

The never-ending bustle of the 24/7 workplace. The three-places-at-once gymnastics of the after-school carpool. The siren’s call of the smartphone screen. The ever-quickening treadmill of doctors’ appointments. Whatever the stage...

Reading Gilead and the Tyranny of Should

Reading Gilead and the Tyranny of Should

This one comes to us from our friend Connor Gwin.

I have started reading Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead five times. I know, I know; I really should read it. Everyone says it is so profound and wonderful and moving. It won the Pulitzer for God’s sake.

And I haven’t finished it yet.

I bought...

Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second…)

Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second…)

I owe you an apology. Or at least a confession. Nine months after switching to a flip phone, and about six months after making a big stink about it, I went back to a smart one. I’m not proud.

What got me in the end wasn’t Internet itself. I stand by...

The Mental Health Issue of The Mockingbird: Opener and Table of Contents!

The Mental Health Issue of The Mockingbird: Opener and Table of Contents!

At long last, the eighth (!) issue of The Mockingbird is now available. Click here to get the one issue…or here if you’d just like to go ahead and subscribe. (If you’re already subscribed, help us out and spread the word on social media!)

To whet your appetite, here’s Ethan’s Opener...

Motherhood and the Maris Crane in Me

Motherhood and the Maris Crane in Me

I love being a mom. Motherhood, however, has also savagely birthed a hideous new version of my self into the world.

For example: Parenting has become the most tedious competitive sport since Scotland invented golf in 1457, and yet I frequently run to win it. I’ve even come to view preschool...

The Narcissist In Your Life

The Narcissist In Your Life

In her booklength essay on narcissism, Kristin Dombek enumerates the varieties of Narcissisms that plague the world order these days. There’s the Narcissistic Leader, whose ego runs the office you work for, the Collective Narcissist whose group or tribe is the best in the world, the Sexual Narcissist whose libidinal...

Life Is Too Politicized When Seth Meyers Stops Being Funny

Life Is Too Politicized When Seth Meyers Stops Being Funny

Abraham Kuyper once said that there’s not a microbe in the universe that Christ doesn’t look at and declare “mine”. It feels like American political combative discourse makes the same claim today. Whether it’s chicken sandwiches or late night television, everything is turning shades of red and blue, which will...

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Today Is The Day: The Mental Health Issue Is Here!

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Where’s Izzy CJ?

Great news: As of this afternoon, The Mental Health Issue of The Mockingbird is out the door! After months and months of hard work, we could not be more excited to get this thing into your hands. We poured our heart and soul into every page (the most yet in a single issue, but who’s counting), and we think it shows. Be sure to peruse the Table of Contents and/or read Ethan’s Opener if you haven’t already.

Subscribers and those who pre-ordered should be receiving their copies this week. All other orders will be processed as they come in–click here to place yours.

To celebrate the launch, we put together a special episode of The Mockingcast. It features a bunch of exclusive interviews, including one with self-justification guru Carol Tavris. Like the magazine itself, this is not something you’ll want to miss. Oh and by all means help us spread the word on social media!

thorntonOrder Your Copy Today

What is Faith?: A Look at the Religiosity of Football Fans

What is Faith?: A Look at the Religiosity of Football Fans

This one was written by the inimitable Duo Dickinson, who also guested on this past Friday’s episode of The Mockingcast.

What is faith?

For those who are very proud of the absence of faith in anything other than facts, faith is a desirable implication of combined data points: if you are having a picnic you have faith in the “Partly Cloudy” forecast on Weather.Com but are not-so-faithful to the verity of The Farmer’s Almanac.

For those who are faithful in the absence of data points faith tends to be what is hoped to be true because you want whatever that unknown is to happen:…

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PZ’s Podcast: Centennial and Circle for a Landing

PZ’s Podcast: Centennial and Circle for a Landing

EPISODE 221: Centennial

Healing, one’s healing, doesn’t come from fiat, i.e., from declaration. Nor does it come from deletion, i.e., from living as if events in your past never took place.

Healing comes from abreaction and merger, from engagement, even the ‘clash by night’, with the past and with your hurt, rejection and pain.

I saw this recently “up close and personal” during a visit to my old college.

It was the centennial of my final club (i.e., fraternity), and the whole world had returned to show good faith and loyalty. Suddenly I became witness to an ancient institution that is throbbing with life….

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Another Week Ends: Leo’s Apartment, The Boss’s Dad Issues, Jung’s Advice, the None’s Affiliation, and the FitBit’s Failure

Another Week Ends: Leo’s Apartment, The Boss’s Dad Issues, Jung’s Advice, the None’s Affiliation, and the FitBit’s Failure

1. I think we have to lead off with this one: Leo DiCaprio’s Malibu beach property is on the market (for a measly $11M), and the folks from LAist decided to have some fun with the realtors over at Redfin, in a nihilistic sort of way. With some help from their friends—Jean-Paul Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche—the journalists ponder whether or not this future home could ever bring meaning to an otherwise meaningless and, well, imponderable existence.

LAist: Hi! Love the house!! Just a few questions. Albert Camus once said “At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman.” This house is obviously…

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New from Leonard Cohen: “You Want It Darker”

New from Leonard Cohen: “You Want It Darker”

This post comes to us from Matthew Wilkins.

Wednesday, musician/poet Leonard Cohen celebrated his 82nd birthday, and gave us a gift in the midst of this particularly saddening week by releasing the title track from his upcoming album “You Want it Darker.”

Cohen has never been one to shy away from religious themes in his music, even deeply Christian themes though he considers himself both Jewish and a Buddhist, and “You Want it Darker” is no exception.

Over a somewhat brooding backing track with well timed choral support, Cohen delves into questions of God, evil, and human suffering in a way that not only…

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Reflections on the This Is Us Premiere: Shameless Tear-Jerking and the Theme of Adoption

Reflections on the This Is Us Premiere: Shameless Tear-Jerking and the Theme of Adoption

This post contains spoilers! If you have not yet watched the premiere of “This Is Us” head on over to NBC’s website, and come back in 45 min. Be sure to have your tissues ready.

It’s been a long time since I watched, let alone looked forward to, a network-produced TV show. HBO and Netflix have been dominating the silver screen of late, while NBC, ABC and the like have become channels necessary only for viewing sporting events (which, let’s be honest, I never do on my own accord). But NBC drew me in during the Olympics, when they aired (repeatedly)…

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Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second…)

Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second…)

I owe you an apology. Or at least a confession. Nine months after switching to a flip phone, and about six months after making a big stink about it, I went back to a smart one. I’m not proud.

What got me in the end wasn’t Internet itself. I stand by what I wrote about the cost, both personal and communal, of non-stop web access. I probably undersold it. What made me, er, flip back was two things: music and texts. They were the rationalization, in any case.

I realized about a month into the experiment that I wasn’t willing to live…

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Life Is Too Politicized When Seth Meyers Stops Being Funny

Life Is Too Politicized When Seth Meyers Stops Being Funny

Abraham Kuyper once said that there’s not a microbe in the universe that Christ doesn’t look at and declare “mine”. It feels like American political combative discourse makes the same claim today. Whether it’s chicken sandwiches or late night television, everything is turning shades of red and blue, which will likely lead to us all becoming increasingly black and blue.

I’m a political person. I’ve donated money to a presidential candidate this year. I watch lots of cable news, I sometimes take perverse delight in the combative rhetoric. I’d like to say political infotainment is a guilty pleasure, but I feel…

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Motherhood and the Maris Crane in Me

Motherhood and the Maris Crane in Me

I love being a mom. Motherhood, however, has also savagely birthed a hideous new version of my self into the world.

For example: Parenting has become the most tedious competitive sport since Scotland invented golf in 1457, and yet I frequently run to win it. I’ve even come to view preschool drop-off as a performance opportunity.

SCENE: I tenderly pull my kids from their car seats and immediately transform into the cheeriest, most in-control yet carefree version of “mom” since Carol Brady. I don my overly-priced active wear (the official jersey of mothers everywhere). I offer excessive hugs and kisses, the likes…

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Oklahoma City Conference Schedule!

With just over a month until our Fall Conference in Oklahoma City (10/28-29), we are excited to announce the final schedule, including talk titles, below. We’ll be exploring the theme, “Grace in the Grind: The Gospel in Contemporary Culture”, and we hope the weekend will provide rest and respite from the stress of daily life. As a reminder, thanks to the generosity of The Anglican Foundation and All Souls Episcopal Church, this conference is completely free! Just please be sure to pre-register ASAP so that we can plan accordingly.

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Friday Oct 28th

12:30 – Registration opens

1:00pm – Welcome and “Falling Into Grace, Pt 1” – John Newton

2:15pm – “The Gospel Monday thru Friday: Glimpses of Grace in Relationships” – Alex Large

3:15pm – Breakouts

  • “Lazaretto, or Where Is That Moral Progress I Was Promised?” – Scott Johnson
  • “The Kingdom of Heaven According to Hollywood: It’s Not Where You Think It Is” – Carrie Willard
  • “Repentance as an Act of Rebellion” – Jonathan Mitchican
  • “Grace All the Way Down” – Mac Stewart

6:00pm – “Falling Into Grace, Pt 2” – John Newton

6:45pm – Anglican Foundation presentation

7:00pm – Dinner and Drinks! (menu coming soon)

Saturday Oct 29th

8:30am – Doors open

9:00am – “Sacraments, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Pop Culture and the Loss of the Enchanted Imagination” – Jonathan Mitchican

9:45am – “A View from the Back Pew: Grace in the Grind of Family and Church” – Carrie Willard

10:45am – “Things Done and Left Undone: Hope Beyond the To-Do List” – David Zahl

11:30am – Concluding service

12:30pm — Book Table closes

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See you in Oklahoma!

Surprised by Love, Appalled by Grace: Richard Bausch’s “The Fireman’s Wife”

Surprised by Love, Appalled by Grace: Richard Bausch’s “The Fireman’s Wife”

Nothing prepared me for the ending of Richard Bausch’s short story, “The Fireman’s Wife.”[1] Just a couple of years into the marriage, Jane is experiencing deep regret over her decision to marry her firefighter husband. When Martin is not working long shifts with buddies Wally and Teddy, he is likely playing cards with them, drinking or doing drugs with them, or working on their shared passion of building and flying model airplanes.

Jane and Martin fight too much, and he comes off as remarkably immature, demanding, and self-absorbed. Her frequent headaches mirror the relational burdens she carries. Milly, Wally’s wife, tries…

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On Hoping The World Rejects The Gospel

On Hoping The World Rejects The Gospel

“Jesus is lord, and everything else is bullshit.”

That’s the gospel according to Stanley Hauerwas. It’s a brisk summary of what Paul says in Philippians 3:8-11. Jesus is the end-game and everything else is rubbish (Greek: Σκύβαλον; skubalon; animal feces).

So what Hauerwas says is true, but it’s not the whole gospel truth.

In a 2011 interview with the defunct Greater Than Magazine, Brian McLaren said that the gospel is that the Kingdom of God is at hand and that we can be part of it. He added that God has a dream for the world and that we have an important role…

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