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Year In Review

A Mockingbird Gift Guide: 2018 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 (w)rapping them in deliciousness or genius.

Too bad these aren’t purchase-able

For Your Small Group Leader Who Keeps Hinting That You Take Your Law/Grace Paradigm More Seriously Than Scripture Itself: An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel by Larry Parsley.

For Your Basement-Dwelling Cousin Who Could Really Use a Shower (and With Whom You’ve Got to Kill an Uncomfortable Amount of Time Between Christmas and New Year’s): Heaven & Ale Boardgame.

For Your Sister-in-Law Who Loves The Great British Baking Show So Much That She Keeps Inflicting Her Attempts at “Tray-Bakes” on Everyone: A Cookie So Good It’s Hardly a Cookie.

For the Parent of Small Children Looking to Spice Up Lunch-Time a Little, Since We All Know They’re Eating Half the Sandwich Anyway: Some of Reginald’s finest.

For the Volunteer Who Just Taught a Sunday School Series on Won’t You Be My Neighbor and People Still Haven’t Recovered: Mr Roger’s Sweater-Changing Mug.

For Your Niece/Nephew Who’s Flirting With a Full-Fledged Goth Phase and Has No Idea How Hardcore Your Anthropology Is: A William Blake “Help! Help!” iphone case and/or hoodie.

For Anyone You Know Who Needs Socks, Especially If They Have Literary or Psychedelic Aspirations: These or these.

For the Churchy Fangirl Looking to Take It to Next Level (AKA Full Jackwagon): A Dolly Parton prayer candle or a Jesus Loves Sinners Women’s T-shirt.

Other Recommended Prayer Candles for the Lovable Weirdos in Your Life: Bruce Campbell, Emily Dickinson, Goonies Sloth, Lemmy and Lamb, Nicolas Cage, Bill Murray in Rushmore, Donna Summer, Todd Rundgren.

For Your Uncle Who’s Sworn Off the Internet (Again) and Claims to Be Full Analog at This Point: A gift subscription to The Mockingbird Magazine (Faith and Doubt Issue ships in January!) or if you want to go big, The Box Set of the first ten issues — only nine units left!

For Your Favorite Teacher from High School, the One Who Loved Poetry and Didn’t Play by the Rules (and Wasn’t Named Robin): Tropic of Squalor by Mary Karr.

For Your Favorite Religious Studies Graduate Student or Seminary Professor: A Heretical Nonsense stamp.

For the Wrung-Out Fashionista Mom Whose Obsession With The Handmaid’s Tale Is Starting to Get a Little Creepy: Apollo Box’s Pillow Hat, or this.

For the Braindead FBI Agent in Your Life, or Anyone Standing Against the Forces of Darkness (and Stale Coffee): This pie plate.

For Your Church Friend Who You Can’t Help But Notice Is Always in the Bathroom During the Passing of the Peace:

For the Kid You Used to Babysit Who Sounds Like He’s Just About Had It With His Fellow Undergraduates: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs (probably best to keep the actual title on the DL at first).

For Your Friend from Youth Group Who You’re Pretty Sure Just Got Separated from Their Spouse and Is Now Posting a Ton of Really Important “Deconstruction” Podcasts on FB: An Existential Crisis Club: Lifetime Member throw pillow or possibly this Infinite Galaxy Puzzle.

For the New Assistant Pastor at Your Church Who Keeps Looking at You Funny When You Mention the Theology of the Cross: 1517’s awesome new annotated Heidelberg Disputation translation, or if you really want to see their head spin (and possibly alienate them for good), this.

For the 11-Year-Old in Your Life to Whom You’re Looking to Model God’s Absurd Bank-Breaking Generosity (and Possibly Upset His/Her Parents): The Lego Voltron set.

For the 39-Year-Old in Your Life to Whom You’re Looking to Model God’s Absurd Bank-Breaking Generosity (And Possibly Upset His/Her Parents): Tickets to the KISS’s End of the Road Tour and/or the Seinfeld Apartment Set Replica.

For Your Foodie Podcastaholic Wife Who, Just to Be Perfectly Clear, Should In No Way Take This As a Passive-Aggressive Comment About Her Cooking: A signed copy of the Milk Street cookbook.

For the Blue Hymnal Aficionado Ready for a Top-Notch New Soundtrack to the Week — But Not Too New: Sam Bush’s Songs of Comfort, the latest “Stand on the Word” remixes, or Liturgical Folk’s Crumbs record.

For Your New Neighbor With All the Blank Wall Space: This if you want them to like you. This if you don’t.

For the Well of Sound Listener Wanting to Get Ahead and/or Represent: Honeybus on vinyl, a Tommy James for President t-shirt, Bobbi Gentry’s The Girl from Chickasaw County boxed set or Dave Davies’ Decade.

For the Busier-Than-Thou Workaholic Soul-Cycling Politico (and Those Who Love and/or Feel Superior to Them): You guessed it.

For Anyone You Love Very Much: Earlybird Tickets to Mockingbird’s 12th Annual Conference in New York City, April 25-27th. Prices go up on Feb 1! And maybe a Low Anthopology sticker for the envelope.

Mockingbird Update: What’s in Store for 2018 and How You Can Help

A year of anniversaries–Mockingbird’s 10th and the Reformation’s 500th–is now behind us, and what a year it was. We published our first children’s book, released two issues of our magazine (Food & Drink and Love & Death), held three conferences, racked up 1.2 million pageviews on our website. We hired our fourth full-time and fourth part-time staff members (which makes a total of eight!). David Z enjoyed a rejuvenating summer sabbatical.

One of the first things we did upon his return was convene a group to brainstorm about the next stage of our work. Together we developed a slew of new projects and initiatives (and tweaks to old ones) that we’ve affectionately termed “Mbird 2.0”. The guiding principle was just as it’s ever been–to bring the “same old song” of the Gospel to people in fresh and creative ways.

The first wave of 2.0, due in early 2018, will include a native Mbird app for mobile devices, a reconfigured Mockingcast, and the introduction of curated weekly digest emails. The second wave will launch a revamped website with triple the number of pastoral resources, our first-ever set of mini-videos, and a second 365-day devotional.

All this in addition to our slate of regular activities: conferences in Tyler, TX (2/23-24), New York (4/26-28), and Oklahoma City (10/12-13); new volumes of our print magazine (Humor will be out in a few weeks!); more reissued titles from Robert Capon; not to mention the continued parade of awesome daily content on here.

Suffice it to say, the adventure continues–and we need your help! Scroll down for a few suggestions of how to do so. 

How You Can Help

Mockingbird relies on the generosity of individual donors and churches to fund its operations. Specifically, we need to raise $360,000 to keep fulfilling our mission in 2018. For more information about where the money goes, click here. Three easy ways to help might be:

  1. Become a monthly supporter. More than 200 people give automatically to Mbird every month, anywhere from $5 to $1200. We would love to see that number increase! Anyone who signs up for monthly giving (any amount) will receive a complimentary subscription to The Mockingbird. If you’re already subscribed but want to start giving monthly, we’ll send you the publication of your choice as a thank-you.
  2. See if your church can help. A handful of ‘partner’ churches support us every year with funds from their mission/outreach budgets. Others give via discretionary accounts. If you attend or work at a church that is benefiting from our ministry but hasn’t gotten behind Mbird “officially” yet, be our advocate! Email us at if you have any leads.
  3. Spread the word. If you’re not in a place where you can give, there are other ways to pitch in. Write a review of one of our books on Amazon. Or rate one of our podcasts on iTunes. Publicize Mbird events and articles (like this one!) on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. Use one of our resources at your church or in your small group (our Law and Gospel is ideal for this). Above all, please pray for us!

If you believe in what we’re doing and want to ensure that it continues, consider making a donation to Mockingbird today. Thanks for reading, and we wish you the happiest of new years.

P.S. Discounted earlybird pre-registration for our NYC Conference (4/26-28) only lasts until January 15th!

The Top Theology Books of 2017

The Top Theology Books of 2017

Were you given an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card, but don’t know what to spend it on? Or perhaps you’re a bibliophile like me and have an insatiable appetite for the latest and greatest theology books. In either case, I’ve got just the list for you: the top Mockingbird theology books from 2017. […]

Pot Kettle Black: Keeping the Mocking-Score in 2017

A little rundown of what content got traction in 2017 for those looking to while away the post-Christmas coma. The lists below are limited to things that were posted/released in 2017, rather than viewed then (if we were including previous years’ output, for example, this is the post that got the overall most traffic in 17). Fresh material will be fairly sparse until the new year:

Top Posts

  1. When Jesus Gets Crucified and Churches Get Bombed
  2. A Sermon For Charlottesville
  3. Ken M and the Wisdom of Trolls
  4. Fleming Rutledge Is Not Ashamed of the Gospel
  5. Masculinity in Crisis: Unexamined Libidos and Lady Birds
  6. Four Points about Martin Luther on 31 October 2017
  7. Please Help The Cause Against (Middle Age Male) Loneliness
  8. A Memo From Houston
  9. Learning About the Gospel from Self-Help, AA, and Tony Robbins
  10. Book Smart and Gospel Stupid
  11. Self-Righteousness at Home in the 21st Century
  12. The Zaccheaus Option

Honorable Mentions: 
The Sad Optimism of La La Land; Desmond Doss, the Coward; When Angels Show Up in Cadillacs; The Preacher Goes to Fashion Week; Publish and Perish; Accidental Killers and Cities of Refuge; #MeToo, and You; This Is Babylon

Three Most Popular Mockingcast Episodes

  1. Abandon Me…in Texas (Melissa Febos)
  2. Pastrix (Nadia Bolz Weber)
  3. Oh What a Feeling! (Simeon Zahl)

Most Popular Tweets (From a Post Not Mentioned Above): This one and, the runner-up, this one.

Most Popular Facebook Post (From a Post Not Mentioned Above): This one and then, this one.

Most Downloaded Sermon(s):

  1. “Looking for Jesus at 4 O’Clock” by Paul Walker
  2. “Where To Go When You Fail” by David Browder
  3. Living in the Gap” by Aaron Zimmerman
  4. “My Memaw Was Right” by Sarah Condon
  5. “Nevertheless She Persisted” by David Zahl

Most Watched Conference Talks

  1. Dear Reformation, It’s Not You It’s Me – Sarah Condon
  2. The Raising of the Crucified One – Fleming Rutledge
  3. Did It Have to Be Jesus? – Nicole Cliffe
  4. Hiding in Plain Sight – Simeon Zahl
  5. Hearing Law, Seeing Gospel – Matthew Milliner

Consuming 2017: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, and Books

Consuming 2017: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, and Books

Alrighty, my friends, it’s time for our annual round up of favorites, which I had way too much fun putting together. As always, these are predominantly personal picks, albeit ones with an eye toward Mocking-resonance. TV went live last week. (Click here to check out last year’s list). Here goes: Music Favorite Discoveries Jimmy Webb. […]

Seven Films from 2017 (An Abbreviated Wrap Up)

Seven Films from 2017 (An Abbreviated Wrap Up)

The following represents probably half of the films I had the privilege of enjoying this year. You can consider this ‘The Exhausted Dad’s Incomplete Guide to 2017 Films’. There’s a ton I missed this year, the least of which not being Novitiate, Lady Bird, Three Billboards, Justice League, Shape of Water, etc. I am counting […]

The Best of the Year in Television 2017

The Best of the Year in Television 2017

Doing things a little differently this year. As anyone who’s spent time on a couch this year knows, there’s simply too much quality television being produced these days to attempt a definitive list, even if rankings are generally more fun. So we’ve decided to farm out the assignment a bit more, ask various contributors to […]

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 […]

In Defense of 2016

In Defense of 2016

This past calendar year, known by many of us as 2016, was nothing if not controversial. Populated as it was by unexpected outcomes, celebrity demises, and global tragedies, the year stands out as, at the very least, memorable. And at the very most? Well, it may be the first time I’ve heard a quartet of […]

One Reader's Favorite Fiction from 2016

One Reader’s Favorite Fiction from 2016

My two favorite entertainments this year were Greg Jackson’s Prodigals – a collection of short stories on seekers at various life stages – and Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash – a sleek, psychological drama set on a gorgeous Italian island. This post is about books, but I wanted to mention the film because it hasn’t […]

The Top Theology Books of 2016

The Top Theology Books of 2016

Another year and there are many, many more books to read. If that statement feels more like a celebration than an arduous demand, this post is for you. I buy an inordinate amount of books each year, so I’m firmly in the former category. Below are the best theology books of 2016, categorized by their […]

The Dirty Deacon's Top 10 Horror Films of 2016

The Dirty Deacon’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2016

Disclaimer: Pinning down actual years on films is a tricky endeavor. Some films travel film festival circuits and have limited theater releases well before they’re actually “out”. However, my list below contains the top 10 horror films that had a wide release in 2016, whether it was in theaters or through video-on-demand services. So while films like The Love Witch […]