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Now Available: The Love & Death Issue!

Now Available: The Love & Death Issue!

Ladies and gentlemen, lovers and leavers, killers and killed, the time has arrived: The Love & Death Issue is at the printers and death is lovelier than ever. You are going to love it to death! If you want to order a copy for yourself and all the people you love, go...
Stranger Things: When Angels Show Up In Cadillacs

Stranger Things: When Angels Show Up In Cadillacs

When I was in the third grade a man tried to abduct me in our neighborhood. I was walking the five houses down to my best friend’s house, a thing I did almost everyday. A man pulled his car over and began to ask me questions.

He wanted to...

Judgment and Love in Baby Driver

Judgment and Love in Baby Driver

His name’s Baby. He’s a driver. And this summer, he’s in way over his head.

With a promising spread of blockbusters rolling out before us (Spiderman, Planet of the Apes, The Big Sick), do yourself a favor and make room for Edgar Wright’s smash-hit heist flick, Baby Driver, which is shaping...

Eat Your Fancy Sandwich

Eat Your Fancy Sandwich

It’s obvious that David Brooks really struck a nerve with his most recent op-ed regarding sandwiches. I mean, as a huge fan of sandwiches, I understand. There’s nothing better than a great sandwich—I’m eating a chicken salad sandwich right now. And while I wouldn’t fight for much, there’s nothing I...

Freedom's Just Another Word

Freedom’s Just Another Word

The first time I heard an Aussie ask “How are you going?” I thought he wanted me to give him directions, which is hilarious because I know how to get to, like, three places here. Then I realized I was being presented with an alternative to our American phrase “How...

Now Available! The Very Persistent Pirate, Mockingbird's First Children's Book!

Now Available! The Very Persistent Pirate, Mockingbird’s First Children’s Book!

We are very excited to announce Mockingbird’s first children’s book, The Very Persistent Pirate, a swashbuckling tale of good news for sinners and saints ages 3-8.

When most children are drifting to sleep, one kid and his monkey are drifting at sea. One day, they spy a treasure that is not theirs…

Over the course of 34 beautifully illustrated pages, The Very Persistent Pirate winds...

Latest entries

Another Week Ends: Accountability Adventures, Word Violence, Linkin Park, Religious Activism, Dealing with Our S*%!, and Doing Yoga with the Rishi

Another Week Ends: Accountability Adventures, Word Violence, Linkin Park, Religious Activism, Dealing with Our S*%!, and Doing Yoga with the Rishi

1. First up, an insightful opinion piece from Mary Laura Philpott in the NYT, : “My Adventures with Accountability” (ht MM). Philpott explains how, as a driven writer, healthy-eater, and generally savvy twenty-first century woman, she uses accountability groups to aid her in achieving her goals. Hey, I’ve heard of that before. But I first learned of accountability partners, not from slick businesspeople or competitive entrepreneurs, but from Christians, of all people, with whom I shared an interest in living my best life now. Since we considered ourselves good people, on Jesus’ team, we needed friends who would help us achieve our…

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"I Roll to Punch the Shark": The Strangely Familiar World of Dungeons and Dragons

“I Roll to Punch the Shark”: The Strangely Familiar World of Dungeons and Dragons

My first encounter with Dungeons and Dragons (DnD), the archetypal tabletop roleplaying game (rpg), took place in the winter of my freshman year of high school. I had just left the dark, lonely, Mordor-esque bleakness of my middle school years, and in joining the marching band, I made some good friends who shared my affinity for elf culture and all of the other geeky things that fill up the time of teenagers who exist on the outskirts of the high school social strata. As Christmas was approaching, this group of friends invited me to play a DnD campaign with them…

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Flight or Fight? Grace in the Face of the Freak Show

Flight or Fight? Grace in the Face of the Freak Show

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed. We are in a strange season: Russia, Healthcare, Special Investigating, Trump Mania are in a screaming Opera of Hatred. Cable TV, the Internet, dinner parties (dinner parties!) are amped up to the point where you can just shut down. Coping with work, kids, spouse—whatever else there is, your mission is often now in overload mode. This may be the Era of Being Overwhelmed—especially in politics. The response to all this overload is to feel threatened by it, and so anger is our default mode.

We can fight the sense of…

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Spider-Man: Homecoming … With Frosting So Good You Can Forget There's Something Off About the Cake

Spider-Man: Homecoming … With Frosting So Good You Can Forget There’s Something Off About the Cake

Grateful for this look at Spider-Man: Homecoming, from our friend Jeremiah Lawson.

When I finished watching the new Spider-Man film with my brother, he told me he liked it, but he couldn’t help but think of a military joke—if you break the rules and you fail, you get a courtmartial, but if you succeed beyond everyone’s hopes and dreams, you get a medal. That doesn’t mean that what you decided to do was necessarily ever a good idea. There are other ways of expressing this kind of concern about Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general, but that joke…

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Veni Creator – Czelaw Milosz

Come, Holy Spirit,
bending or not bending the grasses,
appearing or not above our heads in a tongue of flame,
at hay harvest or when they plough in the orchards or when snow
covers crippled firs in the Sierra Nevada.
I am only a man: I need visible signs.
I tire easily, building the stairway of abstraction.
Many a time I asked, you know it well, that the statue in church
lifts its hand, only once, just once, for me.
But I understand that signs must be human,
therefore call one man, anywhere on earth,
not me—after all I have some decency—
and allow me, when I look at him, to marvel at you.
Mining Netflix: Lion (2016)

Mining Netflix: Lion (2016)

In the Mining Netflix series, we usually post the best of the internet’s films that didn’t get a wide release, or didn’t have a big marketing budget. Not the hipster obscure films, but the good stuff that falls through the cracks, movies most folks might not have had a chance to see. To feature 2016’s Lion in this column is a bit disingenuous. The film garnered six Oscar nominations, though it failed to nab any, and made waves on the film festival circuit too. Still, it’s now on Netflix, and worth a watch for a good cathartic cry. Mild spoilers…

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Yet Another "New Start": Karl Holl on Luther's Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

Yet Another “New Start”: Karl Holl on Luther’s Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

The following is an excerpt from Karl Holl’s booklength essay, “What Did Luther Understand by Religion?” (trans. Meuser & Wietzke) in which Holl draws out Luther’s theology beginning with his history. As you’ll see, Holl maintains a refreshing emphasis on everyday heart-level matters, compared to other scholars of his caliber. Still, you might want to put on your academic spectacles for this one—but it’s worth it. I started transcribing the first paragraph and just couldn’t stop there. Enjoy!

Like Jesus, [Luther] tried to show his contemporaries that their apparently intense piety, the piety of good works, devotions, and mortifications, was actually…

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Seeking Freedom from Dieting and Body Shame: Part Two

Seeking Freedom from Dieting and Body Shame: Part Two

I’m sitting at Barnes and Noble at The Summit shopping center in Birmingham while my daughter is watching Wonder Woman with a friend at the movie theater here. I thought about going home and coming back later to pick her up when the movie is over, but I chose alone time with my computer and a cup of mediocre decaf instead. The traffic on Highway 280 is especially bad this time of day. And time by myself is always a good option.

There are three (maybe) college students—a young woman and two young men—at the table across from me talking about…

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An Extravagant Inversion of Values

An Extravagant Inversion of Values

As we’ve highlighted before, Emmanuel Carrère’s new book (novel? memoir? biography?) on St. Paul and the early Christians often reads like a diary fused with historical fiction. Carrère, well-known in France for his unique non-fiction storytelling, believes that the only way he can really communicate a subject is by looking as honestly as possible at himself. In this book, then, that means capturing the New Testament through his own relationship with and (un-)belief in its God. A powerfully honest and captivating reimagining of both the nature of belief and the radical message Paul carried, this passage gives a glimpse of…

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Laughing at Our Trophies

Laughing at Our Trophies

Another amazing one from Chad Bird, author of Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul. 

A few years ago I ran my first half-marathon. And won. By accident.

The northern panhandle city of Amarillo, Texas, boasts scant trees, passels of cowboys, and a handful of runners who—taking Bob Seger literally—are always “running against the wind.”

It was no exception on September 1, 2009, when I lined up with hundreds of them to run 13.1 miles in the ever-predictable 25-30 mph gusts. I was a relative newbie to the sport. Running had morphed into my healthiest anti-depressant. So with a few 5ks and 10ks under…

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The Prayers of the Phoenix

Another fantastic excerpt from Eerdmans’ forthcoming reprint of the 16th century Four Birds of Noah’s Ark. This is the introduction to the fourth and final bird, the Phoenix, a collection of prayers relating to death and resurrection. 

The fourth bird is now flying out toward you; spread, therefore, your arms wide open to welcome it, and this Phoenix will carry you up and on to a second life that shall be ever, everlasting.

Among all birds, the Phoenix lives the longest–so must our prayers fly up in bright flames all the days of our lives. We must be petitioners even to the last hour and last minute of our breath. The Phoenix has the most beautiful feathers in the world, and prayers are the most beautiful wings by which we may mount into heaven. There is but one Phoenix upon earth, and it has but one tune in which God delights, and that is the prayer of a sinner. 

When the Phoenix knows she must die, she builds a nest of all the sweetest spices, and there, looking steadfastly at the sun, she beats her wings in its hottest beams and between them kindles a fire among those sweet spices and so burns herself to death. So, when we desire to die in the vanities of the world, we must build up a nest and fill it with faithful sighs, groans, tears, fasting and prayer, sackcloth and ashes–all of which are sweet spices in the nostrils of the Lord–and then, fixing our eyes upon the cross where the glorious Son of God paid the ransom of our sins, we must not cease till, with the wings of faith and repentance, we have kindled his mercy and in that sweet flame have all our fleshly corruptions consumed and purified. Out of those dead ashes of the Phoenix does a new Phoenix rise. And even so, out of the ashes of that one repentance shall we be regenerate and born anew.

Out of the purest flames of love, Christ kindled a fire that drank up the wrath of his Father, a fire in which all people should have been drowned for their sins, and in that fire did he die to redeem us who were lost. Yet he did not leave it there. To have died for us would have been worth nothing if he hadn’t also, like a true Phoenix, been raised up again. As a grain of wheat is cast into the earth and there first rots and then comes to life again and after yields itself in a tenfold measure, so was our Savior cast into his sepulcher, where his dead body lay for a time and then came to life again and then was raised up. And in that rising did he multiply those benefits that before he sowed among us, when he was torn in pieces and scattered on the cross.

When he died, he died alone, but when he did rise, he did not rise alone, for in his resurrection do we all ascend…

Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music.

I didn’t know the signs.

Rich Mullins sang “Creed” as I and the rest of the retreat’s super-secret Prayer Team revealed ourselves first in a passion play and then in a sign-language performance. I flubbed my way through the signs, and I told myself—I remember this, though I admit it might be a little too on-the-nose to be true—that it was fine that I didn’t get the…

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