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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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    Mbird Tyler 2017 Recordings: The Soul of the Gospel

    Mbird Tyler 2017 Recordings: The Soul of the Gospel

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    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…

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    Robert F. Capon in the Year 3000

    Robert F. Capon in the Year 3000

    This comes from our friend Michael Morgan. 

    Sometimes, the best stuff flies under the radar. C.f. Futurama. It may be a hard sell to call anything produced by Matt Groening “under the radar,” but it’s certainly living in the even-yet-lengthening shadow of The Simpsons. Suffice it to say that the show has aired four series finales and you’ll understand its small share of the limelight. But, unlike Sit Down, Shut up, Golan the Insatiable, and Axe Cop—other feckless Fox animations—Futurama wouldn’t die, which is a testament to its excellence.

    For the uninitiated, Futurama happens in the year 3000 and centers on Fry, a 20th-century…

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    The Red Turtle, Beautiful but Not Sublime

    The Red Turtle, Beautiful but Not Sublime

    The following is brought to us by Japanese film veteran Jeremiah Lawson, a look at the Oscar-nominated film The Red Turtle.

    There are times when you simply have to spoil the entire film in a few sentences to even discuss the film in a meaningful way. Where some reviewers hedge and equivocate as to what the core of the story for The Red Turtle is, I’m going to put in simple terms.

    Think of the world as an island; then think of the island as being embodied in flesh and spirit by a red turtle. The Red Turtle — a feature-length film from Studio…

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    Integrity, Parenting, and Always Calling Daddy

    Integrity, Parenting, and Always Calling Daddy

    A heartfelt reflection on raising kids who ask good questions, this one comes to us from our friend Jennifer Underwood.

    I think that my strong determination for justice comes from the very strong, dynamic personality of my father…I have rarely ever met a person more fearless and courageous than my father…The thing that I admire most about my dad is his genuine Christian character. He is a man of real integrity, deeply committed to moral and ethical principles. He is conscientious in all of his undertakings…If I had a problem I could always call Daddy. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    What a…

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    Frak Me! On Cussing and Taboo Aversion

    Frak Me! On Cussing and Taboo Aversion

    This one, on cussing and cultural taboos, comes to us from Scott Larousse.

    Of recent trends in language, the increased frequency of curse words stands out. On Twitter, in speeches, in pop books, and in online news and opinion outlets, certain words are on the rise. A recent Gmail ad invited me to sign up for its listserv by clicking a button labeled “Hello Yeah”; The A.V. Club’s report on the Oscars is headlined, “Here’s what we know about the great Best Picture f*%&-up of 2017.” The Net is increasingly rife with cuss-words.

    As a kid, I remember our stunned silence when a…

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    2017 NYC Conference (4/27-29): New Video Invitation and Scholarships

    With (magnificent!) Tyler behind us, it’s time to go full steam on the promotion for our big 10th Anniversary Conference in NYC which takes place the end of next month, April 27-29th. First up is our new video, which we encourage you to share to the ends of the Earth #markbabikowisourhero:

    2017 Mockingbird Conference – 10 Years of Grace St. George’s | April 27-29, 2017 from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    While we’re on the topic, the schedule is being released in bits and pieces (sorry!), with the main presentations pretty much set in stone over on the conference site. Breakouts will be announced next week. And menus right after that.

    Last but not least, thanks to the generosity of several patrons/sponsors, there are 12 10 7 5 2 complimentary registrations to the conference available! If you’re interested, send us an email with the how’s and why’s at info@mbird.com as soon as possible. There’s a small budget to help with accommodation & travel cost as well.

    Empathy in Sorrow, Freedom in Truth: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

    Empathy in Sorrow, Freedom in Truth: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

    Here’s a look at George Saunders’ new and acclaimed book, Lincoln in the Bardo (appropriately released just in time for these days of Lenten journey). This review was written by Ethan Richardson & CJ Green.

    …As in the land of darkness, yet in light,
    To live a life half dead, a living death,
    And buried; but, O yet more miserable!
    Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave.

    — Milton, Samson Agonistes

    The first two pages of Lincoln in the Bardo detail a charming, Beauty-and-the-Beast kind of love story, albeit in a very George Saunders style: an older, overweight, lame-legged, toothless printer, a beautiful and young woman, their arranged marriage. The…

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    An Ash Wednesday Homily from JAZ

    “For the first time in the history of humanity, many of us can live a life where our death might be the first death we see up close. We can die “neatly” in a hospital room with as much or as little family contact as our relationships demand. The cost of this is great: Death is no longer a part of life. Instead, it has become a devastating impossibility that always happens.” – Sarah Condon, Churchy

    Desmond Doss, the Coward

    Desmond Doss, the Coward

    This look at the critically acclaimed film, Hacksaw Ridge, comes to us from our friend Josh Encinias.

    I loved being in the House of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in college, but if I were to create a Christian fraternity today, it would be under a different namesake: Desmond Doss. Prince is the most famous former Seventh-day Adventist, but Doss is the most important Adventist you’ve never heard of. I recently spoke to David Permut, producer of Hacksaw Ridge—who walked away with two Academy Awards last night—who said he wanted to turn Doss’ story into a feature film for sixteen years before it happened.

    “When I…

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    Roll Credits: Freedom, Grace and the Neverending Sequel – David Zahl

    Here is the grand finale video/talk from our recent Mockingbird event in Dallas, “Grace on the Big Screen.” Enjoy!

    Roll Credits: Freedom, Grace and the Neverending Sequel – David Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

    Orthorexia: The Fixation on Righteous Eating

    Orthorexia: The Fixation on Righteous Eating

    A first glimpse inside our Food & Drink Issue, by way of one Carrie Willard. The issues are flying off the shelf! Order up! 

    When my parents were married in the 1960s, advice abounded about home entertaining. Etiquette books and magazine articles included tips on how to invite guests from any social station into one’s home, what to wear when they arrived, and how to set the table for the occasion.

    With a few notable exceptions (Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking comes to mind), the focus seems to have been more on the etiquette of entertaining and all of…

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    Deconstructing the Christian Music Industry, or, “What’s in a Name?” by Robert Farrar Capon

    Deconstructing the Christian Music Industry, or, “What’s in a Name?” by Robert Farrar Capon

    The following is excerpted from the recently released collection of shorts, More Theology and Less Heavy Cream: The Domestic Life of Pietro & Madeleine, by the inimitable Robert Farrar Capon. Below, the protagonists (Robert and his wife’s alter-egos) go toe-to-toe about, among other things, the nature of “Christian” anything.

    Madeleine zapped off the TV set with the remote control switch. “I refuse to look at that dumb name anymore.”

    “What dumb name?” Pietro asked, looking up from his newspaper.

    “Pacific Telesis,” she snapped. “It sounds more like a skin disease than a phone company.”

    “Maybe it’s not a phone company. Maybe it’s just a Christian punk rock band hiding…

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