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.
The Economist wrote an obituary for Robert Farrar Capon after his death in 2013, and they had this to say about the food writer/theologian’s style of life:
Mr Capon had no time for strict scorekeeping, in the kitchen or anywhere else. Grace, not willpower, dealt with sin: Jesus came to save the world, not to judge it. Showy piety, legalism and quietism were all abominations, almost as much as the cheap oil and harsh flavours of phoney ethnic food.
His own scorecard had some blots. Divorce from the mother of his six children cost him his parish on Long Island and his…
In the same Sunday issue, The New York Times Magazine published two articles that drew some not-so-subtle conclusions about the American prison system, about its problematic rise in numbers, about its entrenched recidivism, and about its inherent contradictions to the American themes of freedom, opportunity, and hope. Of the two articles, one of them was a character study of ADX in Colorado, “America’s Toughest Federal Prison.”
Since opening in 1994, the ADX has remained not just the only federal supermax but also the apogee of a particular strain of the American penal system, wherein abstract dreams of rehabilitation have been entirely…
Our first free-peek into The Work and Play Issue of The Mockingbird is our interview with Brigid Schulte, journalist and author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time.
Ironically enough, it took a good bit of phone tag for this interview on busyness to happen. When we were finally able to coordinate a time to talk, Brigid Schulte was calling from a train station, heading back home from New York City, and she sounded rushed but told me she had a few minutes to talk and set up a time. When it came time for the…
Another Week Ends: The Purity Witchhunt, March Madness, Punitive Gods, Better Call Saul, The TED Testament and Forgiving Racists
1) “Purity” talk is not just for the Evangelicals, it would seem. Despite the characterization of purity rings and abstinence devotionals and root beer pong, Richard Beck at Experimental Theology points to the moral fixation implicit in progressive Christians like himself, too. It’s not a difference in value, it’s merely a difference in where the self-justifying finger is pointed. Referring to an article written by Aurora Dagny, Beck argues that the fixation itself is complicit in making “everything problematic.”
For progressive Christians moral purity will fixate on complicity in injustice. To be increasingly “pure” in progressive Christian circles is to become less and…
The widely loved writer and thinker Philip Yancey (who also happens to be coming to Mockingbirdtown this week) has come out with a new book, called Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News? In it, he seems to have a lot to say about the falling state of American Christendom in its cultural conception, not as being lovers and welcomers and forgivers, but as being rigidly judgmental, self-oriented, and more or less “anti-” everything.
I’m excited about the book, mainly because I’ve seen Yancey speak before, at St. George’s in Nashville, and the guy has a dispensary of stories about grace. He…
Like you, I’ve currently been trying to move through season three of House of Cards as slowly as possible, and not watch the whole thing in one sitting. It’s hard to do, even though this season is a lot less binge-friendly than the first two. And it’s hard to do predominantly because the Underwood’s ‘house of cards’ is nearly finished, and also never finished. While manipulative play after manipulative play proves time and again that control is only one move ahead of them, the thrill in watching the show comes from this precise tension–that one slip of the hand, or…
I have to admit, as a watcher of The Bachelor, that I participated in this phenomenon without ever thinking about it. Colson Whitehead, in the most recent NYT Magazine, talks about the “loser edit” in most competition-based reality television shows, the fact that, in winnowing 30 TV faces from total strangers into winners and losers, requires some narrative-building and, in the case of the losers, narrative-obliviating. As many of us (I hope?) can recall, there are the moments at the end of each of these shows where the ousted suitor, the ousted chef, the ousted whatever creates this reaction among…
From his new collection of poems, Once in the West.
Daily higher the ivy dies,
Leaf by leaf subsiding white
Like a secret that seems to rise
Through vein and vine up to his eyes
And the green of what remains.
In spite of books and better light,
In spite of air and what friends say,
A rare arrested day, brief shoots,
In spite of all he cuts away:
From the ground up to the shelf,
From the leaves into the roots,
In spite of everything he tries,
Utterly the ivy tells itself.
As our fourth issue of The Mockingbird makes it way to you, here’s a glimpse at what’s headed your way, the Opener from yours truly.
In an upcoming 2015 documentary called The Land, Vermont filmmaker Erin Davis is capturing the nature of play and risk-taking on an unusual playground in North Wales. The one-acre plot of vacant property, called “The Land,” is known as an “adventure playground,” which allows children of all ages the free space to roll down hills in old tires, to light fires in rusty oil drums, and build forts in trees with hammers and nails. As for…
Another Week Ends: Facelessness, Lent CEOs, Literacy Losers, Baseball Clocks, and North Korean Inspiration
1) Stephen Marche is certainly making a name for himself as the technological doomster, and in a supremely convincing way. He’s the one that wrote that piece we completely over-covered, called “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” and then there was that piece on our modern muse, Failure, and right in time for Ash Wednesday, we have “The Epidemic of Facelessness,” an op-ed piece which appeared in this Sunday’s Times. Marche talks in great detail about an age where, in most part, the majority of our social interaction takes place online and on screen. One of the consequences of this impersonal…
This is the epigraph that shows in the opening credits of Birdman, and it’s also the real-life epitaph on Raymond Carver’s tombstone. It serves as a good starting point for a movie that basically seconds as an adaptation for Carver’s famous short story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” But it’s also a good starting point for Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton), aka “Birdman,” ex-superhero-of-the-nineties, awash in irrelevance amidst a bigger, newer wave of Marvel stars.
We’re happy to announce that Issue 4 is now available! Here’s our Table of Contents for the Work and Play Issue. Needless to say there’s lots to be excited for, so if you’re looking for a subscription, now’s the time, because this is also the last time we’ll be selling subscriptions for the price they’re at now ($42).
This is what we’re looking into in this, the Work and Play Issue: We have interviews with best-selling time-researcher (and working mother), Brigid Schulte, as well as the Nigerian theologian of play, Nimi Wariboko. We’re covering a wide variety of topics, from freemium gamers and Fitbit philosophy, to happy jobs and Las Vegas tragedies. There’s an essay on the real meaning of sabbath, and a self-improvement sermon against self-improvement. We also have two new works from the matchless poet Mark Jarman—it’s all too much to name, really. In all of these, though, a common thread remains: one that marks out workweek from weekend, the world of demand from the world of freedom. Along this boundary lie much the world’s troubles, but also its hope, for a little bit of thought, and a lot bit of tomfoolery.
THE WORK AND PLAY ISSUE
Optimization Nation: Deprogramming the Cult of Productivity by David Zahl
“In a Bookstore,” A Poem by Mark Jarman
Sabbath Time: In a World of Work, an Invitation to Rest by Phillip Cary
For the Record: Games for Non-Gamers by Jamin Warren
The Overwhelm: A Conversation on a Modern Mandate with Brigid Schulte
Happy: America’s Favorite Feeling Goes to Work by Ethan Richardson
For the Record: Nine Comic Books for Your Inner-Child
God So Loved the World of Warcraft: Role-Playing Games and the Labor of Spirituality by Will McDavid
The Logic of Grace Is the Logic of Play: A Q&A with Nimi Wariboko
“Confession,” A Poem by Mark Jarman
Auden, Big Data, and the Accelerated Grimace of Modern America by Evan Brush
For the Record: Eight Must-See ESPN 30 for 30s
De Profundis: Our Past Is Prologue by Michael Nicholson
The End of the Never-Ending Voice, A Sermon by Paul Walker