New Here?
     
Social

The Road Beaten Hard

The Road Beaten Hard

This one was written by Maddy Green. 

By the time I’ve finished breakfast, I’ve planned out the whole day, to the half-hour, for both myself and my spouse. I’ve mapped out the car schedule to be most fuel-efficient and to maximize ride-sharing to and from work; I’ve squeezed in a grocery shop and several other not-so-pressing errands I’ve decided “must be done today.” And I’ve already read my devotional (duh), so I know technically that the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus pointing out that even striving towards a full and total adherence to the Law of the Hebrew Bible will…

Read More > > >

Tiger Woods Is Getting Better and Getting Worse

Tiger Woods Is Getting Better and Getting Worse

Tiger Woods finished fourth in a PGA tournament this past weekend.

He’s back.

Or is he?

Tiger’s last win came in 2013 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. His last major championship was the 2008 US Open. Shortly thereafter (Thanksgiving of 2009) Woods famously crashed his car outside his Florida mansion, was exposed as a serial cheater and sex addict, and began one of the most precipitous slides from public grace in the history of sports. But now, almost a decade—and a ton of public apologizing and image-burnishing—later, people are ready for Woods to be back.

The problem is, he just won’t seem to come.

For years,…

Read More > > >

The Great American Search for Happiness

The Great American Search for Happiness

With the Land of the Free in mind — and the inevitable FOMO that comes with the summer holidays — we’ve pulled this one from our archives. A collaboration of Ethan Richardson and David Zahl:

In her article “America the Anxious” Ruth Whippman provides a Brit’s perspective on happiness, or at least, the American fixation on it. As a jumping off point, she talks about the palpable differences between the Facebook feeds of her friends on either side of the Atlantic. While her British friends are often dismissively even-keel about their daily lives, her American friends are perpetually fitting the narrative of…

Read More > > >

Theorizing, Grieving, and Feeling Scared: Grappling with Modern Discourses on Suicide

Theorizing, Grieving, and Feeling Scared: Grappling with Modern Discourses on Suicide

Very grateful for this piece by Sarah Gates. 

Almost five years ago, my father died from suicide. The violence of his death, and the suffering that preceded it, marked the tearing of a temple curtain in my life. Since then, I’ve found myself in positions I never imagined that I’d be in—traumatized by certain violent images, angered by misuse of mental illness terminology, and sitting, severely uncomfortably, on my hands as coworkers have confoundedly speculated about why suicide happens.

As high-profile suicides of seemingly happy and successful individuals continue to catch us off guard, people want to understand it and figure it…

Read More > > >

Still in Diapers at Thirty

Still in Diapers at Thirty

We started potty-training Annie last weekend, and while it was certainly all-encompassing for a few days, it wasn’t as tortuous as the image I had built up in my mind. It began as most parents’ toilet training experiences do.

On Saturday morning, we very ceremoniously threw away Annie’s diapers, saying “bye bye” as I bagged up the extras and dropped them by the garbage can in the garage; she then donned her carefully selected Moana big-girl panties from Target. Then, we hunkered down. I offered juice. Lots of juice. And every twenty minutes, whether she felt like she needed to or…

Read More > > >

The Only Available Candidates for Holy Matrimony

The Only Available Candidates for Holy Matrimony

Well, it’s wedding season here in Charlottesville, VA, which is as good a time as any to share some marital non-advice from the late priest-chef-writer Robert Farrar Capon. The following excerpt is taken from his seminal work, originally published in the 60s, Bed & Board: Plain Talk About Marriage (ht AM). 

A man and a woman schooled in pride cannot simply sit down together and start caring. It takes humility to look wide-eyed at somebody else, to praise, to cherish, to honor. They will have to acquire some before they can succeed. For as long as it lasts, of course, the first…

Read More > > >

Turn with Me to The Book of Ryan

Turn with Me to The Book of Ryan

This one was written by Blake Nail.

The people of the Bible are often described as heroes. We see this in secular culture, where the characters of the “good” book are often mocked for “goody good” morals and ideals, which they supposedly manifest. We see this even in our churches. (At least from my limited experience in the land of heroes of Orange County, California.) Christians often think the Bible is full of these highly moral people who achieved a status that we should aim for. Obviously, this leaves churchgoers with two options: feeling broken and beat-down by the Law, or self-righteous…

Read More > > >

The Father's Day Conundrum

The Father’s Day Conundrum

It’s not much of a secret in church circles that Mother’s Day is one of the best attended Sundays of the year, Father’s Day one of the least. The third Sunday in June is what’s known as a “low Sunday,” when the regular preacher often gives up the pulpit to a subordinate. If you happened to be in the pews yesterday, you may have even heard it referenced or joked about. What gives?

The dime store explanation goes something like this: moms want the family to be together on Mother’s Day and tend to value spiritual life more to begin with,…

Read More > > >

Comma, Grace

Comma, Grace

A wonderful, grammatical reflection, by Andrew Taylor-Troutman:

I was taking a mid-afternoon break at my favorite coffee shop. The brew was dark, organic, and fair trade; the scone, buttery and soft with little treasures of cranberries buried beneath the surface; and the people-watching, exquisite. Take the guy with the cryptic tattoo on the back of his neck. I was trying to crack the code when, just a couple of tables away, a young woman exclaimed to her coffee partner, “And I was like, comma, you just don’t get it!”

What exactly was not gotten I will never know, for she dropped her…

Read More > > >

Playing with the Enemy – Jamin Warren

This wonderful talk from our recent conference in New York City features Jamin Warren, founder of videogame arts and culture company Kill Screen. Below, Jamin speaks about how fun and games help us cross the great divide:

Playing with the Enemy – Jamin Warren from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

The Like Button – Mary Karr

From Tropic of Squalor, the latest collection of poems by former Mockingbird conference speaker Mary Karr.

The Like Button

Back in the before time
those days of amber
desire was an inner
and often ugly thing.
And if we wanted,
my brothers and hungry
sisters, we were oft flung
far from each other. Think
tin-cans-and-string far,
plum-colored-smoke-signal
far. No web wove the pinpoints
of ourselves into a map. No
upward thumb could be pressed
to say yes or its detractor: no.
Soon, we may each evolve
a glow button maybe mid brow,
so as we pass each other we can vote
praise or scorn to light up yay
or nay on a passing stranger’s face
a thumb. At first the young celebs
with asses you can serve drinks off
will rack up zillions of votes
till we tire of such bodacious butts,
and then the smart, the brave,
the strong will take their turns,
but what if we start to like,
say, the stout, the schlubby
neighbor raking leaves or that
subway sleeper who’s woven
yellow crime scene tape into
a jock strap—Police Line: Do
Not Cross—till all the undeodorized,
the unloved all their lives, start to feel
their foreheads blip
and blip as it becomes hip
to love the oddest, the most
perilously lonely. Imagine
the forever dispossessed
transforming as they feel the thumb
of yes impress itself
into the very flesh.

The Best of Us, "The Americans," Might Be Russian…

The Best of Us, “The Americans,” Might Be Russian…

What’s more important? Figuring out who we serve? Or figuring out whose we are?

True confession: I’m not moved much to action or opinion regarding our current political landscape. (This is not a political post; for that to be so, it would presuppose that I much care.) Mid-term primaries in our troubled times don’t interest me. I may or may not have cared to vote this past Tuesday here in Georgia. I deeply appreciate freedom, but it has never been my highest value. Proud of my country? Yes. Do I root for America in the World Cup and the Olympics? Absolutely!…

Read More > > >