I remember my entrance into the world of Harry Potter: I was in college and babysitting overnight in a house that contained the series-so-far, The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, on its bookcase. Playing nearby on the floor, my charges gloriously ignored me while I dove into the pages of the first book. I was a skeptic: I hadn’t anticipated finding resonance in the story of a male British preteen wizard, and fantasy was not my jam. (Game of Thrones hadn’t even come out to legitimize dragon-possible worlds.) But I could see myself within Harry’s perennial search for identity…
EPISODE 221: Centennial
Healing, one’s healing, doesn’t come from fiat, i.e., from declaration. Nor does it come from deletion, i.e., from living as if events in your past never took place.
Healing comes from abreaction and merger, from engagement, even the ‘clash by night’, with the past and with your hurt, rejection and pain.
I saw this recently “up close and personal” during a visit to my old college.
It was the centennial of my final club (i.e., fraternity), and the whole world had returned to show good faith and loyalty. Suddenly I became witness to an ancient institution that is throbbing with life….
The first time I wrote something for Mockingbird, it was in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Often, after these tragedies happen, a reactionary narrative responds with stories that are meant to “restore our faith in humanity,” as if the people on the ground are all heroes and the people who set off the bombs were actually robots from another planet. Turns out, we are all human beings. Plus, it is a well-documented fact that I gave up on restoring my faith in us a very long time ago.
I was a senior in high school in May of 2001….
When I was growing up with my three siblings, my dad drove us all to school every morning, and picked us up every afternoon. There was a school bus, but he liked spending that time with us, and we liked it, too, and so we piled into his car on chilly Wisconsin mornings, and he dropped us off at our respective schools on his way to work.
Every morning, he gave us a rousing pep talk. I suspect it was as much for him as it was for us. On Mondays, the pep talk went something like this: “It’s…
You Are Invited: This Wednesday Aug 24th at 7:30pm to the final installment of our summer film series, “Religious Hope From the Movies”, at the Avon Theater in downtown Stamford, Connecticut. To whet your appetite our host, Paul Zahl, produced the following blurb:
I’ve never met someone who didn’t fall for this movie. We’re talking about a Hollywood Western entitled Stars in My Crown, which was released in 1950 and starred Joel McCrea. Stars in my Crown was directed by Jacques Tourneur, who made many movies you’ve heard of, such as Cat People (1942) and Out of the Past (1947).
Interestingly, Stars in my Crown was Joel McCrea’s favorite movie in which he acted, and Jacques Tourneur’s favorite movie that he directed.
You’ve got to come see this movie with us next Wednesday at the Avon Theater in Stamford.
Well, it presents a Christian minister who is the essence of grace in practice. Somewhat episodic, Stars in my Crown tells the story of a sincere, delightful, and persistent minister who is faced with problem after problem after problem in the small town where he has planted a church — from the strong resistance of the local doctor, who is a rationalist, to a power play from the town’s “big man” (and also the Klan) against an African-American senior, to an inward assault upon the minister’s own faith and confidence when a typhoid epidemic brings his ministry to a standstill.
Stars in my Crown is one of the few mainstream movies — together with the French movie Leon Morin, Priest (1961), and a small handful of others — that depicts a minister or priest with accuracy, empathy, and sympathy — in short, with Christian understanding.
At 7:30pm PZ will introduce the movie — which we featured, by the way in Mockingbird at the Movies (2015) — and right after the movie’s over, we have a special guest. Our special guest is Peter McCrea, son of Joel McCrea, who will talk about his father’s spirituality, and why it is that Stars in My Crown was his dad’s favorite.
Hope you can come.
In a particularly memorable chapter from his book, Falling Into Grace, John Newton (who’ll be speaking at our Fall Conference in Oklahoma City 10/28-29) opens with the story of “The Scorpion and the Frog.” You may already be familiar with the story, but I wasn’t, so I’ll run through it quickly:
The scorpion is looking for a way to cross the river, but, for obvious anatomical reasons, he’s having a hard time finding anyone willing to give him a ride. He asks the frog, who says, “No way, you’ll sting me!” The scorpion eventually cajoles the frog into giving him a lift across the…
Don’t think we’ve posted the wonderful on-stage conversation that took place in NYC between PZ and Scott Jones:
Here is another fantastic reflection from Cody Gainous.
I can’t remember where I first read the name Robert Farrar Capon — whether it was Mockingbird that led me to Capon or Capon that led me Mockingbird, I’m not sure. Classic chicken/egg scenario. But I can remember where I was when I heard that he had passed away. We are approaching the third anniversary of his death this September. That day, I was sitting on the couch in my tiny apartment, incidentally reading Between Noon and Three. When I put down the book and picked up my computer, the news came: Robert…
As with most of the provocative second half of Paul Zahl’s Grace in Practice, the following excerpt goes well beyond abstractions and gets uncomfortably close to the bone–in the best possible way. The language here has to do with marriage, but you could easily substitute a variety of other relational contexts:
Men and women encounter a serpent-ridden wilderness of Eden when they enter into marriage. Competition for need-fulfillment and attention squanders huge amounts of energy in resentment and suppressed antagonism. The nature of the law is to place every single marriage under the Damocles’ sword of needs to be met. The word…
The following originally appeared as a guest post to Amy Julia Becker’s blog over at Christianity Today. Some readers may notice a few, er, congruencies with past Mbird posts:
A couple of years ago, The New York Times ran a remarkably astute editorial about the state of American sleep. Apparently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared insomnia to be a full-blown public health epidemic. The “Sleep Industry”—a $32 billion/year endeavor—has responded. They’ve introduced a spate of new soporific technology, from pills and teas and chocolates to bracelets and mattresses. (The number one selling paid app on iTunes this…
Gosh, I like Tommy Roe!
Well, partly, because his songs are catchy and sweet, and especially “Everybody” (1963). But “Dizzy” (1969) also makes me… dizzy.
The real reason a person likes a song — or really likes a song — is that it speaks for them. Or speaks to them. Or speaks from them. The song “resonates”, to use the idiom, with you. In other words, it’s not just the song. It’s the part of you that connects to the song.
All these things we like so much (i.e., pop songs, videos, movies, novels, television shows, poems, paintings) draw something out…