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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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Author Archive
    
    Turn with Me to The Book of Ryan

    Turn with Me to The Book of Ryan

    This one was written by Blake Nail.

    The people of the Bible are often described as heroes. We see this in secular culture, where the characters of the “good” book are often mocked for “goody good” morals and ideals, which they supposedly manifest. We see this even in our churches. (At least from my limited experience in the land of heroes of Orange County, California.) Christians often think the Bible is full of these highly moral people who achieved a status that we should aim for. Obviously, this leaves churchgoers with two options: feeling broken and beat-down by the Law, or self-righteous…

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    Comma, Grace

    Comma, Grace

    A wonderful, grammatical reflection, by Andrew Taylor-Troutman:

    I was taking a mid-afternoon break at my favorite coffee shop. The brew was dark, organic, and fair trade; the scone, buttery and soft with little treasures of cranberries buried beneath the surface; and the people-watching, exquisite. Take the guy with the cryptic tattoo on the back of his neck. I was trying to crack the code when, just a couple of tables away, a young woman exclaimed to her coffee partner, “And I was like, comma, you just don’t get it!”

    What exactly was not gotten I will never know, for she dropped her…

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    Sharing Hospital Joy and Misery

    Sharing Hospital Joy and Misery

    This one comes to us from Bryant Trinh.

    I often find myself in the humor and satire section of The New Yorker. I absolutely love a good laugh and am usually labelled as the troll in one of my circles of friends. However, as I was perusing, I ran across a piece that was delivered as a commencement address earlier this month at UCLA’s Medical School by Atul Gawande — a surgeon, public-health researcher, and author of the best-seller Being Mortal.

    Growing up in an Asian-American household, it isn’t surprising that at one point or another I was aspiring to…

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    The Role of Art (Or, the Limitations of Self-Help) in Life and Work

    The Role of Art (Or, the Limitations of Self-Help) in Life and Work

    This one comes to us from Mark Casper.

    Recently I came across an article in The New Yorker that nearly bowled me over. It’s called Improving Ourselves to Death by Alexandra Schwartz, and it thoroughly outlines the negative consequences of living in a “self-improvement culture.” You may remember the post that appeared on Mockingbird earlier this year about it.

    At one point, Schwartz quotes a line from British journalist Will Storr, author of Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us. “We’re living in an age of perfectionism, and perfection is the idea that kills,” Storr writes. “People are suffering and dying under…

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    On Deserts: What Sexual Assault, Star Wars, and Salvation Have in Common

    On Deserts: What Sexual Assault, Star Wars, and Salvation Have in Common

    We’re very grateful to share this powerful piece by C. Marcus Odden.

    Editor’s note: the following recounts a story of child abuse and should be read with discretion.

    Alone Together In Our Third Places

    Alone Together In Our Third Places

    The following was written by Rachel Gaffin.

    It’s 9 o’clock on a Tuesday night. Breezy pop-punk spills out of the speaker system of the coffee shop I share with thirteen other people. All but two sit in front of laptops; most are plugged into headphones. The man across from me reads a purple tome titled Theories of Truth. We avoid eye contact.

    In this silent yet soundtracked space, people politely vie for real estate near the outlets, getting up only to go to the bathroom or maybe to order a second latte. In short, the perfect place for me to write. And…

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    Robert Capon to the Rescue of the Royal Wedding

    Robert Capon to the Rescue of the Royal Wedding

    This one was written by journalist and friend Anna-Liza Kozma.

    I spent the other week working on and off on the royal wedding. I wasn’t frosting lemon and elderflower cake or plucking lilies at dawn. Or getting fitted for a fascinator.

    Instead, I talked to people like the feminist historian Rosalind Miles about what she calls “the genius of a 2000-year-old monarchy to reinvent itself.” I won’t detail here my discussions with a Mohawk writer who spoke of the Queen as a Clan Mother or my dear BBC friend who took her aged in-laws to join the crowds around Windsor Castle and…

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    The Weight of Silence

    The Weight of Silence

    This review of A Quiet Place comes to us from Sam Guthrie.

    How do you survive in a world where you’re being hunted by blind monsters that possess a keen sense of hearing? According to the box office hit, A Quiet Place, you plan really well. You prepare, train, and pray that your children don’t make a sound, that life remains muffled, and you know where and when it’s safe to whisper.

    In a post-apocalyptic world where a blind alien species has all but wiped out the human race, the Abbott family (parents played by real-life power-couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) has…

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    Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

    Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

    This little piece comes to us from the Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase.

    In the film “20th Century Women,” there’s a compelling scene between a mother and her teenaged son. The mother has just brought him home from the hospital; he was rushed there after playing a game with his friends that went wrong. The game involved him hyperventilating while another boy stood behind him, wrapping his arms around his torso, and squeezing. Which caused him to pass out. Normally, a person comes to just a few seconds after this, but in this case, the boy remained unconscious. By the time his distraught…

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    Why Is Jesus Slumming with That Denomination?

    Why Is Jesus Slumming with That Denomination?

    This one comes to us from Chad Bird.

    Let’s start with the obvious: Christianity is an outwardly fractured religion. You’d think Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and bloody each other’s noses over, like, Every. Single. Thing.” Just for perspective, note that there are far more denominations than there are languages spoken around the globe. We’ve out-Babelled Babel.

    Even the most unrealistic optimist doesn’t believe this will improve. After all, we’ve been on this kick for 965 years. Humpty Dumpty has been on the ground for a long, long time. And all the king’s councils and all the king’s ecumenists,…

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    Moses and the Millennials: Looking to a Second Millennium Man for a Millennial Question

    Moses and the Millennials: Looking to a Second Millennium Man for a Millennial Question

    This one was written by Abigail Russell.

    Identity has been a buzzword in the Christian milieu for a few years now. We flock to personality tests and identity paradigms like MBTI and the Enneagram because having a title, a description, anything we can claim as ours pulls us in like an addiction. We take the tests over and over again wanting proof that we’ve changed and grown but also longing for consistency. We find our “type,” and it becomes like a friendly shadow following closely behind; it becomes the murky, undefined evidence that we exist. But despite all these identity handles,…

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    The Golden (Arches) Rule

    The Golden (Arches) Rule

    This tasteful reflection was written by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

    On the first Sunday of the month, I gathered with the other middle schoolers early in the morning before church and piled into the motley assortment of cars driven by our church’s college leaders. I worshipped those undergraduates and would have gladly tagged along wherever they drove. Plus, you got to wear your t-shirt and jeans. Having arrived downtown in the shadow of tall buildings, all you had to do was help unfold tables and unload boxes of donations. When people came to look over the clothes, you smiled politely. Maybe said God…

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