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Moana Leads the Way Home (and to the Horizon)

Moana Leads the Way Home (and to the Horizon)

One of the more attractive elements of grace-based living is that it removes (in doctrine, anyway, if not always in practice) the pressure to discern every decision correctly. Both the roughing-it-through-the-grind and seeking-the-horizon are both valid and acceptable approaches to life. This stance contrasts with FOMO-driven media in both the general and Christian spheres. Such movies, books, sermons, etc emphasize the importance of striving over settling. Persistence involves driving forward toward goals, not simply making it through.

Mbird contributors (and, I think, readers) have diverse views on theology and practice, but we are mostly united in our skepticism of the ever-striving-forward…

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A Love Letter from King George

A Love Letter from King George

I recently caved and jumped on the Hamilton bandwagon. The two-and-a-half-hour hip-hop soundtrack took me about four days to listen to all the way through, and, I must admit, I now understand and appreciate what the hype is about. Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and winner of eleven Tony Awards, tells the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton: how he came to America, his role in founding our country, and all the (romantic) drama in between.

One of my favorite songs at the moment—which is probably very telling about my taste in music—is “You’ll Be Back.” King George (Jonathan Groff) sings…

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Searching Low and High for the Who Behind The Who

Searching Low and High for the Who Behind The Who

A flurry of thinkpieces circulating at the moment about the dark side of identity politics—for reasons that should be fairly self-evident. Just before starting in on a contribution of my own, a guardian angel reminded me that I’d already spilled plenty of ink on that subject in The Who chapter of A Mess of Help, an earlier version of which appeared in the Identity Issue of The Mockingbird. Somehow that essay never made it onto the site. Well, no longer:

It was the mid-90s, and one of my older brother’s friends had decided to make our house a stop on…

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Lazaretto, or Where Is That Moral Progress I Was Promised? – Scott Johnson

Here comes the next video from Oklahoma, and the first of the breakout sessions. This one arrives courtesy of Dr. Scott Johnson, our resident expert in classical Greek and all things White Stripes-related:

Lazaretto, or Where is that Moral Progress I was Promised? – Scott Johnson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

A Grace Too Powerful to Name

A Grace Too Powerful to Name

Mike Birbiglia has touted his ability to make any awkward situation more awkward, but I think I win. Not long ago, I reply-all’d to a church discussion an a-propos-of-nothing question about how to take hold of grace. I immediately regretted it, because it was an unanswerable question. I know that divine forgiveness is, in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s words, “a grace too powerful to name.” It can’t be summed up in an email.

Sometimes, though, it can be expressed in a song. The latter quote comes from “It’s Quiet Uptown,” a pivotal song in the musical Hamilton wherein the titular character mourns the death of his…

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Come Healing – Leonard Cohen (RIP)

Click here to read what feels like a divinely appointed lyric. The opening alone:

O gather up the brokenness
And bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow

The splinters that you carry
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

“Young, Scrappy, and Hungry”:  The Restless Hearts of Hamilton, Bruce Springsteen, and St. Augustine

“Young, Scrappy, and Hungry”: The Restless Hearts of Hamilton, Bruce Springsteen, and St. Augustine

This one comes to us from Nancy Ritter. 

If you had told me in 2010 that in six years I would spend my Saturday nights watching a documentary on a musical about Alexander Hamilton or cheering its star Lin-Manuel Miranda as he hosted SNL, I would have scoffed at you. I was in high school when a friend showed me the video of the Pulitzer Prize-winning star performing at the White House for the Obamas, rapping about the life of Alexander Hamilton. I had been raised on 1776 and was consequently a loyal John Adams girl.

“I’m not into it,” I told her….

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Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: This Season’s Best Introductions to Horror For Kids

Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: This Season’s Best Introductions to Horror For Kids

Welcome once again to Ian and Blake’s annual Halloween series about a genre that does what few others can. This month, keep your eyes peeled for weekly top-five horror lists–with blistering #hottakes below. Be sure not to miss last week’s installment of the series with October’s Creepiest Urban Legends, too!

5. Dead Man’s Bones’ debut album

I am constantly keeping my ears open for music that places me within the ambience of Halloween whether it be merely how the musical atmosphere hits me or if the lyrics explicitly find their inspiration in the season. However, finding music of this variety that I would feel secure in having my niece…

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PZ’s Podcast: The Sacraments… Walk in the Room

PZ’s Podcast: The Sacraments… Walk in the Room

EPISODE 225: The Sacraments… Walk in the Room

A forthcoming book on the sacraments, edited by Justin Holcomb and David A. Johnson, has got me thinking about the “means of grace” — or rather, how do we know and recognize God’s grace in our actual personal lives. The history of the Christian Church could almost be reduced to a long timeline of disagreement over the sacraments as means of grace, and in particular, the Lord’s Supper/Eucharist.

In order to think about this today, I’ve had to travel back to basics: which is Jackie DeShannon, and a song she wrote, and performed and…

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From the Archives(ish): Like Dylan in the 80s

From the Archives(ish): Like Dylan in the 80s

In honor of this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature–couldn’t resist expanding/doubling the length:

Call me a heretic, but I consider Bob Dylan to be something of a prophet. The man not only sees the world with astounding clarity and verticality, he shares that vision with others in ways that are as luminous as they often are perplexing. And he’s done so without compromise or deference to fashion. Well, at least, minimal deference to fashion (exhibit A, right). Put it down to having been transfigured.

Nowhere is this more evident than in his work from the 1980s, a period unfairly…

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Needtobreathe Comes Up For Air

Needtobreathe Comes Up For Air

This one was written by the esteemed Margaret Pope.

Growing up in the Bible-belt south and actively participating in youth group, I could hardly be considered a good Christian if I didn’t listen to NEEDTOBREATHE. I distinctly remember singing “Washed by the Water” for the first time in ninth grade on a senior high youth group retreat, and the rest, as they say, is history. Wikipedia classifies NEEDTOBREATHE as an “American Christian rock band,” but I think of NEEDTOBREATHE as a rock band with a hint of folk whose members happen to be Christians. Each of their albums consists of a mix of…

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October Playlist