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Alexa, Now!

Alexa, Now!

Whenever a new technology comes on the scene, there’s always a bridge that needs to be built. That bridge is a cognitive bridge and it takes some powerful envisioning (and marketing!) to communicate that vision to the public. It is a bridge between what before was only manageable by human...

A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

Few things are certain in this world, but there is this: however critics feel about a movie, I will almost certainly disagree. There have been rare exceptions; the triteness of He’s Just Not That Into You, for example, pissed a lot of us off. Usually, however, I can be counted on as...

Announcing! The Food and Drink Issue!

Announcing! The Food and Drink Issue!

Ladies and gentlemen, diners and tipplers, gather ’round! The ninth issue of The Mockingbird is officially available for order! Note, too, we have a deal for bulk orders. If you/your church/your favorite hole-in-the-wall needs a bundle of copies, email us: info@mbird.com. And, as always, we place before you the menu and...

The Joys of Agnostic Eating

The Joys of Agnostic Eating

Ethan has joked elsewhere about our recent Food & Drink Issue: we had selected a topic that was intentionally “lighter fare” to chase Mental Health and then watched as the stuff that came in delved into the heaviest possible corners of gastronomic experience (pun sort of intended). Addiction, mortality, moralism,...

Insanity, Marriage, and the Virgin Mary

Insanity, Marriage, and the Virgin Mary

I couldn’t let this day pass without posting my favorite passage from Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love, in which our favorite Swiss pop-philosopher/religious atheist hints at the appeal of ‘true religion’ under the guise of abreactive art and in the process gives us a crash, er, course on...

Mbird Tyler 2017 (2/24-25): The Soul of the Gospel

Mbird Tyler 2017 (2/24-25): The Soul of the Gospel

Come join us next month (2/24-25) for our third annual event in downtown Tyler, TX! Our theme this year will be “The Soul of The Gospel”. Paul Zahl and Sarah Condon, along with a host of others, will guide us as we explore the question, “what remains when cultural attachments...
Jesus Came to Save (Even) Leslie Charping

Jesus Came to Save (Even) Leslie Charping

Here’s something of a revised obituary, brought to us by Ben Maddison.

There is a train that goes past my house at 12:30 AM every night, which gives me a lot of opportunities to sleepily scroll through late-night Facebook: a weird and generally silent beast, driven by algorithms and insomnia. Tucked away...

Publish and Perish: Law in Academia

Publish and Perish: Law in Academia

A tonic for the anxious academic, written by our friend Matthew Milliner. 

Every community has its own law. But academia’s penchant for the oppressive ought, its tilt toward domineering expectations of accomplishment is, one could say, special. The undergraduate — once justified by acceptance into the right college — is freighted with the inadequacy...

In Praise of Chance

In Praise of Chance

An ode to the Rapper of good news, by Cody Gainous.

Someone alert the end-time prophets: Jesus is coming back a day early. And it’s all thanks to one of the many stars of the 2017 Grammys, and a somewhat unlikely hero — he’s only 23 years old, and he has...

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Jesus Came to Save (Even) Leslie Charping

Jesus Came to Save (Even) Leslie Charping

Here’s something of a revised obituary, brought to us by Ben Maddison.

There is a train that goes past my house at 12:30 AM every night, which gives me a lot of opportunities to sleepily scroll through late-night Facebook: a weird and generally silent beast, driven by algorithms and insomnia. Tucked away in that late-night scroll fest—past the photos from yesterday and the hot new clickbait—was this Washington Post article on the obituary of a man named Leslie Charping.

I’m not sure if it falls under the “weird news” category or the “fluff at the end of the broadcast,” but it stopped me…

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From The Onion: Alcoholic’s Plan For Turning Life Around Doesn’t Involve Getting Sober

America’s favorite news source, on point yet again. Mercy mercy me:

SAVANNAH, GA—Realizing something needed to change before it was too late, local alcoholic Darren Weller laid out a plan for turning his life around Monday that had absolutely nothing to do with getting sober. “Today’s the day that I finally clean up my act and start taking the steps I need to better myself,” said the visibly intoxicated Weller to his fellow bar patrons, outlining a series of dramatic steps aimed at improving his physical and mental health that will in no way interfere with his crippling addiction to alcohol. “No more excuses. It’s time I went back to school and finished my degree. No more pizza and beer every night. I’ll probably live five more years just by having salad and beer. Who knows, I might even start getting a run in every night before I hit the bars. Yeah, I really feel like this is a new beginning.” At press time, Weller had passed out on his bar stool, already making good on his plan to get to sleep at a more reasonable hour.

Alternative Faith: Click Crack, Fake News, and Good News

Alternative Faith: Click Crack, Fake News, and Good News

America has a Tweeter in Chief. The response is a seemingly unending stream of Facebook sites and posts and comments and likes and friending and unfriending. Drudge had a record month in January — over 1,000,000,000 hits.

Is “SEE-CLICK” rewiring our collective reality? Apple’s Tim Cook seems to think so:

“We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth,” Cook told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s killing people’s minds, in a way.”

I am typing this on an Apple…

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PZ’s Podcast: Eternal Return

PZ’s Podcast: Eternal Return

EPISODE 228

I keep trying to make sense of the divisions we are almost all feeling currently. How can one get “under” them, i.e., in hopes of lessening them a little? Does anyone who is reading this enjoy feeling estranged from others, especially old friends, for example, because of political opinions? Very few, I’ll bet. But it’s happening.

Then the insight came: Remember what it was like 47 years ago. Remember what it was like in the Spring of ’70. Everybody, and I mean, everybody, was up in arms! If you were a college student then, your campus was probably shut down….

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T-Minus Ten Days: Mbird in Tyler, TX (2/24-25)!

We’re just over a week out from Tyler! Our man Mark Babikow put together a second little promo for it, which you can watch below.

Also, I don’t think we ever formally announced our talk titles, so here you go:

  • “How Low Can You Go? The Soul of The Gospel?” – Paul Zahl, Friday PM
  • “Dear Reformation, It’s Not You, It’s Me: Theology We Love to Hate” – Sarah Condon, Sat AM
  • “You Complete Me? Grace, Loneliness and the Religion of Romance” – David Zahl, Sat AM
  • “Viva La Resistance: Personal and Pastoral Resistance to Grace” – Paul Zahl, Sat PM

Those are just the tip of the iceberg, too. Click here for the full schedule. For those who arrive early, Sarah, Scott and DZ are doing a live recording of The Mockingcast on Friday afternoon (4pm). And let’s not forget about Stanley’s BBQ…! Or this incredible lady, who performs on Friday night:

Pre-Register Today!

Insanity, Marriage, and the Virgin Mary

Insanity, Marriage, and the Virgin Mary

I couldn’t let this day pass without posting my favorite passage from Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love, in which our favorite Swiss pop-philosopher/religious atheist hints at the appeal of ‘true religion’ under the guise of abreactive art and in the process gives us a crash, er, course on grace in relationships. It comes from mid-way through the book in the chapter on “Universal Blame” (ouch!), just after one of the protagonists, Rabih, finds out that his position at work may soon be up for grabs. In other words, if things don’t turn around, he’s going to lose his…

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A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

Few things are certain in this world, but there is this: however critics feel about a movie, I will almost certainly disagree. There have been rare exceptions; the triteness of He’s Just Not That Into You, for example, pissed a lot of us off. Usually, however, I can be counted on as a contrarian. Such was the case with Passengers, which my husband and I saw in a theater with reclining leather chairs and a bar — hard to go wrong between those amenities and a Chris Pratt/Jennifer Lawrence pairing. I was delighted not to be the only one who enjoyed the…

Read More > > >

Publish and Perish: Law in Academia

Publish and Perish: Law in Academia

A tonic for the anxious academic, written by our friend Matthew Milliner. 

Every community has its own law. But academia’s penchant for the oppressive ought, its tilt toward domineering expectations of accomplishment is, one could say, special. The undergraduate — once justified by acceptance into the right college — is freighted with the inadequacy of not having gotten into the right MA program. Should this happen, the weight of PhD applications hovers like a fixed cloud. If the sun of acceptance breaks through, the gathering storm of comprehensive exams billows on the horizon. When these pass, the student — known now as a “PhD…

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Kirk the Preacher and the Holy Ghost Album That Won’t Leave Me Alone

Kirk the Preacher and the Holy Ghost Album That Won’t Leave Me Alone

Kirk Franklin (thanks to St. Chance the Preacher) appears to be having a moment.

If you are all, “Who is Kirk Franklin?” then try to be less white and enjoy the following piece.

It has been well documented on Mockingbird that I was a theatre nerd in my youth. In Mississippi public high schools, math is almost as important as football, and so theatre was below the bottom rung. It was for the weirdos, misfits, and kids who were (understandably) too scared to come out of the closet.

Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation Project was our joyful, heartbreaking soundtrack.

Allow me to set a scene for you….

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In Praise of Chance

In Praise of Chance

An ode to the Rapper of good news, by Cody Gainous.

Someone alert the end-time prophets: Jesus is coming back a day early. And it’s all thanks to one of the many stars of the 2017 Grammys, and a somewhat unlikely hero — he’s only 23 years old, and he has never sold an album. Chance the Rapper made an album so good that the Recording Academy had to change the rules just so they could give him awards. And awards they did give him — Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Album, and Best New Artist.

I’m not your typical rap fan…

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Never Tell Me The Odds: Expectation and Redemption (On Screen and Off) – David Zahl

Second video from Dallas is here! Cue up the Badly Drawn Boy:

Never Tell Me the Odds: Expectation and Redemption (On Screen and Off) – David Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Eight Verses Thirty-Eight Through Thirty-Nine

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Eight Verses Thirty-Eight Through Thirty-Nine

This morning’s devotion comes to us from Luke Ferraguti.

These last few weeks have got me in a real slump. Not that there haven’t been any moments of relief (I love watching a good comeback story. Here’s to you, Tom Brady), but life’s just hard sometimes. Mix together a few disappointing moments, a load of work, and the flu, and you’ve got a recipe for the blues. I’m currently a graduate student studying music performance; and here, like most places on earth, there’s no shortage of disapproving glances and unmet expectations. In these moments, when the pressure really bears down, I…

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