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Mockingbird is devoted to connecting the Christian message with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.


Author Archive

    Hopelessly Devoted: First Timothy Chapter Two Verses Five and Six

    This morning’s devotion comes to us from the Rev. Jim Munroe. 

    For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as the ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6, ESV)

    In 1492, there were two prominent families in Ireland, the Butlers and the Fitzgeralds. They were in the midst of a bitter feud.

    James_Butler,_1st_Duke_of_Ormonde_by_William_WissingSir James Butler and his followers took refuge in the chapter house of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. They bolted themselves in, seeking protection from Gerald Fitzgerald and his men.

    As the siege wore on, Fitzgerald had a change of heart. Here were two families, living in the same country, worshipping the same God, in the same church, trying to kill each other. So Fitzgerald called to Butler, inviting him to unbolt the door and come out. Butler, understandably wary of treachery, refused.

    So Fitzgerald seized his spear, cut away a hole in the door large enough for his hand, and then thrust his entire arm through the hole. Fitzgerald’s arm, extending into the chapter house, was completely vulnerable, totally undefended, and utterly available for being chopped off.

    James Butler grasped Gerald Fitzgerald’s hand with his own and then opened the door. The two men embraced, and the feud was ended. Thus was born the expression, “Chancing the arm.”

    That door and that hole still exist today. You can go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and see that evidence of chancing the arm.

    But you don’t have to go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to be encountered by the one who chanced his arm for you. For you, and whatever feuds you face with whatever enemies stand behind your door, that arm through the door is the arm of Jesus Christ. Chanced for you, his arm through the door bears on its hand the scar of a nail hole. It is offered to you, barricaded inside all of your own inner-chapter houses.

    Three Hard to Absorb Letters

    Three Hard to Absorb Letters

    Here’s one from our podcasting guru, Scott Jones:

    This week Charlie Sheen revealed to the world he is HIV positive. In an interview with Matt Lauer, Sheen describes the moment he received the diagnosis:

    … it started with what I thought based on a series of cluster headaches and insane migraines and sweating the bed, completely drenched two, three nights in a row, that I was emergency hospitalized. I thought I had a brain tumor. I thought it was over. Um… after a battery of tests and spinal taps, all that crap, it uh… they walked in the room and said, ‘Boom….

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    Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem, Pt.  10: The Perverse Incentive

    Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem, Pt. 10: The Perverse Incentive

    We’ve made it to the tenth installment of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, you can find them here. New installments will be posted every two weeks, on Tuesdays.

    On a quest for a generally applicable definition of greed, we’re working our way through nine common attributes or factors frequently raised in the discussion, and today we’ve reached our penultimate concept, best articulated by a Mockingbird conference participant last April: “You are greedy if you want, take, or have more than you’ve earned.”

    It’s a comfortably logical…

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    PZ’s Podcast: Is Paris Burning? (1966)

    EPISODE 207

    Here are a few thoughts concerning the atrocity attacks in Paris. I talk about Islam (and “Islamophobia”), Syrian migration into Europe, Original Sin and “low” vs. “high” anthropology, reaction-formations among young men when drones are over their heads and they have no control, let alone “buy-in”; and finally, a threatening experience Mary and I had on Times Square recently. Call this PZ’s perspective on a current (big) event.

    Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead 1969

    And the Dead Shall Rise (And They Shall Be Grateful)

    This one comes to us from Luke Roland:

    Last month, Paul Zahl did a series of talks at Calvary-St. George’s Church about “what happens when you die,” and he asked a question that really struck me. “If you really want to know what is going on with yourself, what kind of music excites you at this point in your life?” In his view, the music that you are drawn to is a window into what’s happening inside you. After the talk, I mentioned to Paul that all I’m listening to is The Grateful Dead and, he responded “There has to be…

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    From Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians”

    From Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians”

    An addendum to episode 206 of PZ’s Podcast (“The Rich Man and Lazarus”), courtesy of the host himself:

    A few weeks ago a new play finished its New York run, entitled “The Christians”. The play is by Lucas Hnath.

    Initially, I was reluctant to see “The Christians”, believing it was probably a hatchet job on evangelical Christianity. Well, it wasn’t, and it’s not.

    Here is a quotation from the play. The ‘Associate Pastor’, who is conservatively evangelical in the traditional sense, is explaining himself to the ‘Pastor’, who has become a liberal in theology.

    Up to this point in the play, the audience’s sympathies…

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    Me, Myself and iPod

    Me, Myself and iPod

    We’re kneedeep in magazine shipments today at Mbird HQ, so thought we’d whet appetites with another preview of the new issue. To order click here. This one comes to us from ur-Mockingbird Jady Koch:

    “Jady, here, listen to this.”

    I remember it like it was yesterday; I was sitting in the back row of a late 80s conversion van, complete with shag carpeting and an old-school TV up in the headrest above the driver’s seat. We were heading to Houston, to go to (the now defunct) Astro World as part of a sixth grade band trip, and as our chaperone was turning…

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    PZ’s Podcast: Unforeseen & The Rich Man and Lazarus

    PZ’s Podcast: Unforeseen & The Rich Man and Lazarus

    Episode 205: Unforeseen

    It’s not an abstraction! It’s more than something just to talk about or consider. It could happen to you. In fact, it probably will.

    I’m talking about unforeseen death. Some people hold on for a long time, even when they don’t really want to. Other people want to hold on, but illness intervenes and they go a dozen years earlier than they expected. (You never expect it.) Other people had a bad habit in youth and maybe adulthood, and it catches them later. They never thought they would be hooked up to a respirator personally.

    “I Had Too Much To…

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    Issue 6 of The Mockingbird – Now Available!!

    Talk about a happy accident: The Technology Issue hits at pretty much the exact same time as our snazzy new magazine website – one where digital versions of all the past issues are now available. This time around, we’ve got writing on distracted parents and religious bloggers, smartphone addictions and spiritual search functions, pornographic confusion and nostalgic Walkmen, and much, much more. You can preview the insides (and some of the incredible artwork) on the new site. Could not be more proud of this one!


    • kQISpnj1TbLk2ewYTOjR0xm9agl0Icsi2s2mJcKMJBsoAGa_ifMbysAueanr23V1Ci9os9r3lsUURp7X-xZxNn0JE9bcaSKeA228qXWviAd4h_S_XIHHcC6SuBMDEwOr0iWU=s0-d-e1-ftOpener: Delete History
    • What 1,792 Blogposts Have Taught Me about the Internet by David Zahl
    • The Confessional
    • Automatic for the People: A Conversation with Nicholas Carr
    • Me, Myself and iPod by Jady Koch
    • Glossary Time: Incurvatus in Se
    • Sending Morse Code, a poem by Dick Allen
    • Is Google Searching Me? Knowledge and Discovery in the Internet Age by Ethan Richardson
    • For the Record
    • All in All: Childhood, Security Objects, and Grace in the Digital Age by Stephanie Phillips
    • Revisiting the Second Grade Classroom, a poem by Dick Allen
    • Distracted Parents and the Media of Our Discontent by Ian Olson
    • Unreconciled and Disembodied: Why Sex on the Internet Sucks by Sarah Condon
    • Surfing the Net, a poem by Dick Allen
    • Time to Pull Over: Algorithms, Self-Driving Cars, and an Unkind Word about Fear by Bryan Jarrell
    • Mixed Messages: A Sermon by Aaron Zimmerman

    To be sure you don’t miss an issue, subscribe today. Please note – all print versions now come with free digital copies. Prices are as follows:

    • $44 (plus shipping) for 4 issues
    • $120 for 10 issues, shipping included
    • A la carte for $13/issue (past ones for less) and $8/digital only.

    All monthly donors to the organization automatically receive a complimentary subscription to The Mockingbird–You can sign up here. It’s a huge help.

    Bonus Track: DZ previewed a bit of his article in a video for the Diocese of Texas:

    David Zahl: Technology, Distraction and the Soul from The Episcopal Diocese of Texas on Vimeo.

    Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem, Pt. 9: The Man in the Mirror

    Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem, Pt. 9: The Man in the Mirror

    Don’t miss this ninth installment of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, you can find them here. New installments will be posted every two weeks, on Tuesdays.

    “On Wall Street, a Culture of Greed Won’t Let Go,” The New York Times headline warned on July 16, 2013.

    Turns out that “industry insiders,” 250 of them, responded to an online survey and 23% said that “they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace.” But if the horror of purloined paper clips didn’t convince you, the Times…

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    From the Archives: Wedding Dresses and Wounded Healers

    From the Archives: Wedding Dresses and Wounded Healers

    Kicking off a new “column” today! Every Monday afternoon we’ll be highlighting something from our archive you may not have seen before, or is worth a second look. We thought we’d begin with one of the more enduring entries from our maiden publication, Judgment & Love. J&L is a collection of 35 true-life stories about what happens when people experience love in the midst of deserved or expected judgment. This comes to us from The Rev. Nancy Hanna:

    She came into my office three weeks after her mother’s funeral, at which I had officiated. She was deep in the throes…

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    It Almost Kills You

    It Almost Kills You

    This amazing find in the world of Moth comes to us from Brooks Tate. 

    Have you ever had this experience? You are driving, listening to talk radio, and you find yourself in the midst of the most remarkable story. Some voice is just talking and saying the most amazing things. You find that you’re being pulled into a trance…until, well, you arrive at the office or gym or wherever it was you were driving to, click off the ignition and keep going about your day.

    I had this experience a few weeks ago. Twice. In the same weekend I heard the same…

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