Mockingbird is devoted to connecting the Christian message with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.
An enormously heartfelt thank-you to everyone who helped put on our Fall Conference in Houston, TX: our friends at St. Thomas Episcopal Church for hosting, The Magills for playing such fantastic music (click here to check out their stuff on iTunes), Mark and David Babikow for being such lifesavers on the audio/visual front, Jim and Tricia Zucker for making the Slaid Cleaves connection, and many more. We are beyond grateful.
We’re once again making the recordings available at no charge; we only ask that those who were not able to attend this year *consider* making a donation to help cover the…
This morning’s jolt of java comes from the one and only John Zahl.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)
You want to be in control, but you are not. Because of this, the heart-felt experience of faith will always entail a kind of personal deconstruction, rather than some kind of building up. The more you get to know the God who loves sinners, the more you will see your own need for Him.
Sometimes people ask God to build in them all the things that they think they need in order to face life successfully. He will do no such thing! Why would He turn you into a vessel that has no need for Him? Faith means trusting Him to be all the things you need Him to be, despite your own inadequacies, and, for that matter, in light of the fact that you don’t actually know what you need or what success actually looks like. He won’t give you strength; He will be your strength. God deconstructs. God intervenes. God prevents.
Back from Texas, here’s yesterday morning’s devotion, just a day late. It comes from Paul Walker.
For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. (2 Corinthians 1:19-20, ESV)
“Yes” is a gracious word. Yes, please come in. Yes, please stay for dinner. Yes, I would love to go with you. Yes, of course, take all the time you need.
“No” is a forbidding word. No, you may not come. No, there isn’t room for you. No, I’m too busy. No, it was due yesterday.
Human beings are both Yes and No. Most children learn to nod “yes” and shake their…
More Dr. Michael Nicholson goodness on his favorite atheists series! Check out last week’s pre-Camus for an introduction to the series.
Thomas Nagel (1937 – )
Thomas Nagel had me at, “I confess to an ungrounded assumption of my own, in not finding it possible to regard the design alternative as a real option. I lack the sensus divinitatis that enables—indeed compels—so many people to see in the world the expression of divine purpose as naturally as they see in a smiling face the expression of human feeling” (Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False,…
There is a current meltdown in more than one venerable institution within the Christian Church nationally. It’s like the explosions at the beginning of Cloverfield. They seem a little far away at first, but, turns out, they’re headed right for you.
I try to interpret these escalations of conflict within the Church as an expression of incompatibility — the incompatibility of institutions and institutional process with the improvisation and inspiration that mark genuine spiritual religion. (The phrase “improvisation and inspiration” to describe what ought to be, comes from Lloyd Fonvielle.) I have to say, institutions and property and hierarchy are in general incompatible with the teachings of the Founder. Emil Brunner stated this unarguably in 1951 in his book The Misunderstanding of the Church.
“Karma” comes into this, too, tho’ it’s a word I’m a little uncomfortable using, as it sounds awfully Eastern in this context. Meanwhile, Christianity has the same idea! Not to mention Eric Clapton and the Band, who electrified the world once in their performance of “Further on up the Road”. It’s striking how one’s persecutors yesterday become the persecuted themselves, today. As Marshall Schomberg at the Boyne cried to his Huguenot troops, pointing at the French soldiers across the river, “Voici vos persecuteurs!” You never have to worry that someone’s going to get his or her comeuppance. It always happens. You’re not going to have to lift a finger.
Finally, there’s the hope of the Contraption. God is actually with us. He’s neither against us nor indifferent. He is pro nobis, and that’s nothing new. Here, tho’, we can also look to Jane Austen. She’s going to have the last word today.
This podcast is dedicated to Jacob and Melina Smith.
Timely for the onset of October baseball, but also for the arrival of the third issue of the magazine, which is now available for pre-order on our magazine page. This one comes from our second issue, a memoir from the bench, graciously told by the hilarious Michael Sansbury.
I was always afraid of Jenny Farmer, and that’s probably why we became fast friends. Jenny was the queen of the Parkview High School Theater Department, destined, everyone thought, for Broadway or Hollywood, whichever she wanted really. “I’d rather be famous than happy,” she once told a group of my friends. And they…
This is the transcript of a talk given over the weekend by Mbird’s Will McDavid at The Olmsted Salon in NYC, loosely based on our recent Eden and Afterward: A Mockingbird Guide to Genesis. For the audio, go to the Olmsted site here, and to order the book, go here.
I first want to speak a little about why I wrote this book. I think the relative decline of the Christian religion among intellectuals has resulted in a few interesting consequences for the Bible. People now are relatively less likely to study the letters of Paul, in which he lays out much…
This morning’s devotion comes from John Zahl who, as a matter of fact, has a book of sermons coming out next month, called Sermons of Grace. One of these sermons will be featured in the Fall Issue of the magazine.
To the church of God in Corinth… together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours. (1 Corinthians 1:2, NIV)
When I lived in New York City, my roommate and I often found ourselves walking from one place to another at night. Coincidentally, it seemed like every time we did this, a random…
Over at the John Jay Institute, there’s a symposium happening on the topic of “Christian imagination.” One of the papers submitted was a guest post by our own Will McDavid. The entire thing is available at their site, here, but an excerpt below:
“James K.A. Smith, a recent lynchpin of smart Evangelicalism in America, has embedded a myth in the conversation about imagination and desire: “compelling visions, over time, seep into and shape our desire and thus fuel dispositions toward them” (Desiring the Kingdom). This idea lay behind Smith’s defense of Christian schools in the wake of a Christianity Today blogger making an…
Today’s devotional comes from the Rev. John Zahl:
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile… the same Lord is Lord of all… (Romans 10:12, NIV)
In this passage, the Apostle Paul denies the legitimacy of a particular strain of categorization. He suggests that “there is no difference between Jew and Gentile.” He wants to get rid of something that runs rampant in each and every society, and in so doing, achieves something incredibly rare. What does he want to get rid of, and what does he hope to accomplish?
“Jew and Gentile” are racial and religious distinctions. Paul assumes that his…
This comes to us from Thomas Deatsch.
“Continual loss” defines my feeling every baseball season. It’s my fault. I choose to follow the Chicago Cubs. No one forces me at gunpoint to root for these loveable losers. Every fall, when the season is waning, the Cubbies not only fail to reach the World Series, but more often than not, they do not even make the playoffs. I now believe it is a “merciful impasse.” The phrases “continual loss” and “merciful impasse” not only help me understand baseball, but how life, with its many cul-de-sacs and dead-ends, can have hope and meaning.