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Week In Review

Another Week Ends: Turklean Empathy, OK GO, The Cursed Child, Religious Skepticism, Couples Fooling Themselves, and Hail, Caesar!

Another Week Ends: Turklean Empathy, OK GO, The Cursed Child, Religious Skepticism, Couples Fooling Themselves, and Hail, Caesar!

The new OK GO video is amazing! Click on the image to watch.

Sherry Turkle, at it again, people. In The New York Review of Books, Jacob Weisberg samples a troop of tech-related books released this year, one of which is Sherry Turkle’s new one, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. Turkle, who we’ve talked about quite a bit on Mockingbird, is an MIT clinician and an ethnographer, and has focused her expertise in the last two books on the rise of technological dependence, and its implications on human relationships and identity. (For the record, two…

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Location images of Love & Friendship, a Jane Austen film adaptation starring Kate Bekinsdale and Chloe Sevigny, directed by Whit Stillman. CHURCHILL PRODUCTIONS LIMITED. Producers Katie Holly, Whit Stillman, Lauranne Bourrachot. Co-Producer Raymond Van Der Kaaij. Also Starring: Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell & Morfydd Clark

Another Week Ends: Ambitious Critics, Saving Beauty, Love & Friendship, Infinite Jest, Mother Theresa, Suede and The Whitney Plantation

Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast, featuring Stephanie Phillips.

1. Funny how some weeks a single theme comes to dominate this column. This week that theme appears to be beauty and our relationship to it. First up, NY Times film critic A.O. Scott has a tome coming out next week entitled Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth, which attempts to make sense of his field in a time when social media appears to have devalued or trivialized it. This past weekend his employers ran a precis of the book,…

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Another Week Ends: Identity Politics, Applied Rationality, Hipster Nostalgia, Self-Recrimination, and Belle & Sebastian Emails

Another Week Ends: Identity Politics, Applied Rationality, Hipster Nostalgia, Self-Recrimination, and Belle & Sebastian Emails

Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast!

1. Another incredible op-ed from Molly Worthen this past week about obstructions placed on campus ministries by more and more secular universities. I actually had the opportunity to interview Molly Worthen yesterday for the upcoming Church Issue, and we talked a little bit about this article. In it, she claims that, concomitant with the ideology of nondiscrimination in today’s academia–the ideology that frames much of today’s academic discourse–is the assertion that truth claims are identity-exclusive, and therefore detrimental to student life.

She writes about the InterVarsity chapter at Vanderbilt University, which was recently forced to relocate and was…

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Another Week Ends: That Dragon Cancer, Grief Police, Fat Waiters, Groucho’s Invention, Bad Jazz and Barcelona

Another Week Ends: That Dragon Cancer, Grief Police, Fat Waiters, Groucho’s Invention, Bad Jazz and Barcelona

Click here for this week’s episode of The Mockingcast.

Thank You For Playing (2016) – Official Teaser from Thank You For Playing on Vimeo.

1. I’m a little embarrassed we haven’t given this initial story its due yet. Given the nature of the content and my own stage in life, I suppose I’ve been putting it off. But it’s simply too powerful and beautiful to ignore any longer, a testament to the very best that Christianity has to offer the world, and in a highly unexpected form. I’m referring to the creation and release of what is being called “the most profound…

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Another Week Ends: More Bowie, Evolving Brooks, Idolatrous Doctrine, Insulted Servants, and Gaming Gratitude

Another Week Ends: More Bowie, Evolving Brooks, Idolatrous Doctrine, Insulted Servants, and Gaming Gratitude

Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast. Be sure not to miss the special Theology/Church episode released earlier this week.

1. It’s been a David Bowie world this week, and we just live in it. Despite the sadness, I feel like the immersion has been good for my soul, or at least, a timely reminder that our venerated “low anthropology” is not a ceiling so much as a baseline, a starting point rather than upward limit, that beauty and creativity and courage exists alongside the other, less savory aspects of our nature. Which is not to…

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Another Week Ends: Prophetic Music, Curious Hair, The New New Perspective, Hidden Elves, and Anxiety Attacks

Another Week Ends: Prophetic Music, Curious Hair, The New New Perspective, Hidden Elves, and Anxiety Attacks

You can find this week’s episode of the Mockingcast here!

ONE. Singer-songwriter Derek Webb (whose album Mockingbird celebrates its 10th anniversary this year!) wrote a confession about his infidelity on Relevant, which aims for instruction but also camaraderie, because even if we can’t learn from his mistakes, at least we can admit our familiarity with the sentiments. He writes about his own guilt:

As much as I wish I could, I simply cannot change what I’ve done, nor the resulting consequences. I can only own these despicable actions, which have left me completely devastated and deeply ashamed. Sometimes, no matter how bad you want it or how hard you fight for…

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Another Week Ends: Reputation Economies, Yes Digressions, Eulogizing Girard, Displacing Flannery and Defending Proselytizers

Another Week Ends: Reputation Economies, Yes Digressions, Eulogizing Girard, Displacing Flannery and Defending Proselytizers

Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast.

1. As the major outlets begin to run their year-end reflections, doom n’ gloom seems to be descending even more heavily over the Internet than usual. I’m sure it doesn’t help that we’re entering an election year, but sheesh. Time to crank up the Christmas music a little louder. That said, a couple of the columns are pretty good, for example, author Bret Easton Ellis sounding off on “Living in the Cult of Likability” over at The NY Times. While he may extend the trolls out there a bit more rope than I…

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Another Week Ends: Prayer Shaming, Gracious Sermons, Magical Libraries, St. Bill of Murray, and Orson Welles

Another Week Ends: Prayer Shaming, Gracious Sermons, Magical Libraries, St. Bill of Murray, and Orson Welles

Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast.

1. A few weeks ago The NY Times Magazine published a column questioning if, in the wake of a public tragedy such as a mass shooting, politicians’ “thoughts and prayers” mean anything. Ethan mentioned it in one of our round-ups, quoting an expert who observed, ‘‘When uttered by civilians, [that pair of words is] mechanical enough. When uttered by elected officials, it has all the emotional resonance of a Miranda warning’’.

He’s right. Overuse hollowed out the phrase long before the advent of social media. Instead, it tends to be “something to say” when words fail, often…

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Thanksgiving Miscellany

As per usual, we’ll be taking a break for the next few days, returning with new content on Monday. While we’re gone, a few things that might be worth checking out:

  1. Thanksgiving has provided the inspiration for a number of memorable posts over the years. To peruse our archive, click here.
  2. Releasing 12/7! Grab some popcorn and spread the word.

    Releasing 12/7! Grab some popcorn and spread the word.

    Funny when things hit at once. This past week, the episode of The White Horse Inn I was privileged to tape back in August hit the airwaves. Our topic was “Jesus in Pop Culture”, and you can listen here. Or download the mp3 (free), right here. Always a joy to be with those guys.

  3. Then, I had the opportunity to sit in with our friends at Christ Hold Fast for an episode of the Christ Hold Fast Cast. Among the subjects we touched on were Law and Gospel (our new book), church in a digital age, and self-forgiveness. Lots of fun to be with them as well.
  4. At the risk of over-saturation, we recorded a special new Thanksgiving episode of The Mockingcast this week, which you can listen to here. Sarah “adviceless” Condon guests #scottjonesismyhero.
  5. The digital versions of our magazines are just a click (or three) away! We’ve been incredibly touched and encouraged by the response to The Technology Issue. Important: if you’ve got a church or seminary bookstore that you’d like to see stock The Mockingbird, let us know (info@mbird.com)! We’d love to send them some sample copies.
  6. Speaking of the magazine, we’re about to send out a Christmas card with some exclusive deals on all our print publications. To be sure you get one, sign up for our physical mailing list.
  7. Great NY Times column on internal persecution and the echo chamber of conscience in the smartphone era from Rachel Fields, “The Five Stages of Ghosting Grief”, i.e. Was it Something I Texted?
  8. Believe it or not, Pixar’s beloved Toy Story turned 20 years old this past week. If you’ve never read the fantastic essay that Jeremiah Lawson wrote for us about the landmark film(s), “Toy Story as a Journey of Heroic Repentance”, click here for part one. Jeremiah wrote an updated reflection here.
  9. Along those lines, we couldn’t be more excited to announce our newest publication: the book-length Mockingbird at the Movies! This one’s been in the works for a while, a collection of 45 essays (almost all brand new) from a wide range of contributors, exploring relevant themes in our favorite films. The manuscript is being proofed as we speak, and you can check out a preview of the cover above (not final). Look for a release the first week of Dec #cjgreenismyhero.
  10. Last but not least, pre-registration for our 2016 NYC Conference (4/16-18) opens Friday, Dec 4th.

Another Week Ends: Palo Alto, the Other U-Curve, Adele Calling, Polly Answering, George Saunders in the Future, and Jonathan Haidt on Coddling

Another Week Ends: Palo Alto, the Other U-Curve, Adele Calling, Polly Answering, George Saunders in the Future, and Jonathan Haidt on Coddling

Click here for the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast.

Like many of these weekend columns, it seems we are provided a moment to stop and stand in the drift of cultural attention. Lots of times, especially if our collective attention is focused on something of particular interest to Mockingbird, we find we must write about it on its own, right now, sans weekender. This is what Dave did this week in his compilation piece about teenage optimism. Whether it is due to the atrocities in Europe, or the continued civil unrest here at home, it seems Americans (humans?) have had to…

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A penny is stuck to layers of gum on a wall at Seattle's "gum wall" at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Besides gum, people leave pictures, business cards and other mementos. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Another Week Ends: Atheist Ecstasies, Intolerant Activists, Essential Oils, Rumors n Roses, & Walls of Gum

Couple quick announcements before diving in: The Technology Issue is officially out the door! The last batch went out on 11/12. So if you haven’t received yours by the end of next week, drop us a line at info@mbird.com. Two new episodes of The Mockingcast are up too, one covering the post below and another dealing exclusively with the new issue of the magazine.

1. While the most exciting thing I’ve read this week, far and away, is THIS, the best thing has to be Mbird fave & friend Francis Spufford’s new article on “Spiritual Literature for Atheists” that appears in the current print edition of…

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Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Internet Addiction, Middle-Aged Mortals, and Unanswered Prayers

Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Internet Addiction, Middle-Aged Mortals, and Unanswered Prayers

Update: Accompanying episode of The Mockingcast up on iTunes now!

ONE. On Monday, Mallory Ortberg, founder of The Toast (the-toast.net), posted a video in which she discusses her experience founding a blog. It’s safe to say that we’ve become fans of The Toast here at Mockingbird, and Ortberg’s language in this video, and her transparency, explains why. She speaks in a direct, very honest (and extremely funny) way, reminding us that when we look at the true ridiculousness of everyday life we experience the freedom to laugh at ourselves.

She starts by calling out performancism, the anxiety that accompanies trying to live…

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