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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Latest entries

From the Archives: Modern Origins of Anxiety – Scientific Christianity and Epistemic Optimism

From the Archives: Modern Origins of Anxiety – Scientific Christianity and Epistemic Optimism

The question of what causes anxiety is one to which we’ve given an embarrassing amount of attention, especially within the context of Christianity. The Onion was good to remind us that “Anxiety [Isn’t] Resolved By Thinking About It Really Hard”, but the relationship between religion and anxiety is a fascinating and potent one; i.e., the decline of religion and rise of anxiety may not be completely independent phenomena… but by “decline of religion” we don’t just mean secularization, but also certain shifts within religion itself. As a Church called to look for the plank in our own eyes, I think our complicity in the rise of anxiety is as…

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The Benefit of Treating Your Spouse Like A Small Child

From a talk he gave on love this summer, Alain de Botton here gives us permission to view our significant others as the small children they actually are. Relying on a searingly low anthropology, de Botton argues that pessimism is, in fact, the key to a successful relationship. He says, “Pessimism is often seen as the enemy of good things, and indeed it is in many ventures. But when you embark on the journey of love, pessimism, in fact, is the most generous and kindly emotion you can direct towards yourself and your partner.” One of the ways we do this, he figures, is to disentangle one another from the “adult” expectations we have for one another. (The entire 20 minute talk, below, is well worth the listen. This comes in the last couple minutes.)

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The first thing we need to understand is: let’s stop treating our partners as if they were adults and let’s start treating them like small children. The reason this is so important is when a small child has done something wrong—let’s imagine you have a small child, you cook them dinner, they’re two years old, three years old, you have broccoli and some schnitzel and you put a plate down in front of them and they just swipe it off and go, “Ech!” and start screaming. Now, what do you do as a modern parent? You don’t hit them. You don’t go, “I’m so offended, I’ve had a hard day at work, and now this—you’re persecuting me!” You don’t say that. Instead, you go, “Maybe my poor child’s got a sore tooth, or maybe he’s a bit jealous of his sister being born, maybe that’s kind of weighing on him, maybe he’s a bit tired, that’s why he’s behaving like this.” In other words, we’re incredibly generous with our system of interpretation. We don’t do this with adults because we think, This person’s an adult. And, most adults look like adults, unfortunately. It would be so much more useful if we looked like children.

The thing about breaking something—like a broken arm—is that everyone can see it. “Oh, you’ve got a broken arm! I’m so sorry, let me open the door for you.” If you’ve got a broken bit of your soul, a broken bit of your psyche, everyone thinks your normal. But you want to say, “No, no, I’ve got this thing, it’s broken even though it doesn’t look broken.” We don’t look like children—but we are inside. And we’re so aware of how patronizing it is to be treated as if you are younger than you are, but we forget how generous, how kind, how truly loving it is to treat someone as if they are younger than they are. Because this is what it means to truly love someone: to be generous in one’s interpretation of another person.

The Strangest Symbol: A Fellowship in Suffering

The Strangest Symbol: A Fellowship in Suffering

This reflection comes to us from our friend and esteemed magician, Jim McNeely. 

1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by…

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From The New Yorker

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Group Portrait of British band Duran Duran in London, England in 1981. Left to right are (back) keyboard player Nick Rhodes, singer Simon Le Bon, (front) bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and 
guitarist Andy Taylor. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

T.S. Eliot on Gentlemen, Youth Groups, and “New” Morality

A letter from TS Eliot was published earlier this week in The Paris Review, and by golly, it’s just too good not to reproduce in full here [ht @FredOSphere]. The context is Eliot’s personality-revealing essay “Thoughts after Lambeth,” which is worth its own post in the future for no other reason than the poet’s prophetic thoughts on youth groups circa 1930. I kid you not. Either way, Eliot is actually arguing for teaching youth chastity, humility, austerity, and discipline. These may sound like “law” to us, but for Eliot, these are the virtues that help human beings cope best with life under the curse…

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Even An Active Shooter Can’t Make Me Appreciate My Life More

Even An Active Shooter Can’t Make Me Appreciate My Life More

A few weeks ago, the press descended on a small town in Minnesota, just a few hundred miles from where I grew up in Wisconsin. They were there because the remains of Jacob Wetterling were found, and his abductor and killer was apprehended. Jacob Wetterling was born in the same year that I was, and my childhood was marked by his disappearance in 1989. We — the children in the area hundreds of miles surrounding his hometown — all knew his face from the countless posters put up around town, and the news reports that we were all too young…

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

mentalmountain

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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