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Another Week Ends: Accountability Adventures, Word Violence, Linkin Park, Religious Activism, Dealing with Our S*%!, and Doing Yoga with the Rishi

Another Week Ends: Accountability Adventures, Word Violence, Linkin Park, Religious Activism, Dealing with Our S*%!, and Doing Yoga with the Rishi

1. First up, an insightful opinion piece from Mary Laura Philpott in the NYT, : “My Adventures with Accountability” (ht MM). Philpott explains how, as a driven writer, healthy-eater, and generally savvy twenty-first century woman, she uses accountability groups to aid her in achieving her goals. Hey, I’ve heard of that before. But I first learned of accountability partners, not from slick businesspeople or competitive entrepreneurs, but from Christians, of all people, with whom I shared an interest in living my best life now. Since we considered ourselves good people, on Jesus’ team, we needed friends who would help us achieve our…

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"I Roll to Punch the Shark": The Strangely Familiar World of Dungeons and Dragons

“I Roll to Punch the Shark”: The Strangely Familiar World of Dungeons and Dragons

My first encounter with Dungeons and Dragons (DnD), the archetypal tabletop roleplaying game (rpg), took place in the winter of my freshman year of high school. I had just left the dark, lonely, Mordor-esque bleakness of my middle school years, and in joining the marching band, I made some good friends who shared my affinity for elf culture and all of the other geeky things that fill up the time of teenagers who exist on the outskirts of the high school social strata. As Christmas was approaching, this group of friends invited me to play a DnD campaign with them…

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Flight or Fight? Grace in the Face of the Freak Show

Flight or Fight? Grace in the Face of the Freak Show

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed. We are in a strange season: Russia, Healthcare, Special Investigating, Trump Mania are in a screaming Opera of Hatred. Cable TV, the Internet, dinner parties (dinner parties!) are amped up to the point where you can just shut down. Coping with work, kids, spouse—whatever else there is, your mission is often now in overload mode. This may be the Era of Being Overwhelmed—especially in politics. The response to all this overload is to feel threatened by it, and so anger is our default mode.

We can fight the sense of…

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Beneath the Pelagian Surface of Moana ~ Charlotte Getz

This next talk from the recent Mockingbird conference in NYC features our own Charlotte Getz, unpacking the theology of 2016’s Disney hit Moana. Enjoy!

Beneath the Pelagian Surface of Moana ~ Charlotte Getz from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Another Week Ends: Prosecutors of Play, Video Gamers, Harvard Helicopters, Mimamoru, Starbucks Therapists, and Going To the Bone

Another Week Ends: Prosecutors of Play, Video Gamers, Harvard Helicopters, Mimamoru, Starbucks Therapists, and Going To the Bone

1. A very timely, and heartwarming, little essay from our friend Mark Galli entitled “A Theology of Play,” which has a lot to say about the inner-critics and scorekeepers that can trouble the summer frame of mind. Galli, who is a golfer and fisherman, describes the litany of moral reasons, practical reasons, and theological reasons he must lay out to defend himself from the accusations of uselessness and wastefulness of enjoying himself. These are the inner-lawyers with whom Galli must contend:

The prosecutors rest their case on a common but questionable assumption: That life’s highest purpose is to work, to get…

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Eat Your Fancy Sandwich

Eat Your Fancy Sandwich

It’s obvious that David Brooks really struck a nerve with his most recent op-ed regarding sandwiches. I mean, as a huge fan of sandwiches, I understand. There’s nothing better than a great sandwich—I’m eating a chicken salad sandwich right now. And while I wouldn’t fight for much, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a nice chipotle mayo or garlic aioli.

Brooks’ sandwich illustration, if you haven’t read it, is a picture of a wider problem, though. He’s talking about classism, the widening gap in the middle class between those who can afford the best for their progeny and those who get…

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Confessions of a Foodaholic

Confessions of a Foodaholic

During the summer following my junior year of college, I attended a handful of Overeaters Anonymous meetings. I was plagued with compulsive overeating, binge eating, whatever you want to call it, starting in high school, having been off and on diets since age 14, and it reached its height in college; hence the infamous rock bottom that lead me to OA. OA is based on the same principles and twelve steps as AA, simply replacing alcohol with food, and it was not until OA that I faced or even recognized the depth of my problem. Anything you associate with an…

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An Ode to Print: The Mockingbird Magazine

An Ode to Print: The Mockingbird Magazine

A quick Google search will show that researchers have studied and continue to study the differences that exist between print and digital reading experiences. There are pros and cons of both mediums, and it looks like neither format will disappear anytime soon.

I love the physicality of real paper and definitely connect with Ferris Jabr’s words here from a 2013 Scientific American article “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens”:

In most cases, paper books have more obvious topography than onscreen text. An open paperback presents a reader with two clearly defined domains—the left and right…

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Now Available: The Love & Death Issue!

Now Available: The Love & Death Issue!

Ladies and gentlemen, lovers and leavers, killers and killed, the time has arrived: The Love & Death Issue is at the printers and death is lovelier than ever. You are going to love it to death!
If you want to order a copy for yourself and all the people you love, go here. They will be shipping out late next week! Check out the magazine site for a look inside. And, as always, a subscription is always an option.
Until then, here’s the Table of Contents and Opener from Ethan.

 

Contents

When You Marry the Wrong Person by David Zahl

The Confessional

Memento Mori:…

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Stranger Things: When Angels Show Up In Cadillacs

Stranger Things: When Angels Show Up In Cadillacs

When I was in the third grade a man tried to abduct me in our neighborhood. I was walking the five houses down to my best friend’s house, a thing I did almost everyday. A man pulled his car over and began to ask me questions.

He wanted to know my name, how old I was, and where I lived. And then he paused for a moment and said, “Why don’t you take a ride with me?”

Stranger Danger and a innately suspicious personality made me say “no.”

He asked a second time if I could “just come a…

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Champions She Shall Never Want

Champions She Shall Never Want

The following post was written by our friend, Matt Milliner, professor of art history at Wheaton College. 

I recently decided to leave Mockingbird. I do not mean that I was convinced over a bourbon-fueled colloquy with a recent Catholic convert that Sylvester Prierias was unimpeachably correct to respond to Luther’s attack on indulgences by defending papal authority. Nor do I mean that I brushed up on recent Pauline scholarship and determined that Luther’s existential read of Romans is passé. Least of all do I mean, by leaving Mockingbird, that the Mainline Protestant status quo—with its newfangled gospel of intersectionality—holds any lingering appeal….

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Freedom's Just Another Word

Freedom’s Just Another Word

The first time I heard an Aussie ask “How are you going?” I thought he wanted me to give him directions, which is hilarious because I know how to get to, like, three places here. Then I realized I was being presented with an alternative to our American phrase “How are you doing?” And I decided that I really liked it.

There’s a chance I’m taking idioms too personally here, but my journey through faith has been like this: religion to grace. Javert to Valjean. Imperative to indicative. My early years of preoccupation with behavior—to my idea of God as the…

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