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
    Another Week Ends: Bloated Syllabi, the Jeremiah Option, Better Call Saul, Brangelina Vows, and New Culinary Imperatives

    Another Week Ends: Bloated Syllabi, the Jeremiah Option, Better Call Saul, Brangelina Vows, and New Culinary Imperatives

    1) Our friend at The Dish, Matt Sitman, gave a poignant response to the question of Christianity in modern life. As opposed to Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option”, where stalwarts of Christian virtue create a new community devoid of distractions, Sitman prefers the “Jeremiah Option,” as described by Samuel Goldman, that life as God intended is meant not in escaping Babylon, but in building our houses there. Sitman (hat-tipping our beloved Thornton Wilder) looks to what makes Christianity fundamentally unique anyways—not the stringency of time-honored virtues (many religions honor them) but the power of God to forgive.

    Goldman gets at something important…

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    Frederick Buechner on the Confusion of Faces

    Frederick Buechner on the Confusion of Faces

    A great section from Frederick Buechner’s The Hungering Dark, a book of meditations on the light that can be found in the darkness of doubt. Reminiscent of a staircase invention we’ve heard of before…

    There is a silly little jingle that goes something like this:

    My face I don’t mind it
    For I am behind it,
    It’s the people out front get the jar.

    But, on the contrary, the person inside gets the jar too. You catch sight of your face in the mirror when you are brushing your teeth in the morning or combing your hair, and often…

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    The Vices of Leisure by the Virtue of Speed

    The Vices of Leisure by the Virtue of Speed

    Another missive from the busy trap. This one comes from Brigid Schulte’s book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time. In the age of humblebragging, about the achievements you’ve undergone, the vacations you’ve eye-rollingly sped through, the go-gurt you’ve got jammed in the glove compartment, Schulte reminds us that this talk is all about the righteousness of purpose which, in the modern parlance, is held up by the metric of time. And, she notes, it’s not just for the frenzied East Coast corporate lawyer–people in North Dakota are crunched, too. She takes a trip to Fargo…

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    You Are Definitely Not Your Introspections

    You Are Definitely Not Your Introspections

    In last week’s Op-Ed, David Brooks asked whether or not “knowing thyself” is possible and, if it is, where it can be separated from the pitfalls and stagnation of narcissism. Self-awareness, argues Brooks, is a “perfect breeding ground for self-deception, rationalization and motivated reasoning.” This happens when we get a little too close to the man in the mirror, which often drives us to oversimplifications or “ruminations”–the despairing paralysis of one’s own fears and anxieties. Either one makes us dangerous self-perceivers. We either become nighthawk depressives or impervious bigots. The best way to “know thyself,” Brooks astutes, is to take…

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    Another Week Ends: Play Week, The Blame Instinct, Calvary, Parenting Trends, and God Save the Girl

    Another Week Ends: Play Week, The Blame Instinct, Calvary, Parenting Trends, and God Save the Girl

    1) It is “Play Week” at NPR, so let’s have some fun! Among the legions of playground research data, lab rat tickle tests (not joking), and zany stories about parents at “amusement parks”, play is becoming the boon of brain science, the absence of which we feel a threat to the very health of a nation. Erik Erikson, Brigid Schulte, eat your heart out! Tag this with busyness, successaholism, moms “having it all,” you name it, play is really just the current word for freedom—from demand, from time, from broccoli. It is the inspired no-where of imagination, inquiry, and social…

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    Will-lessly (Happy 80th, Wendell Berry)

    In honor of the man’s 80th birthday, a poem from his newest collection of Sabbath poems, This Day.

    by-j-b-hallWill-lessly the leaves fall,
    are blown, coming at last
    to the ground and to their rest.
    Among them in their coming down
    purposely the birds pass,
    of all the unnumbered ways
    choosing one, until
    they like the leaves will
    will-lessly fall. Thus freed
    by gravity, every one
    enters the soil, conformed
    to the craft and wisdom, the behest
    of God’s appointed vicar,
    our mother and judge, who binds
    us each to each, the largest
    to the least, in the family of all
    the creatures: great Nature
    by whom all are changed, none
    are wasted, none are lost.
    Supreme artist of this
    our present world, her works
    live and move, love
    their places and their lives in them.
    And this is praise to the highest
    knowledge by the most low.

    Raleigh W. Hayes Snubs the General Confession

    Raleigh W. Hayes Snubs the General Confession

    Another look into the redemptive story of the Prodigal Son’s elder brother, Raleigh W. Hayes, and his mischievous minister father, the Episcopal minister Earley Hayes.

    For He Gives to His Beloved Sleep (Mode)

    For He Gives to His Beloved Sleep (Mode)

    What happens when we lose the final frontier? A look into the necessary uselessness of sleep.

    “I Shall Be Released” – Charles Wright

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    From the American poet laureate’s collection, Sestets

    There is a consolation beyond nomenclature
    of what is past
    Or is about to pass, though I don’t know what it is.
    Someone, somewhere, must, and this is addressed to him.

    Come on, Long Eyes, crack the book.
    Thumb through the pages and stop at the one with the golden script.
    Breathe deeply and lay it on me,
    that character with the luminous half-life.

    Jogarza and the Only Left-Handed Catcher (Ever): Netflix’s Battered Bastards of Baseball

    Jogarza and the Only Left-Handed Catcher (Ever): Netflix’s Battered Bastards of Baseball

    A look into the new Netflix documentary on the scrappy, beer-belching, independent pro baseball team, Portland’s Mavericks, and the joke they pulled on Major League Baseball.

    Another Week Ends: Nick Cave, Cuddle Parties, Prognostalgia, Wine Snobbery, The Vicar of Baghdad, and the Post-Christian Politics of Jesus

    Another Week Ends: Nick Cave, Cuddle Parties, Prognostalgia, Wine Snobbery, The Vicar of Baghdad, and the Post-Christian Politics of Jesus

    1) “The Vicar of Baghdad” is a three-part series over at Vice, and it’s difficult to put into words the (foolish? amazing?) courage of Vicar Andrew White, an English-born Anglican priest who walks with a cane, and who has now served in Baghdad’s central districts for fourteen years, running St. George’s Episcopal Anglican Church, as well as running a clinic for locals and, most interestingly, working as a intermediary between Sunni and Shia leaders for peace and dialogue. It’s a real-life parable (ht JZ).

    2) There were several au contraires to the presumption that we “live by looks” this week. Or,…

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    Forget the Standard: Teaching in the Time of Testing

    Forget the Standard: Teaching in the Time of Testing

    It is now five years since the Common Core State Standards were introduced, the newest governmental answer to educational plight in America, and still it seems that no one really knows what they are—and if they do know what they are, chances are they don’t like them. It has been called (critically) a “one size fits all” policy, a nation-wide rubric for assessing whether America’s public school kids are learning what they ought to be learning. As Andrew Ferguson wrote this week in the Standard Weekly, it is one more reform scientifically stamped by the Gates Foundation’s “technocrats” and “educationists”,…

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    Crazy Eyes Explains Atonement in Thirty Seconds

    I can’t say that everything in the second season of Orange is the New Black has been this good (please, Jenji, accept this plea not to jump the Weeds shark), but this definition of love–from the adopted sociopath inmate Suzanne, aka “Crazy Eyes”–is probably one of the best hermeneutics of Romans 5:8 I’ve seen on television.

    It’s like you become more you, which normally is like…[sound effect]…but now it’s okay, because the person, like, whoever, they chose to take all that on, all that weird stuff, whatever’s wrong, bad, or hiding in you, suddenly it’s all right. And you don’t feel like such a freak anymore.

    Runners up: I have to say that Piper’s isn’t bad either: “It’s like coming home.” Or Sister Jane: “Love is light. Acceptance. Fire.” Or the hilarious Flaca y Maritza, who describe love as a chocolate pudding bath, with the Smiths playing “There Is a Light that Never Goes Out.” And there’s pizza, too.

    The First Three Lessons for the Virtuous Raleigh W. Hayes

    The First Three Lessons for the Virtuous Raleigh W. Hayes

    As you’ll see in our summer issue of The Mockingbird, Michael Malone’s Handling Sin is belatedly perched upon the book shelf here at HQ. It’s a shame the 1983 novel (even taking place in the Piedmont, for crying out loud!), took this long to find us, because not since Wilder’s Theophilus North, or Cobb’s Old Judge Priest, have I had a copy so dogeared and underlined I’ve stopped doing so halfway through. And, much like the other two, it’s incredibly summer-friendly–my pages now smell like some mixture of coastal seaweed and SPF 30–and the 700-page journey ends faster than your…

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    Lydia Davis Gets Ready to Die in a Plane

    Lydia Davis Gets Ready to Die in a Plane

    From the MacArthur Genius’ (very funny) book of daydreams, real dreams, and five-sentence memoirs, Can’t and Won’t. Recommended reading for this summer–each entry is mostly no longer than a page, many times without much of a plot–and this one talks about in-flight complications, and the anxious (even superstitious) thinking of the end of one’s life. The pilot has just made an announcement about the wings’ failure to slow the plane down, so it must circle very close to the ground to attempt to slow itself down. Davis journeys back through the way her mind processed this news.

    The announcement,…

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