I’ve noticed a recent spat of very positive Christian books about vocation, basically work-affirming theologies, are gaining traction in America, and perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised, I’m referring to “God values your vocation” stuff – Adam and Eve were originally called to be garden-tenders (before the Fall), work anticipates God’s...
Well, I must admit, I woke up this morning early, knowing it was time to get to work on this little tribute, and began fussing around the house like most mornings, in a complete torrent, running up and down the stairs, forgetting one thing, grabbing the wrong thing, going back,...
“I have waited my whole life to be oppressed” admits Lynn Messina in the opening line of her incredible Modern Love column that appeared in the Times this past Sunday. In “Chained to Hearth or Warmed by It?” she comes clean about the ramifications that her yearning for victimhood–or predilection...
I had tickets to see Nirvana in concert when Kurt Cobain killed himself. I kid you not. My friend and I had been looking forward to the show for months–it had already been postponed once–so the news of his death threw me even more than it might have otherwise. I’ll...
One of many things that distinguishes Tullian Tchividjian’s One Way Love from other books of its ilk is the willingness to pull back the curtain on the author’s personal life. As we all know, it is very easy to talk about grace and forgiveness in the abstract, for people to...
I meant to have this post up first thing in the morning. What happened? An email here, a phone call there–the trailer for the new P.T. Anderson film (with Joaquin Phoenix channeling Dennis Wilson!) isn’t going to watch itself–and here we are, late-afternoon. The feeling is not a good one. It sounds so silly on paper, and indeed, if you subscribe to anything like a hierarchy of suffering, few things seem more trivial than procrastination, so much so that to write about it inspires, well, more procrastination.
I once heard procrastination described as the battle between Want and Should, one where…
It’s hard now to sort through too much Christian media without hearing moving and grandiloquent talk about “cultural engagement.” It’s the trendy thing now, and it seems like the Christian para-academic establishment prepped the ground for an overdue reaction against the isolationism and confrontationalism of now-octogenarian culture warriors. But the talk often seems inversely proportional to the engagement itself. One framework: affirm the good, critique/subvert the bad, discuss redemptive possibilities. (We here tend to omit the latter two.) Talk about talking about culture, and the Evangelical Church is your best conversation partner; talk about a spectacular Game of Thrones battle…
Recently, something strange happened to me. I have started to like the people I went to high school with. I cannot pinpoint the moment this started to happen. All I know is my heart has softened.
In high school I managed to be just above sheer mediocrity. I did not make good grades. I hated joining clubs. At home (my favorite place to be), I had a stamp collection and watched that one season of “My So-Called Life” on repeat. My social life revolved mostly around my high school theatre program. It was the one space where I could truly be…
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile… the same Lord is Lord of all… (Romans 10:12, NIV)
In this passage, the Apostle Paul denies the legitimacy of a particular strain of categorization. He suggests that “there is no difference between Jew and Gentile.” He wants to get rid of something that runs rampant in each and every society, and in so doing, achieves something incredibly rare. What does he want to get rid of, and what does he hope to accomplish?
“Jew and Gentile” are racial and religious distinctions. Paul assumes that his…
1. Love has been on the brain here in Cville as we put the finishing touches on the upcoming ‘Relationships’ issue of The Mockingbird. Among other things, we’ve been watching insane documentaries, interviewing experts, and listening to (un-)godly amounts of ABBA. So it was serendipitous this week to come across The Atlantic’s “Love Is Not Algorithmic”, a review of/reflection on Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), the new book by online dating guru and OKCupid co-founder, Christian Rudder. Most of it falls into captain obvious territory re: love & identity & control, but a couple of…
Well known preacher and author Tim Keller is fond of saying “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life, it’s the A t0 Z of the Christian life.” It sure would have been helpful to have had that ingrained in me when I threw my stick in the fire and “gave my life to Jesus” at church camp when I was 14. God doesn’t work that way with us though. He tends to let us try to “graduate” from the Gospel. “Okay”, we say, “First Corinthians 15:3-6 – Christ died, was buried, raised on the third day, appeared…
“The inmost significance of the exaggerated value which is set upon hard work appears to be this: man seems to mistrust everything that is effortless; he can only enjoy, with a good conscience, what he has acquired with toil and trouble; he refused to have anything as a gift.”
Cue this past Sunday’s sermon on the Parable of the Worker’s in the Vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16):
“Continual loss” defines my feeling every baseball season. It’s my fault. I choose to follow the Chicago Cubs. No one forces me at gunpoint to root for these loveable losers. Every fall, when the season is waning, the Cubbies not only fail to reach the World Series, but more often than not, they do not even make the playoffs. I now believe it is a “merciful impasse.” The phrases “continual loss” and “merciful impasse” not only help me understand baseball, but how life, with its many cul-de-sacs and dead-ends, can have hope and meaning.
Woah. A devastating one from the new issue of The New Yorker (click here to hear her read it):
What are you doing on this side of the dark?
You chose that side, and those you left
feel your image across their sleeping lids
as a blinding atomic blast.
Last we knew,
you were suspended midair
like an angel for a pageant off the room
where your wife slept. She had
to cut you down who’d been (I heard)
so long holding you up. We all tried to,
faced with your need, which we somehow
understood and felt for and took
into our veins like smack. And you
must be lured by that old…
Fight club isn’t about winning or losing fights. Fight club isn’t about words. [...] There’s hysterical shouting in tongues like at church, and when you wake up Sunday afternoon you feel saved.
-Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
In an effort to fill the void, many Americans are beginning their search not in the pew but in the gym. Intense forms of exercise, from CrossFit to Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, have grown tremendously in popularity. Some gyms attempt to directly adapt “combat sports” to a more fitness-friendly environment: “cardio kick boxing” for the stay at home dad, mitt work and sparring for the…
WHAT: Mockingbird seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.
WHY: Are we called Mockingbird? The name was inspired by the mockingbird’s peculiar gift for mimicking the cries of other birds. In a similar way, we seek to repeat the message we have heard - God’s word of grace and forgiveness.
HOW: Via every medium available! At present this includes (but is not limited to) a daily weblog, semi-annual conferences, and an ongoing publications initiative.
WHO: At present, we employ three full-time staff, David Zahl and Ethan Richardson and William McDavid. They are helped and supported by a large number of contributing volunteers and writers. Our board of directors is chaired by Mr. Thomas Becker.
WHERE: Our offices are located at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.
WHEN: Mockingbird was incorporated in June 2007 and is currently in its seventh year of operation.
The work of Mockingbird is made possible by the gifts of private donors and churches. Our 2014 operating budget is roughly $195,000, and with virtually no overhead, your gifts translate directly into mission and ministry. Can you help? Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like more information.
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