A Real Advent Hero: St. Peter, The All-Reminding Forgetter

A Real Advent Hero: St. Peter, The All-Reminding Forgetter

The Advent reading this morning in the Daily Office Lectionary is a zinger, the way it’s laid out. (Don’t get any ideas—this isn’t something I do with any regularity.) First off, we’re given the Old Testament reading, the Lord’s promise through the prophet Isaiah, that a child will come, and...
Now Available! A MESS OF HELP: From the Crucified Soul of Rock N’ Roll by David Zahl

Now Available! A MESS OF HELP: From the Crucified Soul of Rock N’ Roll by David Zahl

In his debut book, Mockingbird founder and editor-in-chief David Zahl riffs on the intersection of music, memoir, and theology to create a fresh and colorful series of essays that truly stands alone. Constructed like an album, A Mess of Help surveys some of pop’s most eccentric icons in hopes of...

A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2014 Edition)

A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2014 Edition)

Last year’s gift guide was so popular that we’ve decided to make it an annual tradition. Apologies in advance for once again not straying too far from our books/movies/music wheelhouse.

For Those About to Host a Christmas Party: A Very Love and Mercy Christmas by Sam Bush and Kathryn Caine

For Your...

Bracing Ourselves for #bestchristmasever

Bracing Ourselves for #bestchristmasever

In my 32 years on the planet, I’ve had all kinds of Christmases. There was the Almost Jewish Christmas (thanks, college boyfriend), the Just Gave Birth 3 Weeks Ago Christmas (thanks, husband), and my personal favorite, the We’re too Broke to Go Home for Christmas Christmas. I’ve had many Dr....

The Best of the Year in Television 2014

The Best of the Year in Television 2014

Another phenomenal year on the small screen, and thankfully not one where we can come even close to being comprehensive. Series that’ve gotten raves that we’re waiting to binge on would be The Good Wife, The Americans, and You’re the Worst. Here’s our best shot at rounding up what we’ve...

NOW OPEN: Earlybird Pre-Registration for 2015 Spring Conference!

NOW OPEN: Earlybird Pre-Registration for 2015 Spring Conference!

Earlybird pre-registration is now open for our annual Spring Conference, which happens April 16-18th in New York City! Details for the event are still coming together, but we assure you that you’ll not want to miss this one. Speakers already confirmed include author and preacher Nadia Bolz-Weber, journalist Jamin Warren...

Waiting for a Baby: Pregnant at Christmas

Waiting for a Baby: Pregnant at Christmas

This is the second time in my life I have been pregnant during Christmas. With the first, I was only a few short weeks into the process and so mostly just doe-eyed, exhausted, and power-eating Chick-fil-a. This go-round though, I’m at 18 weeks and still running for the toilet every...

Gifts Beyond Reciprocity

Gifts Beyond Reciprocity

I may not be the only one for whom an element of Law has infiltrated the yearly ritual of gift-giving. On the giver side, I spent an undue amount of time and energy trying to find things adequately utilitarian yet also personal, valuable but not profligate, suited to the taste...

Latest entries

Another Week Ends: Exotic Magi, Histories of Christmas, More Elves on Shelves, Rand Reviews Children’s Movies, and More Messes of Help

Another Week Ends: Exotic Magi, Histories of Christmas, More Elves on Shelves, Rand Reviews Children’s Movies, and More Messes of Help

Housekeeping thing: a few copies of A Mess of Help sent out had lots of 5s in their tables of contents. Let us know if you got one of those, and we’ll send a new one.

1. As we’re getting into the Christmas spirit, The Economist makes a surprising contribution with a survey of the Magi’s reception history. Apparently the men were likely astrologers/sages of some sort, but people found kings more appealing. In medieval times, some strange theologians talk about massive royal retinues encamped outside Bethlehem, etc. And in other strains of the tradition, they were bumbling traveler types, something in between the…

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How “Johnny Football” Taught Me My Love Language

How “Johnny Football” Taught Me My Love Language

I’ve never really connected much with that “5 Love Languages” stuff. Legend has it that if we can figure out what our spouse’s love language is (how he/she best likes to have love communicated) our marriages will be blissful. I don’t remember exactly when my wife and I went through this material together, but it was early in our marriage. I learned from the workbook that my wife likes to receive love most via “gifts” and “acts of service”. That’s a heavy yoke, especially since I am far more skilled in giving and inclined to give the other three –…

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Inheritance

Inheritance

Today, I was working on a rent house—cleaning baseboards and repairing cabinet doors, among other things—and I found myself needing a tool from my truck. I remember standing up and walking out of the door of the rent house and my mind just completely blanking out on the walk to my truck. The very reason why I was going to my truck in the first place vanished momentarily from my mind. Or, at another point, I found myself simply walking into another room and losing my train of thought. And, for whatever reason, the very recognition of this—my cognizance of…

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The 7 Things I Don’t Want to Hear in Church in 2015

The 7 Things I Don’t Want to Hear in Church in 2015

I present this with all of the love and Christian charity I can muster, but if I ever hear the following churchy phrases again, it will be too soon. And if you use them around me in the year of 2015, I will give you the “Ouiser Boudreaux.”

1. She’s earning jewels for her crown in heaven.

Wait, there are crowns and a system of jewels? Is this like a Kay Jeweler Add a Charm, bracelet thing? Can I request an all emerald edition? But seriously, I’ve never heard this phrase used in regards to anything except our own egos. And it…

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Terrence Malick’s Prodigal Son

The trailer for Knight of Cups is out! Christian Bale, come home! Come home!

Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt. 2: Nos. 5-1

Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt. 2: Nos. 5-1

Yesterday, we revealed the bottom half of the best ten films of 2014, according to me. I’ll skip the pleasantries and jump right in. Here are my top five films of 2014.

5. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Lots of dollying, panning, and surface fade to reveal shots create the illusion that Alejandro Iñárritu’s Birdman was filmed in one, long continuous take. Which is not true. Howbeit, the film is made up of many continuous one shot scenes, sometimes lasting up to ten minutes long, and it’s all done, essentially, at one location. That’s tough to do. Not a lot of directors can do it, or do…

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Waiting for a Baby: Pregnant at Christmas

Waiting for a Baby: Pregnant at Christmas

This is the second time in my life I have been pregnant during Christmas. With the first, I was only a few short weeks into the process and so mostly just doe-eyed, exhausted, and power-eating Chick-fil-a. This go-round though, I’m at 18 weeks and still running for the toilet every time I eat anything with sugar, change a diaper, or drink liquid with too much vigor.

Nausea aside, being pregnant during “The Season” sheds so much light on “The Reason.” The season leading up to Christmas, what we call Advent, is a season of waiting and anticipation. Easter is probably supposed…

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Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt.1: Nos. 10-6

Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt.1: Nos. 10-6

Simply put, which is the best way to put it, 2014 was a pleasing year for the avid movie-goer. Now that it’s nearing its end, I thought it fitting to give the Mockingbird reader a list of personal favorites in a two-part top ten list. Disclaimer: Alas, I am not yet a member of the Academy. I do not get the year’s best films delivered to my doorstep free of charge. I will admit, there are many (presumably) good films that I have just have not seen yet, because, well, movies cost money. But here are the bottom five of Joe Nooft’s personal, paid for, top…

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Gifts Beyond Reciprocity

Gifts Beyond Reciprocity

I may not be the only one for whom an element of Law has infiltrated the yearly ritual of gift-giving. On the giver side, I spent an undue amount of time and energy trying to find things adequately utilitarian yet also personal, valuable but not profligate, suited to the taste of various people. And on the recipient side, I feel like I’m growing progressively more choosey: partly as a function of growing older, with ever-more specific tastes, and partly as a function of the Internet (numerous sub-forums are involved in my selection of even a minor thing for myself). The…

Read More »

The Best of the Year in Television 2014

The Best of the Year in Television 2014

Another phenomenal year on the small screen, and thankfully not one where we can come even close to being comprehensive. Series that’ve gotten raves that we’re waiting to binge on would be The Good Wife, The Americans, and You’re the Worst. Here’s our best shot at rounding up what we’ve watched this year. I had some serious help with this (ht McD, EKR, HE).

Top Twelve Television Series of 2014

12. Parenthood. The Bravermans didn’t make it terribly easy to keep watching this year–what with the Joel and Julia debacle–but even after four-plus years, the show can still bring the waterworks like…

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NOW OPEN: Earlybird Pre-Registration for 2015 Spring Conference!

cropped-crowd
Earlybird pre-registration is now open for our annual Spring Conference, which happens April 16-18th in New York City! Details for the event are still coming together, but we assure you that you’ll not want to miss this one. Speakers already confirmed include author and preacher Nadia Bolz-Weber, journalist Jamin Warren (founder of Killscreen magazine), Mockingbird’s own Jacob Smith, Sarah Condon, and David Zahl, among many others. Our chaplain will be The Rev. Jim Munroe.

As always, in addition to the main presentations, there will be a number of breakout sessions, covering a wide range of topics, from theology to literature, television to psychology, music to parenting. If the past eight years are anything to go by, the conference is sure to be a time of grace, humor, and maybe even a little emancipation (not to mention delicious food). We hope you can join us! We’ll announce the full schedule in mid-January.

The event is open to anyone and everyone. If you plan on attending, we only ask that you pre-register beforehand. The earlybird rate is $100/person, which covers the entire event, meals and program, a significant discount on the normal price ($150/person)–makes a great Christmas present! Please note that the earlybird option is only available for those who wish to register for the entire event. The offer expires on January 16th, at which point all other pricing tiers will open.

Click here to Pre-Register!

A Real Advent Hero: St. Peter, The All-Reminding Forgetter

A Real Advent Hero: St. Peter, The All-Reminding Forgetter

The Advent reading this morning in the Daily Office Lectionary is a zinger, the way it’s laid out. (Don’t get any ideas—this isn’t something I do with any regularity.) First off, we’re given the Old Testament reading, the Lord’s promise through the prophet Isaiah, that a child will come, and that through him the heavy burdens of the “people in darkness” will finally see light: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…