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A Great Insight

A Great Insight

I imagine it’s a common experience: Whether in Bible studies, or from the pulpit, or in one-on-one “discipling” relationships, Christian ministers often feel pressured to come up with something genius, something that will knock the spiritual socks off whoever it is they’re ministering to. If you say just the right thing, maybe you can save or convert or help this person.

And I have to admit, on this website, the quandary’s similar. When we begin writing, often our first (or ever-present) concern has to do with saying something new and brilliant. “But has someone already said this?” With eleven years under…

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PZ's Podcast: Dead Reckoning

PZ’s Podcast: Dead Reckoning

EPISODE 248

Pastoral experience in hospital pre-op units provides abundant evidence for the existence of the soul. I first saw this evidence in Birmingham years ago, when someone we knew and loved was having to go into the operating room twice the same day, because the first “pass” that morning had failed. The situation was in fact do-or-die, and I had never before seen the look of fear which had come over the patient’s face as she was being prepared for her second procedure.

Then another time, in Washington, as the gurney was being wheeled out to surgery, a kind of fluttering…

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Lessons on Prayer from the Cast of Jane the Virgin

Lessons on Prayer from the Cast of Jane the Virgin

When I found out that Netflix added the most recent season of Jane the Virgin to its streaming repertoire, I knew exactly how I would spend my weekend. I may or may not have watched all seventeen forty-minute episodes in about 72 hours, complete with a rollercoaster of emotions as I walked alongside these characters, whose rich development made me think I actually knew and loved them, as they experienced the joys and sorrows of life. But mostly I cried. A lot.

(Some spoilers lie ahead.)

Jane the Virgin, set in Miami, is The CW’s adaptation of a Venezuelan telenovela about a…

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Robert Capon to the Rescue of the Royal Wedding

Robert Capon to the Rescue of the Royal Wedding

This one was written by journalist and friend Anna-Liza Kozma.

I spent the other week working on and off on the royal wedding. I wasn’t frosting lemon and elderflower cake or plucking lilies at dawn. Or getting fitted for a fascinator.

Instead, I talked to people like the feminist historian Rosalind Miles about what she calls “the genius of a 2000-year-old monarchy to reinvent itself.” I won’t detail here my discussions with a Mohawk writer who spoke of the Queen as a Clan Mother or my dear BBC friend who took her aged in-laws to join the crowds around Windsor Castle and…

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Devotion 2 – Sarah Condon

The second devotion from our recent conference in NYC, given by our chaplain, the Rev. Sarah Condon:

Devotion 2 – Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

This is a follow-up to a recent piece titled The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)—offering the other side of the coin.

Paul wasn’t much of a storyteller. For him, the advent of Christ was principally a revelation of something unforeseen at a human level. It was an invasion of liberation into an enslaved cosmos ruled by the powers of sin and death. This controlling metaphor of revelation colors his thought such that Scripture itself becomes not antecedent, horizontal events that set into motion a story, but prophetic testimony of God’s unconditioned, vertical intervention into the world.

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For Those We Love, A Healthy Dose of Pessimism

For Those We Love, A Healthy Dose of Pessimism

Alain de Botton explains why we are cruelest to the ones we are closest to. Most of it has to do with the fact that we have such devastatingly high expectations for them to meet our devastatingly deep neediness. A section on “Pessimism” from The School of Life’s book, Relationships. 

No one can disappoint and upset us as much as the person we’re in a relationship with–for of no one do we have higher hopes. It’s because we are so dangerously optimistic that we call them a c***, a s***head, or a weakling. The intensity of the disappointment and frustration is dependent…

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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 a Swim School. They let the kids “acclimate to the water” as though they are encountering an alien substance. We are on lesson three and still have not put our head in the water. And by “we” I mean my daughter. But it kind of feels…

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The Weight of Silence

The Weight of Silence

This review of A Quiet Place comes to us from Sam Guthrie.

How do you survive in a world where you’re being hunted by blind monsters that possess a keen sense of hearing? According to the box office hit, A Quiet Place, you plan really well. You prepare, train, and pray that your children don’t make a sound, that life remains muffled, and you know where and when it’s safe to whisper.

In a post-apocalyptic world where a blind alien species has all but wiped out the human race, the Abbott family (parents played by real-life power-couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) has…

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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.

We Are All Sad Ben Affleck on a Beach with a Back Tattoo

We Are All Sad Ben Affleck on a Beach with a Back Tattoo

When I first clicked through to the New Yorker piece, “The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck,” I’ll admit that it felt a little bit like seeing the sad ex-boyfriend of a close friend. The momentary thrill of schadenfreude: “you’ve done her wrong, and look at how that worked out for you.” Ben Affleck is not looking so great these days, and I feel a pang of satisfaction on behalf of his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner.

To be clear, Jennifer Garner is not my close friend, but she feels like a girlfriend to so many of us who came of age in the…

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LeBron, Rest, and Execution, and Will

LeBron, Rest, and Execution, and Will

I ran into a fascinating juxtaposition in a fascinating (for a difference reason) article recently. The article in question, an ESPN piece by Brian Windhorst, is about LeBron James “perfecting the art of resting while playing.” If that sounds counter-intuitive, it probably should. We’re used to thinking of athletes “giving 100%” (if not more; there’s always that mythical “110%” that people are always claiming to reach) while they’re on the court, field, pitch, or whatever. Then, they come out of the game and rest until they’re ready to go back in and give it 100% again. Of course, in sports…

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