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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.


Author Archive

    NOW AVAILABLE! The Very Persistent Pirate: Mockingbird’s First Children’s Book

    Mockingbird’s first children’s book, The Very Persistent Pirate, is available now! Pre-ordered copies are currently being whisked to a mailbox near you. If you haven’t bought your copy yet, you can do so here.

    The Very Persistent Pirate is a beautifully illustrated book for sinners and saints of all ages. It tells the spirited story of what happens when a sneaky little kid and his monkey steal a pirate’s treasure…

    Order The Very Persistent Pirate today!

    "The Asymmetry of Time" by Gerry LaFemina

    “The Asymmetry of Time” by Gerry LaFemina

    The following is a new poem by Gerry LaFemina; he was kind enough to let us post it here. His most recent collection, Little Heretic, is available now; look for his forthcoming collection, The Story of Ash, in early 2018.

    The Asymmetry of Time

    Down the hill from the schoolyard where seventh grade boys
    squander each recess imagining their first kiss—a vision
    that scares & excites them equally, they can even point out

    the classmate who co-stars in these fantasies, & how they look
    askance, embarrassed, when they’re caught almost staring—&
    further, beyond the closed mills & the blue-collar bar

    where the old timers rerun familiar stories, replaying
    heroic roles standing up to…

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    The Essential Shift: Moving from Orphan to Beloved Son

    A terrific talk from the 2017 Coming Back Stronger Conference in Birmingham, AL. Tray Lovvorn, one of the hosts of Undone Redone, talks about the different ways we understand our relationship to God:

    From the Archives: What I Didn't Do On My Summer Vacation

    From the Archives: What I Didn’t Do On My Summer Vacation

    Lately there’s been a considerable dearth of David Zahl on this site, wouldn’t you say?! So here ya go. The following article goes out to anyone strapping a cargo shell to the roof of his or her car this weekend. From our archives, this one remains as prescient and timely as when DZ wrote it back in 2013:

    It’s official: leisure has gone the way of the leisure suit. At least according to an excellent “long read” by Jenny Diski in The New Statesman, “Learning How to Live”, which explores the question of why we find free time so terrifying. If…

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    From the Onion: Poll Finds Majority of Americans Would Like Things to Go Right for Once

    An oldie but a goodie (ht GP). 

    UTICA, NY—A poll released Tuesday by Zogby International found that 72 percent of Americans would prefer it if things could go right, just this one time, without something inevitably coming along and screwing everything up. “For once in my life, it would be cool if things didn’t suddenly fall apart right when they started going my way,” said poll respondent Esther Lau, who listed finally catching a break as one of her personal goals. “Suppose, for example, that instead of turning into a total disaster in the end, events worked themselves out in a way that was favorable, or at least okay for the most part. That’s a situation I would be amenable to.” The remaining 28 percent of Americans agreed that everything was just fine, and why would this even be a question someone would ask in the first place?

    Did It Have to Be Jesus? ~ Nicole Cliffe

    One of the more vitalizing talks from our conference in NYC came from Nicole Cliffe, who co-founded of one our favorite humor sites, The Toast (may it now rest in peace). Be ready to laugh and cry as you hear this story of how a sarcastic Harvard grad found God.

    Did It Have to Be Jesus? ~ Nicole Cliffe from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Wonder Woman and the Side Effects of Losing Innocence

    Wonder Woman and the Side Effects of Losing Innocence

    This review of the new Wonder Woman comes to us from Caleb Ackley. 

    Typically when I hear the words ‘summer’ and ‘blockbuster’ uttered in the same sentence, a shudder runs down my spine. Forehead wet with anxiety-induced sweat, I try with every ounce of strength I possess to keep from imagining the latest franchise subjected to the dreaded ‘reboot’ or, worse still, the newest installment in an ever-widening and ever more deafening Transformers universe. This summer, however, thanks to a certain female superhero, change was in the air, and when that fateful weekend in June finally came, I ran to the…

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    A Long Strange Trip through Death to Life

    A Long Strange Trip through Death to Life

    This was written by Deadhead, Luke Roland. 

    The highly anticipated documentary on The Grateful Dead, Long Strange Trip, is now on Amazon Prime.  I have previously written about the effect that the music of The Grateful Dead has had on me for Mockingbird, and in light of the documentary I thought it would be a great time to revisit them in a Mockingbirdian context.  

    The Grateful Dead have had a positive influence on American culture, and continue to do so. They could be the most important American band in our history. I realize that is a tall statement, but think about…

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    Architect: Fellow and Failing ~ Duo Dickinson

    Another one from the conference! This talk certainly won the “shock factor” award. From the one and only Duo Dickinson.

    Architect: Fellow and Failing ~ Duo Dickinson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Jesus Christ the Pelican Mother

    Here at Mbird HQ, sometimes you get an advance copy of a book from a publisher and you’re not exactly thrilled about opening it. This one, though, is an exception. It is a prayer book from the days of Shakespeare, written by layman (and playwright) Thomas Dekker. The book is divided into four parts, each part a “bird,” or form of prayer, flying from Noah’s Ark. The notion of the Ark as the human body/experience is a powerful one. This is Dekker’s introduction to his third bird, The Pelican. You can pre-order the book here.

    The third bird that I call out of Noah’s ark is the Pelican. The nature of the Pelican is to peck her own bosom and with the drops of her blood to feed her young ones. Christ, the Son of God, is the Pelican whose blood was shed to feed us. The physician made a medicine of his own body to cure us. Look upon him well, and behold his wounds bleeding, his head bowed down (as if to kiss us), his very sides opened (as if to show how his heart loved us), his arms stretched out to their length (as if to embrace us). And judge by all these if Christ be not our truest Pelican.

    He who was King of Heaven and Earth suffered his brow to wear a crown of thorns. He received wounds that are our health. He tasted the bitterness of death that is our salvation—what Pelican can do more for her young ones?

    Our souls were spotted: Sin had pawned them, sin had lost them, sin had made them foul. All the medicine in the world could not purge our corruption, all the fountains in the world could not wash our spots, all the gold and silver on earth could not redeem our forfeitures, all the kings under heaven could not pay our ransoms. Nothing could free us from captivity but to make Christ a prisoner. Nothing could give us life but the heavenly Pelican’s death.

    From Matt Johnson’s Getting Jesus Wrong

    Another great find from our friend Luke Mackinnon.

    Getting Jesus Wrong, written by Matt Johnson, is an insightful invitation to give up spiritual vitamins and checklist Christianity. The freelance writer and editor gives a breath of fresh air to the worn out soul trying to follow caricatures of Jesus that are far from the Jesus we read about in the Bible. Johnson assures us that life does not become better by swallowing religious pills or crossing things off inventories, but becomes better by God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice. This comes from the chapter titled “The Problem,” and it unearths our tendency to shove Jesus into the mold we want him to be instead of grasping his true essence and character on the cross.

    Everyone has an image of Jesus they prefer, a Jesus who values what they value: Tough-guy Jesus, Wise Sage Jesus, Bearded, Tattooed, Skinny Jeans Jesus, Khakis and Polo Shirt Jesus, Suit and Tie Conservative Jesus, or Social Revolutionary Jesus. On a deeper level, our personal images of Jesus reveal that we think the Christian faith is about furthering our hopes and dreams, and that Jesus is the primary catalyst for getting us where we want to be in life. This is another way of saying, in the words of Gerhard Forde, we all are ‘inverted theologians of glory.’ When we operate within the glory-story paradigm, it reveals we’re in love with all the attractiveness of power, influence, success, or possessions, and we call it being ‘blessed.’ We’re encouraged by all the cliché slogans ‘reach for the stars’ and ‘don’t give up on your dreams,’ but then like a flaky boyfriend or girlfriend, when we don’t ‘feel the chemistry’ anymore, when real life really falls apart, suddenly our relationship with Jesus is on shaky ground…

    God works in ways that are the opposite of our lofty imaginings. If we take the story of Jesus at bare-bones face value, he wasn’t a great success. God sent Jesus into the world to be born in a barn. He was born into scandal (imagine the naysayers: ‘Yeah, right, Mary conceived of the “Holy Spirit”’), he worked a regular job, he didn’t study under a famous Rabbi, he claimed he was God, many people thought he was crazy or demon possessed, and he was executed like a criminal. In our day and age where only good things in life constitute being blessed, it would seem that Jesus was anything but.

    It’s only by faith that we can grasp the God reveals his character on the cross. On the cross, God subverted everything we intuitively understand about power. ‘Of all the places to search for God, the last place most people would think to look is the gallows.’ Instead of demanding power for himself and presenting himself as a God who ‘… could knock heads and straighten people out when they got out of line…,’ God, in Christ, laid down his power and died for us.

    “O Holy Night” by Gerry LaFemina

    The following is a new poem by Gerry LaFemina; he was kind enough to let us post it here. His most recent collection, Little Heretic, is available now; look for his forthcoming collection, The Story of Ash, in early 2018.

    O Holy Night

    The tiny novitiates of candlelight flicker but remain
    devout despite the bedroom’s draft,

    the movement of flame a kind of flirtation,
    the wicks seeming to wink &

    beckon. Tonight was supposed to be
    romantic in that way certain movies depict—

    how easy to forget the body can be
    sacred in its carnal wants. Touch, too. I’ve never been good

    at fidelity, so often I’ve been tempted
    by my name called in the hushed & lonely dark.