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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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    Why Am I Dead? Revisiting The Black Parade

    Why Am I Dead? Revisiting The Black Parade

    This one comes to us from Caleb Stallings:

    Recently, I found myself listening to a favorite band from my adolescence: My Chemical Romance. I know, I know… The certifiable kings of emo rock! I should be embarrassed by this, right? Some people certainly think so. When I mentioned my appreciation for them recently on Facebook, I was met with an immediate and sarcastic reply, “So are you gonna start painting your nails black now?” The response got me thinking about why I used to (and still do) find MCR compelling. I can hardly think of a more vilified band from my…

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    Hiding in the Bathroom: Why Inspired Parenting Will Kill You – Sarah Condon

    Happy Memorial Day! While those of us in Cville catch our breath, we thought we’d share the second video from our recent conference in Tyler, TX, Sarah’s fabulous (and hilarious) session on parenting:

    Hiding in the Bathroom: Why Inspired Parenting Will Kill You – Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Water, Blood and Gasoline: The Full-Throttle Gospel of Mad Max: Fury Road

    Water, Blood and Gasoline: The Full-Throttle Gospel of Mad Max: Fury Road

    This one comes to us from Adam Morton, who tell us at the outset that, “While I do my best to minimize them, if you’re concerned about spoilers, rush out now and see the film.”

    “My name is Max. My world is fire and blood.” The film’s opening words declare an existence that is already hell, life and death hardly distinguishable under universal wrath. Small pockets of humanity, if not civilization, persist within the wastelands, the scraps of the Before Time (an Edenic memory of our world) savagely contested among desert warlords and their gangs of deranged motorheads. Ordinary folk are…

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    Law and Gospel on Kindle (and YouTube)

    Good news! Our new book, Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints) is now available on Kindle. We’re also excited to debut a little promotional video we made for the project (thank you Mark Babikow!) and invite you to share it as you see fit. Oh, and let’s not forget: those Amazon reviews aren’t going to write themselves.

    Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Ten Verses Eleven Through Eighteen

    Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Ten Verses Eleven Through Eighteen

    A privilege this morning to share a reflection from The Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher, Bishop Suffragan of Texas, adapted from a sermon given last month at Trinity Episcopal Church in The Woodlands, TX, “Not Your Grandma’s Good Shepherd”. You can read more of Bishop Fisher over at his blog.

    11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it….

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    Being Human in an Age of Ultron

    Being Human in an Age of Ultron

    This review comes to us from Ian Olson – spoilers follow.

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron is a bafflingly different film from its cherished predecessor. It takes enormous risks which, when they succeed, succeed spectacularly, but at their worst only fail to spark. What The Godfather Part II is to The Godfather, Age of Ultron is to the first Avengers, and the enlargement of scope and emotional intensity smooth out the splintered edges where Joss Whedon’s vision outstripped his reach. Its scope is astonishingly wide: it probes an array of existential questions and, in true Whedon fashion, doesn’t shy away from…

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    Life at Play – Jamin Warren

    First video from our recent conference in NYC is ready to go! Jamin Warren’s presentation still has people buzzing, and I’m sure you’ll agree that it makes a whole lot more sense with the accompanying Powerpoint–the laughs especially. Don’t forget to check out Jamin’s full-time gig, Kill Screen:

    Life at Play – Jamin Warren from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    No Fun at All: Trivia and Self-Justification

    No Fun at All: Trivia and Self-Justification

    This one comes to us from new contributor Adam Morton:

    Three days before I heard Jamin Warren’s insightful presentation at Mockingbird’s NYC conference, I walked out of a bar with my wife following our usual Tuesday night trivia contest. Team Sweet Little Baby Jesus, an ecumenical assemblage of clergy and church workers between 28 and 40, had been trounced by our usual rivals, and I was not happy. It was week one of an eight week tournament spanning twenty or so bars in central Pennsylvania, and this result put us well back of where I felt we should have been.

    Rumor has…

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    Does Jesus Like Donuts? The After-Party for the Sermon on the Mount – Aaron Zimmerman

    The first of a slew of conference videos is here, Aaron’s ridiculously inspired talk from Texas! Many thanks, again, to Mark and David Babikow for making this possible:

    Does Jesus Like Donuts? The After-Party for the Sermon on the Mount – Aaron Zimmerman from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    No Human Voice: A Review of Doug Burr’s Pale White Dove

    No Human Voice: A Review of Doug Burr’s Pale White Dove

    This comes to us from Matt Redmond:

    And I stepped out slowly between that sordid throng
    Comin’ not a word – soundin’ like a song
    While it just kept goin’, I just walked on
    A song with no human voice

    I don’t know where Doug Burr gets his songs from. But I would assume they come from a similar place as Flannery O’Connor’s stories. You expect Hazel Motes or The Misfit to show up any moment.

    The first song I ever heard from Burr came out of nowhere. After stumbling onto a website looking for something else, I found myself listening to…

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    Now Available! Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints)

    Mockingbird couldn’t be more excited to announce a new book, Law and Gospel. A collaboration between Will McDavid, Ethan Richardson, and David Zahl, this theology for sinners (and saints) is a short primer on a subject near and dear to us, the distinction between–you guessed it–Law and Gospel. From the back cover:

    Mbird LAW AND GOSPEL Cover options4There’s a big difference between judgment and love, obligation and freedom, a wage and a gift. The difference characterizes an extraordinary amount of our day-to-day experience, often dividing fear from hope, and death from life. At the heart of Christianity lies a similar and related dynamic: between the Law and the Gospel. Far from being a reductive or antiquated distinction, understanding where one ends and the other begins allows a person to see both the Bible and themselves – indeed, the whole world! – in a fresh and enlivening way. Written with the non-theologian in mind, this short volume unpacks the good news of God’s grace with practicality, humor, and a whole lot of heart.

    We open the book by turning a critical eye on American optimism, then look at the roles of the Law – command, measure, accusation, means of control, and death – then break for a short autobiographical imaginative reflection on baseball failure. The Gospel section includes a look at Christ as Good News, as a Person, and as a divine Gift. From there we talk about possible ‘fruits’ of the Gospel, and close on the Gospel as objective comfort.

    Bonuses, in the appendices, include a short guide to distinguishing between Law and Gospel, especially from the pulpit; a spirited defense against charges of antinomianism; and a look at how demands and forgiveness in human relationships relate to God’s Law and Gospel, respectively.

    We mean for the book to serve as an introduction to Mockingbird and/or Martin Luther’s Law/Gospel paradigm for new readers, to let people know “Where We’re Calling From” (Carver). For old readers, it’s a more precise, clear, and frankly better-written version of ideas we haven’t explicitly developed on the site for a few years. For pastors and churches, it can work as a thematic handbook to Law and Gospel. For laypeople, it’s an extremely accessible entry point into a rich theological tradition. And at 91 pages, its burden errs on the light side.

    Early reviews have been great, and we mean the book to serve as a primer, a gift, or fresh material for Sunday School. To that end, you can pick it up on Amazon for $11, or email us for bulk-order discounts (10+ copies = $7/per). Finally, we have a “conference version” that differs in page numbering and a few typos, but is identical in content – for $5, also available via email (info@mbird.com). Thanks for the support, and hope you enjoy!

    P.S. Anything you can do to help us spread the word about this exciting project (sharing on social media, reviewing on Amazon, etc), we’d sure appreciate it.

    2015 NYC Conference Recordings: Clean Slate – Absolution in Real Life

    2015 NYC Conference Recordings: Clean Slate – Absolution in Real Life

    An incredibly heartfelt thank-you to everyone who helped put on this year’s conference in NYC, especially our friends at Calvary St. George’s. We couldn’t be more grateful for how it all went. We are excited to announce that next year’s NY Conference will take place April 14-16, 2016!

    Once again we are 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 cost of the event. Download links are followed by an in-line player for each recording. Almost everything was videotaped, and we’ll…

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