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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 Gospel as the Dynamite of Salvation and Vocation as the Scaffolding of the Christian Life: 500 Years of Salvation ~ Scott Keith

    This video from our recent conference in NYC features the executive director of 1517 the Legacy Project, Scott Keith:

    The Gospel as the Dynamite of Salvation and Vocation as the Scaffolding of the Christian Life: 500 Years of Salvation ~ Scott Keith from Mockingbird on Vimeo

    Spider-Man: Homecoming … With Frosting So Good You Can Forget There's Something Off About the Cake

    Spider-Man: Homecoming … With Frosting So Good You Can Forget There’s Something Off About the Cake

    Grateful for this look at Spider-Man: Homecoming, from our friend Jeremiah Lawson.

    When I finished watching the new Spider-Man film with my brother, he told me he liked it, but he couldn’t help but think of a military joke—if you break the rules and you fail, you get a courtmartial, but if you succeed beyond everyone’s hopes and dreams, you get a medal. That doesn’t mean that what you decided to do was necessarily ever a good idea. There are other ways of expressing this kind of concern about Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general, but that joke…

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    Yet Another "New Start": Karl Holl on Luther's Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

    Yet Another “New Start”: Karl Holl on Luther’s Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

    The following is an excerpt from Karl Holl’s booklength essay, “What Did Luther Understand by Religion?” (trans. Meuser & Wietzke) in which Holl draws out Luther’s theology beginning with his history. As you’ll see, Holl maintains a refreshing emphasis on everyday heart-level matters, compared to other scholars of his caliber. Still, you might want to put on your academic spectacles for this one—but it’s worth it. I started transcribing the first paragraph and just couldn’t stop there. Enjoy!

    Like Jesus, [Luther] tried to show his contemporaries that their apparently intense piety, the piety of good works, devotions, and mortifications, was actually…

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    Laughing at Our Trophies

    Laughing at Our Trophies

    Another amazing one from Chad Bird, author of Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul. 

    A few years ago I ran my first half-marathon. And won. By accident.

    The northern panhandle city of Amarillo, Texas, boasts scant trees, passels of cowboys, and a handful of runners who—taking Bob Seger literally—are always “running against the wind.”

    It was no exception on September 1, 2009, when I lined up with hundreds of them to run 13.1 miles in the ever-predictable 25-30 mph gusts. I was a relative newbie to the sport. Running had morphed into my healthiest anti-depressant. So with a few 5ks and 10ks under…

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    The Prayers of the Phoenix

    Another fantastic excerpt from Eerdmans’ forthcoming reprint of the 16th century Four Birds of Noah’s Ark. This is the introduction to the fourth and final bird, the Phoenix, a collection of prayers relating to death and resurrection. 

    The fourth bird is now flying out toward you; spread, therefore, your arms wide open to welcome it, and this Phoenix will carry you up and on to a second life that shall be ever, everlasting.

    Among all birds, the Phoenix lives the longest–so must our prayers fly up in bright flames all the days of our lives. We must be petitioners even to the last hour and last minute of our breath. The Phoenix has the most beautiful feathers in the world, and prayers are the most beautiful wings by which we may mount into heaven. There is but one Phoenix upon earth, and it has but one tune in which God delights, and that is the prayer of a sinner. 

    When the Phoenix knows she must die, she builds a nest of all the sweetest spices, and there, looking steadfastly at the sun, she beats her wings in its hottest beams and between them kindles a fire among those sweet spices and so burns herself to death. So, when we desire to die in the vanities of the world, we must build up a nest and fill it with faithful sighs, groans, tears, fasting and prayer, sackcloth and ashes–all of which are sweet spices in the nostrils of the Lord–and then, fixing our eyes upon the cross where the glorious Son of God paid the ransom of our sins, we must not cease till, with the wings of faith and repentance, we have kindled his mercy and in that sweet flame have all our fleshly corruptions consumed and purified. Out of those dead ashes of the Phoenix does a new Phoenix rise. And even so, out of the ashes of that one repentance shall we be regenerate and born anew.

    Out of the purest flames of love, Christ kindled a fire that drank up the wrath of his Father, a fire in which all people should have been drowned for their sins, and in that fire did he die to redeem us who were lost. Yet he did not leave it there. To have died for us would have been worth nothing if he hadn’t also, like a true Phoenix, been raised up again. As a grain of wheat is cast into the earth and there first rots and then comes to life again and after yields itself in a tenfold measure, so was our Savior cast into his sepulcher, where his dead body lay for a time and then came to life again and then was raised up. And in that rising did he multiply those benefits that before he sowed among us, when he was torn in pieces and scattered on the cross.

    When he died, he died alone, but when he did rise, he did not rise alone, for in his resurrection do we all ascend…

    Beneath the Pelagian Surface of Moana ~ Charlotte Getz

    This next talk from the recent Mockingbird conference in NYC features our own Charlotte Getz, unpacking the theology of 2016’s Disney hit Moana. Enjoy!

    Beneath the Pelagian Surface of Moana ~ Charlotte Getz from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Eight Verse Thirty-One Through Chapter Nine Verse One

    Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Eight Verse Thirty-One Through Chapter Nine Verse One

    This morning’s devotion was written by Sam Bush.

    Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” (Mark 8:31-9:1, NRSV)

    I was in the store the other day and…

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    A Talk with Friedrich Nietzsche – Adam Zagajewski

    Most highly respected Professor Nietzsche,
    sometimes I seem to see you
    on a sanatorium terrace at dawn
    with fog descending and song bursting
    the throats of the birds.

    Not tall, head like a bullet,
    you compose a new book
    and a strange energy hovers around you.
    Your thoughts parade
    like enormous armies.

    You know now that Anne Frank died,
    and her classmates and friends, boys, girls,
    and friends of her friends, and cousins
    and friends of her cousins.

    What are words, I want to ask you, what
    is clarity and why do words keep burning
    a century later, though the earth
    weighs so much?

    Clearly nothing links enlightenment
    and the dark pain of cruelty.
    At least two kingdoms exist,
    if not more.

    But if there’s no God and no force
    welds elements in repulsion,
    then what are words really, and from whence
    does their inner light come?

    And from where does joy come, and where
    does nothingness go? Where is forgiveness?
    Why do the incidental dreams vanish at dawn and the
    great ones keep growing?

    (Translated by Renata Gorczynski)

    (Young) Woman at the Well

    (Young) Woman at the Well

    A wonderful little story from our friend Richard Mammana: 

    In the narthex of my parish church there is a beautiful monument of American religious art: two ceiling-high wooden tablets, both with gold lettering on a black background. One carries the text of the Ten Commandments. The Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer are on the other.

    The Law, the Gospel, and the Church’s simplest roadmap of belief are contained here in little space and in one field of vision.

    J. Kirk Richards

    This is a frequent element of protestant Anglican church adornment, usually fixed on the eastern wall where all can see it:…

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    Now Available: The Love & Death Issue!

    Now Available: The Love & Death Issue!

    Ladies and gentlemen, lovers and leavers, killers and killed, the time has arrived: The Love & Death Issue is at the printers and death is lovelier than ever. You are going to love it to death!
    If you want to order a copy for yourself and all the people you love, go here. They will be shipping out late next week! Check out the magazine site for a look inside. And, as always, a subscription is always an option.
    Until then, here’s the Table of Contents and Opener from Ethan.



    When You Marry the Wrong Person by David Zahl

    The Confessional

    Memento Mori:…

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    Champions She Shall Never Want

    Champions She Shall Never Want

    The following post was written by our friend, Matt Milliner, professor of art history at Wheaton College. 

    I recently decided to leave Mockingbird. I do not mean that I was convinced over a bourbon-fueled colloquy with a recent Catholic convert that Sylvester Prierias was unimpeachably correct to respond to Luther’s attack on indulgences by defending papal authority. Nor do I mean that I brushed up on recent Pauline scholarship and determined that Luther’s existential read of Romans is passé. Least of all do I mean, by leaving Mockingbird, that the Mainline Protestant status quo—with its newfangled gospel of intersectionality—holds any lingering appeal….

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    Freedom in Christ, or, How Can We Do What You Do…On The Dance Floor ~ Drew Rollins

    A timely meditation from the best dancer hands down at this year’s EpiscoDisco, Drew Rollins. From our recent conference in NYC:

    Devotion: Freedom in Christ or How Can We Do What You Do…On The Dance Floor ~ Drew Rollins from Mockingbird on Vimeo.