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Testimony

The Lonely Island of Waiting to be Healed

The Lonely Island of Waiting to be Healed

I have an MFA in Photography. I tell you this because, obviously, it’s really very impressive. But also to prove my know-how in the metaphor I’m about to illustrate: Waiting is a lot like standing in front of the developing tray in a darkroom. From the Christian’s perspective – that before God formed us in the womb, He knew us – the film has already been exposed, developed, transferred to paper, and then set apart as a piece of incomparable and beloved craftsmanship. But as the photographer stands alone in the dark, gently rocking the tray of the developing bath,…

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Good Enough? Where Positive Psychology and the Gospel Meet – Sasha Heinz & Jacob Smith

All systems go for the next breakout video from our NYC Conference! This one was a real treat:

Good Enough? Where Positive Psychology and the Gospel Meet – Sasha Heinz and Jacob Smith from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Confessions of a Wasted Life: The Internal Critique and the Love of God

Confessions of a Wasted Life: The Internal Critique and the Love of God

This confessional comes to us from SM White.

Don’t Waste Your Life! That was the title of a book that John Piper wrote back in 2003, and, excited about another great book like Desiring God, this so-called Christian hedonist excitedly bought it off of the book table at his church.

I wish I could tell you what it was about, but I failed to read it just because of the fact that something about the title bothered me–that it was just another one of the things in a long list that I had already failed to accomplish.

There is a long list of things I “coulda”…

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Dark Side of the (Honey) Moon

Dark Side of the (Honey) Moon

Four long years ago my husband and I spent our honeymoon in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania (I know, I know, why is everyone honeymooning in Jim Thorpe these days? NOTE: SARCASM. You’ve never heard of this town). Our honeymoon goals were simple: go somewhere chilly, relax in our bathrobes by a crackling fire, and watch Christmas movies. We ultimately selected our destination due to lack of finances, met by very poor advice from a local newspaper article celebrating small towns in America. The article called Jim Thorpe “The Switzerland of America.”

All the mojo of Europe but without the bill? BINGO!

The town,…

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Life Expectancy (In a World of Expectations): A New York Conference Review

Life Expectancy (In a World of Expectations): A New York Conference Review

A little self-referential praise never hurt, right? Grateful for this one from Sarah Denley Herrington. 

Last week my husband and I were fortunate enough to attend Mockingbird’s ninth annual conference at St. George’s Church in New York City. We grew up in the South, were at one time New Yorkers (I use that title very liberally), and are now living back in Mississippi with our two young children.

Courtesy of Melody Moore Photography

The conference title, Relief: The Boldness of Grace in a World of Expectation, as usual, could not have been more apropos to my life and circumstances. I’m seven months pregnant…

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Failed Evangelist

Failed Evangelist

This comes to us from our friend Emily Skelding. 

I’m a terrible evangelist.

I have never once, not ever, converted anyone. I am suspicious of emotional altar calls after a sermon that starts at a whisper and ends with shouts.  I’ve never wandered a Florida beach converting a hungover college kid. In fact, I doubt these transformations. They ring tinny to my ear.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I even qualify as a born-again Christian.

Still, I cling to the idea of rebirth. God’s grace, the process of God holding my cracked soul to make it healed and whole, carries me through life’s…

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“I’m New Here: What’s Going On?” A Conference Preview

What a joy it is to host everyone at Calvary St. George’s for the 9th Annual Mockingbird Conference! Things are shaping up for a memorable weekend with great food, excellent speakers, and a topic that any human being in 2016 can appreciate–Relief. For friends who are new to church, new to Mockingbird, new to Christianity, new to New York, here’s a pre-conference word of Relief for you.

We are Mel Smith and Bryan Jarrell, and we’ll be hosting the breakout session “I’m New Here: What’s Going On?” At this session, we’ll talk about The Law, The Gospel, the Bible, everyday life, and Mockingbird’s vision to connect all those things with the human heart. If it’s your first time at a Mockingbird event, if you’ve come to the conference by yourself, or even if you have attended the last 8 and are wondering “what am I doing here?”, join us!

Together we will explore how God’s immeasurable grace intersects with our human experience through the culture, faith expressions, and everyday living. Here at Mockingbird we can seek to explore the threads of truth & grace as we interact with the world around us.

Travel safe, see you next week!

Nothing else in the world matters but the kindness of grace, God’s gift to suffering mortals. ~Jack Kerouac

Pre-register here!

Stranded Between Ocean and Army

Stranded Between Ocean and Army

The Lord will make a way for you where no foot has been before. That which, like a sea, threatens to drown you, shall be like a highway for your escape.” – Charles Spurgeon

My husband is nearing the end of his graduate program in building sciences. Time and again over the last year he has taken one singular, dogged stance when it comes to his future career: “I’ll go anywhere but California or New York.”

He’s almost exclusively been gunning for a job in Birmingham, my home town. In fact, we’ve been so confident in his placement there, we’ve told everyone…

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Grace Stinks: A Conference Breakout Preview

Check out this preview of a conference breakout session, entitled, “Grace Stinks: When the Healer Carries a Sword,” and join us next month at the Mockingbird NYC Conference April 14-16!

vivien-leigh-as-scarlett-ohara-1348207344_b-2Anyone else think it’s a bit rude that God doesn’t carry around a suggestion box?

From an early age, I aimed to be a helpful assistant to God without realizing that I was actually enlisting him to be my assistant. I had a plan for my life, carefully outlined and bullet-pointed, and for quite a while this plan seemed to unfold according to schedule. Until it didn’t. And the life I had planned became pock-marked with all manner of interruptions and disasters, leaving me wondering why, if God was so good, he couldn’t just DO WHAT I WANTED ALREADY.

It’s possible that I have some control issues.

Next month, I’ll be relating my personal tales of finding grace in the wreckage of former plans, and in all sorts of places devoid of divine suggestion boxes–like doctors’ offices, hospital rooms, bathroom floors, carpool lines, creek beds, and barn benches. Topics of interest will range from horse excrement to my theory about who’s really behind the Trump campaign. Luminaries from JRR Tolkien to Scarlett O’Hara will be quoted (but sadly have not yet RSVPed). I’ll try not to embarrass my family or offend any listeners, but anyone involved with the Left Behind series may want to sit this one out. If you’ve ever found yourself asking questions like “Why, God? Why?”, “How Do I Get the Hell Out of Here?”, or “Hey Jesus! HOW DARE YOU?”, then I can’t guarantee answers, but I can promise uncomfortable laughter at my own expense. Which is, I’m coming to find, what grace often sounds like. The smell of it? You’ll just have to show up to find that out.

Pre-register today!

Another Regeneration Cycle: RNDM by Mega Ran

Another Regeneration Cycle: RNDM by Mega Ran

My favorite scene in Doctor Who is when the Eleventh Doctor, facing regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor, tells his grieving companion (Clara),

We all change, when you think about it. We’re all different people all through our lives. And that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.

Like the Doctor, rapper Raheem Jarbo has shifted identities in public. He started his career with The Call, an astonishing indie rap album, under the name Random, but he shifted his focus to what he terms “chip-hop” in his the concept albums Mega Ran…

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Long Days and the In-Between Times

Long Days and the In-Between Times

My husband and I decided to take advantage of the recent three-day weekend by potty training our not yet two-and-a-half-year-old son. It’s times like these when my palms begin to shake, missing late nights or showering regularly or skipping out of the house for a spontaneous dinner gathering.

Instead, I spent the weekend in my pajama pants with the Wiggles singing in the background, carefully eyeing my son to make sure he didn’t unload on our carpet.

Wild times.

Today is shaping up to be crisis-free–a real rarity in (our) married life. From the moment we said our vows, life has felt like…

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Heading Back to Church: The Prodigal Son and His New Year’s Resolution

Heading Back to Church: The Prodigal Son and His New Year’s Resolution

Like you, I adore and admire the New Years’ resolutions that fill my social media newsfeed every January. Please, tell me more about the Whole30 diet you are doing. Yes, I want to see your feet photos from the treadmill. Smart friends, what books you will be reading while I watch the latest incarnation of the Housewives franchise?

I kid, of course. Resolutions do have their place. There’s something hopeful about them, even when done with tongue in cheek. Something unavoidable. And Lord knows we can use all the cheerleaders we can get, virtual or no.

Just please, keep our churches out…

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