About Mockingbird

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

Contact

Author Archive
    The Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and Cultural Christianity in the Deep South

    The Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and Cultural Christianity in the Deep South

    This one comes to us from Oscar Price:

    The Alabama State House of Representatives recently passed a bill which, if approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, would create a ballot measure to permit the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools.  That the sponsor of the bill did not actually know the Ten Commandments did little to deter his colleagues, who passed the bill by an overwhelming majority.

    This is precisely the cultural climate of which Ross Douthat writes in Sunday’s New York Times – a culture in which Christianity, or some form of it, is so mainstream, and “traditional” values so…

    Read More »

    Hopelessly Devoted: Psalm Chapter Fifty One Verse Twelve

    Hopelessly Devoted: Psalm Chapter Fifty One Verse Twelve

    This morning’s devotion comes from Simeon Zahl.

    Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12, NRSV)

    The psalmist brings two things to bear here:

    First, it is okay to ask God for joy. Joy is good. The reality of sin and of human limitations, and the truth of the cost of atonement, are no excuse for being grim and boring. Quite the reverse! Secure in God and His salvation, the true and natural way is to laugh at ourselves and at this world, and to seek and find the joy in it. God’s world…

    Read More »

    SPRING CONFERENCE IN NYC: Final Schedule (T-Minus 1 Day)

    640_mb1
    Tomorrow, Mockingbird is hosting its 7th Annual Conference in New York City! The event has come together beautifully, and the full schedule is below. While we always welcome last minute walk-ins, we ask that if you plan to dine with us, you pre-register on the conference website by Monday, 3/31.

    Thursday April 3rd

    2:00pm **  Pre-Conference Tour of the MoMA with Dan Siedell (email us at info@mbird.com to sign up)
    5:00pm Registration Opens!
    6:30pm “Can You See The Real Me?” – David Zahl
    7:30pm Dinner (click here for the jaw-dropping menu)

    Friday April 4th

    8:15am   Coffee and Registration
    9:00am   Morning Talks (30 minutes each)

    10:15am Coffee Break and Book Signing with Sally
    10:45am Morning Breakouts

    12:00pm  ** Lunch
    1:15pm Afternoon Talks (30 minutes each)

    2:30pm Afternoon Breakouts

    3:45pm Book Signing with Tim
    5:30pm Cocktail Reception in the St. George’s Chapel celebrating the release of Comfortable Words: Essays in Honor of Paul F.M. Zahl and PZ’s Panopticon (including Book Signing with Paul Zahl)
    7:00pm “Can You Say the Creed (And Still Call Your Soul Your Own)?” – Francis Spufford
    7:40pm Q&A and Book Signing with Francis
    8:00pm Dinner

    Saturday April 5th

    8:45am Coffee
    9:30am “The Rationalist Delusion and the Perils of Certainty” – Jonathan Haidt
    10:15am “On Not Being C.S. Lewis” – Francis Spufford
    10:45am   ** Q&A with Francis
    11:30am Conference Ends
    12:30pm Book Table closes

    CLICK HERE TO PRE-REGISTER TODAY!
    imgsrv.gocomics-20100907-000814

    New Music: Real Estate’s Atlas

    New Music: Real Estate’s Atlas

     

    This comes to us from Joey Shook.

    For a band that has been tirelessly pegged as “laid back”, Real Estate is quite the unassuming craftsmen.  Over their past three albums, Real Estate has proven themselves particularly devoted to consummating a distinct indie guitar rock sound that has been slightly improved upon with each new album.  Others of their indie peers have successfully taken the perfecting-one-sound route (looking at you Beach House), but Real Estate has been the most deceptively offhand in honing their craft, which has led to initial reactions pinning them as nothing more than “chill out” music or, worse,…

    Read More »

    NYC Preview: What’s My Faction? (Teen) Angst in Dystopian Young Adult Fiction and Film

    NYC Preview: What’s My Faction? (Teen) Angst in Dystopian Young Adult Fiction and Film

    This comes from Rev. Deborah Leighton. To view the other conference breakout titles, or to register, click here.

    “The more things change the more they stay the same.”  How many of us have reflected on our internal challenges as adults only to realize that they derive from the same root as the anxieties that possessed us at age 13?

    The powers that be have given YA author Veronica Roth a bad rap for writing a dystopian trilogy that rides the coattails of The Hunger Games without measuring up to its complexity and wider market appeal.  Indeed, time and money are much better…

    Read More »

    NYC Preview: Searching for Myself at the MoMA

    From art historian, curator, and King’s College professor Dan Siedell:

    Can’t wait for the Spring Mockingbird Conference? Let’s get an early start—at the Museum of Modern Art. Meet me on the front steps of St. Thomas Episcopal Church on W. 53rd and Fifth Avenue (1 West 53) at 2:00pm on Thursday, April 3.  We’ll walk next door to MoMA and spend a couple hours in front of some of the most important paintings in the modern tradition, paintings that challenge our expectations. In 1899 the young painter Henri Matisse purchased a little painting of Paul Cézanne’s at great financial sacrifice. In an interview in 1925, long after he had achieved international acclaim, Matisse confessed:

    cezanne.applesIf you only knew the moral strength, the encouragement that his remarkable example gave me all my life! In moments of doubt, when I was searching for myself, frightened sometimes by my discoveries, I thought: “If Cézanne is right, I am right.” And I knew that Cézanne had made no mistake.

    We’ll look at paintings by Matisse and Cézanne as well as many others (including an exhibition of Paul Gauguin’s work) and explore the fragility of identity through our experience of these awkward and wobbly pictures. The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about his long struggle to understand Cézanne’s paintings, which fascinated and perplexed him,

    I remember the puzzlement and insecurity of one’s first confrontation with his work…And then for a long time nothing, and suddenly one has the right eyes….

    As we walk through the galleries at MoMA, we’ll keep Matisse’s doubt and fear and Rilke’s “right eyes” before us. And we’ll explore how these strange looking pictures address us as vulnerable sufferers, in constant search for ourselves, and help us to learn to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5: 7).

    Admission is $25.

    The conference will be at St. George’s Episcopal Church in NYC April 3-5, 2014. For the full schedule, go here; to register, here.

    Hopelessly Devoted: Jeremiah Chapter One Verses One through Nine

    Hopelessly Devoted: Jeremiah Chapter One Verses One through Nine

    This morning’s devotion, following the Lectionary guide of the Devotional, comes from Andrew Pearson. And–did you know?–the Devotional is now available as an eBook? Check it out here.

    …Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all…

    Read More »

    The Fiddler of Driskill Hill

    This comes from Win Bassett.

    Louisiana poet David Middleton’s new collection, The Fiddler of Driskill Hill, is out from Louisiana State University Press. A review from The Quarterly Conversation states

    Middleton’s sensibility as poet and man is thoroughly Christian, Southern (or rather, Louisianan), and traditional, but he’s no unreconstructed romantic Rebel reliving the Civil War. His manner is meditative and elegiac, not rancorous or redneck. In a rare useful blurb on the back of the book, the North Carolina poet and novelist Fred Chappell describes Middleton’s work as “stately,” a quality more often associated with Milton than any contemporary poet.

    item65306“Upon the Publication of a First Book of Poems”
    The Burning Fields, LSU Press, 1991
     
    To see them here brings humbleness, not pride,
    Poems so well printed, jacketed, and then
    Braced by comments made by generous men
    Whose works my own could never stand beside.
    Here also is that absence, black despair,
    That stared from blank white spaces at my face
    Until the courted muse released her grace
    And words flowed into verses like a prayer.
     
    Such moments of eternity-in-time
    Confirm the Maker in each maker’s rhyme.

    Read excerpts from more of Middleton’s poems in the collection here, and purchase his new book from here.

    Mockingbird at the Movies: Ambition and Delusion in The Wind Rises

    Mockingbird at the Movies: Ambition and Delusion in The Wind Rises

    This one comes from Miyazaki guru Wenatchee the Hatchet:

    Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film is unlike anything he has written or directed before. Famous the world over for stories that delight young and old alike, his newest film has stirred up controversy. After decades of being used to Miyazaki giving us films for children, what do we make of his semi-fictional account of the aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi?

    While some discussion and debate about Miyazaki’s possible endorsement of Japanese imperialism or failure to properly denounce the atrocities of imperial Japan have already been circulating, these debates tend to fixate on the “what” of…

    Read More »

    NYC Preview: The Uglier Ditch: First Century Love in the Present Tense

    NYC Preview: The Uglier Ditch: First Century Love in the Present Tense

    This session will be led by none other than the Dr. Jono Linebaugh. To register for the conference today, click here.

    I have a question.

    “God is love” (1 John 4:8). That’s not a question, but it raises one—the one.

    That “God is love” is a confession grounded in the cross of Jesus Christ: “This is love…that God loved us and sent his Son to be a sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10, see also Romans 5:8). But, to sing an old song, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” No? Neither was I.

    Remember Lessing’s “ugly, broad ditch”? “Accidental truths of…

    Read More »

    Dilla’s Donuts:  The Ticks and Pops of the Hip Hop God

    Dilla’s Donuts: The Ticks and Pops of the Hip Hop God

    Another track from Joey Shook.

    Earlier this week, Long Island hip hop veterans De La Soul announced they would be releasing a new mixtape called Smell The D.A.I.S.Y. as a continuation of their 25th anniversary celebration– this coming only weeks after they released their entire catalog for free download (!) on their website.  Most notable about this announcement though was that the entire mixtape would use beats produced by the late Detroit hip hop producer J Dilla.

    Each year around this time, a number of articles and mixtapes surface on the internet to pay tribute to J Dilla’s legacy (this year’s most…

    Read More »

    NYC Conference: Talk Titles and PZ Reception!

    640_mb1

    Hard to believe we are less than four weeks away from our annual conference in New York City (4/3-5)! High time we announced the titles of the main talks, eh? Be sure to note the special reception taking place on the evening of the 4th:

    Thursday April 3rd

    6:30PM  “Can You See the Real Me? Lonely Ambition and the Roots of Freedom” – David Zahl

    Friday April 4th

    9:00AM  Morning Talks

    • “The Chimera of Identity in an Anxious World” – Paul Walker
    • “Communicating Grace Through Story” – Sally Lloyd-Jones*

    2:30PM  Afternoon Talks

    • “Nietzsche & Me” – Tim Kreider
    • “Thomas Cranmer’s Gospel of Divine Allurement” – Ashley Null

    5:30PM   Cocktail Reception in the St. George’s Chapel celebrating the release of Comfortable Words: Essays in Honor of Paul F.M. Zahl and PZ’s Panopticon (including Book Signing with Paul Zahl)

    7:00PM   “Can You Say the Creed (And Still Call Your Soul Your Own)?” – Francis Spufford

    Saturday April 5th

    9:30AM   “The Rationalist Delusion and the Perils of Certainty” – Jonathan Haidt

    10:15AM   “On Not Being C.S. Lewis” – Francis Spufford

    *Sally’s session will not be recorded or taped.

    BONUS TRACK: Check out the amazing menu that the caterers have prepared for us by clicking here. As you’ll see, we’ve upped the ante this year. There’s even word that Brooklyn Brewery may be sponsoring the event (say a prayer).

    PRE-REGISTER TODAY!

    An Introduction to the Excessive World of The Mockingbird

    An Introduction to the Excessive World of The Mockingbird

    This letter from the editor opens up our first issue of The Mockingbird, our quarterly magazine which has just arrived in mailboxes! To subscribe to The Mockingbird, click here. 

    “Tell me which kinds of excesses fascinate you, tell me which kinds of excesses appall you, and I will tell you who you are.” –Adam Phillips, “In Excess”

    If Phillips is right, and excesses are the ways we are revealed, then there’s plenty to say about what’s been passing through my Newsfeed. Just this week: Kanye West commissions a Kim Kardashian pop-art portrait from one of Andy Warhol’s cousins in Arizona….

    Read More »

    A Prayer for The Drive-By Truckers

    A Prayer for The Drive-By Truckers

    Another stellar contribution from Emily Stubbs:

    In regard to Patterson Hood—front man for the Drive-By Truckers—my friend Graham recently said, “As far as I am concerned, he’s right up there with Rudyard Kipling.” In my humble opinion, and I think it is obvious that at least Graham would agree with me here, Patterson Hood is the greatest storyteller of our generation (that is not to say that Mike Cooley and Jason Isbell, who is currently crushing it in his solo career, are not incredibly talented as well). Yes, maybe I am super biased because I am a Southerner and, moreover, I…

    Read More »

    A Memo to Hall of Famers

    A Memo to Hall of Famers

    This comes from Howie Espenshied.

    Emmitt Smith, NFL all-time rushing leader–fired!  Shannon Sharpe, an NFL hall of famer who finished his career atop all of the tight end categories–fired! (last week). Dan Marino, retired with the most broken records of any quarterback in history–fired! (also last week). Joe Montana, the greatest NFL QB of all-time, was encouraged to quit before he was fired. What do these four have in common?  They were all dismissed from the jobs they took immediately after their storybook NFL careers ended. “Network NFL Studio Analyst” was the career of choice.

    What happened?  Certainly they are all subject…

    Read More »