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Theology

The Humanity Of God: An Ascension Day Reflection

The Humanity Of God: An Ascension Day Reflection

Commencement season is almost over (there are some college graduations still happening, if you can believe it!). This year I learned of a tradition I didn’t know existed. Apparently a newly elected president’s first commencement address is usually given at Notre Dame. But Donald Trump broke with this convention, recently delivering his first commencement address at Liberty University. In my opinion, it was one of his better public addresses. But he did do one conventional thing in the speech itself: he quoted from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” Quotations from this poem are ubiquitous at graduations, along with inevitable misinterpretations.

Here is…

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Jackwagon Junction: The Losing Battle of Being in Charge – Sarah Condon

Here’s another video from our 10th Annual conference in New York City! This one features our favorite Kardashians enthusiast, Sarah Condon, talking about control (and our amusing lack of it).  Welcome to Jackwagon Junction — it’s gonna be wild ride. Enjoy!

Jackwagon Junction: The Losing Battle of Being in Charge – Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

The King of Dissonance

The King of Dissonance

Well, I’ve been taking up DZ’s advice and making my way through Harriet Lerner’s slim little power-punch of a book, Why Won’t You Apologize? (He actually left it on my desk before the sabbatical…Soooo, did he mean for me to read it? Did I say, or not say, something?) The book is a powerful glimpse into all the strategies and self-deceptions we have around our wrongdoing–on what counts as an apology, and on what keeps us from doing it. As Dave mentioned, Lerner keys in on the prime impulse that makes the non-apologizer a non-apologizer: the need to be perfect.

Some people are so hard…

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The Mockingbird Devotional: Finding Grace and Being Found

The Mockingbird Devotional: Finding Grace and Being Found

After scrolling through my Twitter feed and seeing a prominent Christian leader post something that made me want to climb in my bed, pull my down alternative comforter over my head, and hide from the world; I tweet-confessed that remembering the gospel doesn’t undo the bad stuff. My proclamation got a couple of likes so there are at least two other people in the world who might agree that oh-remember-the-gospel-and-god-and-the-kingdom-everything-is-better-now just doesn’t work sometimes. Maybe we aren’t Christian-y enough, but using the gospel and the reality of God’s kingdom as a bandaid for all that is wrong in the world…

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Faeries, Lies, and Leporicide: A Meditation on Genesis 15

Faeries, Lies, and Leporicide: A Meditation on Genesis 15

A wonderful contribution from Thomas Hayes.

I’m going to tell a few stories and then tell you what the stories mean. But first a cautionary tale: When my middle son was very young, his grandmother took him to see The Wizard of Oz. Afterwards, I asked him what it was about, and he replied, “It was about a girl, a scarecrow, a robot, and a bear.” The moral is: in relation to stories and their meanings we are all young.

When I was a boy, I used to attend a summer camp with my best friend, Steve. Steve’s uncle, Uncle Jim, ran…

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It's Gospel Law the Way Down

It’s Gospel Law the Way Down

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like I had time traveled 10 years back into the wonderful world of mockingbird.blogspot.com. Back then, a group of us were invited by David Zahl to start up a blog dedicated to the exposition of justification by faith alone as understood through the hermeneutical lens of the distinction between law and Gospel. This was not our first attempt at blogging, but it was different in that, as I wrote in a 2008 post, “Can’t See the Forest for the Blogs,”

Most theological blogs that I’ve found, like many political ones, are so rife with acrimony…

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Taking a Dip in the Dark Side

Taking a Dip in the Dark Side

I am over sixty, so I know a lot of people over sixty. Several of those — measured, responsible leaders — have giddily announced they are visiting Holland. I have always loved the Amsterdam School of early twentieth-century modernism-meets-craftsman housing design, but no, that is not why these good folks are going to that part of the world.

They want to re-live dope.

Most of them have not touched marijuana since the 1970s. They are amused by the Colorado experiment with legalization. They fought tooth and nail to have their kids avoid the Grass Pit, some unsuccessfully. But they themselves are giddy to…

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The Absorption of All Our Rage

The Absorption of All Our Rage

In an age defined by emotional rage, political divisiveness and correctness, the recurring themes of the victim-culprit blaming, I have been comforted by God’s message to us in the cross. This passage comes from Frank Lake’s short book on pastoral counseling, in which he deals with both the problem of rage in social justice/injustice, but also the problem of individual victimhood and its corresponding rage. Where can it go? What can be done with it? Lake offers the supercessory response offered to the angry by God in the cross of Christ. 

Many years ago, I met, in a friend’s rectory, which he kept as a home…

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Fluorescent Lighting and Vampire Haberdashery: Some Thoughts on Scapegoating and Parables

Fluorescent Lighting and Vampire Haberdashery: Some Thoughts on Scapegoating and Parables

For me, writing about grace is like undressing in a cold changing room, with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and flickering fluorescent lighting: self-flattery is an impossibility. Don’t worry, there is more nudity on the way.

When you can no longer unsee your own low anthropology, writing about internal work feels exposing. Feelings aren’t always reality, though, and the “me too” connection that writing can bring makes it worth the, uh, exposure.

Speaking of “me too” moments — meaning I have already done this — you know those times after you stub your toe and, instead of saying “ouch,” you yell at your dog, who did nothing wrong? Sometimes,…

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Opening Welcome from Paul Zahl at the 10th Annual Mockingbird Conference 2017

All right, ladies and gents, here we go! The first video from this year’s NYC conference has arrived. Leading off with Paul Zahl’s incredible opening welcome: “It’s not Mockingbird — it’s the ancient, unalloyed message of the Christian gospel.”

Opening Welcome ~ Paul Zahl The 10th Annual Mockingbird Conference 2017 – from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

The Man Who Met God in a Bar, by Robert Farrar Capon - Preface to the Mockingbird Edition

The Man Who Met God in a Bar, by Robert Farrar Capon – Preface to the Mockingbird Edition

If you haven’t yet gotten your hands on Mockingbird’s latest publication, a completely outrageous novel by the late Robert Farrar Capon, you can now find it on Amazon and in our online store! The Man Who Met God in a Bar: The Gospel According to Marvin reimagines the gospel story as though it had happened in 1990s Cleveland, where Peter is a traveling salesman…and Mary is a yogi…and Jesus is a short-order cook…. You don’t want to miss this.

The following preface was written by the one and only Ethan Richardson:

If there were an award given for “Most Terrible Parable,” my vote would…

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The Lord’s (Subversive) Supper

The Lord’s (Subversive) Supper

This post was written by Chad Bird.

I learned the basics of table fellowship where many others did: in the elementary school cafeteria. Gripping my cadaver-colored tray swimming in gravy, meatloaf, and green beans, I’d scan the tables. Where to sit?

I dropped more footballs than I caught, so I couldn’t jazz with the fourth-grade jocks. No boy in his right mind ate with the girls, so that was out of the question. No to the nerds, no to the really poor kids, and a big-fat-no to anyone who didn’t share my skin color (this was the 1970s).

So I set my food…

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