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Literature

The Humanity Of God: An Ascension Day Reflection

The Humanity Of God: An Ascension Day Reflection

Commencement season is almost over (there are some college graduations still happening, if you can believe it!). This year I learned of a tradition I didn’t know existed. Apparently a newly elected president’s first commencement address is usually given at Notre Dame. But Donald Trump broke with this convention, recently delivering his first commencement address at Liberty University. In my opinion, it was one of his better public addresses. But he did do one conventional thing in the speech itself: he quoted from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” Quotations from this poem are ubiquitous at graduations, along with inevitable misinterpretations.

Here is…

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Magdalene: At the Grave, by Marie Howe

Magdalene: At the Grave, by Marie Howe

… Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom…

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The Mockingbird Devotional: Finding Grace and Being Found

The Mockingbird Devotional: Finding Grace and Being Found

After scrolling through my Twitter feed and seeing a prominent Christian leader post something that made me want to climb in my bed, pull my down alternative comforter over my head, and hide from the world; I tweet-confessed that remembering the gospel doesn’t undo the bad stuff. My proclamation got a couple of likes so there are at least two other people in the world who might agree that oh-remember-the-gospel-and-god-and-the-kingdom-everything-is-better-now just doesn’t work sometimes. Maybe we aren’t Christian-y enough, but using the gospel and the reality of God’s kingdom as a bandaid for all that is wrong in the world…

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“Transubstantiation” by Mischa Willett

From Willett’s new collection of poetry, Phases:

Transubstantiation

Bread should be of the sort
commonly eaten, declares the sotto
voce of the Book of Common Prayer,
attendants at the would-be grisly feast, we seated
goers of the fete prepare

our hearts to receive. What that means
for me is ignoring largely the lost and meager
symbol held aloft by this dumb garage
to the vehicle of grace; my own mea
culpa: the inability to transcend the image

of the body before me. That it breaks
cleanly in half, snapped along a prefab crease
is nearly as bad as the milky tinge
the wafers have, as though hadn’t
known wheat, earth, heat,
knead or rise.

We start: cleanse hearts, cleanse thoughts.

Deacons pass stacks of plastic thimbles:
single-serving sanitary shots of purple juice,
and write on our tongues the
difference in cleanliness and the god-
lines it’s next to.

The God of Seven Buses

The God of Seven Buses

I recently started reading Gregory Boyle’s excellent Tattoos on the Heart, a memoir of his powerful ministry in Pico-Aliso, a low-income area in L.A. dominated by gangs. So far, it’s full of incredible stories about the action of grace upon those who had spent years cultivating facades of toughness and independence, almost as a matter of survival. Boyle, a Jesuit, and the grace-brimming adults (predominantly women) of his community find, through the love they show, an inside look at the hearts of the ‘homies’ they befriend. My favorite vignette from the first chapter is below:

At Camp Paige, a county detention facility near Glendora, I was getting…

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When the World Tastes Like Cold French Fries

When the World Tastes Like Cold French Fries

Durga Chew-Bose’s Too Much and Not the Mood is a small collection of essays printed in a charming paperback edition, and it’s perfect for carrying around this summer. A poet by inclination, Chew-Bose’s essays are lyrical and wonderfully meandering, especially the lead, “Heart Museum.” This passage is from a little further along in the book, in a piece called “Miserable.” She shows great sensitivity and power illustrating the world’s ability to disappoint.

As a child, a Slinky stalled on a flight of steps caused me acute stress. The way it would cede to its coils — sometimes pause and appear to levitate — and then fail, abandoning…

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The Man Who Met God in a Bar, by Robert Farrar Capon - Preface to the Mockingbird Edition

The Man Who Met God in a Bar, by Robert Farrar Capon – Preface to the Mockingbird Edition

If you haven’t yet gotten your hands on Mockingbird’s latest publication, a completely outrageous novel by the late Robert Farrar Capon, you can now find it on Amazon and in our online store! The Man Who Met God in a Bar: The Gospel According to Marvin reimagines the gospel story as though it had happened in 1990s Cleveland, where Peter is a traveling salesman…and Mary is a yogi…and Jesus is a short-order cook…. You don’t want to miss this.

The following preface was written by the one and only Ethan Richardson:

If there were an award given for “Most Terrible Parable,” my vote would…

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Be Prepared to Be Unprepared

Be Prepared to Be Unprepared

I was a Boy Scout for a while…until I realized that none of the cool kids were Boy Scouts. As soon as I figured out that it wasn’t “cool” to be in the Boy Scouts, I quit to try to jump start my social life. It turned out, of course, that my social problems weren’t the Boy Scouts’ fault. It had more to do with the glasses and the braces and the paralyzing fear of talking to…well, pretty much anyone. Despite my de-connection with the Boy Scouts, the motto pops into my head all the time: “Be prepared.” Recently, I…

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Announcing The Very Persistent Pirate, Mockingbird’s First Children’s Book!

We are very excited to announce Mockingbird’s first children’s book, The Very Persistent Pirate, a swashbuckling tale of good news for sinners and saints ages 3-8.

When most children are drifting to sleep,
one kid and his monkey are drifting at sea.

One day, they spy a treasure
that is not theirs…

Over the course of 34 beautifully illustrated pages, The Very Persistent Pirate winds its way across a rollicking sea and onto a mysterious island in hot pursuit of stolen booty. Playing with all of our favorite themes — law, gospel [marauding] and, of course, the stubbornness of grace — The Very Persistent Pirate will capture the imaginations of children and adults alike.

Click here to pre-order your copy of The Very Persistent Pirate! Shipping mid-May.

Avoidance Issues and the Unavoiding God

Avoidance Issues and the Unavoiding God

Every year Princeton Seminary brings in a distinguished scholar to deliver the Warfield Lectures. They are one of, if not the most prestigious lecture series in the country. What most people don’t realize is that the lectures are not named for B.B. Warfield, one of the deans of American Calvinism. They were named for his wife, Annie Kinkead Warfield. The story of their marriage is one that has been stuck in the forefront of my mind since I first heard it.

In 2010 Fred Zaspel wrote a book entitled The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary. He says that since its…

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Now Available! The Man Who Met God in a Bar: The Gospel According to Marvin

Mercury may be in retrograde, but that hasn’t stopped us yet! We are pleased to announce the publication of The Man Who Met God in a Bar: The Gospel According to Marvin, by Robert Farrar Capon.

As many of you may already know, we have been given the distinct privilege of resurrecting a handful of out-of-print books by the acclaimed chef-theologian, Robert Farrar Capon. First up was the never-before-published More Theology and Less Heavy Cream (available here), a collection of musings on food, God, and everything in between, featuring Robert and his wife’s fictional alter-egos; and now, just in time for the big NYC Conference, we are pleased to present to you The Man Who Met God in a Bar, a completely outrageous novel that imaginatively retells the life of Jesus as though it had happened in 1990s Cleveland. Here’s the summary:

It’s time for a drink, Marvin Goodman decides after missing his red-eye out of Cleveland. Moseying into the airport bar, he encounters a charismatic young chef named Jerry—who also claims to be God. Before long, Marvin finds himself in the middle of a spiritual revival—witnessing miracles, healings and one everlasting anchovy pizza—in this weird and wonderfully inspired account of the Gospel story.

Click here to order your copy of The Man Who Met God in a Bar: The Gospel According to Marvin!  And look for it on Amazon soon.

You, Too, Might Find God in a Jar of Queso

You, Too, Might Find God in a Jar of Queso

This reflection comes to us from Mimi Montgomery.

“When I want to take God at his word exactly, I take a peep out the window at Creation. Because that, darling, He makes fresh for us every day, without a lot of dubious middle managers.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“Father Sullivan hoped to elevate the present to a state of divine. It seemed from this moment of repose that God may well have been life itself. God may have been the baseball games, the beautiful cigarette he smoked alone after checking to see that all the bats had been put back behind the closet door…How…

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