Mockingbird is devoted to connecting the Christian message with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.
This gem popped up on social media yesterday:
This meditation on Lent and healing prayer comes to us from our friend Laurel Marr.
In his book, The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane tells the story of Henry Fleming, a young soldier who enlists in the army in hopes of fulfilling his dream for glory. But, a long time goes by before his regiment is called forward to battle and the fear of dying begins to set in his mind. Henry wonders if he is really brave enough for battle. Then, upon seeing the enemy for the first time, Henry’s courage fails and he flees the battlefield.
Thank you, Stephen Crane…
Carrying on with the videos from Tyler, here’s the first of the breakouts, courtesy of DZ:
Just in time for spring, this one comes to us from our fellow survivor, Zack Verham.
“Where must we go, we who wander this wasteland, in search of our better selves?” – The First History Man (Mad Max: Fury Road)
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” – 1 John 5:11 (NRSV)
My all-time favorite book is Frank Herbert’s Dune. It’s a complete four-course science fiction buffet for nerds across the land, and it’s fundamentally post-apocalyptic. The world-building Herbert undertakes is extravagantly meticulous, and the universe as it stands when the…
A look at the controversial film adaptation, this one comes to us from Bill Walker.
It will perhaps be no surprise to many readers here to learn that, overall, The Shack is simply not a high quality film. It has already received scathing reviews by critics, and for very understandable reasons, even if the popular viewership has been moderately receptive.
A movie like Martin Scorsese’s Silence, for example, is arguably superior to The Shack, and it’s unfortunate, in my opinion, that more people will likely see the latter than the former. But unlike Silence, and this isn’t unimportant, The Shack is a film that…
This morning’s devotion was written by Paul Zahl.
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:31, ESV)
Time and time again, Christian people stumble on this question of the Law.
The question I get, time and time (and time) again, is this one: How will I know to do right when grace and forgiveness are everything? Don’t we need a few tips, or pointers, say, from the Bible? Won’t people take advantage of grace?
That is the question you always get when you present the Gospel. You don’t get it from “non-believers,” who respond to the Gospel with incredible relief and assurance.
You get the question from “Christians,” believers for some time, who seem fearful of it, or maybe even jealous, I don’t know. “Christians” just can’t seem to understand that grace always ends up “upholding the Law” in practice. You don’t have to worry. The Holy Spirit automatically creates works of loving from prior love.
Even so, I don’t think the ministers of grace are ever going to “persuade” the Christian community that grace applies to Christians. I have failed utterly at this for well over 30 years. Outsiders love the message; insiders resist it, even hate it. Probably we just have to “let them go”—the “Christians” I mean. Something about the way the religious (sub-)culture works just makes it impossible to hear the grace word there. I’ll try to keep on going, and “I won’t… back… down” (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). But have no illusions: You’ll never persuade the “religious.”
Better maybe just open up a hospital for these people when they crash (they always crash). Take ‘em in then, offer the Old, Old Story, and maybe then, after crashing and burning, they’ll hear it with new ears.
Half album review, half theological forage, this one comes to us from Madeline D’Elia.
Panic in the first beat of the morning
Even what I’ve got isn’t worth offering
Even faces change—my heart stays the same.
After five years of waiting for their album release, I was hooked on And Then Like Lions in the first fifteen seconds. Once again, with trumpets, banjos, guitars, ukuleles, and mountain dulcimers, Blind Pilot poetically captured the experience of being a human. But this album was markedly different content-wise because it focused on tragedy from beginning to end. Called a “darker shade of folk” by the Wall Street…
The opening talk from Tyler is here! As as you’ll see, it was really something else:
A wonderful piece by Rebecca Florence Miller. More of her writing can be found here.
The Lenten soup supper in the church basement. A staple of the Lutheran tradition of which I am a part—and because we are Lutheran (grace!), rather than being meager, fast-like meals, we sustain ourselves for the hard truths of Lent with hardy chili, seafood chowder, tomato bisque with mozzarella, five varieties of bread, and seven choices of dessert. Just for starters: brownies with whipped cream, carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut, a nutmeg Bundt with a brown-sugar caramel frosting. Ah, free in…
Grateful for this reflection by Richard Mammana.
In the genetic funnel that began my life, the English came in 1634, and the Dutch a few months later. The Germans came in annual waves as religious Pietists or farming Protestants between 1720 and 1750, and again as song- and beer-loving Papists in the 1860s. My cheek swab and my waist tell a story of German rotundity with just fractional admixtures of religion and surname. The Italians arrived with their mozzarella in the famous year of 1901. By the time I was born in Pennsylvania in 1979, we had somehow avoided the temptations of Manifest…
The first video from Tyler is here! And as you’ll see, the footage fills in a number of blanks from the recording, so if you’ve yet to listen to the audio, definitely start here. The good Rev. Condon brought the house down – truly one for the ages (and an immediate addition to the “I’m New Here” page). Asshats not included sadly:
P.S. We’ll have PZ’s opening talk soon – the separate venue made for a slight delay.
A Texas-sized thank you to everyone who helped put on our conference in Tyler last month, especially the fabulous–and ridiculously ecumenical–steering committee, led by the indefatigable Matt Magill. Huge thanks to all the sponsors as well: B3 Ministries, Bethel Bible, Christ Episcopal, Redeemer Pres Tyler, ETX Brewing Co, Porch Culture Coffee Roasters, Sola Bread Co, The Kalos Foundation, Center for Creative Media, The Foundry Coffee Shop, and True Vine Brewery, not to mention Mark Babikow, who once again came to our rescue on the A/V front. Vielen dank to Casey and Travis Squyres at Stellate Photography for taking such awesome photos, too. And to Liz Vice for putting on such an extraordinary performance!
As per usual, we’re making the recordings available at no charge; we only ask that those who were not able to attend this year *consider* tossing something in the hat to help cover the cost of the event. Download links are followed by an in-line player for each session. Only one that’s missing is the discussion with artist Mary McCleary, which doesn’t really make sense without images–but we’ll be rolling out the videos super soon.
Talks (in order)
Paul Zahl – “How Low Can You Go? The Soul of The Gospel?”
Mark Braaten (Our Savior’s Lutheran): “Sin Boldy? Really?”
Ricky Garner (New Days Community Church): “What’s Really Goin’ On? Sight Through Surrender”
Randy Randall (Kalos Foundation) & Mary McCleary (featured artist): “What Sort of World? Trivial Expressions of the Transcendent” – video coming soon!