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Love the Art, Hate the Artist?

Love the Art, Hate the Artist?

A phenomenal piece from our friend, Abby Farson Pratt, who asks what we do when we’re all monsters. 

We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves these days. We are doing a lot of smirking, a lot of finger-pointing, a lot of handing down of fatwas on Twitter.

When we cut someone off...

When Joan Didion Cries into a Food Fair Bag

When Joan Didion Cries into a Food Fair Bag

I suppose it was only a matter of time before I found myself infatuated with the likes of Joan Didion (whose chain-smoking charms I put off for so long). She’s at last become inevitable. Along with her recent Netflix documentary and her brief epigraph in Lady Bird, her recently resurfaced essay...

The (Lost) Christian Origins of the The Elf Code by Buddy the Elf

The (Lost) Christian Origins of the The Elf Code by Buddy the Elf

Originally submitted in partial fulfillment of a degree in Tinker Training & Presented here for those who, like Jovie, share my affinity for elf culture*

I know you’re probably a human raised by humans. I, however, am a human raised by elves. Before journeying through the Candy Cane Forest and the Lincoln Tunnel...

Masculinity in Crisis: Unexamined Libidos and the Organizing Principle of Lady Bird

Masculinity in Crisis: Unexamined Libidos and the Organizing Principle of Lady Bird

If it’s true what Stephen Marche writes in The Unmade Bed, that there’s nothing less manly than talking about manliness, I’m not sure where that leaves me. After reading Marche’s latest column in The New York Times, “The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido,” I realized I’m averaging one essay...

A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2017 Edition)

A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2017 Edition)

That time again! Click here to check out last year’s guide. And to make sure all the gifts below look their best, we recommend using (w)rapping paper.

For the grandmothers and grandmothers-at-heart in your life, or anyone you’d like to thank for being a friend: Golden Girls Clue board game. (“Who...

Latest entries

A Conspiracy of Hope and Light: Reviewing U2's Songs of Experience

A Conspiracy of Hope and Light: Reviewing U2’s Songs of Experience

I don’t think I’ve ever read a review of a U2 record that isn’t preceded by a lengthy prologue wrestling with the band’s stature, either in the culture at large or the reviewer’s upbringing or both. They’re the kind of band that provokes not just adulation and irritation but qualification, even from their most ardent fans. I guess when you court importance–and the record release as Event–as Bono and co have done so doggedly these past 30-ish years, you’re kind of setting yourself up for it. Whatever the case, people have baggage when it comes to U2.

Earlier this year David…

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PZ's Podcast: A Disease I Do Not Have the Courage to Name

PZ’s Podcast: A Disease I Do Not Have the Courage to Name

EPISODE 239: A Disease I Do Not Have the Courage to Name

This Christmas cast is about communication between people, and God. Moreover, it’s about the cost of poor communication, which can be suicide, let alone habitual alienation. And the rich advantage of good communication, which can be the difference between life and death, let alone satisfaction and personal happiness.

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The Very Persistent Pirate: A Thank You Note from Houston

Dear Mockingsupporters,

This isn’t a normal post. I’m not here to talk about the wonders of Martin Luther or to tell you that Advent could be more chill. I am writing to thank you.

Yesterday I visited our neighborhood school and talked with a room full of first graders about what it’s like to be a published author. This past fall, they worked for months writing and “publishing” their own books. The topics ranged from Pokémon to Cats to Jesus (“’cause it’s close to Christmas”). As St. Whitney profoundly sang, I do believe the children are our future.

I fielded questions about what it is like to be a published author. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you:

  1. Does your book have any explosions in it?
  2. Did you know that the Mockingbird is the state bird of Texas?
  3. I have a sister named Maddy.

Of course, in talking about being a published author, there was no way I could actually read from my own book. Not only is Churchy not public school safe, it’s not really “safe church” either. Besides, it didn’t seem like the place to offer the little girls a cautionary tale about the difficulties of being a mother and a priest.

Anyway.

When they asked me to spend some time with the kids I knew immediately the book I had to read: Mockingbird’s own The Very Persistent Pirate. It casts a picture of grace that is foreign to most of us in this frightening world. The Kid in the story keeps doing the wrong thing and the Pirate continues in his persistent generosity. They even have a party at the end. I needed to hear it more than the children did.

Plus, The Persistent Pirate has the word “booty” in it no less than 4 times. Which is a real riot when you are 7.

But these are not just any kids at any school. These are kids at a school in Houston. They are from neighborhoods that were hit particularly hard by Hurricane Harvey. Many of their houses flooded which meant that entire childhood libraries were lost. Many of you donated to make sure that every one of those first graders received their own copy of The Very Persistent Pirate. So thank you.

As one little girl exclaimed to me, “YOU MEAN WE GET TO TAKE IT HOME?!”

Yes. Yes you do.

Grateful,

Sarah

Is There Life After Law? A Few Reflections on Pauline Ethics

Is There Life After Law? A Few Reflections on Pauline Ethics

Another wonderful piece by Charis Hamiltonius, continuing from last week’s entry on Luther and Paul.

“Shall we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?” This rhetorical question, dropped in the middle of Paul’s lengthy argument in Romans against a Law-oriented life, is not without merit. If grace is freely given to the ungodly, if the moral ordering of the universe is upside-down, and if our works have no bearing on our righteousness before God, then a reader of Paul’s letter would understandably wonder whether Paul cares about morality at all. To this question, Paul emphatically says, “HELL…

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The Road Back for Pariahs

The Road Back for Pariahs

It is hard to know how much of his tongue was in his cheek when Politico’s Jack Shafer penned “The Sex Pariah’s 6-Step Guide to Rehabilitation.” Yet the questions he addresses in the wake of Weinstein and Lauer and O’Reilly (and so many others) are both serious and timely: once the pariahs have served their punishments, “can we, should we, allow them to return to public life and their careers? And by what avenue?” The advice which follows is laced with explicit Catholic pastoral care and 12-Step best practices. They include unqualified confession, a season of retreat, submission to a…

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Losing the Floaties by 40

Losing the Floaties by 40

This one was written by Heidi Fields.

I was only two years shy of 40 when I decided to learn to swim. I was only half joking when I asked the swimming instructor if he had adult-sized floaty rings for my arms. I was only two years out of the womb when I rocked the ruffled two piece and yellow shades in this photo.

Despite having an innate, Milan-esque aqua fashion sense, I usually avoided pool parties and beach activities as a child. I was like oil and water was like water. Mixing the two of us was more awkward than boys…

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A Leaf on the Wind

A Leaf on the Wind

First Reading:

“The average person, seeing that we can predict tides pretty well a few months ahead would say, why can’t we do the same thing with the atmosphere, it’s just a different fluid system, the laws are about as complicated. But I realized that any physical system that behaved aperiodically would be unpredictable.”

~ Edward Lorenz, discoverer of the “Butterfly Effect”

Second Reading:

“I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them…

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Thor: Ragnarok - When The Unjust Are Freed and Those Hurt Are Left Without A Home

Thor: Ragnarok – When The Unjust Are Freed and Those Hurt Are Left Without A Home

This review was written by Caleb Ackley. (Spoilers ahead.)

After having grown extremely used to superhero films presenting gritty realities in harsh, dark tones, I was initially off put by the trailer for the latest Thor installment. Candy-colored and none-too-serious, this, it seemed, was uncharted territory and I proceeded to the theatre warily- excited, at the very least, to see Jeff Goldblum in blue makeup-but unsure of what to expect beyond that.

The film begins with Thor in a kind of pseudo-underworld where Chris Hemsworth (the ever-muscular and flaxen-haired), while taking on a fiery enemy and his minions, is given a chance…

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Robert Barnes and 500 Years of Justification by Grace Alone – Jacob Smith

A wonderful, engaging talk on some of the key players in the Reformation (with a little help from Carl Jr.) by the Rev. Jacob Smith:

Robert Barnes and 500 Years of Justification by Grace Alone – Jacob Smith from Mockingbird on Vimeo

Psychomachia, 8-Balls, and Alien Righteousness

Psychomachia, 8-Balls, and Alien Righteousness

This one comes to us from RJ Coburn.

Psychomachia is the name given to the common trope found in movies, television, and comic strips when a character is dealing with temptation. Two versions of his or her self appear, an angel version and a devil version. Commonly, the devil is on the left shoulder (or standing on the left, if shown as a full-sized person) and the angel on the right. This represents the battle of the soul, or as Homer tells Lisa on an episode of The Simpsons, “Inside every man is a struggle between good and evil that cannot…

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Praise the Lord: I Saw the Light (this Advent)

Praise the Lord: I Saw the Light (this Advent)

Its official, men are no longer sure what they can say. Last week an elderly gentleman complimented my outfit and then promptly recanted and apologized. Little did he know that as a 35 year old mother of two zoo animals, I actually appreciate being told I look nice. Nonetheless, I suppose we will all just stand around and not interact. That should take care of everything.

The surprise and outrage are jarring to me. Who finds it surprising that this has happened? That sexual deviancy is rampant? That women, still relatively new to the workplace, have been treated horribly?…

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Another Week Ends: Christmas Tree Frappes, Scrabble Therapy, Self-Esteem, Teenagers, Tech Angst, the Religion of Self-Hatred, and the Heroism of Tonya Harding

Another Week Ends: Christmas Tree Frappes, Scrabble Therapy, Self-Esteem, Teenagers, Tech Angst, the Religion of Self-Hatred, and the Heroism of Tonya Harding

1. A great story coming out of Modern Love this week, from Christie Tate, who talks about her ongoing conflation of relationships with accomplishment and success. After serially dating addicts and abusers, she starts going to a therapy group, and slowly comes to grips with the really vital ingredient: vulnerability. With the help of her group (and her therapist), she met her husband with whom she has a healthy marriage. Except for when her husband beat her at Scrabble. Losing at Scrabble, she soon realized, became an abreaction of sorts, a lens into all her previous ways of looking at…

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