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Another Week Ends: Silent Scorsese, Chinese Credit, Stigma Supremacy, Moralized Rationality, Merciful Madness, and Anderson Xmas

Another Week Ends: Silent Scorsese, Chinese Credit, Stigma Supremacy, Moralized Rationality, Merciful Madness, and Anderson Xmas

1. If there’s a must-read article this week, it’s the profile of director Martin Scorsese that Paul Elie produced for The NY Times Magazine. Elie is always a joy to read and “The Passion of Martin Scorsese” is no exception. Most of it centers around Scorsese’s adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s Silence, a ridiculously Christocentric project that he’s been working on for 27 years. The article is not short, but you’ll kick yourself if you skim over the anecdotes Martin relays from childhood. Basically, he had the polar opposite experience of the Roman Catholic Church than you normally hear about in…

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Announcing More Theology & Less Heavy Cream by Robert Farrar Capon!

This is such an honor. A dream come true even–if we’d been bold enough to dream that big. Today we can finally announce the release of More Theology & Less Heavy Cream: The Domestic Life of Pietro and Madeleine, a brand new title from the late Robert Farrar Capon. Father Capon has been one of Mockingbird’s guiding lights since our founding in 2007, and we had the distinct privilege of conducting his final interview before he passed away in 2013. Suffice it to say, More Theology and Less Heavy Cream is an indispensable look into Capon’s own kitchen (and soul).

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The blurb reads as follows:

“A dash of theology. A pinch of satire. The unmistakable smell of roasted lamb. Father Capon is back. More Theology & Less Heavy Cream collects 27 essays from the much-missed theologian, writer, and chef, featuring him and his wife’s lovable alter-egos, Pietro and Madeleine. Armed only with oven mitts and a razor-sharp wit, this unforgettable couple spars over God, food, grace, and everything in between.”

Pre-order your copy today! Available at other outlets this coming Monday, December 5.

P.S. This is the first of five out-of-circulation Capon books that we’ll be publishing over the next 18 months!

P.P.S. Order both of our new publications together and save some cash. We call it the “Capon Condon Combo”.

Announcing Churchy: The Real Life Adventures of a Wife, Mom, & Priest by Sarah Condon!

Well, it’s that time of year again! The ubiquity of Mariah Carey heralds the thrill of hope and the pressure of gift-giving–and the release of new Mockingbird publications. We could not possibly be more excited to present you with the first of the two:

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“One woman’s hilarious and deeply touching dispatch from the trenches of contemporary life, Churchy traces the fingerprints of grace from hospital hallways to community swimming pools to church nurseries and back again. Unflinchingly honest yet unfailingly hopeful, Rev. Sarah is a genre unto herself. You’ve never had this much fun going to church.”

Pre-order your copy today and it will ship on Monday!

Falling Into Grace, Part Two – John Newton

Such a privilege to offer up the second half of John Newton’s wonderful presentation in Oklahoma City on his (wonderful) book Falling Into Grace. Click here to watch part one.

Falling Into Grace, Part Two – John Newton from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

On Being Outsiders…and Not Quite Bulletproof

On Being Outsiders…and Not Quite Bulletproof

Just wanted to let you know you can all calm down: I figured out the Election of 2016.

Okay, maybe I didn’t “figure it out” so much as “choose the theory I find least disquieting among all the ones being thrown around right now.” The narrative of this election, after all, is being told and retold all over social and traditional media. There seems to be no escaping the countless voices clamoring to be heard, the opinions on why the winner won and the loser lost. One of the refrains that caught my eye early, though, and still sticks, is that so many…

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What Would You Eat If You Weren’t Afraid?

It’s Thanksgiving again, that one day of the year where we used to loosen our belts to enjoy a glut of buttery foods. But things have gotten more complicated. In the current gastronomic climate we inhabit, even if we do loosen our physical belts, we tighten the moral ones. Whether it’s nutritionally clean or ethically sourced, Thanksgiving now provides us with a chance to be worthy of our own gratitude. Gluten-free stuffing? Vegan creamed corn? Quinoa sweet potatoes? One by one, our peerlessly tasteful G.M.O.s leave our tables, leaving us thankful for, well, other things. What gives?!

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In an article in the Times Magazine, Alex Halberstadt tells the story of his own moral search for the right turkey–a search which landed him with a heritage bird from a small farm in Pennsylvania:

For weeks we watched the turkey — our turkey — on the farmer’s webcam, a cluster of pixels frolicking inside a chicken-wire enclosure. It was butchered and shipped overnight (the FedEx shipping cost nearly as much as the bird) and when it emerged from the oven, mari­nated and basted decadently in butter, the turkey tasted so unspeakably bland that much of it was left on our friends’ plates, camouflaged awkwardly under brussels sprouts. The feel-good narrative of our lovingly raised, hormone-antibiotic-and-G.M.O.-free certified-organic turkey became supplanted with a more ambiguous one. We felt both duped and morally abject: Not only were we out nearly $200, but our ethical gambit put an end to the bird’s bucolic life.

I’m sure you’ve had no such experience. The rest of Halberstadt’s article is a love letter about the joys and complexities of, you guessed it, Frito-Lay’s Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles.

Which made me think, just in time for The Food & Drink Issue (out in January), ENOUGH! Let’s do something about this! Mary Karr once asked us a similar question, but this Thanksgiving, we put it to your gut: What would you eat if you weren’t afraid? Seriously, this is not rhetorical: what would you? What would you allow yourself to indulge were it not for the consequences–bodily and ethical and otherwise? Were it not for your self-consciousness?

We want to know! Leave a comment below or email us here, and tell us what heavenly nosh you so diligently (or not so diligently) avoid. And we’ll publish the answers (anonymously) in our upcoming issue! 

Happy Thanksgiving, whatever grub you’re pining for!

An Election Cycle Ends: Deeper Identities, Social Media Bandwith, Listening Ears, Sore Knees, and the Last Three Verses of Amazing Grace

An Election Cycle Ends: Deeper Identities, Social Media Bandwith, Listening Ears, Sore Knees, and the Last Three Verses of Amazing Grace

It’s been two weeks since the election ended, though you wouldn’t necessarily guess it from the way election coverage has continued. DZ already covered some initial thoughts on the results, understanding our collective emotional turmoil from a lens of low anthropology. Since then, the vote has been dissected and discussed thousands of ways, and believe it or not, some of those reflections contain glimpses of a law and gospel lens. If for no other reason than posterity’s sake, here are a few links to articles whose contents might be worth a glance.

First off, in The NY Times, Rabbi Michael Learner articulates the…

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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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Generosity Devoid of Expectations

Generosity Devoid of Expectations

As we approach Thanksgiving, we enter the season when a lot of us start to think about volunteer opportunities for our family. Perhaps we’re trying to inoculate our children from the entitlement that can creep in with all those holiday gifts. Or perhaps we’re trying to give back in a spirit of gratitude for all we’ve been given. Or perhaps we’re trying to put some muscle where our money is, as we dole out charitable gifts before the end of the tax year. Whatever our reasons, this time of year seems to be when a lot of us look to…

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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.

Another Week Ends: Upended Progress, Attachment Theory, Lulu Listening, Moral Superiority, Post-Truth, and Bingeing More Than Turkey

Another Week Ends: Upended Progress, Attachment Theory, Lulu Listening, Moral Superiority, Post-Truth, and Bingeing More Than Turkey

1) “Maybe it’s time we tell you,” the Atlantic seems to be saying, just more than a week after the world seemed to turn upside-down, “that we humans haven’t always believed in progress. To the contrary, it’s a rather new idea.” In Joel Mokyr’s essay from yesterday, “Progress Isn’t Natural,” our optimism towards human endeavors and scientific discoveries is at odds with what before could be described as “ancestor worship,” a feeling of due respect for tradition and classical texts prior to the Enlightenment:

After 1600, Europeans developed scientific instruments that allowed them to see things the ancient writers could never…

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The Rising Tide of #selfharmmm

The Rising Tide of #selfharmmm

One of the clear refrains I’m hearing post-election has to do with the cost of virtual communication. We are only starting to come to terms with the degree to which our current climate of divisiveness has been amplified by the limitations of the Internet. Physical remove makes it (much) easier to dehumanize another person and (much) harder to empathize with them. Or, as we put it in the tech issue of The Mockingbird:

At its best, the disembodiment [of the web] engenders safety, the permission to engage with someone or something you otherwise find threatening, e.g., a Gospel that seems too…

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