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Identity

I am Bartman

I am Bartman

I’m not sure what else there is to say about this. When I heard about Steve Bartman getting a 2016 World Series ring from the Chicago Cubs yesterday, I got a little choked up, and I wasn’t sure why. I’m not a Cubs fan. In fact, I rooted pretty hard against them last season. Where was my emotional reaction coming from? (This actually happens all of the time, but it always comes from left field.) I then thought about that little self-description that I once put in my Twitter profile years ago: “self-deceived, loved, shunned, cherished, left for dead, rescued,…

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Theology Lessons from a Ghetto Star

Theology Lessons from a Ghetto Star

Another amazing one from our friend Chad Bird. 

When the phone rang at his friend’s house, Tommy Shakur Ross picked up the receiver. And into his ears fell razor-sharp words that would keep falling and falling, shredding his insides in their violent descent…

Tommy—who goes by Shakur—was a member of the L.A. gang, the Eight Trays. Raised by a minister father and church-going mother, Shakur discovered within the gang a new identity, a new culture, new aspirations. He even received a new name; he became Joker.

But despite his moniker, Joker was dead serious. He was out to earn a reputation, score points,…

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This Is Really 40

This Is Really 40

My family and I recently took a trip to Fiji. (I will pause momentarily for your pity.) My husband billed the “vacation” as part of my present for my upcoming fortieth birthday, even though since (a) the kids came along, and (b) trips with kids aren’t vacations, then by deductive reasoning, (c) I did not get a vacation for my birthday. Nonetheless, it was one of many experiences we’ve been fortunate enough to have because of our move to Australia. The only other way I could see myself ever getting to the South Pacific is as a contestant on The…

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Jesus and Therapy: Subjective Comfort with Objective News ~ Ethan Richardson

Here is one of the more powerful talks from our recent conference in New York City. Ethan talks about how we see ourselves, and what happens when someone else sees us—the real us.

Jesus and Therapy: Subjective Comfort with Objective News ~ Ethan Richardson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

People Are Dying in Texas and I Am a Lucky Schmuck

People Are Dying in Texas and I Am a Lucky Schmuck

As a Southern transplant to New York City, riding the subway during rush hour was the most jarring activity of the week. After a long day of work, people were ready to get home and order some takeout. In the summer, everyone smelled bad, me included. Train after train would pass with no room for the crowds to get on. There was always an air of chaos and immediacy that I haven’t experienced in any other setting.

After a few months of this daily trial, I begin to notice the shift that would happen in myself as I…

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The Tempest of Ancestry.com

The Tempest of Ancestry.com

I can talk to just about anyone about just about anything. Gallbladder surgery. Grandchildren’s precociousness. Train schedules. Weather patterns. But, I do have one achilles’ heel: ancestry narratives. As soon as someone starts talking about their third great-grandfather’s cousin twice removed, and how that person fought in the battle of Waterloo, my eyes glaze over and I start to sniff out the exit. I just … can’t.

I think this reluctance started when we lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, where everybody seems to have some colonial something-or-other, and I was just known as the gross Yankee that married the bachelor priest. (The…

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Spider-Man: Homecoming … With Frosting So Good You Can Forget There's Something Off About the Cake

Spider-Man: Homecoming … With Frosting So Good You Can Forget There’s Something Off About the Cake

Grateful for this look at Spider-Man: Homecoming, from our friend Jeremiah Lawson.

When I finished watching the new Spider-Man film with my brother, he told me he liked it, but he couldn’t help but think of a military joke—if you break the rules and you fail, you get a courtmartial, but if you succeed beyond everyone’s hopes and dreams, you get a medal. That doesn’t mean that what you decided to do was necessarily ever a good idea. There are other ways of expressing this kind of concern about Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general, but that joke…

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Seeking Freedom from Dieting and Body Shame: Part Two

Seeking Freedom from Dieting and Body Shame: Part Two

I’m sitting at Barnes and Noble at The Summit shopping center in Birmingham while my daughter is watching Wonder Woman with a friend at the movie theater here. I thought about going home and coming back later to pick her up when the movie is over, but I chose alone time with my computer and a cup of mediocre decaf instead. The traffic on Highway 280 is especially bad this time of day. And time by myself is always a good option.

There are three (maybe) college students—a young woman and two young men—at the table across from me talking about…

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Laughing at Our Trophies

Laughing at Our Trophies

Another amazing one from Chad Bird, author of Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul. 

A few years ago I ran my first half-marathon. And won. By accident.

The northern panhandle city of Amarillo, Texas, boasts scant trees, passels of cowboys, and a handful of runners who—taking Bob Seger literally—are always “running against the wind.”

It was no exception on September 1, 2009, when I lined up with hundreds of them to run 13.1 miles in the ever-predictable 25-30 mph gusts. I was a relative newbie to the sport. Running had morphed into my healthiest anti-depressant. So with a few 5ks and 10ks under…

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Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music.

I didn’t know the signs.

Rich Mullins sang “Creed” as I and the rest of the retreat’s super-secret Prayer Team revealed ourselves first in a passion play and then in a sign-language performance. I flubbed my way through the signs, and I told myself—I remember this, though I admit it might be a little too on-the-nose to be true—that it was fine that I didn’t get the…

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Eat Your Fancy Sandwich

Eat Your Fancy Sandwich

It’s obvious that David Brooks really struck a nerve with his most recent op-ed regarding sandwiches. I mean, as a huge fan of sandwiches, I understand. There’s nothing better than a great sandwich—I’m eating a chicken salad sandwich right now. And while I wouldn’t fight for much, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a nice chipotle mayo or garlic aioli.

Brooks’ sandwich illustration, if you haven’t read it, is a picture of a wider problem, though. He’s talking about classism, the widening gap in the middle class between those who can afford the best for their progeny and those who get…

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Judgment and Love in Baby Driver

Judgment and Love in Baby Driver

His name’s Baby. He’s a driver. And this summer, he’s in way over his head.

With a promising spread of blockbusters rolling out before us (Spiderman, Planet of the Apes, The Big Sick), do yourself a favor and make room for Edgar Wright’s smash-hit heist flick, Baby Driver, which is shaping up to be one of the best movies—if not the best movie—on the list. Two action-packed hours roll by like a music video, backed by a perfect soundtrack where every quip, every gunshot, every squeal of the tires plays wonderfully off the beat of the music.

Spoilers ahead: Baby drives getaway…

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