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About Jacob

I am the curate at Calvary/St.George's Church in NYC. I am a Reformational Anglican standing on the shoulders of great men like Robert Barnes, Thomas Cranmer, and Martin Luther. I do not believe in free will and think that it is an anathama to the Gospel. I have a lovely wife Melina and a daughter named Sophia.

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    An Invitation to Israel in March!

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    Dear Mockingbird friends,

    I wanted to personally invite you to join Calvary-St. George’s (NYC) on a pilgrimage to Israel this coming spring. The pilgrimage will be led by myself, The Rev. Jim Munroe and The Rev. Ben DeHart and will take place right at the beginning of Lent (March 18-30, 2017), the perfect prelude to both Easter and the 10th Anniversary Mbird Conference in NYC–which Calvary St George’s is very excited to be hosting once again.

    Most pilgrimages look at Israel as either a religious exhibit to be examined from a distance or a venue for a ten-day study on various interpretations of the Eschaton in light of modern politics. Our trip will be different. First, it is affordable. Second, we will be hosted by actual Palestinian Christians and experience life from the people’s perspective. Third, our every move will be grounded in the immensely encouraging historical reality that grace has come down to each of us. Fourth, Jim Munroe not only knows the territory intimately, he’ll make you laugh while guiding you through it. We’ll have a great time in other words.

    We would love to have you join us. For more information, or to reserve your spot, go here: http://www.calvarystgeorges.org/pilgrimage. Do not delay, though, as we only have room for only about twenty pilgrims.

    Pax,

    The Rev. Jacob Smith

    From The Archives: A Lenten Reflection on the Isenheim Altarpiece

    From The Archives: A Lenten Reflection on the Isenheim Altarpiece

    Matthias Grunewald’s Crucifixion, one of the panels of the Isenheim Altarpiece, was commissioned for the church hospital of St. Anthony in Colmar, France, which specialized in comforting those dying with skin diseases.

    Grunewald kept the background of this powerful piece of religious art intentionally dark to highlight the horrific scene: especially Christ’s smashed feet, his contorted arms, and twisted hands. The cross is bowed to demonstrate Jesus bearing the sins of the world. The most shocking part of the piece, however, is that Jesus also has a skin disease, and his loincloth is the same as the wrappings worn by the…

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    Happy Reformation Day (from Stephen Tyng)

    Some wise words for Reformation Day from The Rev. Dr. Stephen Tyng, who served as rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in New York City (where we hold our Spring conferences) from 1845-1878:

    7cf9292f426c9a2001d10d85c2f2d31cIt is true, you are required to repent of sin; and to obey the commands of God, in a new life of holiness. But these are the results of faith.  You can have no repentance unto salvation, without believing in him whom you have pierced, who is exalted to bestow it.  You cannot obey a single command, but by his power dwelling within you.  All these gracious dispositions and habits are fruits of the Holy Spirit; and are so far from being any preceding qualification by which you obtain salvation, that they are themselves a part, and a most important part, of that very salvation, which is offered you freely in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the purchase of his obedience and death. “He that hath the son, hath life;” and all the traits and attributes, and acts of life, flow out from it.

    Stephen Tyng on Pardon, Preaching, and Unchangeable Acceptance

    Stephen Tyng on Pardon, Preaching, and Unchangeable Acceptance

    After being in the ministry for 50 years, The Rev. Dr. Stephen Tyng (who, from 1845-1878, was rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church, where we hold our annual NYC Conference) was asked to deliver a series of lectures to the School of Theology in Boston University entitled “The Christian Pastor.” This particular quote comes from his lecture on the topic of preaching. He never intended to have them published, but evidently the students were so blown away by the whole presentation that they insisted the talks be made available. It’s always reminded me of the mission of Mockingbird:

    This is your message…

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    NYC Preview: Everything New Is Moralism Again

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    We are really excited to once again be hosting the Spring Mockingbird Conference at St. George’s Church in New York City in a couple of weeks. The Old School Princeton Theologian, J. Gresham Machen once said, “Soon there will be so much applied Christianity that there will be very little Christianity to actually apply.” It seems to me that many of us who come to the Mockingbird Conference are being or have been burned by this so called, “applied Christianity.”  None of us, from the left or the right in American Christendom, have been safe from the grueling burdens of “applied Christianity.” This is because ultimately whether it is the latest seven-part-series-to-a-holier-you or new ways-we-can-make-the-UN-Millennium-Development-Goals-a-living-reality-in-our-churches, all of this new stuff is not the Gospel, but simply moralism again.

    In my break out session “Everything New Is Moralism Again” I will be briefly walking us through the problem of American Christianity since the First Great Awakening. In this session I will be making the point that revivalism and an over-emphasis on social justice is not that helpful, and how our attempts at being relevant to society has ultimately made us irrelevant. Then I am going talk about the one thing that the church has been given-the very thing that draws us to this conference year after year-and why it is so freaking important. Spoiler Alert: it is The Gospel of Grace!  It should be a good time filled with lots of laughs and memories…so bring your cameras!

    Sign up for the conference today!

    Ministering to Winners: The Poor, Captive, Blind, Oppressed (and Other People Like You and Me) – A Conference Breakout

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    One of the most moving moments for me at the 2012 Mockingbird conference in NYC was when the Reverend Aaron Zimmerman pointed out that most preachers are telling one legged people to run and win a two legged race. This breakout session is for those of us who have ever been frustrated by, extremely angry at, and even hated the people in the ministries we serve; those who have thought that the people we minister to (or the people doing the ministering!) are actually standing on two feet.

    In this breakout session on Friday morning we will explore the glory story that has defined many of our ministries and/or experiences in church. Then we will look at how that glory story has been translated into our lives and why the Gospel is truly the word that can set us all free (or at least bring momentary relief as we hop along hoping for a finish line).

    Here’s the audio recording from the breakout session

    [audio http://www.mbird.com/resources/?show&file_name=07%20Ministering%20to%20Winners_%20The%20Blind%2C%20The%20Bound%20and%20the%20Broken%20%28People%20Like%20You%20and%20Me%29%201.mp3]

    Or you can download it by clicking here.

    Coffee With Jesus

    “It is better to be safe, rather than sorry… but ONLY IN AN AIRPORT SENSE!”

    “It is better to be safe, rather than sorry… but ONLY IN AN AIRPORT SENSE!”

    It was a cold spring morning in Pittsburgh. Paul Zahl and I were getting ready to leave his house in Sewickley, PA at 5:00 a.m. to travel to San Diego for a fundraiser.  Now our flight did not leave until 9:00 a.m., and it only takes about 20 minutes to get to the Pittsburgh International Airport from Paul’s old home. In the car Paul said to me, “Thank you Jacobus for being here so early; I like to give myself plenty of time when I travel,” to which I responded, “No problem. It is always better to be safe, rather…

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    Conference Preview: Gracious Apologetics: Building Bridges to the Human Heart Through Similar Interests

    Conference Preview: Gracious Apologetics: Building Bridges to the Human Heart Through Similar Interests

    I personally was really hoping that the 4th Annual Mockingbird Conference would finally be all about end time prophecy, and my break out session was going to be entitled “Are You Rapture Ready?” Alas, that is not the case so instead I will be leading a session on apologetics. I am a firm believer in the apologetic task; however this session will not be a fact seminar where one is given a bunch of proofs for Jesus’ resurrection, and the validity of the New Testament (although believe me the facts and the evidence exist).Instead this session on apologetics will…

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    A Lenten Reflection on the Isenheim Altarpiece

    A Lenten Reflection on the Isenheim Altarpiece

    Matthias Grunewald’s crucifixion, one of the panels of the Isenheim altarpiece, was commissioned for the church hospital of St. Anthony in Colmar France, which specialized in comforting those dying with skin diseases. Grunewald kept the background of this powerful piece of religious art intentionally dark to highlight the horrific scene: especially Christ’s smashed feet, his contorted arms, and twisted hands. The cross is bowed to demonstrate Jesus bearing the sins of the world. The most shocking part of the piece, however, is that Jesus also has a skin disease, and his loin cloth is the same as the wrappings worn…

    Read More > > >

    The Power and The Glory and Luke 19

    The Power and The Glory and Luke 19

    I was intrigued by a recent article in The NY Times entitled, “Mexican Church Takes a Closer Look at Donors,” which looks at the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico. Apparently it receives large donations from Mexican drug lords. It’s convicting for several reasons, and certainly made the ash on my head yesterday feel a little bit more real.

    The first element I found convicting, especially during the season of Lent, was the idea of “an acceptable offering and sacrifice.” The article opens by pointing out that the Roman Catholic Chapel in Pachuca, Mexico has a plaque that honors its…

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    Mere Anglicanism 2011

    Mere Anglicanism 2011

    The 2011 Mere Anglicanism conference this year is held in thanksgiving for the faithful witness of Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison to the Word of God’s Grace. It will be held at St. Phillips Church in Charleston S.C. January 20-23. Some of Mockingbird’s favorite theologians will be speaking at the conference.

    This is one of my favorite quotes from Bishop Allison:

    “A sergeant told a grim joke to his trainees during the Second World War, which shows the real flaw in the Pharisaic understanding of Christianity. A man stopped on a dirt road to help get another man’s car our…

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