We asked those who are giving “mini-talks” this Friday (4/19) at our 6th Annual Mockingbird NYC Conference to provide short teasers of what they’ll be speaking about, and they did not disappoint! If you’re looking six and a half more reasons to cancel what you have going on this weekend (or six and a half more reasons to feel silly about not doing so), look no further:
1. What Does Salvation Feel Like? Protestantism and the Problem of Emotion — Simeon Zahl. “There is a creative contradiction in Christianity, particularly acute in Protestant traditions: the experience of coming to believe is the sort of religious experience that makes you suspicious of religious experiences. To put it another way, emotion is at the center of Christian experience and it is also a problem for Christian experience. Theologians like Augustine and Martin Luther describe the human condition as being a giant mess of confused and destructive feelings and desires, even as they view faith as having concrete emotional consequences and as kindling powerful new desires. As Christians, is our emotional life part of the problem or part of the solution?”
2. Communicating Grace Through Story — Sally Lloyd-Jones. “Almost overnight, my 8 year-old niece went from being a vivacious little girl to a frightened withdrawn child. We found out she was being bullied at school. I wished she had a book to read before school to hear what God says about her, rather than what those bullies were saying about her. And so Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing became a book of hope for children. Children look to us for everything. But in all that we’ve given children, have we forgotten to give them hope? Have we left them in despair—looking at what they should do but don’t? Looking at who they should be but aren’t? Children don’t need to be told to try harder, believe more, do it better. We don’t need a moral code. We need a Rescuer.”
*Please note that Sally’s talk will not be recorded.
3. Crunch Time: What We Can Learn From Athletes About Dealing With Stress — Nick Lannon. “Are athletes just like us? Well, yes and no. They are unlike us in that they are usually uncommonly driven, wonderfully muscular, and often bracingly intelligent. But they’re just like us in that they have to deal with intense pressure all the time. Your job interview is just like that field goal attempt with one second on the clock. How do the most successful athletes deal with this pressure? What they’ve found (which will surprise you!) can teach Christians a lot.”
4. Kierkegaard, Existentialism and Young Adult Anxiety – Will McDavid. “People in their twenties are anxious these days – there’s no getting around the prescriptions and the therapy, and the stats are still on the rise. 50-60% of people (of all ages) are prescribed mood-altering drugs, and who knows what the number will be by the time we get to the conference? Reasons? Meaninglessness, emptiness, feeling judged…I know one thing, at least, that answers to all of this. But twenty-somethings in church is rarer than ever, though we would expect people flocking to it. Our high anxiety would make Kierkegaard proud with its honesty about the human plight – but why isn’t the Church’s honesty connecting? Where’s the breakdown?”
5. Big Foot Called My Unicorn an Antinomian: The Double Bind of the Law — Jady Koch. “What is the role of the law in the life of a Christian, or of a non-Christian, for that matter? For the Apostle Paul, writing in the aftermath of the first Easter, it was the universality of the law ‘written on their hearts,’ that paved the way for the preaching of the Gospel. In this session, we will be looking at the ramifications of this great Pauline insight with particular emphasis on the fact that the law, like death and taxes, is inescapable.”
6. It Came From the (Church) Basement: Addiction, Grace and Alcoholics Anonymous — John Zahl. “Do you still believe in free will, that you are a free agent and that life is all about decision-making? ‘Silly Rabbit, tricks are for kids!’ In this mini-talk we will look at the nature of addiction, how it binds the will to its own demented agenda, and what hope looks like on the other side of these realizations.”
6a. Last and probably least, we have been told that we could do a better job of trumpeting how good the meals at Mockingbird are. It’s true–every year, even with all the great content on offer, people gush more about the mealtimes than anything else. This isn’t cafeteria fare, it is delicious catered food, and believe it or not, wine and beer are included. Which is another way of saying that it’s about as good a value as you are going to find in NYC (or anywhere).
While we always welcome walk-ins to our events, if you are planning to eat/drink with us, we ask that you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
BONUS TRACKS: We have posted three terrific sermons from our esteemed conference chaplain, Drew Rollins.