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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.

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    After Confession: From the Church, the Couch, and Civilized Life

    After Confession: From the Church, the Couch, and Civilized Life

    This post comes to us from Geoff Holsclaw, who was featured on the Mockingcast last week. Geoff is Affiliate Professor of Theology at Northern Seminary, and just published Transcending Subjects: Augustine, Hegel, and Theology. He is also co-host of his own podcast, Theology on Mission. 

    From the confessional at church, to the therapists couch, and now in every public setting, we confess ourselves. It is the civilized thing to do.

    Of course we bear our hearts without understanding them. We offer our souls without having grasped them. We confess our selves without really knowing them.

    Truly I say, confession has become our new creed, and…

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    Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Rise of the “Nones”

    Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Rise of the “Nones”

    Welcome to the second installment of act three 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, the entire series can be found here.

    Last time we met Dr. Jean Twenge, author and professor, who has documented in our nation “a clear cultural shift toward individualism and focusing on self.” With the help of Ayn Rand and Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, we also asked ourselves, In our radically selfish world, what god do we now serve?

    Fifteen years after her groundbreaking research on individualism, Dr. Twenge helps us answer…

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    Toiling to Make Film Life from Comic Death: Batman v Superman Invokes and Bungles Two Canons

    Toiling to Make Film Life from Comic Death: Batman v Superman Invokes and Bungles Two Canons

    From our comic book expert, Wenatchee the Hatchet, here is a critical take on the recent blockbuster, Batman v Superman.

    Prelude to Two Problems

    As the “dawn” of the DC cinematic franchise, Batman v Superman falls apart at what I would call the level of mythos. This film had the dual task of continuing the story of Henry Cavill’s Superman from Man of Steel while introducing a new Batman. But the failure of the film is in its invocation of the images, iconography and concepts of two different canons: the Judeo-Christian canon, and the canon of DC comics. It might be expected that the…

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    Shut Up and Dance With Me: Relief in a World of Noise – Sarah Condon

    If you’re sleepwalking into your Tuesday, this is exactly what you need. Here’s our first video from the New York Conference, from the Mexican Crackerbarrel herself.

    Shut Up And Dance With Me: Relief in a World of Noise – Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    From the Church Issue: 13 Signs of Bad Pastoral Care

    From the Church Issue: 13 Signs of Bad Pastoral Care

    Another glimpse into our Church Issue, which is out now! If you haven’t gotten one, order it here. If your beloved but painfully awkward pastor/therapist hasn’t received one, subscribe them here.

    How many times have you needed a shoulder to cry on, and got cold moralism, instead? How many times have you dealt the flip side of that same coin? Here is a list for anyone who has ever received counsel or has ever given counsel and wondered what went wrong. They are a paraphrased version from Frank Lake: The Man and His Work, by John Peters, and were compiled by…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: Isaiah Chapter Sixty Two Verses One Through Four

    This one comes from Bonnie Poon Zahl.

    For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. (Isaiah 62:1-4, ESV)

    imageThere’s the old Shakespeare line, “What’s in a name? / That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo and Juliet). Juliet may not have made much of names, but our names have the tendency to transcend us. In the Bible, significant changes in a person’s life were accompanied by a change in their name: Abram was re-named Abraham—“Father of Nations”—after God declared him to be so (Gen 17:5). Jacob was re-named Israel—“God contended”—after wrestling with God until morning (Gen 32:28). Simon became Peter, the “rock” on which God would build his Church (Mark 3:16). When God re-names people, He creates a new hope, something stretching much further beyond who they’ve known themselves to be. By changing their names, He changes their lives.

    Although names seem to possess less inherent meaning today, we still wish to be known as people whose lives mean something. We strive to maximize the positive traits by which we are known and minimize the jeopardizing ones, and sometimes we wish we were someone else altogether. We are not usually completely happy with who we are: we know well what we lack, yet we also lack the means to really change it. It is hard for us to render a new name in any sustainable or significant way.

    And yet the old story of a new hope is true for us: “you shall be called a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.” God promises that we will be known by a new name—a name that, in renaming, transforms us. No longer shall we be called “Forsaken,” but “Righteous;” no longer shall we be called “Desolate,” but “Delight of God.” The Lord has and will continue to transform us, and the first step is to call us by something different than what we are; He will name our righteousness into existence.

    Life Expectancy (In a World of Expectations): A New York Conference Review

    Life Expectancy (In a World of Expectations): A New York Conference Review

    A little self-referential praise never hurt, right? Grateful for this one from Sarah Denley Herrington. 

    Last week my husband and I were fortunate enough to attend Mockingbird’s ninth annual conference at St. George’s Church in New York City. We grew up in the South, were at one time New Yorkers (I use that title very liberally), and are now living back in Mississippi with our two young children.

    Courtesy of Melody Moore Photography

    The conference title, Relief: The Boldness of Grace in a World of Expectation, as usual, could not have been more apropos to my life and circumstances. I’m seven months pregnant…

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    2016 NYC Conference Recordings: Relief!

    2016 NYC Conference Recordings: Relief!

    Thank you again to everyone who helped put on this year’s conference in NYC, especially our invaluable friends at Calvary St. George’s. Feels rather poetic that a conference about “grace in world of expectation” so exceeded our own. Praise God for that.

    We’re once again making the recordings available gratis; we only ask that those who were not able to be there in person consider making a donation to help cover the cost of the event. Download links are followed by an in-line player for each recording (with the exception of Eric Klinenberg’s talk, which was an in-person-only deal and CJ Green’s, which was a technology-is-the-enemy deal)….

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    PZ’s Podcast: Mystic Traveler

    69beb7a301876b0c0ac7cb7955465776EPISODE 215

    What are we all looking for in this life…? The new being, rebirth, meeting your inner child again for the first time. However you name it, whatever you make of it, the truth of reality is this: we all withhold a few things from everyone including and especially from ourselves. We lose so much in the withholding and the repression, which is quite understandable. But there is hope! You can go forward through going backward. Aldous Huxley did it. He became a theological psychologist par excellence, and we can follow his lead. A graced archeological excavation can produce so much in the way of the teleological imagination.

     

    The introduction to this cast is done by Bill Borror and Scott Jones, co-hosts of New Persuasive Words. Scott also hosts The Mockingcast.

    Failed Evangelist

    Failed Evangelist

    This comes to us from our friend Emily Skelding. 

    I’m a terrible evangelist.

    I have never once, not ever, converted anyone. I am suspicious of emotional altar calls after a sermon that starts at a whisper and ends with shouts.  I’ve never wandered a Florida beach converting a hungover college kid. In fact, I doubt these transformations. They ring tinny to my ear.

    Sometimes I’m not sure if I even qualify as a born-again Christian.

    Still, I cling to the idea of rebirth. God’s grace, the process of God holding my cracked soul to make it healed and whole, carries me through life’s…

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    Love at Arm’s Length: The Dark Knight Can Do Anything but Give You His Heart

    Love at Arm’s Length: The Dark Knight Can Do Anything but Give You His Heart

    Wenatchee the Hatchet continues his series, “Justice Has Its Price: The Exiles and Orphans of the Justice League,” with this look at the character of Batman.

    Over the years the Batman given to us by Kevin Conroy, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm has done a lot of things. Batman has foiled the Joker repeatedly. He has overcome worlds of illusion to stop the Mad Hatter. He has thwarted Ra’s al Ghul’s plans to kill most of humanity. He has outsmarted the Riddler. He’s done battle with Lex Luthor. He’s battled magicians. He’s even managed to dodge Darkseid’s Omega beams. It would seem there’s…

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    Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Monster of “We”

    Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Monster of “We”

    Welcome to the first installment of Act Three 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, the entire series can be found here. 

    In Act One of this series we discovered that as a society we cannot agree on a collectively applicable definition of greed. In Act Two we examined a half dozen answers to the question Why. Starting today we’ll take a deeper dive into the philosophy and theology of greed, with a look at how America’s long-celebrated individualism has evolved.

    In his 2005 book Greed, Dr. Julian Edney…

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