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Jonathan Myrick Daniels: A Martyr with Mixed Motives

Jonathan Myrick Daniels was an Episcopal seminarian and a Civil Rights worker. He was martyred in 1965 when he shielded 17-year-old Civil Rights worker Ruby Sales from being shot in Hayneville, Alabama. He was 26 years old.

For those of us who work in ministry and are prone to messianic complexes, trying to save people ourselves, and who long to be the most righteous (or most moral or most prophetic or plain old loudest) ones in the room, we would honor this martyr for the Gospel by heeding his words:

I lost fear in the black belt when I began to know in my bones and sinews that I had been truly baptized into the Lord’s death and Resurrection, that in the only sense that really matters I am already dead, and my life is hid with Christ in God.

I began to lose self-righteousness when I discovered the extent to which my behavior was motivated by worldly desires and by the self-seeking messianism of Yankee deliverance! The point is simply, of course, that one’s motives are usually mixed, and one had better know it.

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

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 […]

Lance Armstrong's Moving Finish Line

Lance Armstrong’s Moving Finish Line

Where were you in 2012 when Lance Armstrong confessed his steroid sins to St. Oprah? Did you immediately take off your 2004 (!) Livestrong wristband and trash it, or did you simply let it fall behind the bedroom dresser? Was it the talk of your town, or did it just confirm your lack of interest […]

Correcting Joy in Swimming Pools and Pulpits: Do Y'all Need a Hug?

Correcting Joy in Swimming Pools and Pulpits: Do Y’all Need a Hug?

One of my least favorite parental duties is swimming lessons. They are tedious and trying and the teachers are far too patient. When I was a kid we took swim lessons everyday for two weeks. They dumped us in the pool. We gasped for air. And then we swam. Nowadays, you take your child to […]

Boycotting Communion (& Other Tales from a Divided Church and World) – RJ Heijmen

From our recent conference in NYC (themed “The Grace of God in Divided Times”), here’s Thursday night’s opening talk with Mockingcast host RJ Heijmen.

Boycotting Communion (& Other Tales from a Divided Church and World) – RJ Heijmen from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

I Think We're Alone Now

I Think We’re Alone Now

We live in an age of loneliness. As David Zahl pointed out at the recent NYC Mockingbird Conference, the age of anxiety has given way to an age of loneliness, the effects of which can be felt by everyone. The U.K. has appointed a Minister of Loneliness. We are divided from each other in myriad […]

Shell of a Woman

Shell of a Woman

My husband and I met in Savannah, Georgia and lived there for six eventful years. Every summer in Savannah — steaming wet with humidity — the cicadas descended en masse, a plague to the Coastal Empire. They hummed like maracas this familiar refrain that still reminds me of impossibly late nights, warm beer, and the […]

Ordinary Manna

Ordinary Manna

We humans like big stories. We are often unwilling to engage in and be moved by the ordinary and the small. We flock to movies about super heroes; we break all the records when someone puts all the super heroes into one movie together. If God really wanted to impress Abraham, He could have told […]

Mountaintop Experiences Are For The Birds

Mountaintop Experiences Are For The Birds

In my work with youth and young adults, I hear a lot about mountaintop experiences. These experiences are moments when the daily grind of life comes to a halt, the busy world is hushed, and you can experience God and community to the fullest. I often hear about mountaintop experiences at summer camps or youth […]

The Psalm'ish Imagination

The Psalm’ish Imagination

This reflection comes to us from Cole Deike. We have bloody imaginations. As an opposite to the bloody imagination, I think of the Pixar animated movie Up. Early in the film, there is a montage of a young couple falling in love with one another. In one of the scenes, the young couple lays on […]

"Three Billboards" - A Prologue to a Road Trip

“Three Billboards” – A Prologue to a Road Trip

The older I get, the more I’m learning how much I love “origin stories.” How did Captain America come to be? How did the new friend I just made come to be so delightful and gregarious, and awesome? Why does my next door neighbor always draw the shades and act so reclusive? Whether it’s a […]

This is (Almost) 40

This is (Almost) 40

Until recently, if you had asked me the question: “If you had to re-live one time in your life, what would it be?” my answer would have been almost always: “My junior year of college.” With apologies to my husband and kids, who are lovely and the best things that ever happened to me, I […]