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Be of good cheer, little pup, for thou too in resurrection shall have a little golden tail. ~Martin Luther @revdeaconb

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    A Conference Week Ends: Shame Patient Zero, Moral Bucket Lists, Love & Mercy, and A Theology for Sinners (and Saints)

    A Conference Week Ends: Shame Patient Zero, Moral Bucket Lists, Love & Mercy, and A Theology for Sinners (and Saints)

    It’s a conference week here at mbird, so expect a lighter posting schedule for the next week or so while the focus shifts to New York City! Say a prayer for our attendees if you have a moment. In the meantime, here’s an extra-long weekender to hold you over:

    1. David Brooks returned to his flirtatious ways last Saturday in the New York Times with his “Moral Bucket List,” a preview of coming attractions for his new book, The Road to Character:

    Commencement speakers are always telling young people to follow their passions. Be true to yourself. This is a vision of life that begins with…

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    Clothes Make the Man: Thoughts on NYT’s Men’s Style

    Clothes Make the Man: Thoughts on NYT’s Men’s Style

    Earlier this month, the New York Times debuted a new print section in their newspaper- the first new print section of the paper in a decade- and that new section is dedicated to Men’s Style. It says a lot that one of the great media companies in history would decide in 2015 to invest ink and paper in any subject matter. Even if the section insert is only once a month, if the New York Times is getting into men’s fashion, perhaps we should be turning our attention there as well. Says Men’s Style editor Jim Windolf:

    Today The Times unveils Men’s…

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    Burning Palm Sunday: An Ash Wednesday Reflection

    Burning Palm Sunday: An Ash Wednesday Reflection

    If you’re not from the Ash Wednesday world, you might not know this little piece of trivia surrounding the holiday: the Ashes that get used to make the little cruciform smudge on one’s forehead don’t just come from a fireplace. Tradition is that our ashes come from the incinerated leftovers of last year’s Palm Sunday palm fronds. Many (most?) churches order their ashes from a supplier, which is understandable because keeping enough dead plant leaves on hand for hundreds of people can take up a lot of closet space. But with our smaller gathering celebrating our first Palm Sunday in…

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    Demanding Answers: The Rise of the Economist

    Demanding Answers: The Rise of the Economist

    The New York Times dropped a fairly juicy opinion a while back from economist Justin Wolfers about the rise of economists in culture analysis and policy making. It does seem like economists are increasing in social prominence, and as Wolfers mentions, they’re ascending at a quicker pace than the rest of the social sciences. At least, that’s what the anecdotal evidence indicates (that evidence being a study of word counts in archived New York Times past editions). It’s more than just conversations about money, suggests Wolfers–it’s a trend that’s been growing as national economies have become global and more intertwined:

    It wasn’t always this way. Historians…

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    Nationwide Law

    Nationwide Law

    It’s the day after the Super Bowl, and if you’re dragging yourself back into the office after a night of rough sleep, you’re not alone. But wow, what a game! So glad I stayed tuned in until the final seconds.

    Did you catch that Nationwide commercial everybody was/is talking about (above)? I’m not sure what was worse–that throw-on-the-one-yard-line play call from the Seahawks or this PSA advertisement hybrid. Right in the middle of America’s biggest nacho-stuffing, beer-chugging, calorie-ignoring partyfest, Nationwide Insurance wants to start a conversation about dead children. Talk about a buzzkill. In fact, a day later, we (read: the…

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    Pimp My Whitewashed Tomb

    Pimp My Whitewashed Tomb

    Not the actual car- it wasn’t nearly this bad.

    The family car was involved in a hit and run last week. Police are still looking for the woman in the red van who sped off, the insurance company is working with us to get the car restored, and we’ve made the appointment with the body shop to get it all fixed. Duct tape has been deployed to keep various automotive parts in place. Can I confess to you that the car is a 2006 PT Cruiser? We’ve affectionately nicknamed it The PT Loser for being a mechanically challenged money-pit. Between…

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    Mining Netflix: Performancism and The School of Rock

    Mining Netflix: Performancism and The School of Rock

    Did you watch the Golden Globes on Sunday? One of the biggest stories from this year was the accolades given to Boyhood, an epic-of-the-ordinary that took 12 years to film. We wrote about Boyhood back when it came out, and if you read that post you’ll get a sense of why its director, Richard Linklater, won top honors on Sunday. Oddly enough, though, as Linklater was bestowed his award, my twitter feed was not filled with applause for Boyhood, but for another project of his: 2003’s School of Rock.

    Why in the world would School of Rock be so well remembered over a…

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    …and Auld Lang Syne! What We Missed in 2014

    …and Auld Lang Syne! What We Missed in 2014

    So much content, so little time! Even with all the contributors and weekenders, stories slip through the cracks all year long. Here’s a bunch of stories that would have been great to explore if there were more than 365 days to write. A special thanks to our Twitter followers for your help putting this list together–always feel free to share your finds with us at @mockingbirdnyc! Without further adieu, here’s a sample of what we missed:

    Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall I refill my brother’s appetizer plate at TGI Fridays? Up to seven times?” Jesus…

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    Idols of Nostalgia and the Downfall of Doc Huxtable

    Idols of Nostalgia and the Downfall of Doc Huxtable

    It’s hard to cross the Internet these days without reading an update on Bill Cosby’s falling star. As of this writing, a planned NBC comeback sitcom has been cancelled, and other new initiatives (like an ill-conceived social media meme push) have been met with anger and sarcasm. Perhaps most salient: TV Land has quietly stopped airing reruns of The Cosby Show, the sitcom that rocketed Bill Cosby to the national spotlight in the 80s. I missed the golden years of Dr. Huxtable and clan on The Cosby Show, so I’ve been discovering in tandem the tremendous legacy of hope that was Cosby’s acting work…

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    A Conference Week Ends: Lila, Marshmallows, the Human Condition, and Epistomological Courage

    A Conference Week Ends: Lila, Marshmallows, the Human Condition, and Epistomological Courage

    1. Lots of interesting news on the how-can-we-be-sure-God-exists front. We’ve had our own part of that conversation, highlighting our own favorite Atheists and the hip trend of flogging Dawkins (dibs on Flogging Dawkins as a band name!). If the patterns are to be believed, it seems that the trajectory is toward a more humble, less aggressive atheism that acknowledges its own non-rational presuppositions. And humility is good for everybody, theist and atheist alike. Gary Gutting over at the New York Times sums up his series of interviews with religious philosophers, and while the ending seems disjointed (I’m an agnostic Catholic?), the middle is helpful:

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    The Apple Isn’t the Only Biblical Reference: 50 Years of The Giving Tree

    The Apple Isn’t the Only Biblical Reference: 50 Years of The Giving Tree

    Did you read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree as a child? Do you remember how it made you feel? The children’s book turns 50 this year, so theoretically, a few generations have had their chance to soak in the bittersweet melancholy of Silverstein’s prose. Acknowledging the anniversary, The Giving Tree was featured in this week’s Bookends column of The New York Times, which invited two contributors to reflect on the book’s history and meaning [ht DJ via Twitter]. That’s no surprise, of course–the book is well loved and continues to be a children’s classic. But what I was shocked to discover (maybe…

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    I Am What I Drink: Identity and Craft Beer

    I Am What I Drink: Identity and Craft Beer

    Long time readers of the blog will know the world of alcohol is one of life’s laboratories where our favorite theological themes are examined. Lord knows we’ve written a book’s worth of material on the subject of alcoholism, addiction, and the wisdom found in the world of recovery. Along with the very real and widespread issue of dependency, the bar scene is another petri dish where some of the most widespread identity-crafting techniques are employed. Chief among the questions of identity: what should I drink, and what will my order say about me.

    For craft beer fans, the question of drink and identity is a…

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