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The Final Confession of Donald Draper

The Final Confession of Donald Draper

Spoilers, people, spoilers.

“I broke all my vows. I scandalized my child. I took another man’s name and made nothing of it.”

Thus goes the bottoming out we’ve been waiting for these past 7-8 years from Don Draper. His long dismantling, both self-instigated and otherwise, reached its endpoint in Mad Men‘s...

Now Available! Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints)

Now Available! Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints)

Mockingbird couldn’t be more excited to announce a new book, Law and Gospel. A collaboration between Will McDavid, Ethan Richardson, and David Zahl, this theology for sinners (and saints) is a short primer on a subject near and dear to us, the distinction between–you guessed it–Law and Gospel. From the back cover:

There’s...

2015 NYC Conference Recordings: Clean Slate – Absolution in Real Life

2015 NYC Conference Recordings: Clean Slate – Absolution in Real Life

An incredibly heartfelt thank-you to everyone who helped put on this year’s conference in NYC, especially our friends at Calvary St. George’s. We couldn’t be more grateful for how it all went. We are excited to announce that next year’s NY Conference will take place April 14-16, 2016!

Once again we...

Being Human in an Age of Ultron

Being Human in an Age of Ultron

Spoilers follow.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is a bafflingly different film from its cherished predecessor. It takes enormous risks which, when they succeed, succeed spectacularly, but at their worst only fail to spark. What The Godfather Part II is to The Godfather, Age of Ultron is to the first Avengers,...

Ten Notes on Religious Decline (plus A.W.E.)

Ten Notes on Religious Decline (plus A.W.E.)

“Pot-bellied pigs have been wildly unfashionable since 2005. Owning a pot-bellied pig is frowned upon almost as much as being a Christian.”

1. These are the words of Erlich Bachman in the most recent episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley, perhaps the funniest show on television at the moment (Veep being its...

On Christian Friendship

On Christian Friendship

I remember the high school Bible studies of my Deep South upbringing would often remind students to be wary of whom they befriended. They told students that they should keep a good distance from people who chose to smoke behind the gym (me) or make out in the teacher’s lounge (also...

Absolved Parenthood

Absolved Parenthood

I read a post via the online magazine for parents, Brain, Child, titled, “Regret is Poison.” For a Law/Gospel theologian/parent who isn’t afraid of the darkness of human existence, I was a moth to a flame. Regret? I’m listening. Regret as it pertains to guilt and parenting? Hellooo. I’ve been...

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Another Week Ends: More Underachieving Males, Baffling Temptations, Upper East Side Claustrophobia, John Gray, Star Wars, and Vocation

Another Week Ends: More Underachieving Males, Baffling Temptations, Upper East Side Claustrophobia, John Gray, Star Wars, and Vocation

1. After Dave’s post on male problems this week, The Economist published a long-form essay about the plight of blue-collar men in the West. The pay for men with only a high-school diploma fell by 21% (real terms) between 1979 and 2013, as one of the clear male advantages is brawn, which is less relevant than ever when it comes to earnings. Moreover, these men may not have studied feminism in college, but they’ve found themselves in a world increasingly affected by it:

Their ideas of the world and their place in it are shaped by old assumptions about the special role and status due…

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Musical Duo Lowland Hum Talks Freedom, Performancism, and Toulouse-Lautrec

Musical Duo Lowland Hum Talks Freedom, Performancism, and Toulouse-Lautrec

“I hope my body is only a shell, a shadow at dusk, the ring of a bell.” So sings Lowland Hum, husband and wife Daniel and Lauren Goans, in their new song “Older, Wiser.” Lyrics like these, both subtle and intense, reflect the substance of their second full-length project, a self-titled album released this past April. As one reviewer put it, “It is a sin to take for granted the lyrics in this album.” Spilling out from one guitar and some incredible vocals, Lowland Hum’s wide-ranging music ultimately serves as a reminder of freedom, and grace, and death, and how all of…

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The Civil War, Memorial Day, and the Politics of Embodiment

The Civil War, Memorial Day, and the Politics of Embodiment

Americans just observed Memorial Day, a day most spend watching parades and cooking out, enjoying a day off of work and anticipating the return of summer. You’ll see flags undulating in the breeze on porches and automobiles and hear bands blasting patriotic songs to honor the servicemen and women who lost their lives throughout our history. But if you’re anything like me you don’t know the grisly historical background that provoked the holiday in the first place. Until this past Monday, I had no idea it began as a national grieving for the cataclysmic loss of life and humanity the nation had endured…

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Chants of Paradise: Progress, Christianity, and The Soul of the Marionette

Chants of Paradise: Progress, Christianity, and The Soul of the Marionette

In the can’t-make-this-up department, someone commented on The Guardian’s review of John Gray’s Soul of the Marionette:

While science is the only game in town in deepening our understanding reality, obviously, philosophers and experts in history are also pretty handy to have around.

Here is a distorted picture of John Gray’s ideal of the graceful (because un-self-conscious) marionette: someone likely careening this way and that through life, with no semblance of where he’s going or what it all means. This blindness is typical of triumphalism, and we live in triumphalistic times, times when our default assumption is that our structures and, more…

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God As Heather Kopp Doesn’t Understand Him

God As Heather Kopp Doesn’t Understand Him

Happy to report that we’re in the midst of putting the final touches on the Forgiveness issue of The Mockingbird magazine (should be out at the end of June). One of the last elements to be added is “On Our Bookshelf”, which is exactly what it sounds like, a short list of what’s been making the rounds internally. Anyway, one of my selections this time around is Heather Kopp’s Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk, which I’ve been greatly enjoying. The subtitle kind of says it all. It’s a superbly written account of what happens when…

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Why Am I Dead? Revisiting The Black Parade

Why Am I Dead? Revisiting The Black Parade

This one comes to us from Caleb Stallings:

Recently, I found myself listening to a favorite band from my adolescence: My Chemical Romance. I know, I know… The certifiable kings of emo rock! I should be embarrassed by this, right? Some people certainly think so. When I mentioned my appreciation for them recently on Facebook, I was met with an immediate and sarcastic reply, “So are you gonna start painting your nails black now?” The response got me thinking about why I used to (and still do) find MCR compelling. I can hardly think of a more vilified band from my…

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Anders Breivik and the Commandment We See in the Faces of Others

Anders Breivik and the Commandment We See in the Faces of Others

By way of follow-up to yesterday’s post on the problems facing boys, if you haven’t bookmarked Karl Ove Knausgaard’s essay about mass murderer Anders Breivik in last week’s New Yorker, run don’t walk. It may not be beach reading exactly, but nothing’s more edifying than when a great writer tackles a subject that’s worthy of him/her, of which this represents a prime example. The depth of reflection is truly impressive, as is how strenuously Knausgaard works to avoid the word “evil”. But for our purposes, the Norwegian master explores at some length the ‘distancing from self’–or disembodiment–that modern life makes…

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From The Onion: Parents Clinging To Lone Religious Element Of Daughter’s Wedding Ceremony

How do they keep this up? That’s what I’d like to know. Just in time for wedding season:

ROCHESTER, NY—After sitting through an outdoor ceremony officiated by the groom’s best friend, local parents Scott and Linda McNeil were clinging to the lone religious element of their daughter’s wedding, sources confirmed Saturday. “The vows they wrote for each other were nice, but the passage from Corinthians they used on the back of the wedding program was just beautiful,” said Linda McNeil, adding that she and her husband were both deeply touched by the inclusion of the biblical quote “Love still stands when all else has fallen,” which appeared beneath a verse from a Sarah McLachlan song. “I’ve always loved that passage, and it’s a part of the Scripture that really captures who they are.” McNeil then added that she knew the small image of a dove above the quote would have made her late mother very happy.

Read the original here.

Feministic Fallout? More on Underachieving Boys and Gracious G.A.W.F.s

Feministic Fallout? More on Underachieving Boys and Gracious G.A.W.F.s

There’s a telling scene at the end of Whit Stillman’s film Barcelona (above). One of the characters remarks about how wonderful it is to marry someone from another country. Alienating traits, instead of being taken personally, can be chalked up to national differences. As in, “must be a Spanish thing”, or “in Japanese culture, that’s just how they operate”. The scene has been playing in my head these past couple of weeks as various articles about the state of gender relations in America have crossed my desk. One wonders if, in leaving behind certain gender expectations and roles, we have…

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Folding (Dirty) Laundry with the Duggars

Folding (Dirty) Laundry with the Duggars

I have seen most episodes of the Duggar family’s 21 Kids and Counting. It is one of those odd reality TV shows that offers very little in the way of drama. And when something compelling happens, it is usually happy news like the birth of a child or a visit to the Today Show. Unlike my beloved Housewives franchise, 21 Kids and Counting doesn’t have any yelling or table flipping. It has been an easy show to watch while folding laundry.

But there’s something deeper than just its relative tranquility. I have always admired the Duggar family’s structure for righteousness. In…

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Hiding in the Bathroom: Why Inspired Parenting Will Kill You – Sarah Condon

Happy Memorial Day! While those of us in Cville catch our breath, we thought we’d share the second video from our recent conference in Tyler, TX, Sarah’s fabulous (and hilarious) session on parenting:

Hiding in the Bathroom: Why Inspired Parenting Will Kill You – Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Another Week Ends: New Notes from Luther, Coach Chandler, Mr. Wind, and Dad Bod.

Another Week Ends: New Notes from Luther, Coach Chandler, Mr. Wind, and Dad Bod.

1. Stop the presses! Sit down if you’re standing! Pull over if you’re driving!  The BBC is reporting that a first edition of Martin Luther’s seminal essay On the Freedom of a Christian has been discovered in a library in France, with margin notes from the author himself on changes he intended to make for the second edition. Wild! What I wouldn’t give for access to that manuscript (and the requisite knowledge of late-medieval German)! Not only is this new potential insight into Martin Luther’s early Reformation mind, but the essay in question is one of Luther’s classics that drew many of…

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