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Death

The Great Things We’ll Accomplish in the Grave

The Great Things We’ll Accomplish in the Grave

We’ve all had influential people in our lives who remain unaware of the impact they had on us. An elementary school teacher who inspired us to dedicate our lives to educating others. An older friend of our family whose kindness and generosity we’ve tried to emulate. Maybe it’s a random stranger who, like a guardian […]

I Am Not Better Than John McCain: I Am Worse (and You Might Be Too)

I Am Not Better Than John McCain: I Am Worse (and You Might Be Too)

Inevitably, when a figure who is much beloved by some–but not by all–dies, we are reminded of our opinion of that person. In our current cultural moment, this also means that by God we are going to share that opinion. In its most recent iteration, the death of Senator John McCain sparked an Opinion Fest […]

The Jeffersonian Ideal and the Unexpected Solution to Racism

The Jeffersonian Ideal and the Unexpected Solution to Racism

As you may know, Mockingbird HQ is situated here in happy, wealthy, intellectual, pastoral Charlottesville, Virginia. When I moved to Charlottesville for college almost 15 years ago, it was considered “America’s Happiest City” and one of the best places in America to raise a family. It still is. For this reason, and others, there is a […]

After Suicide

After Suicide

This one comes to us from Faith Perry. Hi, my name is Faith. I’m in Room 22. Today I’m feeling anxious and confused. My goal for the day is to get the most out of groups.” “Faith. Faith is feeling anxious and confused. Her goal for today is to get the most out of the […]

The Difficulty of Drawing Near the Suffering

The Difficulty of Drawing Near the Suffering

This comes to us from Father Kenneth Tanner.  When I first came to the parish I serve, there were about twenty persons over the age of seventy. We have since buried a few, some have retired to Florida or warmer states, but until recently about half were still active participants in our worship and community. […]

Requiescat in Pace: The Naming Power of HBO's <i>The Leftovers</i>

Requiescat in Pace: The Naming Power of HBO’s The Leftovers

Last week, the Earth made a seismic shift, though mostly unnoticed. A gentle giant among us in terms of Anglican church music, John Bradford Bohl, died unexpectedly at the young age of 37. I had the joy of serving with him at Saint Paul’s K Street in Washington, D.C., and when I took over the venerable […]

<i>Ordinary People</i>: The Only Possible Path to Healing in Sorrow and Tragedy

Ordinary People: The Only Possible Path to Healing in Sorrow and Tragedy

Many people say there is no wrong way to grieve. Every person mourns differently and to try to prescribe a formula that fits all is foolish. Indeed, those in mourning need to be given a great deal of grace, freedom, and patience. However, there is one horribly wrong way to grieve, a way that can […]

My Most Selfish Prayer

My Most Selfish Prayer

This one comes to us from Andrew Taylor-Troutman: Dear Lord: let me die before my wife. I’m bouncing our baby daughter on my lap as she drools on a wooden rattle. Her mom makes pancakes every Saturday morning, but the baby has only recently gotten her first taste. Our middle child, age two and a […]

PZ's Podcast: Bells Are Ringing

PZ’s Podcast: Bells Are Ringing

EPISODE 251 This is a short riposte to the politicization of basically everything just now; but not in the way of taking sides, but rather in the way of digging deeper. I mean, digging deeper to the best and true interests of human beings. The best and true interest of human beings, the necessary condition […]

Suicide, Our Darker Emotions, and the Goodness of God

Suicide, Our Darker Emotions, and the Goodness of God

I’ll never forget my first therapy appointment fifteen years ago. I told my counselor at the time, Dr. Gordon Bals, about my anger and rage and how it scared me. I told him about other things, too, but the anger and rage were my main concerns because I didn’t think I had any reasons to […]

Walking Away from a Murder

Walking Away from a Murder

His girlfriend had recently got back together with him. He’d have been better off without her. But tell that to an eighteen year old who’s in love. She was all he had, and all he wanted. So when he lost her, he thought he lost everything. And when he got her back, he thought he […]

The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

In our house, emotions were embraced. I was never told that “boys don’t cry;” it was never implied that men hide their emotions. When your dad is a professional opera-singing pastor-psychologist, and your mother a high-powered hospital executive, you get different messages about gender norms than most. As if you needed proof: my parents let […]