New Here?
     
About CJ Green

CJ Green studied English and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Virginia. He currently works at Mockingbird as a staff editor for print publications (mbird.com/publications) and as a moderator for the website. His favorite books are for ages 7-12.

Contact

Author Archive
    
    When Joan Didion Cries into a Food Fair Bag

    When Joan Didion Cries into a Food Fair Bag

    I suppose it was only a matter of time before I found myself infatuated with the likes of Joan Didion (whose chain-smoking charms I put off for so long). She’s at last become inevitable. Along with her recent Netflix documentary and her brief epigraph in Lady Bird, her recently resurfaced essay “On Self-Respect” was nothing short of a pleasant surprise (ht JR). Originally commissioned as a last minute addition to a 1961 issue of Vogue, its parameters (legend goes) were not an exact word count but an exact character count. As you’ll see, the lasting emotional heft of this short essay…

    Read More > > >

    Recommended Music: "Songs for Christmas Time" by Lowland Hum

    Recommended Music: “Songs for Christmas Time” by Lowland Hum

    Last Christmas my wife and I had a revelation that it seems everyone has, sooner or later. We actually started listening to Christmas music. “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire?!” We’re millennials. We barely know how to start a fire, much less roast chestnuts on an open one. Forget keeping Christ in Christmas; it sometimes seems like Christmas isn’t even in Christmas. And yet here I am this year, eagerly watching as city workers string up cedar garlands downtown, checking my weather app for LED snowflakes, caught up in the internal tug-of-war that this season always brings: the longing for,…

    Read More > > >

    Another Week Ends: A Heaven-Sent Car Crash, the Anti-Aging Taboo, Fearful but Trendy Parents, the Legacy of Flannery O'Connor, and Sending Books to Kids in Houston

    Another Week Ends: A Heaven-Sent Car Crash, the Anti-Aging Taboo, Fearful but Trendy Parents, the Legacy of Flannery O’Connor, and Sending Books to Kids in Houston

    1. An amazing story of reconciliation in the latest episode of Jonathan Goldstein’s Heavyweight, the podcast DZ recommended in last week’s AWE. Every episode turns back the clock, diving into the past of a different person with unique resentments or grievances to air out.

    The most recent episode is the story of Jesse, a man who at age twenty-one was t-boned by a car going 45mph. For a time he was legally dead, and seventeen days after the accident, he awoke from a coma half-paralyzed, expecting never again to walk, never again to drive. The life he once lived, his dreams, his…

    Read More > > >

    Secret Demodogs and (Spiritual) Black Holes: Stranger Things 2 Loses Its Innocence

    Secret Demodogs and (Spiritual) Black Holes: Stranger Things 2 Loses Its Innocence

    Spoilers galore in the following look at the latest season of the Netflix series.

    A Christian take on the new season of Stranger Things begins and ends with Eleven and her relationship to Hopper. That relationship—its ups, its downs, and its upside downs—becomes the beating heart of this season.

    When we last saw El, she’d proven herself a worthy Jesus figure. She was mysterious, a charismatic mediator between the known and the unknown. What’s more, in the first season finale, she sacrificed herself to the Demogorgon before a well-placed box of Eggos hinted that the tomb was empty. But, at the risk…

    Read More > > >

    Another Week Ends: Bootleg Bob Dylan, Converted Morticians, Your True Self, Anxious Teens, and Earning Points in The Good Place

    Another Week Ends: Bootleg Bob Dylan, Converted Morticians, Your True Self, Anxious Teens, and Earning Points in The Good Place

    1. This week brought some fantastic revelations, not the least of which was Bob Dylan’s bootleg (gospel-infused) song, “Making A Liar Out of Me”:

    Needless to say, we’re eagerly awaiting this collection’s release. From Andy Greene at Rolling Stone:

    Bob Dylan began writing gospel songs at such a furious rate in late 1978 that there was no way his record company could put them all out, even if they let him release two albums of Christian music just 10 months apart. Many of the songs that never made it on record were played live on the gospel tours of 1979 to 1981 and…

    Read More > > >

    Pobody's Nerfect: On Performance Anxiety and (Not) Giving Advice from the Pulpit

    Pobody’s Nerfect: On Performance Anxiety and (Not) Giving Advice from the Pulpit

    With both the Reformation’s quincentennial kickoff and our DC conference mere weeks away, we’ve put our feelers out for all things smacking of the reason for the season, that “harsh doctor,” Martin Luther. Today we were pleased to find just that from our friend Phillip Cary, who is featured in the latest issue of First Things. Below I’ve re-posted a handful of memorable excerpts from his piece “Luther at 500” (ht RS):

    The great pastoral aim of Luther’s doctrine of justification is to free us from the kind of performance anxiety that arises whenever our salvation depends in any way on us, our hearts,…

    Read More > > >

    All Alone in a Disenchanted Universe

    All Alone in a Disenchanted Universe

    Did anyone actually see Miss Sloane in theaters? I remember seeing a trailer for it some moon cycles ago, but never did hear much buzz about it. That is, until last weekend, when, after some coaxing from my sister, I watched it on Amazon.

    In any case, you don’t have to see the movie to know, essentially, who Miss Sloane is. You’ve likely encountered her “type” before, whether in movies or daily life. She’s a ruthless fast-talker, wicked-smart, but terribly lonely. The kind of person some would call a strong, independent woman and others would call an obsessive-compulsive conniver. A notorious…

    Read More > > >

    Another Week Ends: Stories of Forgiveness, Electric Jesus, Selfish Marriages, Bad Vicars, Exhausted Chefs, and Discount Books

    Another Week Ends: Stories of Forgiveness, Electric Jesus, Selfish Marriages, Bad Vicars, Exhausted Chefs, and Discount Books

    1. Let’s start this round-up with a beautiful story from an unlikely source. Last week, The Wall Street Journal published an incredible exposition on forgiveness, “The Challenge of Jewish Repentance,” by Jonathan Sacks. Beginning with the Old Testament, with Genesis, Sacks describes how Jewish history has always revolved around the general wheel of transgression and forgiveness, disobedience and mercy.

    With Rosh Hashanah having begun Wednesday evening, Sacks explains how, during the Ten Days of Repentance, Jews are put “on trial for [their] lives.” Focused on the confession of sins, it marks a time to marvel at the God “whose property is always…

    Read More > > >

    Two Poems by Brandon Courtney

    The following poems were originally published in Tin House’s recent “Rehab” issue and are written by US Navy veteran Brandon Courtney (with featured art by Guy Catling):

    Lazaretto

    Without a shipboard morgue,

    we kept the dead Iraqi

    in the dairy box—his corpse

    supine beside the eggs (more…)

    “It’s a Nice Day for a Run” and Other Strange Things to Say: Some Thoughts on Our Pursuit of Pain

    “It’s a Nice Day for a Run” and Other Strange Things to Say: Some Thoughts on Our Pursuit of Pain

    It was the closest thing to hell I’ve ever experienced: my whole body hurt. A dull buzz with epicenters at the soles of my feet, knees, and head: a red-hot pain emanating outward, into my neck, arms, down my back, through those muscles that I don’t know the name of that run from my shoulder blades to my bum…whatever those are, they hurt. I sat down. I stood up. I walked in aimless circles, drank water. Nothing helped. After running along the James River that day, 26.2 throbbing miles along that winding golden ribbon, the only thing I remember about…

    Read More > > >

    Another Week Ends: The End of the World, the Illusion of Sigmund Freud, the Anthropology of Jerry Lewis, Clean Eating, Tech Panic, and the Hangovers of Young Behavioral Scientists

    Another Week Ends: The End of the World, the Illusion of Sigmund Freud, the Anthropology of Jerry Lewis, Clean Eating, Tech Panic, and the Hangovers of Young Behavioral Scientists

    1. This morning, I found myself engrossed in The Guardian’s latest “long read,” an essay by Dina Nayeri, “Yearning for the End of the World.” Nayeri writes about growing up in Iran during the revolution, attending an underground church that ached for the Rapture. Her family fled to America in 1989, only to find a similar eschatology there. Her story traces a somewhat obvious trajectory from one extreme to the other—from Revelation to Christopher Hitchens—but not without making some perceptive observations first:

    In my intimate hilltop church [in Oklahoma], discussions took on a frantic, impatient new tone. “We live in end times!” our congregation…

    Read More > > >

    Malfunctioning Lovers (and Christ in a Ciabatta Roll)

    A scathing narrator lowers her anthropology in this compelling passage from White Teeth by Zadie Smith:

    What was it about this unlovable century that convinced us we were, despite everything, eminently lovable as a people, as a species? What made us think that anyone who fails to love us is damaged, lacking, malfunctioning in some way? And particularly if they replace us with a god, or a weeping madonna, or the face of Christ in a ciabatta roll—then we call them crazy. Deluded. Regressive. We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greetings cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.

    Millat didn’t love Irie, and Irie was sure there must be somebody she could blame for that.