This year’s Mockingbird Conference–April 19th-21st—marks our 5 year anniversary, and it is fitting, in many ways, that our main speaker is Dr. Michael Horton. As I’ve already mentioned here, Dr. Horton has been one of a few “voices in the wilderness” for many years whom we can only hope to, ahem, mock. Within modern Christianity, there are few people who seem to embody the theological vision behind what we are attempting to do through our discussion of culture, movies, music, sports and Whit Stillman, i.e., connect the message of the historic “faith once delivered,” with the actual lived lives of people in the 21st century.
As the late Gerhard Forde pointed out in his On Being a Theologian of the Cross:
Suffice it to say for now, though, that all of us are theologians in one way or another. Being a theologian just means thinking and speaking about God. True, we may not do much of that. We might go for days and weeks without a thought of God entering our heads, but that is usually impossible. Things happen. Accidents. Tragedies. Deaths and funerals. Natural disasters. Illness. Loss. Suffering. Disappointment. Wrongdoing. And so on and on.
There is also good fortune. Perhaps unexpected success or escape from danger or certain disaster. Experience of great beauty or pleasure. Sheer grace. Chance encounters that determine our lives. Love. We begin to wonder. God pops into our thinking and conversation. We may cry out in agony, “Why God?” or in relief, “Thank God!” Or we may just use God’s name in cursing. Sooner or later we are likely to get thinking about God and wondering if there is some logic to it all in our lives, or some injustice. We become theologians.
This is why the conference should not be missed! Not merely because you will find new insights into old questions, but because it is a gathering of people who share a conviction that only the message of the Gospel of God’s unmerited, undeserved, imputed and complete “justification of the ungodly,” (cf. Rm. 5:6) can withstand the inevitable pains and suffering of real life. Dr. Horton will be giving voice to the conviction that the “Gospel driven life,” is one of “beginning again,” as Luther liked to say, and this “beginning again,” is nothing more than being the passive hearer of the message of God’s undeserved, one-way Love, again and again and again and again. And then, just for good measure, again.