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Seeing Upside Down, Pt 2: The Beauty of Failure in Movies (and Life) – Ethan Richardson

Talk number three from our “Grace on the Big Screen” event in Dallas is here! Click here to watch the first part (tho’ both stand alone).

Seeing Upside Down – Part Two: The Beauty of Failure in Movies (and Life) – Ethan Richardson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Another Week Ends: Rude Saviors, Happy Students, Married Valentines, Fifty Shades, Christo-Singularity and Crashing

Another Week Ends: Rude Saviors, Happy Students, Married Valentines, Fifty Shades, Christo-Singularity and Crashing

1. Writing in The NY Times Magazine this past weekend, Rachel Cusk pondered “The Age of Rudeness.” Her jumping off point likely goes without saying, and yet, I was refreshed by how much fresh ground the essay tilled. Namely, we laud honesty and authenticity but demonize rudeness, when the line between them is often a very thin and fluctuating one. What is the moral status of rudeness? Cusk asks–why might it have possibly cost Hillary the election (“basket of deplorables”) and won it for Trump? When does decorum cease to facilitate discourse (a vehicle of communication/connection) and begin to stifle…

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Alexa, Now!

Alexa, Now!

Whenever a new technology comes on the scene, there’s always a bridge that needs to be built. That bridge is a cognitive bridge and it takes some powerful envisioning (and marketing!) to communicate that vision to the public. It is a bridge between what before was only manageable by human intuition and hard work, and what can now (supposedly) be entrusted to another. In short, every new technology today is a bridge from human agency to automation, a bridge that will deliver us from the toil of Egypt into the Promised Land, from the land of servitude and strife into…

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The Joys of Agnostic Eating

The Joys of Agnostic Eating

Ethan has joked elsewhere about our recent Food & Drink Issue: we had selected a topic that was intentionally “lighter fare” to chase Mental Health and then watched as the stuff that came in delved into the heaviest possible corners of gastronomic experience (pun sort of intended). Addiction, mortality, moralism, Marduk… sheesh. Good thing we had plenty of Capon on the menu to balance the palate and steer us clear of potential (food) comas. From what we’ve heard back thus far, the fun still comes across, thank God.

The point here is not to issue some vague humblebrag about #depth. No,…

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Alternative Faith: Click Crack, Fake News, and Good News

Alternative Faith: Click Crack, Fake News, and Good News

America has a Tweeter in Chief. The response is a seemingly unending stream of Facebook sites and posts and comments and likes and friending and unfriending. Drudge had a record month in January — over 1,000,000,000 hits.

Is “SEE-CLICK” rewiring our collective reality? Apple’s Tim Cook seems to think so:

“We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth,” Cook told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s killing people’s minds, in a way.”

I am typing this on an Apple…

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PZ’s Podcast: Eternal Return

PZ’s Podcast: Eternal Return

EPISODE 228

I keep trying to make sense of the divisions we are almost all feeling currently. How can one get “under” them, i.e., in hopes of lessening them a little? Does anyone who is reading this enjoy feeling estranged from others, especially old friends, for example, because of political opinions? Very few, I’ll bet. But it’s happening.

Then the insight came: Remember what it was like 47 years ago. Remember what it was like in the Spring of ’70. Everybody, and I mean, everybody, was up in arms! If you were a college student then, your campus was probably shut down….

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T-Minus Ten Days: Mbird in Tyler, TX (2/24-25)!

We’re just over a week out from Tyler! Our man Mark Babikow put together a second little promo for it, which you can watch below.

Also, I don’t think we ever formally announced our talk titles, so here you go:

  • “How Low Can You Go? The Soul of The Gospel?” – Paul Zahl, Friday PM
  • “Dear Reformation, It’s Not You, It’s Me: Theology We Love to Hate” – Sarah Condon, Sat AM
  • “You Complete Me? Grace, Loneliness and the Religion of Romance” – David Zahl, Sat AM
  • “Viva La Resistance: Personal and Pastoral Resistance to Grace” – Paul Zahl, Sat PM

Those are just the tip of the iceberg, too. Click here for the full schedule. For those who arrive early, Sarah, Scott and DZ are doing a live recording of The Mockingcast on Friday afternoon (4pm). And let’s not forget about Stanley’s BBQ…! Or this incredible lady, who performs on Friday night:

Pre-Register Today!

A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

Few things are certain in this world, but there is this: however critics feel about a movie, I will almost certainly disagree. There have been rare exceptions; the triteness of He’s Just Not That Into You, for example, pissed a lot of us off. Usually, however, I can be counted on as a contrarian. Such was the case with Passengers, which my husband and I saw in a theater with reclining leather chairs and a bar — hard to go wrong between those amenities and a Chris Pratt/Jennifer Lawrence pairing. I was delighted not to be the only one who enjoyed the…

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Another Week Ends: Immortality, Elixirs of Life, False Prophets, Fear of Death, Sensitive Readers and Humble Corporations, and Stranger Things

Another Week Ends: Immortality, Elixirs of Life, False Prophets, Fear of Death, Sensitive Readers and Humble Corporations, and Stranger Things

1. Lots of people talking about immortality this week! Wonder why that’s happening! First off, in a pretty blatant promotion of our Food & Drink Issue, The Atlantic published a lengthy piece on the denial of death in the world of nutrition and diet. I mean, the article gets pretty close to a lot of what we’re saying throughout the issue—that food is not only a culturally and morally stratifying part of our everyday lives, it is a way for human beings to fend themselves (read: justify themselves) against the inevitable d-word. The article references the philosophy of Ernest Becker (writer…

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From the Archives: Sneezing at the Cult of Productivity (over Sushi)

From the Archives: Sneezing at the Cult of Productivity (over Sushi)

The New Yorker made me laugh out loud the other day with their poking fun at the ever-escalating ‘cult of productivity’ in this country. In their Daily Shouts column, “3 under 3”, Marc Philippe Eskenazi introduced us to “the innovators and disruptors of 2014, all under the age of three years old, all impatient to change the world.” It’s really funny. For example, their top “pick” is two and a half year old Cheryl Kloberman, who is apparently making major strides as an Energy Conservationist:

What does it take to power an entire household with a flick of a switch? This…

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Sure Could Use A Little Good News

Sure Could Use A Little Good News

This one was written by news junkie Greg Gelburd.

So often the morning news is terrible, terrible. A young son is killed by a stray bullet in the street. Drone attacks in Yemen are “successful,” and while an ISIS leader is killed, so are his family of five children and wife; there are photos of their grieving relatives. Then I dwell on the new president, plagued by thoughts I’d just rather not have. I feel sadness seeing lost lives, and I feel anger at news from Alabama of a man released from prison after being wrongly accused and convicted of rape twenty years ago. On the…

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Special Food & Drink Mockingcast (Plus, What Would You Eat If You Weren’t Afraid?)

Excited to announce a brand new special episode of The Mockingcast, dedicated entirely to the Food and Drink issue of The Mockingbird! Scott really went to town on this one, compiling multiple interviews with contributors and excerpts from the mag itself (and a host of other goodies as well). Click here to listen. Fair warning: not to be consumed on an empty stomach!

Also, as another preview of the print edition, just before Thanksgiving Break we asked our readership what they would eat if they weren’t afraid—afraid of indigestion, afraid of death, afraid of angry spouses, social scrutiny, moral reproach? More as a thought experiment, we wondered what we’d really reach for if all the rules were wiped clean from the counter: What would you allow yourself to indulge in were it not for the consequences—bodily and ethical and otherwise?

Maybe you read about it and thought, “I have no deep-seated issues with food. I eat what I want and, believe it or not, what I want is healthy, natural food.” Fair enough (what’s your secret?!). For everyone else, loosen the belt a notch and grab a stack of napkins, cause here’s what you came up with:

  • Cheetos in a can
  • Krystals
  • KFC Double Down Sandwich
  • Hot McDonald’s fries!
  • Wendy’s chocolate Frosty
  • My mother’s oatmeal cookies
  • Cinnamon Life cereal with whole milk
  • BBQ sauce with anything
  • Onion rings
  • Cookies & Cream ice cream
  • A sack of Five Guys fries
  • Talenti’s pumpkin pie gelato
  • A try of cannolis with extra marscapone
  • New Jersey bagels with cream cheese and lox
  • Triple chocolate fudge cake
  • Cracklin’ Oat Bran
  • Pork soup dumplings
  • Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese Family box (all for me)
  • Those enormous Great Harvest salted butterscotch cookies
  • Deep-fried Oreos
  • A vat of queso with warm tortillas
  • Bagel dogs with sauerkraut
  • Fluffernutter milkshakes
  • All you can eat Brazilian steakhouse
  • Dominos Ultimate Pepperoni Feast
  • Shake Shack anything
  • Several tubes of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls
  • Fruit by the Foot, Swedish Fish and Gushers
  • French fries everyday, at every meal
  • Hot Krispy Kremes
  • A dozen Krispy Kremes in five minutes
  • A half-dozen Krispy Kremes, squeezed together into a ball, eaten like an apple
  • My wife’s mojo-marinated roast pork
  • Bacon bacon and more bacon
  • Chocolate chip cookies from Levain Bakery
  • Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts toasted with butter
  • Momma’s Pancake Breakfast at Cracker Barrel
  • McDonald’s Big Mac Extra Value Meal with an apple pie

Click here to order the Food & Drink Issue today! And those who’ve already wolfed their copies down, feel free to share your favorite bits in the comments. Or what (else) you’d eat if you weren’t afraid.