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Theology/Religion

The Failure of the Prequels and the Fidelity of Creators

The Failure of the Prequels and the Fidelity of Creators

The release of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi has sent shockwaves of emotional heft throughout known space. Scores of Simeons awaiting the consolation of geekdom have found it in this latest installment, a truly surprising tour-de-force that delivers a similar blend of space opera wonder and classical tragedy the justly revered Empire Strikes Back administered thirty-seven years ago. Whether you left The Force Awakens wanting more or just wanting, rest assured: you will catch every one of the feels from The Last Jedi. The fact remains, however, that Force Awakens isn’t the dumpster fire…

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I'm Going to Be Nothing: On Giving Up at a Christmas Pageant

I’m Going to Be Nothing: On Giving Up at a Christmas Pageant

When our daughter announced last week that she wanted to be “nothing” in the Christmas Pageant this year, I was like cool, cool. Totally fine. It’s just that you’re already assigned to be one of the angels. And you look like an actual angel. Oh, and your Dad is the minister at the church. But you do you, three year old.

So when the other kids were all, “I’m going to be a sheep! I’m going to be Mary!” our daughter was all, “Imma be nupping.”

This week I struggled with what I should bribe/threaten her with. I told…

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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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Is There Life After Law? A Few Reflections on Pauline Ethics

Is There Life After Law? A Few Reflections on Pauline Ethics

Another wonderful piece by Charis Hamiltonius, continuing from last week’s entry on Luther and Paul.

“Shall we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?” This rhetorical question, dropped in the middle of Paul’s lengthy argument in Romans against a Law-oriented life, is not without merit. If grace is freely given to the ungodly, if the moral ordering of the universe is upside-down, and if our works have no bearing on our righteousness before God, then a reader of Paul’s letter would understandably wonder whether Paul cares about morality at all. To this question, Paul emphatically says, “HELL…

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The Road Back for Pariahs

The Road Back for Pariahs

It is hard to know how much of his tongue was in his cheek when Politico’s Jack Shafer penned “The Sex Pariah’s 6-Step Guide to Rehabilitation.” Yet the questions he addresses in the wake of Weinstein and Lauer and O’Reilly (and so many others) are both serious and timely: once the pariahs have served their punishments, “can we, should we, allow them to return to public life and their careers? And by what avenue?” The advice which follows is laced with explicit Catholic pastoral care and 12-Step best practices. They include unqualified confession, a season of retreat, submission to a…

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Losing the Floaties by 40

Losing the Floaties by 40

This one was written by Heidi Fields.

I was only two years shy of 40 when I decided to learn to swim. I was only half joking when I asked the swimming instructor if he had adult-sized floaty rings for my arms. I was only two years out of the womb when I rocked the ruffled two piece and yellow shades in this photo.

Despite having an innate, Milan-esque aqua fashion sense, I usually avoided pool parties and beach activities as a child. I was like oil and water was like water. Mixing the two of us was more awkward than boys…

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A Leaf on the Wind

A Leaf on the Wind

First Reading:

“The average person, seeing that we can predict tides pretty well a few months ahead would say, why can’t we do the same thing with the atmosphere, it’s just a different fluid system, the laws are about as complicated. But I realized that any physical system that behaved aperiodically would be unpredictable.”

~ Edward Lorenz, discoverer of the “Butterfly Effect”

Second Reading:

“I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them…

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Robert Barnes and 500 Years of Justification by Grace Alone – Jacob Smith

A wonderful, engaging talk on some of the key players in the Reformation (with a little help from Carl Jr.) by the Rev. Jacob Smith:

Robert Barnes and 500 Years of Justification by Grace Alone – Jacob Smith from Mockingbird on Vimeo

Psychomachia, 8-Balls, and Alien Righteousness

Psychomachia, 8-Balls, and Alien Righteousness

This one comes to us from RJ Coburn.

Psychomachia is the name given to the common trope found in movies, television, and comic strips when a character is dealing with temptation. Two versions of his or her self appear, an angel version and a devil version. Commonly, the devil is on the left shoulder (or standing on the left, if shown as a full-sized person) and the angel on the right. This represents the battle of the soul, or as Homer tells Lisa on an episode of The Simpsons, “Inside every man is a struggle between good and evil that cannot…

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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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