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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!

    U2’s Songs of Innocence: Familiar But Surprising, Free But Costly

    U2’s Songs of Innocence: Familiar But Surprising, Free But Costly

    That didn’t take long! This review comes to us from Nathan Hart:

    The biggest surprise of the launch of U2’s new album isn’t the way it was released—it’s how good the songs are.

    It has been five long years since No Line On The Horizon, an album with some great moments but one which also revealed a band in artistic decline. In those five years, they knew they were one more misstep away from irrelevance. The reports weren’t hopeful: a new producer here, a scrapped album concept there. They seemed “stuck in a moment that they can’t get out of”, finally crushed…

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    When Everyone Loved U2

    When Everyone Loved U2

    In honor of the surprise release of the new (free!) U2 record, Songs of Innocence, we bring you a reflection on the band from Andrew Barber:

    Weird Al Yankovic made me a U2 fan. I’m not proud of it. But it is true.

    Every now and then our local library would sell some of their less popular stuff for cheap. On a whim, my dad picked up a cassette for one dollar. You know, one of those small square things you sometimes had to wind with your finger. A single track of the orchestral score from the 1995 movie Batman Forever was…

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    PZ’s Podcast: Does The Name Grimsby Mean Anything To You? and Everything Is Tuesday

    PZ’s Podcast: Does The Name Grimsby Mean Anything To You? and Everything Is Tuesday

    Episode 175: Does the Name Grimsby Do Anything to You?

    Ever since 2007 I related to Eliot’s succinct line, “Old men ought to be explorers”. Not that I was exactly an old man, but the line gave me hope. Notwithstanding the end of something, there was something hopeful I could still do. I could try to understand.

    Could I become the first man on the moon, like ‘Major Franklin Grimsby’ in Rod Serling’s short story? If I were, would anyone care? (“Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?” – Chicago) Well, at least I’ve tried to try. Lo, a polyptoton.

    In this cast,…

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    Fall Conference in Houston – Full Schedule!

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    Super excited to announce the full schedule for our Fall Conference! Be sure to check out the conference site too, as we’ve added a lot of new information.

    Friday October 17th
    9:00am Opening Prayer Service and Devotion – David Browder
    9:30am The Good News of a High Risk God – Aaron Zimmerman
    10:30am Morning Breakouts

    • Grace in Parenting: Serenity Now! – Sarah Condon
    • Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Judas: A Biblical Take on FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) – Ethan Richardson
    • TBA
    12:00pm Lunch – Tex Mex Extravaganza
    1:30pm Risky Business: Jesus Meets a Control Freak – RJ Heijmen
    2:15pm Afternoon Breakouts

    • Living by Grace (and According to Frankenstein) – Matthew Fenlon
    • Cause This Is Thriller: How I Learned to Love Grave Digging (in Marriage) – Matt and Megan Magill
    • The Lame Shall Enter First: Grace and Weakness in Flannery O’Connor – Will McDavid
    6:30pm Talk 1 – Tullian Tchividjian
    7:15pm Dinner – BBQ Feast
    8:00pm Slaid Cleaves in concert (with The Magills opening!)
    Saturday October 18th
    9:00am Opening Worship and Devotion
    9:30am Talk 2 – Tullian Tchividjian
    10:15am Q&A with Tullian
    10:45am I Feel Like I Win When I Lose – David Zahl
    12:30pm Book Table closes

    CLICK HERE TO PRE-REGISTER TODAY!

    Searching Our ‘Spirits’ In The Boss

    Searching Our ‘Spirits’ In The Boss

    This wonderful reflection on desire and Bruce Springsteen comes to us from Ben Self:

    “It’s… that rush moment that you live for. It never lasts, but that’s what you live for.”

    – Bruce Springsteen, Time Magazine, 1975

    I’ve always loved the use of the term “spirits” as a synonym for hard liquors. It speaks to what is most alluring in booze and any number of other mind-altering substances and pleasures—that feeling of being transported to another higher, perhaps lighter, warmer, state of consciousness by forces within us that are beyond our control. It’s a kind of ravishing and unhinging of the mind and…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Sixteen Verses Seven through Fifteen

    Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Sixteen Verses Seven through Fifteen

    We hope it was a fantastic Labor Day off yesterday. Here’s this morning’s devotion, from Simeon Zahl. 

    “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment…” (John 16:7-15, NRSV)

    In this chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus is explaining to the disciples why it is better for him to go away than to stay. We can all relate to…

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    Ubuntu and the Sharpened Pencils: Welcome Back to School

    Ubuntu and the Sharpened Pencils: Welcome Back to School

    Another back-to-school ode, this time from Ms. Newton.

    Over the next several weeks, children will enter new classrooms across the country, sporting shiny sneakers sans skid-marks and carrying freshly sharpened pencils and blank notebook paper. And they are perhaps a bit nervous (or a lot nervous) about unearthing the answer to a question they’ve been wondering for weeks: Who did I get this year? Who will stand in front of us every day, and with whom will I spend the next nine months? Is she a Miss Honey or a Miss Trunchbull? Will she encourage me or lock me in the…

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    PZ’s Podcast: Phony Wars, And the Winner Is, and The Federal Theology of Samuel Rutherford

    PZ’s Podcast: Phony Wars, And the Winner Is, and The Federal Theology of Samuel Rutherford

    Episode 172: Phony Wars

    This purports to be an attack of reality in the midst of “phony wars”.

    I am always struck by the truth of pop songs. Not all of them, but some of them. Such as “Waterloo” by ABBA. (Mary and I were there, as it were, when ABBA hit, stuck at a “Saturday Dance” (Geoff Goddard) during the spring of 1974 in the parish hall of Holy Trinity, Hounslow. As soon as we heard the song, and watched the girls line-dancing to ABBA, we knew we weren’t stuck any more. We got up ourselves, tho’ I’m no Diamond.)

    There was…

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    From the Magazine: The Hidden Spirituality of Teach For America

    From the Magazine: The Hidden Spirituality of Teach For America

    A throwback from the first issue! Ethan Richardson’s long-form treatise on the promise and perils of America’s great education reform movement.

    And let this be a reminder: the first issue is on sale on the magazine webpage for $10. And we’re not far from the release of the Fall Relationships Issue. Click here to subscribe.

    My two-year career as a teacher began much as my Evangelical education did—in a single summer in the Arizona desert, far and away from where my training would be put to use. Teach For America placed me in the Greater New Orleans region to teach middle school…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Four Verses Thirteen through Twenty Six

    Hopelessly Devoted: John Chapter Four Verses Thirteen through Twenty Six

    This morning’s edition in The Mockingbird Devotional comes from Ethan Richardson.

    “…Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life…” (John 4:13-26, ESV)

    Jesus is saying here that he doesn’t buy into all the things we pretend to be. These are all portions of the same shallow water—the human propensity to “be okay.” We all posture in this way—sometimes we forget we’re even doing it…

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    PZ’s Podcast: If You Can’t Stand the Heat

    EPISODE 171: If You Can’t Stand the Heat

    IMG_3572Guess I never tire of quoting Gerald Heard’s maxim about opting out: “The verb to escape is clear enough — it means to leave a position which has become impossible.”

    There’s a long back-and-forth within the history of Christian endeavor as to the relative merit of engaging a fallen world in the hope of transforming it; or opting out of it in order to watch, wait and pray. Many dedicated saints have taken the first road. Many others have taken the second. There is obviously room for both.

    This podcast examines the second road, and offers another element, too. You could entitle the talk “Feel to Heal”. I believe it, in any event.

    Something happened to me on the 26th of July in London, Ontario. I knew it was happening when it was happening. It was even captured “on tape”. You can hear it at the end of this cast, about five minutes into the concluding music. “Good God,” I said to my friend — over the shouting — “he’s really doing it!” Speechless we were. Hope you will be, too, in a good way.

    Identity, Ass, and the Wrong Context

    Identity, Ass, and the Wrong Context

    Emily Newton on the new phenomenon of social media anonymity, and the teenage quest for a powerful new name.

    Just One of the Guys?

    Just One of the Guys?

    Stephanie Phillips on what it means to be a woman (sort of) in Jenny Lewis’s new album, The Voyager.

    NBW on the God Hanging From the Cross

    The first in a series of excerpts from our recent interview with preacher and author Nadia Bolz Weber. The full interview can be found in the new issue of The Mockingbird. Suffice it to say, this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

    PT-and-NBWMBIRD: It seems like what you’re describing most churches doing is theology of glory, rather than theology of the cross. Can you describe what you feel the difference is, theologically?

    NBW: Yeah, the theology of glory is a lot of times the God that we project and expect. Basically, God is just as fear-mongering and spiteful and violent as we are. And theologians of glory stand above the cross looking down on it, sort of condemning the world.

    But theologians of the cross, we see God where we don’t expect it. It is not the God we’ve created in our image. It is this completely unexpected, almost disturbingly counter-intuitive, totally offensive inversion to what we call power. Right? So, that is disturbing. Ultimately, the only thing that can save us is a God we couldn’t just concoct ourselves—a bigger version of us. And this God is not standing over the cross in condemnation of the world but actually hanging from the cross.

    I feel like the theology of the cross—this idea that God is most present in human suffering, and these places where we wouldn’t expect any self-respecting God to show up—is uniquely poised to speak to this generation right now… I think people are aware of their suffering. They are aware of the suffering of others, the trauma of modern life, knowing about every single natural disaster and school shootings. They are carrying that around, and I feel like theology of the cross has something to say to that in a way that super-duper, cheerful, positive, human-empowerment Christianity never can.

    For more, click here to order or subscribe to The Mockingbird.