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Addiction

Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second…)

Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second…)

I owe you an apology. Or at least a confession. Nine months after switching to a flip phone, and about six months after making a big stink about it, I went back to a smart one. I’m not proud.

What got me in the end wasn’t Internet itself. I stand by what I wrote about the cost, both personal and communal, of non-stop web access. I probably undersold it. What made me, er, flip back was two things: music and texts. They were the rationalization, in any case.

I realized about a month into the experiment that I wasn’t willing to live…

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Mr. Robot Wants to Save the World

Mr. Robot Wants to Save the World

“Watching a group of young people rebel against the one percent — these are not new ideas,” Portia Doubleday, a star of the hit show Mr. Robot, explained to an interviewer. “They’re things that as a society we’re all thinking but don’t know how to tackle. He’s just relating to what so many of us are wondering, but don’t say, and don’t have a platform to,” she said, referencing the show’s talented creator/writer/director, Sam Esmail. We’ve seen this whole young rebel thing done, she’s right, but any good iteration usually has something fresh to communicate, and Mr. Robot is no different….

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AA’s Fourth Step: Unpacking the Boxes of Resentment and Love

AA’s Fourth Step: Unpacking the Boxes of Resentment and Love

The following is taken from Chapter Four of Mockingbird’s most practical publication to date, Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody. See pages 83-92.

“Forgive everyone your sins.” – Jack Kerouac

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?…First take the plank out of your own eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5

Just as the Twelve Steps started with a recognition of our powerlessness over addiction, so too the 4th Step encourages a brutally honest self-examination of our life on a broader scale. The Big Book describes this step…

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David Feherty: The Addict Who Is a “Plaid Jacket at a Funeral”

David Feherty: The Addict Who Is a “Plaid Jacket at a Funeral”

If you watch only “Major” golf on TV like I do, it means that you limit your golf viewing to the four Majors (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA). My favorite day among the majors is coming up Sunday. The final round of the US Open always falls on Father’s Day–the perfect license for a full throttle veg-out session on the sofa. I’m not a golfer, but I find the Majors compelling, mostly when I hear the affable Irish commentary of David Feherty. He doesn’t sound like the other (rightfully ridiculed) dime-a-dozen commentators who speak in hush tones lest they…

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Feeding the Beast: Grace for an Outraged World

Feeding the Beast: Grace for an Outraged World

Here we are again, face to face with the beast; the beast named “Outrage.” The great Harambe is dead, and someone has to answer for his demise. The furious fingers of the incensed mob permeate the web with posts of “crucify her!” The young boy’s mother is clearly negligent and self-absorbed. How could she lose control of her own child in a public place? Her neglect led directly to the death of an endangered animal, and a majestic one at that. This is unthinkable. It’s horrific. It’s murder.

This is, of course, only Outrage’s latest feeding frenzy. The beast seems to…

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Angels with an Incredible Capacity for Beer: A 1986 Interview with Brennan Manning

Angels with an Incredible Capacity for Beer: A 1986 Interview with Brennan Manning

Before The Babylon Bee, there was The Wittenburg Door, a satirical Christian journal with some serious humor–a cartoon called “Dogs Who Know the Lord”, fake news headlines, a Theologian of the Year (with winners like Xena Warrior Princess and Mister T)–all pointed in cornball fashion at the Church and its bizarre inner- and outer-workings. Our mentor and spirit-guide Robert Farrar Capon was, in fact, a “Keeper of the Door”–he started a column series he called “Pietro and Madeleine,” a theological love story (of sorts). But The Door, as it later became known, also did some very serious interviews. In these interviews, they were both just playing…

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Tidy Lies and Messy Truths in Flaked

Tidy Lies and Messy Truths in Flaked

In a few recent Netflix shows, Will Arnett plays existentially ambivalent and sometimes despondent characters with alcoholic tendencies. He voices the title role in Bojack Horseman, an animated series centering on a maladjusted former TV star who’s going broke and doesn’t know how to engage in a meaningful relationship. And in the more recent Flaked he plays Chip, an exemplary community member with a colored past, basically killing time before the lease runs out on his furniture store in Venice Beach. He produces both shows and has a larger hand in the creation and writing of the latter, which claims AA…

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Brand New Me: Instagrammed Lives and the Promise of the Cross – Ethan Richardson

Alrighty, here’s the one that left us all in tears (and stitches) a few weekends ago – so, so good. The documentary Sean Davis Ethan references/shows is the incredible ESPN 30 for 30, Unguarded, which is available to stream on Netflix:

Brand New Me: Instagram Lives and the Promise of the Cross – Ethan Richardson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Trumping to Conclusions

Trumping to Conclusions

In September 2009, after being fired by Air America for the third time, comedian Marc Maron began the WTF podcast. It was born of necessity. Maron was 45 years old with a mediocre comedy career behind him and nothing on the horizon. But he knew a bunch of other comedians, so he sat down with them and recorded hour-long conversations, hoping that people would listen. Since then, Maron has recorded almost 700 such conversations, starting with comedians but expanding to writers, actors, directors, and, last year, the President of the United States. With a technique honed in therapy and a series…

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AA and Free Gifts, from Lewis Hyde

AA and Free Gifts, from Lewis Hyde

Here is a timely excerpt from Lewis Hyde’s classic, The Gift.

A gift may be the actual agent of change, the bearer of new life. In the simplest examples, gifts carry an identity with them, and to accept the gift amounts to incorporating the new identity. It is as if such a gift passes through the body and leaves us altered. The gift is not merely the witness or guardian of new life, but the creator. I want to speak of “teachings” as my primary example here. I do not mean schoolbook lessons, I mean those infrequent lessons in living that…

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From the Archives: Be Not Afraid, O Ye Stone Temple Pilots

From the Archives: Be Not Afraid, O Ye Stone Temple Pilots

In light of this morning’s terrible news about Scott Weiland’s death.

I don’t think anyone ever expected Stone Temple Pilots to be more than a 90s punchline. But here we are, a few years after the 20th anniversary of Core, and as derivative as the band may have initially appeared, their music has dated infinitely better than that of their humorless post-grunge peers. They’re no nostalgia act. In writing about their 2003 singles collection Thank You, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of All Music Guide put it well:

“[Other bands] certainly had more indie credibility, but great pop music isn’t about credibility; it’s how the…

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Richard Rohr Goes to an AA Meeting in Albuquerque

Richard Rohr Goes to an AA Meeting in Albuquerque

America’s favorite Franciscan dropped a doozie of a daily meditation the other day, one too relevant not to pass on. It is drawn from his book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. Here’s the lion’s share, but you can read the full text here, ht JE:

The spirituality of the Twelve Steps is another important part of my wisdom lineage. Although I have never formally belonged to a Twelve Step group, I have learned much from people who are in recovery. I truly believe that the Twelve Step program (also known as Alcoholics Anonymous or A.A.) will go down in history as…

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