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What They Don't Show You On Fixer Upper

What They Don’t Show You On Fixer Upper

In keeping with the millennial stereotype of rustic appeal, my wife and I bought our first home this summer, a “fixer-upper” with a lot of character, wet insulation, and dead birds. We took a selfie out front, made a list of future projects, hired a contractor, personally knocked some walls out, and let some light into a house that had not been lived in for nearly ten years. We slapped a fresh coat of paint on the outside, with a green accent door, and voila! Home! Eat it, Chip and Jojo…got no time for that shiplap!

Of course, it has not…

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How to Turn a Neighbor into an Other (According to Thomas More and Martin Luther)

How to Turn a Neighbor into an Other (According to Thomas More and Martin Luther)

Another incisive excerpt from How To Think, the fantastic little book by upcoming conference speaker Alan Jacobs, this time about the origins of cultural repulsion and “othering”—featuring none other than Martin Luther and Thomas More. There’s some choice language in the following, but the parallels to modern online discourse are too spot-on not to share. 

From How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds, pages 81-82:

“Thomas More’s attacks on Martin Luther and his followers, and Luther’s attacks on Catholicism (and especially the papacy), make most of today’s online insult fests seem tame. More wrote to Luther about “your…

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A Woman vs. Her Roomba: The Battle for Biblical Femininity

A Woman vs. Her Roomba: The Battle for Biblical Femininity

Several months ago, my husband Alex made a peculiar suggestion for his approaching birthday: he wanted a Roomba.

The notion was mildly annoying to me at the time (I wasn’t sure why), but I chose to brush it off as a disturbing lack of imagination on Alex’s part. You want a vacuum for your birthday? Okay, grandpa.

Several weeks ago the thing arrived, and I have never seen my betrothed operate with such rabid demeanor. Excitement and anticipation emoted through Alex’s every gesture. He darted around the house picking up any odd end that might get in the Roomba’s path. He flipped…

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The Easter Effect, Dolly Parton, and a Specific Kind of Jesus

The Easter Effect, Dolly Parton, and a Specific Kind of Jesus

Happy Easter! By now, the ham leftovers should be about finished, the bonnets returned to their boxes, and the elusive eggs left unfound on Sunday are easily discovered by following the faint smell of sulfur. Clergy are just about recovered from the multiple services of Holy Week. And for those of us from liturgical traditions, Alleluias are back on the table. Lent has passed, and we’re now in an “Easter State of Mind.”

That “Easter State of Mind” is the subject of one of the better think-pieces offered up by the web this year. At the Wall Street Journal, George Weigel…

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Meme Lore 101: Lecture 1 - Course Overview

Meme Lore 101: Lecture 1 – Course Overview

Henlo class, and welcome to your introductory course on the dankest Internet trend since coolmath-games.com and Early Youtube. I’m sure that many of you have elected to take this course because of your confounding daily encounters with spicy fresh-baked memes. You’ve caught yourself thinking “what are these ‘may-mays’ my children are always talking about? Why do my friends sound like they’re talking in a completely different dialect, always referring to the ‘Top Five Strongest Anime Characters of ALL TIME’ and Neil Degrasse Tyson? What is the ‘Wednesday Frog’ and why is he so important? Have no fear, soon-to-be dank memers!…

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The Trauma of our Empty Hands

The Trauma of our Empty Hands

During Lent, we ponder our sins. We begin with a reminder of being but dust. We sing in minor keys, which stirs in us lament and grief. We remember our desperate need to repent. We look to what Christ endured and grieve the passion of our Lord. And it is meet and right so to do.

But, as we come careening toward Maundy Thursday every year, it is not only the unjust suffering of Jesus or even lament over our sin that throws us to the ground. There is something else — something just beyond. This week, I have actually taken…

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Jet Ski Carrots and Oscar Night Incentives

Jet Ski Carrots and Oscar Night Incentives

Of the Mbird readership who watched the Oscars last year, about one-fifth of us decided not to watch them this year. So say the Nielsen numbers, anyway, which showed a 19% decline in the show’s broadcast over previous years. I like to think that’s because of the growing popularity of Sunday evening church services, but alas, we all know that’s not the case. The growing trend of limited release passion projects (who in Ebbing, Missouri, would ever watch Three Billboards?), the expected and deserved victory lap over Harvey Weinstein’s exile, cord cutting, you can pick your favorite poison for this year’s…

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Wearing Black

Wearing Black

I didn’t actually catch the Golden Globes on Sunday. On Monday morning, though, I watched Oprah’s dazzling speech and heard Natalie Portman’s perfect one-liner. I also saw the streaming in of men and women dressed in midnight and ebony and onyx. Oprah telling us about Recy Taylor and a new horizon gives everyone all the feels; and Natalie makes me want to join the fight, burn my bra, and kidney punch my husband just for possessing a Y chromosome. But, given a few days of reflection, something strikes me as a bit off.

When people decline to come to church because…

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UCF Tries to Make Themselves...Just Like Me

UCF Tries to Make Themselves…Just Like Me

Are you excited for the Georgia/Alabama game on Monday? The one that will crown the 2018 National Champi…oh, wait. Apparently the University of Central Florida already claimed the 2018 National Championship after their Peach Bowl victory over Auburn (admittedly, the only team who beat both Georgia and Alabama this season). What are we to make of this? In one sense, it’s almost honorable: the school is celebrating a group of students who accomplished something remarkable and is even paying its coaches the national championship bonuses called for in their contracts. There is even precedent for this behavior: calling yourself a…

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Can’t Stop the Signal: Enduring Hope for Divided Times

Been waiting for the right opportunity to post a video of this talk, which I had the privilege of giving twice this past Fall. I actually prefer the San Diego one (from the Here We Still Stand conference – sorry, DC!), partly cause it’s a little more theological, partly cause the lighting was better–read into those signals what you will. But as I was ruminating on a possible ‘state of the union’-type New Years post, I realized it contained a good deal of what I’d want to say:

p.s. As you’ll discover, you can hear but not see the clips I reference. The second one makes sense without the video (read a description), but the first one from Curb Your Enthusiasm is a lot funnier if you can see Larry’s face.

The Top Ten Films of 2017

The Top Ten Films of 2017

2017 was a great year in film. For more, check out our abbreviated wrap-up (Seven Films from 2017).

As the year comes to a close, let’s limp across the finish line together while reminiscing about the best that 2017 had to offer up to the silver screen! It was another big year for reboots and sequels. We were gifted additional installments in the Star Wars, Blade Runner, The Planet of the Apes and Fast and Furious franchises. Marvel continued to appease the masses’ appetites for men in tights, landing four films on the year’s top 15 highest grossing films list. Independent,…

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"Mockingbird Turns 10" Interviews: Bryan Jarrell

“Mockingbird Turns 10” Interviews: Bryan Jarrell

This is the ninth and final installment in a series of interviews with myself and various writers and members of the Mockingbird community. These posts will explore some aspects of each individual’s personal story and some aspects of Mockingbird’s larger story and ministry as we celebrate its 10th Anniversary. Additional interviews in this series can be found here.

Charlotte Donlon: How did you first find out about Mockingbird?

Bryan Jarrell: I wasn’t there at the beginning, but I think I heard about it within its first year or so. I was an undergrad at the time and had just come out of my…

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