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Grace in Practice

Announcing Unmapped by Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips!

We couldn’t be more excited to announce Mockingbird’s latest book project, a sprawling and poignant “spiritual memoir duet” by two longtime Mockingbird writers, Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips. This book features a patchwork of personal essays, pocket liturgies, and pseudo-fictional plays, and not a dull moment between them.

Stephanie Phillips and Charlotte Getz never expected to raise their families anywhere but home, in the American South. But then…life happened.

Quirky, hilarious, and (mostly) true, UNMAPPED is the tale of two long-distance friends who found home—together and apart—in unexpected exile. This spiritual memoir duet is unlike anything you’ve ever read.

Pre-order here: Unmapped: The (Mostly) True Story of How Two Women Lost at Sea Found Their Way Home! 

Free domestic shipping on pre-orders made before May 7! Available in hardback and paperback.

PZ's Podcast: How U Break a Soul-Tie

PZ’s Podcast: How U Break a Soul-Tie


Well, the short answer, tho’ not the whole answer, is: you can’t. I wish you could. I can give you a hundred pointers and tips concerning it; and can even print out some prayers for you to say, in hopes of their breaking the soul-tie.

But they would all be “tweaks”. They would all be wistful hopes that will let you down. This is because in “the natural” — i.e., within the systems and interactions of this world — the soul-tie is a tethering of something eternal, your endless soul, to a contingency. The chain of your soul to the…

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The World's Greatest Dad

The World’s Greatest Dad

My wife is pregnant with our first child, which means that soon I will become the World’s Greatest Dad. I know this because I have done all the self-work necessary to understand how my parents failed me in my childhood. Using this self-knowledge, I will not make any of the mistakes my mother and father made. With mistakes eliminated, all that will be left is a good, healthy childhood. I just really want my children to have to “unlearn” as little as possible, you know?

Now to buy a baby book. Which one will show me the correct way to…

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Grace in Molly's Game

Grace in Molly’s Game

This one was written by Anna Nott.

If you haven’t seen the action/drama/thriller/hint of comedy that is Molly’s Game, I suggest that you stop reading this article, and investigate a way to watch it.

Spoilers to follow.

I have been a subscriber to MoviePass, i.e. I have access to unlimited movies in theaters (no more than one movie per day) for 10 bucks a month, since October. So far, Molly’s Game is the only film I’ve made a point of seeing twice.

Molly, played by the exquisite Jessica Chastain, is an Olympic skier for the U.S. women’s team, who, due to an unlucky fall…

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The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everyone – John Zahl

From our recent conference in Tyler, TX, here’s the incredible second talk from John Zahl, inspired by his book Grace in Addiction. Topics include: the founding of AA, the spirituality of the 12-steps, a plaid peg-leg, an empathetic high priest, and cat curling.

The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everyone – John Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Apparently I Am Not James Bond

Apparently I Am Not James Bond

When I was young I loved action movies. Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond was a focal point of my pre-adolescent years. I owned action movies on VHS, played their corresponding video games, and collected any paraphernalia that I could get my hands on.

On leaving the theater, after seeing the newest action thriller, the world seemed different. Everything seemed charged with energy as I snuck down the movie theater hall and peered around the corner into the lobby, mindful that the assassins or rogue state military personnel could be attacked at any moment. I remember riding in the middle seat of my…

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PZ's Podcast: Soul-Tie

PZ’s Podcast: Soul-Tie

Please note: PZ’s Podcast is now on Spotify!


This cast is a kind of summation of my thinking about romantic love in its relation to one’s soul’s salvation.

I have thought about the compelling nature of romance — between two people, I mean — in both its positive, inspiring importance and also its possible negative and undermining impact. In fact, one has long searched for a key, the ‘haft’ that actually opens the door and heals one of scarring memories and long-carried-over inward losses.

Not only has this theme of romantic love’s long-term vicissitudes been with me for awhile, but I’ve often…

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Finding God at Arby's: Reflections on Doubting Thomas

Finding God at Arby’s: Reflections on Doubting Thomas

This sermon was delivered this past Sunday in Charlottesville, by Sam Bush.

This is a very exciting time for the church. It’s one week after Easter. The lilies are still up, the altar is in full splendor. We are living in the aftermath of Jesus’ resurrection. And today we see how the resurrection immediately plays out in the lives of his disciples. Jesus stands among them and everyone is shocked and then they rejoice. I picture it like the end of a movie — there’s a montage of all of them laughing, maybe messing up each other’s hair, or playing a…

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The Trauma of our Empty Hands

The Trauma of our Empty Hands

During Lent, we ponder our sins. We begin with a reminder of being but dust. We sing in minor keys, which stirs in us lament and grief. We remember our desperate need to repent. We look to what Christ endured and grieve the passion of our Lord. And it is meet and right so to do.

But, as we come careening toward Maundy Thursday every year, it is not only the unjust suffering of Jesus or even lament over our sin that throws us to the ground. There is something else — something just beyond. This week, I have actually taken…

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Five Years of Grace and Bad Coffee: Sobriety and Holy Week

Five Years of Grace and Bad Coffee: Sobriety and Holy Week

On Tuesday night of Holy Week, I sat under fluorescent lights at a plastic folding table and gripped a styrofoam cup of bad coffee. Around the room sat men from all walks of life. Respectable businessmen, craftsmen and laborers, men living in a residential rehab or halfway house, and me: a young clergyman who looks like he has it all together.

At that meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, I received a small metal chip (“heavy metal” as we call it in the program) signifying five years of continuous sobriety.

I’ve written about my recovery before in the Food and Drink Issue of The…

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Snoring Through Communion (in Holy Week)

Snoring Through Communion (in Holy Week)

This one was written by Samuel Son.

My middle schooler son, Ian, was snoring on stage as the bread of Christ was being passed. This was not a pastor-parent’s worst nightmare, lingering for a minute when I woke up, then fading out as I fell back to sleep. This was Palm Sunday, a few days ago, at Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church. Oh, and across from Ian was his younger sister, Elina, who swilled the blood of Christ, and then promptly spat it out, screaming “Yuck!” She slammed the communion shot glass on the floor, because it was her first taste of…

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PZ's Podcast: Hitchcock Railway

PZ’s Podcast: Hitchcock Railway

Episode 243: Hitchcock Railway

This cast is about low anthropology, or rather, hidden anthropology.

Have you been struck by the comments concerning the Austin bomber in which people near and dear to the young man say they saw no signs or external evidence of any kind that he was thinking about doing this, or about anything, for that matter, out of the ordinary, let alone murderous?

My experience of people, especially act-outers in life, is that what they do often takes one by surprise. They didn’t “advertise”, in other words, their deeper, let alone their deepest feelings. The internal preoccupations of the acter-out…

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