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Christmas

He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good…and Fills Your Stocking Anyway

He Knows If You’ve Been Bad or Good…and Fills Your Stocking Anyway

“Do you think Santa is actually real?”

My six-year-old asked my nine-year-old this question in the backseat of my car recently, and I tried to squelch the “of COURSE he is!” that was dying to escape from my throat.

The nine-year-old, who is the tallest innocent I’ve ever met, said that yes, he believed that Santa is real. The six-year-old had his hang-ups. “What would make you say that he isn’t?” I asked from the driver’s seat, imagining a list of logistical challenges that one man might have distributing gifts around the world.

Instead I got:

“I just can’t believe that he thinks we’re…

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PZ's Podcast: A Disease I Do Not Have the Courage to Name

PZ’s Podcast: A Disease I Do Not Have the Courage to Name

EPISODE 239: A Disease I Do Not Have the Courage to Name

This Christmas cast is about communication between people, and God. Moreover, it’s about the cost of poor communication, which can be suicide, let alone habitual alienation. And the rich advantage of good communication, which can be the difference between life and death, let alone satisfaction and personal happiness.

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Praise the Lord: I Saw the Light (this Advent)

Praise the Lord: I Saw the Light (this Advent)

Its official, men are no longer sure what they can say. Last week an elderly gentleman complimented my outfit and then promptly recanted and apologized. Little did he know that as a 35 year old mother of two zoo animals, I actually appreciate being told I look nice. Nonetheless, I suppose we will all just stand around and not interact. That should take care of everything.

The surprise and outrage are jarring to me. Who finds it surprising that this has happened? That sexual deviancy is rampant? That women, still relatively new to the workplace, have been treated horribly?…

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A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2017 Edition)

A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2017 Edition)

That time again! Click here to check out last year’s guide. And to make sure all the gifts below look their best, we recommend using (w)rapping paper.

For the grandmothers and grandmothers-at-heart in your life, or anyone you’d like to thank for being a friend: Golden Girls Clue board game. (“Who ate the last piece of cheesecake?”)

For the high-energy first grader down the street whose parents are always hovering: My First Fire Gift Box. If you sense they’re an Anglo-Catholic in training, though, there’s always Wee Believers’ Mass Kit for Kids.

For the foodie in your midst whose locavore commitments you suspect…

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Go Gently

Go Gently

A beautiful reflection on family and the Advent season by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

And we think that we can’t write that for which we do not have words but actually sometimes you can if you go gently between the words. Brian Doyle

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. Isaiah 9:2

It is a week before Christmas and I tell my oldest son: “It is a big responsibility to be a big brother.” This three year old stares at me blankly from across the room, then continues playing with the nativity scene strewn across the floor in a mishmash of…

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December Playlist: Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2017

Bringing out the Christmas trappings early actually felt like a necessity this year. Hope you dig the mix.

You can find my other mixes on http://hbbj.holiday/ Enjoy!

The Mockingcast Rides Again!

Exciting news: we’ve just dropped the first new episode of The Mockingcast in eight months, complete with fresh artwork and music (ht JAZ), as well as the debut of new co-host RJ Heijmen! Among other subjects, David, Sarah, and RJ talk Disneyland, church aunts, harassment, male libido, Advent, and the difference between justice and revenge.

Click here or on the image above to listen and/or subscribe. And remember, our feed changed over the hiatus, so if you think you’re already subscribed, you may not be. (Oh and the iTunes reviews and ratings didn’t survive the hiatus either, so if you feel so inclined… it’d be a huge help). You can go here to access the links we discuss on the program.

Thank you x 1million for your patience. We’ll have another episode in two weeks!

p.s. Those suffering interview-withdrawal are enthusiastically encouraged to check out Scott Jones’s wonderful Give and Take podcast.

Recommended Music: "Songs for Christmas Time" by Lowland Hum

Recommended Music: “Songs for Christmas Time” by Lowland Hum

Last Christmas my wife and I had a revelation that it seems everyone has, sooner or later. We actually started listening to Christmas music. “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire?!” We’re millennials. We barely know how to start a fire, much less roast chestnuts on an open one. Forget keeping Christ in Christmas; it sometimes seems like Christmas isn’t even in Christmas. And yet here I am this year, eagerly watching as city workers string up cedar garlands downtown, checking my weather app for LED snowflakes, caught up in the internal tug-of-war that this season always brings: the longing for,…

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Holidaze and the Prime Directive

Holidaze and the Prime Directive

‘Tis the season. The crush to sell-sell-sell for Thanksgiving starts the swirl of marketing that’s a buzz kill for many, if not most of us.

I look at the Starbucks cup on Nov. 1 and I cringe.

The essence of our humanity is distorted when it’s objectified in order to market product. The new Starbucks cup is simply lame. It only gets worse for many of us. It’s a boring cliche to moan about the WalMartization commodifying the Holidays, but assumptive pandering to our base instincts to sell this year’s Pet Rock is depressing.

Perhaps it’s because our tender parts are grotesqued by…

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Gratitude for the Waves

Gratitude for the Waves

In the genetic funnel that began my life, the English came in 1634, and the Dutch a few months later. The Germans came in annual waves as religious Pietists or farming Protestants between 1720 and 1750, and again as song- and beer-loving Papists in the 1860s. My cheek swab and my waist tell a story of German rotundity with just fractional admixtures of religion and surname. The Italians arrived with their mozzarella in the famous year of 1901. By the time I was born in Pennsylvania in 1979, we had somehow avoided the temptations of Manifest Destiny, and clung for…

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A Story of the Unexpected: "Just What I Wanted" from This American Life

A Story of the Unexpected: “Just What I Wanted” from This American Life

This American Life’s recent Christmas episode, about gifts, told stories of mostly bad news: two of the three segments were about characters realizing that the thing they most wanted was bankrupt of what they actually needed. They were about expectations and disappointments, about human longing and our tendency to put our faith in the wrong things.

The first segment, however–the prologue–was the precise inverse: the thing we didn’t realize we wanted was the thing we needed most.

It’s a good story. It starts off with a Marine named Luke who, while serving in Ramadi, Iraq in 2005, spent his off-time watching Gilmore Girls.

Luke Huisenga: Yeah, I mean,…

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My Best New Years Eve(r)

My Best New Years Eve(r)

In downtown Milwaukee, there’s a Starbucks attached to an ice rink where every winter, you can drive past and see families, singles, couples, and kids of all ages gliding in graceful rotation over an artificial frozen pond. The sight evokes the kind of Americana sentimentality one might feel upon seeing a Norman Rockwell painting or a 1980’s Speilberg film. It just looks like the thing to do – the thing you ‘ought’ (read Law) to do in the winter, in the Midwest, with your wife and kids…especially during the holidays. It seems so inviting to sit with a cup of hot coco or…

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