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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
    The Films of 2015 (So Far)

    The Films of 2015 (So Far)

    Here’s part one of a cinematic round up from Mbirder Josh Encinias. Part two to be published at the end of December.

    I have a confession to make: I see a lot of movies. Mostly older films in New York City’s repertory theaters, but I see my share of new ones. MoviePass makes it possible to feed my growing habit. But it wasn’t always this way. In the mid-2000’s, I quit watching films because I decided an enlightened spirituality shouldn’t be involved with contrivances like film. I wanted the reel deal; life unfiltered.

    The veneer of a life unfiltered is purity, or…

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    2015 Kanuga Renewal Conference: Rest


    An enormous thanks to all those who make last week’s Renewal Conference at Kanuga happen. It was such a joy and privilege to be asked to provide the content, and spend a week with such a wonderful group of people (in such a beautiful place). Best of all, the time itself proved genuinely restful for all involved. The recordings of the main sessions are now up on The Mockingpulpit as well as the Recordings page, but for those who would rather stream or download directly from here, you’re in luck.

    1. Rest for the Restless – David Zahl

    2. Christian Obstacles to Rest – Jacob Smith

    3. Rest in the Bible, part 1 – Jady Koch

    4. Rest in the Bible, part 2 – Jady Koch

    5. How Rest Is Applied – Jacob Smith

    6. The Life of Rest – David Zahl

    7. Closing Question and Answer Session – DZ, JS & JDK

    PZ’s Podcast: Scuppernong and Why Weepest Thou?

    PZ’s Podcast: Scuppernong and Why Weepest Thou?

    Episode 188: Scuppernong

    Tupper Saussy (1936-2007) was a composer and musician that helmed a group in the late 1960s who were called The Neon Philharmonic. Even if you have never heard of The Neon Philharmonic, you’ll recognize their famous hit entitled “Morning Girl”.

    Tupper Saussy — it’s a Huguenot name — was also a wanted fugitive for ten years, a devout and thoughtful Christian, a painter, a playwright, and a famous libertarian.

    What interests me, though, in addition to his music as The Neon Philharmonic, is his personal fate. Saussy came into the sights — by his “own deliberate fault” (BCP) — of…

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    Authority to Forgive and Two Kinds of Christianity – Nadia Bolz-Weber

    Another video from our 2015 NYC Conference, featuring a fantastic talk from Nadia Bolz-Weber:

    Nadia Bolz-Weber from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    The Mockingbird Issue 5 Out Now!

    The Forgiveness Issue is here! Order your (boyfriend’s, stepdad’s, daughter’s) copy today! To check out the Opener and Table of Contents, click here.


    Introducing Tupper Saussy

    Introducing Tupper Saussy

    It’s painful to have to label myself “artist” or “composer” or “writer” or “musical director.” Yet I was gifted with abilities to do what these persons do. Can’t I do the things without taking the names? One day the answer came in a letter from a Texas student of my works: “I’m not attracted to your uniqueness. I am attracted to the Substance of your uniqueness which is ‘Christ in you.’ It’s His workmanship that attracts me.” -Tupper Saussy

    Well, I lived his music, back in the late ’60s, but I didn’t understand the music.

    I’m talking about Tupper Saussy, who was…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Chapter Seven Verses Sixteen through Nineteen

    This morning’s devotion comes from the main character in this video

    You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:16-19, NASB)

    3039842-slide-s-5-hipstory-leadersI grew up in the South, where this was an often-quoted verse. And people said things like, “We’re not judging, we’re just being fruit inspectors.” I’m not kidding. I’ve actually heard people say that, and they believed it. Conversely, I recently came across this quote from good ol’ Honest Abe: “A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear falls at length into his lap.”

    Quaint as it may be, I feel like this relates much more to what Jesus is really talking about. If the standard is perfection, and we all fail equally, then how can anyone be a “fruit inspector”?

    I once listened to a preacher talk about how profoundly passive a metaphor the fruit tree was. Think about it: a tree has no input on where it’s planted, where it grows, or even what kind of fruit it produces. It’s completely at the mercy of external forces as to whether it even produces fruit to begin with. A tree has no say in the matter. It simply must be what it is.

    This is oddly comforting. God is working out His plan in, through, and all around us. It’s often difficult, but I know I can trust that. Passivity is the key to activity. Seems counterintuitive, but if we take Abe for his word, it actually works.

    From the Magazine: Heavy Loads in the Happy Workplace

    From the Magazine: Heavy Loads in the Happy Workplace

    Another look back at the Work and Play Issue. This one covering the history of happiness came from Ethan Richardson.  

    “It wasn’t just about building a business. It was about building a lifestyle that was about delivering happiness to everyone, including ourselves.”

    So says Tony Hsieh, internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and CEO of Hsieh is the author of the bestseller Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose and has just spent the last three years on his most ambitious venture yet. It is called the Downtown Project, a redevelopment ‘Techtopia’ in the middle of downtown Las Vegas—a $350…

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    PZ’s Podcast: Dead End (My Friend) and Norwegian Wood

    PZ’s Podcast: Dead End (My Friend) and Norwegian Wood

    Episode 186: Dead End (My Friend)

    Is there anything worse than romantic rejection when you’re at an impressionable age? Well, is there?

    When a ‘No’ in romance is not talked about, or brought to the light, but it just sits there, you never get healed. Never, ever, ever.

    Time does not heal all wounds. (The Four Tops expressed this perfectly in their 1972 single, “I’ll Never Change”.) Point is, if a romantic rejection is not somehow abreacted and brought into the light — and among Christian young people, it rarely is brought into the light — there are hundreds of thousands of romantic martyrdoms out there…

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    On Fishing and Fatherhood

    On Fishing and Fatherhood

    With Father’s Day almost upon us, a reflection on the subject courtesy of Scott Brand:

    Of all the things that I am ashamed of, one of the more ridiculous is this:

    I don’t know how to fish.

    On the scale of things that have caused shame in my life, being unable to “cast a line” (is that how you say it?) is slightly above being unable to swallow pills until I was 16 and considerably lower than wetting my pants in second grade. And yet I am far more willing to admit both of those factoids than I am my complete lack of…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

    Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

    This comes from Mockingbird Magician-in-Chief, Jim McNeely.

    I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (Ephesians 1:18-19)

    Going to the Mountain

    A couple of years ago I went with my friend Bart Shadbolt to Baker Lake, which a is an absolutely stunning glacier-fed lake near Bellingham Washington which is…

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    Inside The Forgiveness Issue (Opener and Table of Contents)

    Inside The Forgiveness Issue (Opener and Table of Contents)

    As Father’s Day rolls around, so does our Forgiveness Issue (purely coincidental). Here’s a teaser to the Fifth Issue of The Mockingbird–the Opener as well as the Table of Contents. Subscriptions and orders can be placed here.

    A Cop Out in the Woods

    It turns out writing about forgiveness is hard. Maybe we don’t experience it very much, maybe we haven’t had the words to describe it when we have experienced it, but it certainly seems easiest to picture forgiveness by what it isn’t. And there are plenty of examples. Whole genres of film, drama and music have dealt with narratives of…

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