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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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    Losing the Floaties by 40

    Losing the Floaties by 40

    This one was written by Heidi Fields.

    I was only two years shy of 40 when I decided to learn to swim. I was only half joking when I asked the swimming instructor if he had adult-sized floaty rings for my arms. I was only two years out of the womb when I rocked the ruffled two piece and yellow shades in this photo.

    Despite having an innate, Milan-esque aqua fashion sense, I usually avoided pool parties and beach activities as a child. I was like oil and water was like water. Mixing the two of us was more awkward than boys…

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    Thor: Ragnarok - When The Unjust Are Freed and Those Hurt Are Left Without A Home

    Thor: Ragnarok – When The Unjust Are Freed and Those Hurt Are Left Without A Home

    This review was written by Caleb Ackley. (Spoilers ahead.)

    After having grown extremely used to superhero films presenting gritty realities in harsh, dark tones, I was initially off put by the trailer for the latest Thor installment. Candy-colored and none-too-serious, this, it seemed, was uncharted territory and I proceeded to the theatre warily- excited, at the very least, to see Jeff Goldblum in blue makeup-but unsure of what to expect beyond that.

    The film begins with Thor in a kind of pseudo-underworld where Chris Hemsworth (the ever-muscular and flaxen-haired), while taking on a fiery enemy and his minions, is given a chance…

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    Psychomachia, 8-Balls, and Alien Righteousness

    Psychomachia, 8-Balls, and Alien Righteousness

    This one comes to us from RJ Coburn.

    Psychomachia is the name given to the common trope found in movies, television, and comic strips when a character is dealing with temptation. Two versions of his or her self appear, an angel version and a devil version. Commonly, the devil is on the left shoulder (or standing on the left, if shown as a full-sized person) and the angel on the right. This represents the battle of the soul, or as Homer tells Lisa on an episode of The Simpsons, “Inside every man is a struggle between good and evil that cannot…

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    Law and Gospel in Luther and Paul

    Law and Gospel in Luther and Paul

    A theological tour de force by none other than Charis Hamiltonius:

    You may not have heard, but the 500th anniversary of the unofficial start of the Protestant Reformation happened recently. Praise of Luther and his theology took my Twitter feed by storm as every theology nerd weighed in on the merits of Luther and the significance of the Reformation. This post aims to assess one of Luther’s central themes—his theology of Law and Gospel—and the relative value of his reading of Paul. Some find a great deal to appreciate about Luther’s reading of Paul, while others find less textual support.

    The…

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    Go Gently

    Go Gently

    A beautiful reflection on family and the Advent season by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

    And we think that we can’t write that for which we do not have words but actually sometimes you can if you go gently between the words. Brian Doyle

    The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. Isaiah 9:2

    It is a week before Christmas and I tell my oldest son: “It is a big responsibility to be a big brother.” This three year old stares at me blankly from across the room, then continues playing with the nativity scene strewn across the floor in a mishmash of…

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    20 Years Later: Reflecting on the Ageless Imputation of Good Will Hunting

    20 Years Later: Reflecting on the Ageless Imputation of Good Will Hunting

    This timely reminder of the (timeless) emotional punch packed by Good Will Hunting comes to us from Sam Guthrie, twenty years after the film’s release.

    Twenty years ago, a few no-name actors from New England wrote a screenplay about a math prodigy from South Boston. With the help of stars like Robin Williams and Stellan Skarsgård and the vision of director Gus Van Zant, Good Will Hunting became a hit and kickstarted the careers of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (as well as his brother Casey) who in time would all become household names.

    Out of the numerous gems in the treasure chest of Good…

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    Raising the Stakes Is Lowering the Stakes for Justice League

    Raising the Stakes Is Lowering the Stakes for Justice League

    From Justice League expert Jeremiah Lawson, here is an insightful look at the recent holiday season blockbuster.

    It may be a law of blockbuster cinema that there is an inversely proportional relationship between how high the stakes are raised in explicit and implicit narrative terms and the actual significance of said stakes. In a phrase, when everything is at stake, you can be relatively confident nothing is at stake, and this is, in sum, a weakness that the film Justice League can’t shake off.

    The plot is as follows: in the wake of Superman’s death through Kryptonite exposure and injuries fighting General Zod,…

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    Bad at Love

    Bad at Love

    This one was written by Anna Nott.

    I am convinced that I, perhaps along with a good portion of the rest of the world, continue to listen to Halsey’s hit “Bad at Love” for more than just the fact that it’s super catchy. The lyrics are profoundly confessional, stating:

    I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe
    that we’re meant to be.
    But jealousy, jealousy, jealousy, jealousy
    Gets the best of me.
    Look, I don’t mean to frustrate, but I
    Always make the same mistakes, yeah I
    Always make the same mistakes ’cause
    I’m bad at love!

    When she sings, “I believe that we’re meant to be, but jealousy gets…

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    Love the Art, Hate the Artist?

    Love the Art, Hate the Artist?

    A phenomenal piece from our friend, Abby Farson Pratt, who asks what we do when we’re all monsters. 

    We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves these days. We are doing a lot of smirking, a lot of finger-pointing, a lot of handing down of fatwas on Twitter.

    When we cut someone off in traffic or lie to protect ourselves, we say, “Well, at least I’m not Harvey Weinstein. Or Louis C.K. Or Kevin Spacey. I’m not that bad.”

    We enjoy this; we always have. It’s pleasant to publicly denounce others. Lately, we’ve been having a really good time. It seems like every other…

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    You, Me, God, and Evil

    You, Me, God, and Evil

    This post was written by Sam Gyorfi. 

    Why is humanity so intrigued with understanding good and evil? People have long written stories about good and evil, right and wrong. Today, movies are either focused on the topic or the ambiguity of the topic. Shows like Mad Men or Game of Thrones focus on the lack of absolute good and evil and instead operate in a liminal perception of life. People are intrigued by man’s ability to possess great good and the capacity of terrible evil simultaneously.

    The inherent contradiction incites imagination and wonder among audiences in the entertainment world but remains taboo…

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    Kids, Camels, Needles & the Righteousness of the Law

    Kids, Camels, Needles & the Righteousness of the Law

    This one comes to us from Brad J. Gray.

    Something my dad has said many times before, and something that I don’t think I’ll forget anytime soon, is that the keys to good biblical interpretation happen to also be the same 3 basic rules in real estate: (1) Location, (2) Location, and (3) Location. Or to put this in hermeneutical terms, we might say, Context, Context, and Context!

    Context is king when it comes to reading, studying, and applying the Bible. (My dad should know a thing or two about this, as he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the same subject.) This is…

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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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