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    Hopelessly Devoted: Second Corinthians Chapter One Verse Nineteen and Twenty

    Hopelessly Devoted: Second Corinthians Chapter One Verse Nineteen and Twenty

    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…

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    These Are a Few of My Favorite Atheists: Thomas Nagel

    These Are a Few of My Favorite Atheists: Thomas Nagel

    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,…

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    PZ’s Podcast: Whipped Cream

    EPISODE 177

    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.

    From the Magazine: How to Fail in Baseball (While Really Trying)

    From the Magazine: How to Fail in Baseball (While Really Trying)

    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,[1] and that’s probably why we became fast friends. Jenny was the queen of the Parkview High School Theater[2] 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…

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    A Reflection on the Fall, or Sisyphus vs. Jack Vincennes

    A Reflection on the Fall, or Sisyphus vs. Jack Vincennes

    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…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Two

    Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Chapter One Verse Two

    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…

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    Riding (Too) High on Christian Imagination

    Riding (Too) High on Christian Imagination

    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…

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    Hopelessly Devoted:  Romans 10:12

    Hopelessly Devoted: Romans 10:12

    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…

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    Losing Is Winning When You Are a Cubs Fan

    Losing Is Winning When You Are a Cubs Fan

    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.

    Being…

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    These Are a Few of My Favorite Atheists: Albert Camus

    These Are a Few of My Favorite Atheists: Albert Camus

    Michael W. Nicholson, author of the Tides of God blog and theology Ph.D., contributes this worthy series on his favorite atheists. We start off with Albert Camus:

    “Negative space” is a concept in the visual arts, particularly in drawing, painting, and photography. A common example is the well-known Rubin vase, which can alternately be seen as a vase or two profiles of a man in silhouette. This is useful, but a bit misleading, because in fine art negative space is not about ambiguity or optical illusion. Negative space in a picture is where other things are not present; it is the…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Six Verses One through Four

    Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Six Verses One through Four

    Good morning! This Monday our devotion comes from Josh Bascom.

    What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died in sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:1-4, NIV)

    If you’ve felt stuck lately, if…

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    Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity – Bryan Jarrell

    In honor of passing 4000 followers on Twitter(!), here’s the final talk from our 2014 NYC Conference, by our social media guru himself, Bryan Jarrell. Now if we could just up our FB game

    Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity ~ Bryan Jarrell from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    P.S. Many, many thanks to Mark Babikow for filming and editing all the videos!