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About Ethan Richardson

Ethan Richardson is a contributing staff member for Mockingbird. Born and raised in Lexington, KY, he graduated from the University of Virginia in 2009, majoring in Religious Studies and English. In June of 2011, he finished two years of teaching 5th grade in the inner city of New Orleans, and now lives in Charlottesville, VA and works for Mockingbird along with serving at Christ Episcopal Church.

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Author Archive
    
    Don’t Tell Anyone – Tony Hoagland

    Don’t Tell Anyone – Tony Hoagland

    We had been married for six or seven years
    when my wife, standing in the kitchen one afternoon, told me
    that she screams underwater when she swims—

    that, in fact, she has been screaming for years
    into the blue chlorinated water of the community pool
    where she does laps every other day.

    Buttering her toast, not as if she had been
    concealing anything,
    not as if I should consider myself

    personally the cause of her screaming,
    nor as if we should perform an act of therapy
    right that minute on the kitchen table,

    —casually, she told me,
    and I could see her turn her square face up
    to take a gulp of oxygen,

    then down…

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    Another Week Ends: Victim Purity, Atheologies, CCM, HuffPost, Clutter Craze, and Brad Bird

    Another Week Ends: Victim Purity, Atheologies, CCM, HuffPost, Clutter Craze, and Brad Bird

    1) One of the books on the Mockingbird bookshelf right now is Violence Unveiled, by Gil Bailie, which looks into the philosophy of René Girard. A prime focus of the book stems from Girard’s “Violence and the Sacred,” where Girard looks at the cross of Christ as the origin of human concern for ‘the victim.’ This cruciform concern, since then, has headlined much of history. Bailie writes:

    “However savagely we behave, and however wickedly and selectively we wield this moral gavel, protecting or rescuing innocent victims has become the cultural imperative everywhere the biblical influence has been felt. Both our Mother…

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    Automatic Transmissions and the Phenomenon of “Miswanting”

    Automatic Transmissions and the Phenomenon of “Miswanting”

    Nicholas Carr has a new book out, called The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, and he opens it by describing his yearning as a young driver for a car with an automatic transmission. It was a new thing at the time, something which allowed drivers the novel experience of multitasking. Those who had automatics had an extra hand for a coke or an eight-track, and an extra foot for thumping the bass line of their favorite Led Zeppelin cut.

    The point that this illustration seems downright prehistoric is intended. It was only 40 years ago. 40 years ago we imagined the future with…

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    “Scenes from ‘The Passion': The First Path” – Liz Berry

    “Scenes from ‘The Passion': The First Path” – Liz Berry

    A beautiful scene from the Black Country poet, who was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection in 2014.

    When you found me there was nothing beautiful about me.
    I wasn’t even human
    a mongrel
    kicked out into the snow on Maundy Thursday
    when all the world was sorrow,
    when old girls’ hands were raw as they cracked
    the ice on their birdbaths,
    when the priest wept in Saint Jude the Apostle
    as he knelt to wash the feet of an altar boy.

    I was filth,
    running away from God knows what,
    my haunches sore with bruises,
    my spine knuckling the ruin of my coat.

    Running through the town
    away from the horses
    who bowed their…

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    Eight Must-See 30 for 30s: A Magazine List

    Eight Must-See 30 for 30s: A Magazine List

    Another list from Issue 4, this one covers all that the sports world could not leave behind:

    It would seem that the reach of ESPN’s 30 for 30 project surprised even ESPN. One might have imagined that a selection of human-interest stories and documentaries from the nether regions of the sports world could have some cult potential for the multitude of fans out there, but people are almost always surprised to know that there are more than just 30 of these documentaries under the franchise’s belt. They are also not 30 minutes long, another misconception. No, the reason for the name 30…

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    Grace Is Play: Our Magazine Interview with Nimi Wariboko

    Grace Is Play: Our Magazine Interview with Nimi Wariboko

    Another free look at our Work and Play Issue. Take our word for it, though…it’s better in print! 

    One of the great theological books we discovered last year was Nimi Wariboko’s The Pentecostal Principle, a book which unpacks how the Holy Spirit creates the capacity for new beginnings in human life and communities. He views true religion as play, because it goes beyond the instrumentalism (do this to achieve that) of the Law to make room for spontaneity. According to Wariboko, our ordinary world is constantly open to the Spirit’s disruption with new initiatives, feelings, experiences, communities, and patterns of thought….

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    Enemies – Wendell Berry

    In the midst of all the research for the upcoming Forgiveness Issue, this beauty surfaced.

    twelve_angry_men

     

    If you are not to become a monster,
    you must care what they think.
    If you care what they think,

    how will you not hate them,
    and so become a monster
    of the opposite kind? From where then

    is love to come—love for your enemy
    that is the way of liberty?
    From forgiveness. Forgiven, they go

    free of you, and you of them;
    they are to you as sunlight
    on a green branch. You must not

    think of them again, except
    as monsters like yourself,
    pitiable because unforgiving.

    Internet Shame and the Price of a Reputation

    Internet Shame and the Price of a Reputation

    If you already have a list of podcasts you pretend to listen to, put Reply All at the top. It’s a show I had avoided for a while because it’s exclusively “a show about the internet,” a medium I surrender so much of my time to already. But I quickly found that, like most of the public radio offerings these days, it’s just another wide avenue for good human-interest stories. I mean, where else do you see human nature writ large than in your Instagram feed or in some nefarious Reddit comment chain? Besides, each episode is short—some are fifteen…

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    Bible Study – Tony Hoagland

    Bible Study – Tony Hoagland

    From the March 2015 Poetry. 

    Who would have imagined that I would have to go
    a million miles away from the place where I was born
    to find people who would love me?
    And that I would go that distance and that I would find those people?

    In the dream JoAnne was showing me how much arm to amputate
    if your hand gets trapped in the gears of the machine;
    if you acted fast, she said, you could save everything above the wrist.
    You want to keep a really sharp blade close by, she said.

    Now I raise that hand to scratch one of those nasty little
    scabs on the…

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    Another Week Ends: Love and a Meritocracy, Superhuman Humans, Twitter Psalms, Better Call Caravaggio, Trendy Mindfulness, and a DFW Movie

    Another Week Ends: Love and a Meritocracy, Superhuman Humans, Twitter Psalms, Better Call Caravaggio, Trendy Mindfulness, and a DFW Movie

    Well, try and stop David Brooks from being on the site twice in one week is what I say. While we’ve all agreed in the office that the cover of his new book isn’t nearly as cool as the one before, his column today is nothing short of a Mockingbird centerfold. It is called “Love and Merit” (!) and deals with the pitfalls of classic, well-intentioned parenting—you know, that strings-attached, perfomance-based, conditional variety of love we all try so hard to avoid doling out.

    Brooks nails it on the head. It’s not that we try to be that kind of parent…

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    Judas’ Charitable Enterprise for the Poor

    This passage in Georges Bernanos’ The Diary of a Country Priest comes from our hero’s mentor, the Priest of Torcy, who, if a little harsh, stands as a clear-eyed check on our young cleric’s idealism. This is his monologue on Christ’s love for the poor. But for the priest, and for Bernanos, the love for the poor is not some systematic ethic for justice—it is romance. Referring to the story of the widow’s costly perfume “wasted” on Jesus’ feet, the priest speaks (as Christ) to Judas, against his kind of cautionary, penny-wise methods for selling off a poor woman’s nard.

    The poor you will always have with you, but me you have not always with you, answered Our Lord. Which amounts to this: don’t let the hour of mercy strike in vain. You’d do far better to cough up that money you stole, at once, instead of trying to get My apostles worked up over your imaginary financial deals in toilet waters, and your charitable enterprises. Moreover you think you’re flattering My notorious weakness for down-and-outs, but you’ve got hold of the wrong end of the stick. I’m not attached to My paupers like an English old maid to lost cats, or to the poor bulls in the Spanish bull-ring. I love Diary_of_a_Country_Priestpoverty with a deep, reasoned, lucid love—as equal loves equal. I love her as a wife who is faithful and fruitful. If the poor man’s right was derived only from strict necessity, your piddling selfishness would soon reduce him to a bare minimum, paid for by unending gratitude and servility. You’ve been holding forth against this woman to-day who has just bathed My feet with very expensive nard, as though My poor people had no right to best scent…The poor you have always with you, just because there will always be the rich, that is to say there will always be hard and grasping men out for power more than possession. These men exist as much among the poor as among the rich, and the scallywag vomiting up his drink in the gutter is perhaps drunk with the very same dreams as Caesar asleep under his purple canopy. Rich and poor alike, you’d do better to look at yourselves in the mirror of want, for poverty is the image of your own fundamental illusion. Poverty is the emptiness in your hearts and in your hands. It is only because your malice is known to Me that I have placed poverty so high, crowned her and taken her as My bride.

    Jamin Warren’s Games for Non-Gamers: A Magazine List

    Jamin Warren’s Games for Non-Gamers: A Magazine List

    From our Work and Play Issue, this list comes from Jamin Warren, who blew minds at MbirdNYC15 this past Friday. For those who want more Jamin, his gaming festival Two5Six is taking place in May, and the lineup looks pretty unbelievable. He’s also hinted at an Mbird group rate, which if you go here you can redeem.

    Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, an esteemed, well-respected cultural historian named Johan Huizinga undertook a very strange project given his post. He wanted to understand the nature of play in all of its forms. What Huizinga found and subsequently argued was that…

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