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Year In Review

In Defense of 2016

In Defense of 2016

This past calendar year, known by many of us as 2016, was nothing if not controversial. Populated as it was by unexpected outcomes, celebrity demises, and global tragedies, the year stands out as, at the very least, memorable. And at the very most? Well, it may be the first time I’ve heard a quartet of numbers get accused of killing people. Who knew those four digits carried around a sickle and political machinations in their back pockets?

Whether the loss of Prince and Princess (Leia) ruined your year or just amounted to a footnote in it, overall apathy about the past…

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The Top Theology Books of 2016

The Top Theology Books of 2016

Another year and there are many, many more books to read. If that statement feels more like a celebration than an arduous demand, this post is for you. I buy an inordinate amount of books each year, so I’m firmly in the former category. Below are the best theology books of 2016, categorized by their movie genre equivalent. You can click here for the accompanying podcast. Happy Reading!

The Best Pixar Films (Abreactive Theology Books)

John Newton’s Falling into Grace

A book for those of us who have ever failed and found themselves in dire straits–that is, all of us. Newton writes for…

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The Dirty Deacon’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2016

The Dirty Deacon’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2016

Disclaimer: Pinning down actual years on films is a tricky endeavor. Some films travel film festival circuits and have limited theater releases well before they’re actually “out”. However, my list below contains the top 10 horror films that had a wide release in 2016, whether it was in theaters or through video-on-demand services. So while films like The Love Witch might have been seen by some in the more metropolitan areas, I do not include them here, because if I can’t get my paws on it somehow in the Panhandle of Texas, then it’s not wide enough.

That being said, I saw 53 horror films that…

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The Top Ten Films of 2016

The Top Ten Films of 2016

Listen, 2016 has been…difficult. From political turmoil to national racial unrest, and the deaths of many beloved pop-icons such as Bowie, Prince, and, most recently, one of the more daring heroines the cine-verse has ever known, Carrie Fisher. But, as Sarah Condon so gracefully pointed out, 2016 wasn’t the worst year ever. As both the enthusiastic cinephile and the average moviegoer can attest, 2016 provided an admirable follow-up to an excellent year of film in 2015. Listed below are the ten best films that I saw in 2016. With a variety of genres and production levels represented, there is truly something for everyone! I hope you enjoy,…

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Pot Kettle Black: Keeping the Mocking-Score in 2016

A little rundown of what content got traction in 2016 for those looking to while away the post-Christmas coma. Fresh material will be fairly sparse until the new year:

Top Posts

  1. Why We Are All the Gorilla Mom
  2. When You Marry the Wrong Person
  3. Dear Gloria Steinem
  4. The Mortal Prayers of David Bowie
  5. Attachment Theory and Your Relationship with God
  6. Jim Carrey and the Terrible Search for Fulfillment
  7. Yesterday’s News
  8. The Ubiquity of Grief (and How I Tried to Climb the Ladder)
  9. Bumper Stickers and Background Screens
  10. The Prosperous Gospel of Stage 4 Cancer

Honorable Mentions: Love to the Loveless Shown, 13 Signs of Bad Pastoral Care, But Now We’re Stressed Out, Roses for Your Sin, The Secret History of William Axl Rose [Deluxe Edition], The Gospel’s Steady Work of Reversal

Favorite Whiffs AKA Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time (and Still Does!)

  1. Smells Like Dream (Teen) Spirit
  2. Playing It Safe With Consumer Reports
  3. Kid Kierkegaard Chose… Poorly
  4. Christmas in Colombia: The Gracious End of FARC
  5. The Absolutely Fabulous Canterbury Cathedral

Three Most Popular Mockingcast Episodes

  1. Peter Leithart, Don Knotts & the Orthodoxy of Romance
  2. Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart (with Robert Jenson)
  3. Speaking of Faith, Fashion and Friendship (with Krista Tippett)

Most Popular Tweets (From a Post Not Mentioned Above): This one and, the runner-up, this one.

Most Popular Facebook Post (From a Post Not Mentioned Above): This one and then, this one.

Most Downloaded Sermon(s): “The Consistency of Inconsistency” by Jacob Smith, “Prison Break” by Paul Walker, “It Is Finished” by Jim Munroe

Most Watched Conference Talks (Not Given By a Bestselling Author/Musician)

  1. Exploring the Oddball World of Christian Disco (1975-85) – John Zahl
  2. Shut Up and Dance With Me – Sarah Condon
  3. Brand New Me – Ethan Richardson
  4. The Most Foolish Job in the World – Curt Benham
  5. Wes Anderson and the Catastrophe of Redemption – David Zahl

P.S. Earlybird rates for the above expire on Jan 1st! Pre-register today.

Five Golden…Themes! What We Loved Talking About in 2016

Five Golden…Themes! What We Loved Talking About in 2016

In lieu of a weekender, today we give you something of a year-ender, 2016’s five golden (or not so golden)…themes. By all means, tell us in the comments what themes you spied in the headlines throughout the past year.

1. Donald Trump. It goes without saying, but nothing frenzied the network television companies and newspaper writers and Twitter opinionators quite like Trump’s historic campaign ride this year. Well, nothing besides Trump’s actual victory. Opinions about his ascendance and eventual victory have been as diverse as it has been profuse. In all honesty, he could have his own five golden themes—and that would just begin…

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A 2016 Movie Wrap-Up

A 2016 Movie Wrap-Up

Here we go! A look into some of 2016’s most-talked-about films…

Birth of a Nation. Nate Parker’s film shares a title with D.W. Griffith’s 1915 technical masterpiece, yet inverts the idyllic narrative that championed the victory of white supremacy over the supposed societal dangers of Reconstruction. Where Griffith’s storyline details the violence that ensues when fear drives one people group to inflict genocide on another, Parker’s 21st century vision shows us the violence preceding the redemption of a people who have historically responded to oppression via artistic innovation and spiritual transcendence.

A rare film abundantly flowing with references to Scripture without attempting…

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Consuming 2016: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, Books

Consuming 2016: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, Books

Okey doke, time for our annual round up of favorites from throughout the year. These are predominantly personal picks, albeit ones with an eye toward Mocking-resonance. TV went live last week. (Click here to check out last year’s list).

Music

Favorite Discoveries

David Bowie 1991-1997. When he died, I first spent some time with his mid-to-late 70s work. And I love that stuff. Who doesn’t? Then I went back to his final few records (from hours… on), and unearthed a few gems I’d missed (“I’ll Take You There”, “Safe”). Eventually, though, I wanted something fresh, something I hadn’t heard. So I…

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The Best of the Year in Television 2016

The Best of the Year in Television 2016

Back in November, The Washington Post reported that there is so much TV being produced in America today that Los Angeles is running out of studio space and production equipment. Now, I know you could argue that the scarcity reflects a bottomless appetite for distraction in our culture–that we’re “entertaining ourselves to death”. You’d have a point, to be sure. But that argument holds less water when you consider the wealth of great work that’s actually getting made. Meaning, while the mindless stuff will always be with us, it would appear that, at least when it comes to television, the quality of…

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2016 Was Not the Worst Year Ever

2016 Was Not the Worst Year Ever

Across my newsfeed has rung the proclamation that 2016 was “The Worst Year Ever.” I get it. David Bowie died. Prince went on to his great reward. Half the country voted for someone that people are comparing to Hitler/a cartoon character/a Cheeto. I wish I could buy into the extreme opinion. I love to proclaim things as being the worst. Unfortunately, 2016 ain’t it.

Let’s pause, for just a moment, and remember our history. Now, I’m not even asking us to look at global history (Holocaust) or ancient history (I see you, Crusades). The fact of the matter is that the…

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The Top Theology Books of 2015

The Top Theology Books of 2015

In the several years that I’ve been compiling a yearly review of theology books I have to say that this past year has been the best of them all. Some publishing years come and go without much notice, but this one will likely be remembered for quite a while.

Sin Boldly!: Justifying Faith for Fragile and Broken Souls, by Ted Peters

This book is so good we keep. writing. about. it. Go back and look – DZ has been subliminally sneaking Peters quotes or allusions into almost everything he’s written for the past 6 months. For Peters, justification is not some abstract,…

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2015: And Now, We Sing

2015: And Now, We Sing

A few weeks ago, my husband turned to me from our calendar. “Want to hear how we did this year?” he asked half-jokingly, citing the list we had made at the beginning of the year: goals, wishes, resolutions. I’ve talked here about my movement away from lists, but God help me if I can get away from them altogether, their bullet-point succinctness taunting me away from the narrative-driven unpredictability of grace and tempting me back to performancism.

I told him to read me the list.

This was at the beginning of December. The goals were laudable (eat better, read more)…

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