1. Holy smokes! Have you read Edward Mendelson’s “The Secret Auden” in the NY Review of Books?! If not, run don’t walk. It’s a jaw-dropping, incredibly inspiring catalog of the clandestine episodes of grace initiated by our all-time favorite Wystan–about as honest a Matthew 6:5 vibe as I’ve come across in ages. Lest these remarkable stories be dismissed as mere hagiography, Mendelson (author of the indispensable Later Auden) doesn’t lionize the great poet, instead tracing the ‘good works’ back to their root–which is not a sense of earning or credit (clearly) but of genuine humility brought on by piercing self-knowledge….
Another Week Ends: Secret Auden, Eagleton Deicide, Remembering Wes, Method Acting, True Detective, and Russian Tourist Tips
The first issue of The Mockingbird, our brand new quarterly magazine, is in the mail! If you signed up for our mailing list, you should have one coming to you, free of charge. If haven’t, sign up before March 1st and we’ll happily send you one. If you want to subscribe, look no further than magazine.mbird.com. (Remember, Mockingbird’s monthly donors receive a free subscription!)
In the meantime, here’s the line-up for our maiden voyage.
The Real Real Orange County: Looking Back on MTV’s Laguna Beach by Dan Varley
There Is Nothing the Matter with My Heart: Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim and My Myth of Me by Zach Williams
For the Record: Mockingbird’s Netflix Queue, Must-Hear TED Talks, A Kurosawa Primer, Top 5 Church Debates, and an Elvis Gospel Playlist
Transformational: The Hidden Spirituality of America’s Great Movement by Ethan Richardson
“Friends Don’t Get Serious”: John Cassavetes, James Baldwin and Tall Tales of Angry Men by Charlotte Hornsby
When a Measure Becomes a Target: Inside the Economics of Repentance by Will McDavid
A New Way to Tell It: An Interview with Francis Spufford (click here for a preview)
A Vision for the Storms by Blake Ian Collier
Coming to Terms with the American Hero Fix by Sarah Condon
Dying to Live: What Are the Side Effects of the Modern Hospital? by R-J Heijmen
This comes from Stephanie Phillips:
Weekday, early morning. I hoist my two-year-old son into his booster seat, scatter some Cheerios over his tray, flip on the Today show. As I wait for the coffee to brew, I notice that the lead news story concerns Justin Bieber’s latest run-in with the law. The camera pans across a sea of teenage girls holding up signs of support as Justin is escorted out of prison.
I think, This is the top story? And where are their parents? I glance over at my son, who stuffs cereal into his face as he stares at the screen….
The first time I realized Philip Seymour Hoffman was astonishing was when I saw the movie Magnolia. In it he plays the character of a nurse named Phil Parma. Phil has been charged with caring for an elderly man dying of brain cancer. As is the case with so many nurses, Phil goes far beyond the call of duty, and attempts to connect the dying man with his prodigal son. It is a beautiful movie about the desperate pain and honesty of the human condition. And it seems appropriate that in remembering the life of Philip Seymour Hoffman, I think of this compassionate character first.
I suppose the second…
Another Week Ends: Francis I and God as Love, Llewyn Davis Is a Failure, More Brene Brown, Questing Against the Wind, the Horror of Breakfast Meetings, Christmas Is Alright, and the Death of the Funeral
1. Reflections on Pope Francis continue, with the increasingly-familiar tension between acclamation for the Pope’s compassionate, grace-focused tone and suspicion, from another camp, concerning his lack of doctrinal rigidity. Enter Rod Dreher, the prolific ex-Catholic writer, who published a while back in Time an essay saying the following:
I fear his merciful words will be received not as love but license. The “spirit of Pope Francis” will replace the “spirit of Vatican II” as the rationalization people will use to ignore the difficult teachings of the faith. If so, this Pope will turn out to be like his predecessor John XXIII: a dear man,…
Well, well, well. Here we go again, 2013 edition.
1) The Religion of Food. Well, as we might have said last year, and the year before that, it seems the foodie is here to stay. Of particular interest this year was the spirituality of food–things like Jay Z and Beyonce joining arms with the 22 Day Challenge. Jay Z pledges: “Why now? There’s something spiritual to me about it being my 44th birthday and the serendipity behind the number of days in this challenge; 22 (2+2=4) coupled with the fact that the challenge ends on Christmas day…It just feels right!” This…
Another Week Ends: Helicopter Parents, Love (Not Actually), Llewyn Davis, Joe Jonas, the Inner-Hamlet, and Why?
1) A week past Black Friday, we’re well into the holiday shopping and the family travel bargaining, and so it’s no surprise that this is also when we find a slew of family sociology on the internet. Exhibit A: Slate’s piece on the Millennial Anxiety and the Helicopter Parent. In it, therapist Brooke Donatone explains that soaring rates of college- and post-graduate-aged depression and suicide, as well as the more general epidemic of “adultescent” anxiety, has a lot to do with conflict-fear, and the 20-something’s unpreparedness for disappointment and failure. Over-parenting is the cause of these “crash landings” to the…
Another Week Ends: Perfectionistic Pride, Spufford Bathes, Country Priests, Shoplifting Grace, Quitting Baseball, Katy Perry, Funeral Selfies, and William Peter Blatty
1. In the Harvard Business Review, Greg McKeown explores the problem of perfectionism, urging us “Today, Just Be Average”. Easier said than done, but a few of the observations are worth reproducing here, ht RW:
Unlike other obsessions and addictions, perfectionism is something a lot of people celebrate, believing it’s an asset. But true perfectionism can actually get in the way of productivity and happiness. I recently interviewed David Burns, author of “Feeling Good” has made this exact connection. In his more than 35,000 therapy sessions he has learned that the pursuit of perfection is arguably the surest way to undermine…
They say you can tell a lot about a person by their favorite Beatle. Cuddly Paul, edgy John, moody George, or funny Ringo, you choose the one you either most readily identify with, or would most like to identify with. Of course, having to name only one is a dodgy practice in the first place, and not just because Paul could be edgy (“Helter Skelter”), John moody (“I’m a Loser”), George funny (“Savoy Truffle”, Life of Brian), and Ringo cuddly (“Octopus’ Garden”). I for one don’t mind pegging them as archetypes rather than people–Beatles mythology is way too fun to…
This week country music star Vince Gill made news for his confrontation of the Westboro Baptist protesters. While this ‘colorful’ group of believers normally likes to target military funerals, this week they had their sights set squarely on Gill and his adulterous ways. But when they showed up to protest at his Kansas City concert last week, Gill decided to confront and engage with them. As he approached the group one female protester asked him, “What are you doing with another man’s wife? Don’t you know that divorce plus remarriage equals adultery? Jesus said that.”
For those of you who don’t…
The first part of this series focused on Coach Saban, Purveyor of The Process, whose commitment to excellence can be received as judgment by those too weak to try. In the second part, we looked at Nick Saban, Winner of Championships, who seems uninterested in the glory that accompanies his accomplishments. In this third and final part, I want to consider Nicholas Lou Saban Jr., the man.
By using The Process, Mr. Saban has managed to limit the flaws in his football team. That much is undeniable. The principles underlying The Process, however, are not limited to football. In fact, Saban…
On Monday, I revealed that, because of my susceptibility to human weakness, Nick Saban could never love me. Perhaps it is no surprise that the Alabama coach finds little to love in middle-aged non-athletes. I contrasted this with the good news of the Gospel, that God loves me even though I bring nothing to the table to merit his favor. Everything required of me has already been done by another.
The Gospel can only be good news, though, if I have recognized that I am unworthy of it. Water only tastes good to someone who is thirsty, after all, and if…