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While we are currently at our maximum number of regular contributors, Mockingbird is happy to publish quality writing from guests. To submit something for consideration, simply email it to info@mbird.com. We can’t promise anything, but we will take a look. Naturally, the best way to get a sense of what we are looking for is to read the site.

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    Grace on a Gravel Road

    Grace on a Gravel Road

    By Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

    One lazy afternoon when the light oozed in the air like honey, this old farmer told me that the school bus would come all the way down the gravel road to the driveway of the manse. He had stopped by to drop off Tommy Toe tomatoes from his wife’s garden. My wife and I had no children at the time. Six years later, our firstborn is getting ready to start kindergarten in the fall. But first we are moving away. I am about to begin a new call to another church.

    ***

    The church I have served is…

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    Book Smart and Gospel Stupid

    Book Smart and Gospel Stupid

    This one comes to us from Chad Bird.

    If you can tell me all about the Almighty’s mind-blowing power to fashion ladybugs, the Milky Way, and titanium from absolutely zilch, but don’t get around to talking about our re-creation in Christ…

    If you can marshal vast arrays of evidence to fight tooth-and-nail with those who deny the days of creation were seven twenty-four hour periods, but never take the time to talk about the hours our Lord hung upon the cross…

    If you can untangle the genealogies of Kings and Chronicles; synthesize the competing accounts of the regnal years of Israelite royalties; and…

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    Spiritual Healing and Alzheimer’s

    Spiritual Healing and Alzheimer’s

    We’re very grateful for this piece written by Gail Baker.

    On a day with the sky blue and high and the smell of hyacinths in the air, everything began to crumble. I picked up the phone to hear crushing news. My Mom, Pat Baker, was experiencing her first signs of memory loss.  

    The family remained cautiously optimistic, refusing to jump to any conclusions. Fearing a possible Alzheimer’s diagnosis, we refrained from mentioning the “A” word altogether. Many patients lose so much function from the outset that they never reach the stage of conscious acceptance. Mom, as it happened, had…

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    Patton Oswalt's Good Grief

    Patton Oswalt’s Good Grief

    This one was written by Aarik Danielsen.

    “You gotta laugh to keep from crying.”

    This is what passes for conventional emotional wisdom in 2017. And not without reason. Our moment feels, politically, psychically, and spiritually, like a stage play complete with buffoonish characters, bizarre stage directions and metaphors willing to do tasteful nudity. If we didn’t turn to the audience and wink at the absurdity of it all, we would never open the curtain.

    And yet this logic is no logic at all. Love is patient and kind; it is not rude or self-seeking. Grief makes no such promises. It will not be…

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    Performance-Based Culture Is Killing Us

    Performance-Based Culture Is Killing Us

    Grateful for this one written by The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase, whose book Done and Left Undone: Grace in the Meantime of Parish Ministry hits in January.

    When I preached at the closing Eucharist of our recent Cursillo on Sunday, I reminded participants that they’d just been gifted with a cross on which was written: “Christ is counting on you.” I told them (to a few gasps in the congregation) to please forget about that for now. They should rather be “counting on Christ.” Later, when they’re a bit more mature in faith, they might heed the words on their crosses, while…

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    No Need to Explain

    No Need to Explain

    A lovely piece by Andrew Taylor-Troutman:

    “Behold, I shew you a mystery.” (1 Corinthians 15:51 KJV)

    It was our first visit. I sat on the sofa in her living room surrounded by pictures of their four children, eight grandchildren. And pictures of him. The shades were drawn against the sunlight as we chatted: get-to-know-you preliminaries about where I was from, the obligatory lament concerning the weather (I forget, now, whether it had rained too much or too little). Her recently deceased husband hovered in picture frames. In their most recent church directory photo, he smiled above her right shoulder, his moustache trimmed, his…

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    Little Sister: Good News for the Goth Family

    Little Sister: Good News for the Goth Family

    This spooky little treat comes to us from Caleb Stallings.

    “Fail to see the tragic,
    Turn it into magic!”

    – Marilyn Manson

    “Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago, which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.”

    – Psalm 74:2, NRSV

    Halloween came strangely early for me this year. By the time September was settling in, I was already halfway through Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with The Cramps’ Off the Bone constantly buzzing in the background. And as soon as October arrived, the un-carved pumpkins were placed, the paper skeletons were hung, and the ghoulish festivities were well under way. Horror was on my…

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    Jennifer Lawrence, the Irony of Normalcy, and the Righteousness of Faith

    Jennifer Lawrence, the Irony of Normalcy, and the Righteousness of Faith

    This piece was written by our friend Brad J. Gray.

    She caught our eye in 2007 on a short-lived network comedy. Then, she broke through with an independent drama in 2010 that earned her national acclaim and attention. She flew into the stratosphere and became the mega-star we know and love with a summer blockbuster in 2012, the success of which she’s likely still riding the coattails. If you didn’t already catch it, I’m referring to Jennifer Lawrence. “J-Law,” as she’s lovingly known on the “Interwebz,” made a name for herself on The Bill Engvall Show during its brief run on…

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    Idealistic Hackers and My Personal "Change the World" Project

    Idealistic Hackers and My Personal “Change the World” Project

    In preparation for Mr. Robot’s third season (premiering tonight), here’s a fantastic piece by Rebecca Florence Miller.

    I’ve always wanted to change the world. As a child and young woman, I longed to serve as a missionary, perhaps translating the Bible for those who had never heard of Jesus. I dreamed of traveling to other countries and teaching English as a Second Language. As a teen, I longed to convert people to all kinds of different things, like being pro-life or Republican or just to being a Christian. Now, I live in a constant state of trying to engage in civil…

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    Tom Petty, Three Chords, and the Church of Free Falling

    Tom Petty, Three Chords, and the Church of Free Falling

    This piece was written by Andrew Johnson. 

    My mom texts me Monday morning to let me know that Tom Petty had been hospitalized after a cardiac arrest. I follow the news off and on the rest of the day, seeing conflicting reports over whether or not he had died. This confusion over Petty’s death, especially following Sunday’s news of 59 people killed in Las Vegas, leaves me feeling particularly helpless and disillusioned with how quickly we as a nation can share bits of information but somehow fail to find shared meaning.

    So I leave work a bit early, walk half a mile…

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    The Mixed Legacy of Hugh Hefner

    The Mixed Legacy of Hugh Hefner

    This one comes to us from Ann Lowrey Forster.

    In the wake of Hugh Hefner’s death, the headlines have been split—some celebrating the playboy mogul for liberation and others condemning him for objectification. These opinions, however, haven’t followed traditional party lines. Some on the left condemned and some celebrated; some on the right wagged their fingers and some looked wistfully back at Hefner’s ideology.

    I was particularly struck by that last group—those generally on the conservative side of things who have held up Hefner as a co-belligerent in the culture wars. Ben Domenech fondly eulogized Hefner in The Federalist, and a piece…

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    Pennywise the Clown, Stephen King, and Jesus

    Pennywise the Clown, Stephen King, and Jesus

    This piece was written by Jill Moran.

    I married a man who learned from God through fiction. My husband swears by the hand of Stephen King in his spiritual life just as he does Brennan Manning, G.K. Chesterton, and the Apostle Paul. The sceptic in me, at first, saw only blood and horror at the sight of a Stephen King book. I wanted nothing to do with it, as I don’t with most dark things, assuming there is nothing sacred to be found in the midst of gore. I now see something much deeper as I peer through the pages of these…

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