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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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    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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    Mother!: Sinners in the Hands of a Petty God

    Mother!: Sinners in the Hands of a Petty God

    This look at the controversial new film was written by Caleb Ackley. (Spoilers ahead.)

    Mother! was advertised as a mystery-thriller and the trailer, which was riveting, left much to the imagination. Thus, on opening weekend, hordes of thrill-seeking men and women went to see it, each with their own set of expectations. Some came for horror, some expected gore, many came to see Jennifer Lawrence, that darling of the silver screen, be terrified herself; but most of all, they, and I in many ways, came that Saturday night to simply be entertained. Stuffed to the gills with excitement and no small amount…

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    Seeing Tares

    Seeing Tares

    Grateful for this one by Jay Wamsted.

    I could hear the trouble outside through my door. I taught ninth graders that year—a challenge even on the best day—and I should have been posted up in the hallway before my students returned from lunch, should have been using their inertia to usher them straight into class. Instead I was just a little late crossing the room from my desk, panicking as I unlocked the door. Though I was able to watch the tail end of an argument between two of my students—they were squared off in the shadow of my doorway, foot…

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    Still Learning

    Still Learning

    Grateful for this piece—11 vignettes of 100 words each—by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

    “It is a hard time to be human. / We know too much / and too little.” Ellen Bass

    1

    Newly minted with my Masters of Divinity degree, I stepped into a pulpit before a dozen black faces. After reading from Romans, I launched into my six-page lecture sprinkled more liberally with Shelley and Keats than the Apostle Paul, and I’d not hit even the third sentence when an elderly woman, small and dark like a raisin, sounded out from the back pew like ringing a bell:

    —Lord, hep him! Hep him, Jesus!

    I’d…

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    Villains, Saints, and Queens of the Stone Age

    Villains, Saints, and Queens of the Stone Age

    This one comes to us from Caleb Stallings.

    “Oh villain! Thou art condemned into everlasting redemption.”
    William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

    My friends always laugh whenever I say, “That’s it! I’m quitting Twitter. I’m quitting social media. I’m quitting smartphones. I’m quitting it all!” I’ve melodramatically announced this countless times in the past few years, and I’ve followed through with it just a few. And, of course, I always end up coming back. It all starts as a desperate measure: the weight of the hoi polloi becomes unbearable, and so I look to cast off the fetters of our moral-outrage-of-the-week culture. The…

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    Lust, Love, and the Gospel According to Kendrick Lamar

    Lust, Love, and the Gospel According to Kendrick Lamar

    A standout at this year’s turbulent VMAs, Kendrick Lamar performed a moving show and won several prestigious awards. Here’s a reflection on his latest album, written by Mocking-friend Sam Guthrie. 

    Turning on Kendrick Lamar’s most recent album DAMN. is like tuning into a boxing match. You don’t just listen to single songs; you experience the different rounds of a fight where Kendrick and his demons pummel each other.

    One of the most compelling bouts on DAMN. is between “Lust” and “Love”. “Lust” begins with a tired, end of the road Kendrick on the verge of falling prey to lust: “I need…

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    This Is Babylon

    This Is Babylon

    A moving piece by Jay Wamsted:

    I leave my room and head downstairs, paperwork in hand. Today is my first day back from an extended absence, and I have to get my principal to sign a form stating that I have, indeed, returned to work. He is not in his office, and though I briefly debate taking off for other errands, I decide to hang out in the lobby of the high school where I teach, catching up with a couple of colleagues I have not seen in some weeks. Our conversation is interrupted, however, when across the atrium I see…

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    Theology Lessons from a Ghetto Star

    Theology Lessons from a Ghetto Star

    Another amazing one from our friend Chad Bird. 

    When the phone rang at his friend’s house, Tommy Shakur Ross picked up the receiver. And into his ears fell razor-sharp words that would keep falling and falling, shredding his insides in their violent descent…

    Tommy—who goes by Shakur—was a member of the L.A. gang, the Eight Trays. Raised by a minister father and church-going mother, Shakur discovered within the gang a new identity, a new culture, new aspirations. He even received a new name; he became Joker.

    But despite his moniker, Joker was dead serious. He was out to earn a reputation, score points,…

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    Best Films of 2017 (So Far)

    Best Films of 2017 (So Far)

    A mid-year round-up from our friend, Josh Encinias:

    We’re in the dog days of summer so it’s the perfect time to catch up on the year’s best movies. Surprisingly, some of the best so far were released this summer. Critics are clamouring to see Dunkirk receive Academy Award nominations and there’s no doubt that War of the Planet of the Apes, a quasi-Biblical epic, is worthy of CG awards. But it’s smaller moments in a movie that stick with you. Andy Serkis as ape leader Caesar is soulful—it can’t just be CGI that makes his character so relatable.

    Smaller, character-driven films…

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    Laughing at Our Trophies

    Laughing at Our Trophies

    Another amazing one from Chad Bird, author of Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul. 

    A few years ago I ran my first half-marathon. And won. By accident.

    The northern panhandle city of Amarillo, Texas, boasts scant trees, passels of cowboys, and a handful of runners who—taking Bob Seger literally—are always “running against the wind.”

    It was no exception on September 1, 2009, when I lined up with hundreds of them to run 13.1 miles in the ever-predictable 25-30 mph gusts. I was a relative newbie to the sport. Running had morphed into my healthiest anti-depressant. So with a few 5ks and 10ks under…

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    Wonder Woman and the Side Effects of Losing Innocence

    Wonder Woman and the Side Effects of Losing Innocence

    This review of the new Wonder Woman comes to us from Caleb Ackley. 

    Typically when I hear the words ‘summer’ and ‘blockbuster’ uttered in the same sentence, a shudder runs down my spine. Forehead wet with anxiety-induced sweat, I try with every ounce of strength I possess to keep from imagining the latest franchise subjected to the dreaded ‘reboot’ or, worse still, the newest installment in an ever-widening and ever more deafening Transformers universe. This summer, however, thanks to a certain female superhero, change was in the air, and when that fateful weekend in June finally came, I ran to the…

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