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Some Very Helpful Words from RFC

Some Very Helpful Words from RFC

I was on duty for the 7am chapel service at my church this morning and wasn’t quite sure what to say, especially since the Gospel reading contained Jesus’ famously opaque words about “salt of the earth” (Mt 5.13). I had a copy of Robert Farrar Capon’s Kingdom, Grace, Judgment on my desk, and looked to see what wisdom he might offer. As usual, RFC was enormously helpful, both for those of us who are feeling like “winners” and “losers” today, who feel “dead” and “alive.”

Consider the imagery. Salt seasons and salt preserves, but in any significant quantity, it is not of itself edible, nourishing,…

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Sinners and Saints in a Pandemic

Sinners and Saints in a Pandemic

One of the oldest words in the history of hospital care is the French term “triage”—meaning, the sorting of patients. The practice of triage keeps a hospital organized (Intensive Care Unit here, Emergency Room there), but it also provides a way of prioritizing the care of patients. This is especially important on battlefields and in disaster zones, where the need for treatment can heavily outweigh the resources available. When the number of sick people is far greater than the number of doctors, triage provides a sieve for who sees the doctors first.

As you might guess, then, triage naturally moves medicine…

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No Such Glorious Thing: Martyrdom and the God of Silence

No Such Glorious Thing: Martyrdom and the God of Silence

This post was written by Cort Gatliff.

One afternoon when I was in elementary school, as I was choosing a book to purchase from the church bookstore—my reward for behaving while running errands with my mom—I came across Jesus Freaks by the Christian band DC Talk. Named after the band’s successful album and song, both of which I counted myself a fan, Jesus Freaks tells the stories of Christians around the world who have been put to death for their faith.

That night, long after everyone in my house had fallen asleep, I stayed up reading. I became obsessed with these shocking…

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Halloween Is For All the Saints

Halloween Is For All the Saints

Do I love Halloween because I love darkness? That’s a trick question, albeit an unintentional one. Do I love darkness? Yes. Every son and daughter of Adam loves darkness, John records for us in the light of Nicodemus’ bumbling nighttime interview with Jesus. Our inheritance as a race is a disavowal of the light and an embrace of gloom and death. So am I somehow an exception that escapes the charge? Not at all. But is this affirmation the bottom line for why I delight in Halloween? For some the answer will be an obvious “Yes”, but I think the…

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Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: The Scariest Short Stories for the Halloween Season

Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: The Scariest Short Stories for the Halloween Season

Welcome once again to Ian and Blake’s annual Halloween series about a genre that does what few others can. Here’s this year’s final spooky top-five! Before you dive in, make sure you don’t miss last week’s installment on the best introductions to horror for kids.

5. “Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” by M.R. James (1904)

This entry is a spring-loaded little yarn from M.R. James, the early 20th century master of the English ghost story, and follows Parkins, an antiquary investigating the ruin of a Templar preceptory. While searching through the remains he discovers a whistle inscribed with Latin and translates the…

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Printable up to 6"x8".

Credits:
Classic Film: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29069717@N02/
SwellMap: https://www.flickr.com/photos/94207108@N02/

Hidden Biases and Open Arms

You may have heard about this week’s feisty Supreme Court deliberations about jury secrecy and racial bias. I don’t want to talk about that, exactly, but instead about where that debate inevitably takes us…back to questions of what bias is, how to identify it impartially, and how to temper it without compromising our perceived freedom.

According to The NY Times, “Justice Alito said that rooting out racial bias during jury deliberations could pose difficulties in an era when some are quick to take offense.” He was referencing college campuses, which have developed a reputation for being the places where even the slightest…

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Nowhere is Safe: The Crossroads of Tragedy and Freedom at the World Trade Center

Nowhere is Safe: The Crossroads of Tragedy and Freedom at the World Trade Center

This post comes to us from Heather Strong Moore.

Marcus Kenney’s “The New Slang” depicts a post-9/11 vernacular.

I was a freshman in college on 9/11. We were in morning chapel when the first tower was hit, and we came upstairs to the cafeteria in time for the big screen TV to show the second tower fall. It seemed like a movie, none of it felt real. That day changed so many things; the way we feel when we see the New York City skyline, the way we travel, the way our military has operated, the way we perceive threats of…

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The Blessing of The Cursed Child

The Blessing of The Cursed Child

A quick disclaimer before reading: I will be giving a positive review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I will, in the words that follow, go so far as to recommend Harry Potter fans read it. So there. If you’ve already decided that the seven books will be the only books, that you will never touch the apocryphal supplements that come via screen or stage, I will not call you a pureblooder…that decision, to close eyes, ears and hands to some idea of magical purity–that’s entirely your decision. A rather pretentious one, I’ll grant, but your decision nonetheless. Everyone…

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Lost Sunglasses and the World’s Last Night

Lost Sunglasses and the World’s Last Night

This one comes from our friend Eric Youngblood.

I lost my sunglasses.

They were serving their vocation as shields to my eyes at a baseball game. But eventually the sun retired for the day, relinquishing its post to the moon.

The polarized lenses–affording me the pleasures of squint-less visibility and protection from ultra-violet ocular violence–suddenly became little more than stylish, removable blind-folds.

So I removed them. Of that much I am sure. I’m even marginally certain they were then perched over the brim of my cap, giving my Lookout Mountain All-Stars cap the appearance of possessing its own set of eyes.

But then again, I could have…

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The Seven Sacraments of Harry Potter

The Seven Sacraments of Harry Potter

In honor of the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, here is another essay from our new anthology of movie essays, Mockingbird at the Movies, available in print here and on Kindle here. 

Before anyone calls bluff on a Harry Potter essay found in a book about movies, let us first consider a fact about the Harry Potter movie franchise. As of July 2015, total movie sales for the eight Harry Potter films had almost surpassed total Harry Potter book sales, a ridiculous feat when you consider how much money that is (over $7 billion). And when you consider…

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The Most Foolish Job in the World: Planting a Grace-Centered Church – Curt Benham

Sad to say, we’re nearing the end of our NYC Conference videos. Before we get there, though, here’s a great one from the inestimable Rev. Benham, who serves at (the wonderful) Village Church in Atlanta:

The Most Foolish Job in the World: Planting a Grace-Centered Church – Curt Benham from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Sin and Grace in Julien Baker’s Sprained Ankle

Sin and Grace in Julien Baker’s Sprained Ankle

This one comes to us from Cody Gainous. 

Julien Baker believes in God. So reads the title of Rachel Syme’s excellent piece on the Memphis, TN native for The New Yorker back in April. When I say that sin and grace are the themes of Julien’s debut Sprained Ankle, I’m not stretching, or even saying anything that Baker would not say herself. This is an album filled with explicitly Christian imagery, and the artist, born and raised in the Bible Belt, unapologetically claims Christianity and apparently attends Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Murfreesboro.

When I saw the New Yorker article, I immediately…

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