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So I Thought I Could Dance

So I Thought I Could Dance

I remember picking up the book I Don’t Know How She Does It a couple of months into my first pregnancy. The title sounded like a present-tense version of my desired epitaph, and the plot made it feel a timely read, featuring as it did a busy working mom struggling...

Mockingbird at the Movies: Intro (and Final Edition)

Mockingbird at the Movies: Intro (and Final Edition)

As this year’s Oscar buzz revs up, be sure to take a look at our latest publication, Mockingbird at the Movies, an anthology of film essays collected from many of Mockingbird’s contributing writers. Last week, we quietly released the fully-polished final edition, which consists of a few less typos but all of the same...

American Horror Story Taught Me That Jesus Was a Human Voodoo Doll

American Horror Story Taught Me That Jesus Was a Human Voodoo Doll

The math behind the cross is a little confusing. As a kid, I went to church every Sunday and recited: “In dying you destroyed our death, in rising you restored our life.” I’d known since day one that Jesus had died for my sins, but the equation itself—how the death...

2016 NYC Conference: Breakouts and Theme

2016 NYC Conference: Breakouts and Theme

At long last, some details about our upcoming 9th Annual New York conference (4/14-16). Thank you for your patience! We’re excited to announce that the theme this year will be “Relief! The Boldness of Grace in a World of Expectation”, and we can confirm that the slate of breakout sessions...

A Sermon for Ash Wednesday

A Sermon for Ash Wednesday

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21).

Today, we gather together for a unique purpose. Unlike any other service in the course...

Forgive Yourself, or Die Trying

Forgive Yourself, or Die Trying

Unless it has been replaced, the men’s room mirror at Manning’s Cafe in Minneapolis is a little worse for wear. Not broken, but scratched and pitted, and midway across the bottom the words are indelibly scrawled, “Forgive Yourself.” No telling who wrote it or how long ago, even less what they meant. Was it...

The Cursed Tree and the High Priest: The Christ Imagery of The Revenant

The Cursed Tree and the High Priest: The Christ Imagery of The Revenant

A brilliant look at The Revenant, from our friend Caleb Stallings.

Being a native of Georgia, I’ve always been oddly proud of our pine trees. Up until the recent film industry boom in Atlanta, I felt like the Peach State had few cultural icons to offer, the pine tree being a...

The Outsider Gets Radical: Notes on Blaming the Victim and Loving the Alien

The Outsider Gets Radical: Notes on Blaming the Victim and Loving the Alien

Must have been almost fifteen years ago. I was sitting down with the chaplain of a prestigious New England prep school, and although he was being incredibly polite about it, he was sussing me out. You see, I was a stranger on campus, brought there on behalf of the para-church...

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The Outsider Gets Radical: Notes on Blaming the Victim and Loving the Alien

The Outsider Gets Radical: Notes on Blaming the Victim and Loving the Alien

Must have been almost fifteen years ago. I was sitting down with the chaplain of a prestigious New England prep school, and although he was being incredibly polite about it, he was sussing me out. You see, I was a stranger on campus, brought there on behalf of the para-church organization for which I worked, at the invitation of the school’s Christian fellowship group. He had every right to know where I was coming from before signing off on my presence/involvement, a responsibility to parents and administrators to ensure that students would be spared any high-pressure proselytizing while away from…

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American Horror Story Taught Me That Jesus Was a Human Voodoo Doll

American Horror Story Taught Me That Jesus Was a Human Voodoo Doll

The math behind the cross is a little confusing. As a kid, I went to church every Sunday and recited: “In dying you destroyed our death, in rising you restored our life.” I’d known since day one that Jesus had died for my sins, but the equation itself—how the death of a man two thousand years ago could be related to me drinking the last ounce of milk and getting in a fistfight with my brother about it—has always been just a little beyond my reach.

Until American Horror Story, that is. For those struggling with the idea of substitutionary atonement,…

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So I Thought I Could Dance

So I Thought I Could Dance

I remember picking up the book I Don’t Know How She Does It a couple of months into my first pregnancy. The title sounded like a present-tense version of my desired epitaph, and the plot made it feel a timely read, featuring as it did a busy working mom struggling to be everything to everyone, often to “hilarious” consequence (witness Sarah Jessica Parker, in the film adaptation, endure lice in the conference room! HAHAHA!). I had set myself on the path to working motherhood over a decade before, when I chose in college to pursue a career that would combine prestige, profit,…

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The Essence of Christianity (Plus)

A couple of brand-new bonus recordings to which to draw your attention on this Tuesday afternoon:

  • Scott Jones and Bill Borrer interviewing Paul Zahl about “The Essence of Christianity” for their stellar New Persuasive Words podcast (which you can subscribe to here). You might think of it as a preview of the in-person conversation they’re going to have in April:

Sometimes these things don’t turn out as well as you’d hope. But sometimes they do, which seems to have been the case here. Or so we’ve been told, thank God.

The Cursed Tree and the High Priest: The Christ Imagery of The Revenant

The Cursed Tree and the High Priest: The Christ Imagery of The Revenant

A brilliant look at The Revenant, from our friend Caleb Stallings.

Being a native of Georgia, I’ve always been oddly proud of our pine trees. Up until the recent film industry boom in Atlanta, I felt like the Peach State had few cultural icons to offer, the pine tree being a (less than) obvious exception. Whether Ray Charles was glimpsing that romantic moonlight between them, or Johnny Cash was reveling in their incomparable heights, the Georgia pine has long stood as a symbol of strength, power, and even transcendence. In Alejandro Iñárritu’s most recent film, The Revenant, the pine in particular,…

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Hockey Rocky: Imputation and All-Star John Scott

Hockey Rocky: Imputation and All-Star John Scott

A doozie of a story from the wild world of sports last Sunday as John Scott took the ice in NHL hockey’s 2016 All-Star game. To bring you up to speed, the trixy hobbits of the internet got involved with the sport’s All-Star voting this year, where top voted hockey players would be sent to the annual best-of-the-best event. Like the NFL’s pro-bowl, it’s more of an honor to be invited than to play, or more of a PR exhibition than a competition. Taking advantage of the online voting, a legion of hockey fans and internet trolls found the remarkably…

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PZ’s Podcast: Saved!

PZ’s Podcast: Saved!

EPISODE 210

When you were in a tight spot, how did help get through to you, assuming help did get through to you?

Did God speak from out of the whirlwind — of crisis, panic, and despair? Or did aid come from inside yourself — a ‘how-to’ or random thought that proved serviceable in the midst?

If you’re a regular listener to PZ’s Podcast, you may well answer, the former. That’s certainly what happened to PZ!

Nevertheless, your source of inspiration, and help, and salvation in the imminent immanent sense of the word: what was it?

You won’t be surprised that I’ve been thinking, in…

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Forgive Yourself, or Die Trying

Forgive Yourself, or Die Trying

Unless it has been replaced, the men’s room mirror at Manning’s Cafe in Minneapolis is a little worse for wear. Not broken, but scratched and pitted, and midway across the bottom the words are indelibly scrawled, “Forgive Yourself.” No telling who wrote it or how long ago, even less what they meant. Was it a pep talk from a weary (and likely inebriated) soul to his own downtrodden self? An encouragement to others? I know a former seminarian (no few have closed down Mannings at 2 am) who was observed, on occasion, to absolve half the room–did someone take offense? Whatever the intent, the message…

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February Playlist: Bowie’s Last Score

Haven’t done one of these dedicated lists in a while, but since he’s all I’ve been listening to this past month, it felt appropriate. The rules are: 1. Every song had to have been recorded some time in Bowie’s final two decades-ish (1995-2015) and 2. It couldn’t have been released as a single, i.e., deep cuts only. Pretty happy with it! Presented in chronological order:

Another Week Ends: Identity Politics, Applied Rationality, Hipster Nostalgia, Self-Recrimination, and Belle & Sebastian Emails

Another Week Ends: Identity Politics, Applied Rationality, Hipster Nostalgia, Self-Recrimination, and Belle & Sebastian Emails

Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast!

1. Another incredible op-ed from Molly Worthen this past week about obstructions placed on campus ministries by more and more secular universities. I actually had the opportunity to interview Molly Worthen yesterday for the upcoming Church Issue, and we talked a little bit about this article. In it, she claims that, concomitant with the ideology of nondiscrimination in today’s academia–the ideology that frames much of today’s academic discourse–is the assertion that truth claims are identity-exclusive, and therefore detrimental to student life.

She writes about the InterVarsity chapter at Vanderbilt University, which was recently forced to relocate and was…

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Good News From Doctor Who: On Being a Baby Christian

Good News From Doctor Who: On Being a Baby Christian

Growing up in the Deep South, I heard my fair share of churchy catchphrases. One of them is making a comeback (or it’s been here for years?), and I’m calling horse manure. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, stop calling people “Baby Christians.”

The first time I heard this phrase I was in high school. One of my closest and most faithful girlfriends was telling me all about this new guy she was dating. He was undeniably handsome, somewhat debonair, and, as she put it, a “Baby Christian.” I asked her immediately what this insider religious…

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2016 NYC Conference: Breakouts and Theme

Will Eisner - New York - Expo CBBD

At long last, some details about our upcoming 9th Annual New York conference (4/14-16). Thank you for your patience! We’re excited to announce that the theme this year will be “Relief! The Boldness of Grace in a World of Expectation”, and we can confirm that the slate of breakout sessions will include:

  1. I’m New Here! What’s Going On? – Melina Smith and Bryan Jarrell
  2. Performancism 101: Achievement Culture and the Golden Calf of College – CJ Green
  3. Good Enough? Where Positive Psychology and the Gospel Meet – Sasha Heinz and Jacob Smith
  4. Grace Stinks: When the Healer Carries a Sword – Stephanie Phillips
  5. An Episco-Disco Primer: Exploring the Oddball World of Leftfield Christian Music (1975-1985) – John Zahl
  6. Good News at World’s End: Grace in Eschatology – Will McDavid
  7. Blessed Are Those Who Mourn: The Relief of Grief – Lauren Larkin
  8. Cheap Grace? A Fresh Look at Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Javier Garcia
  9. A Just Relief: How the Gospel Inspires Justice and Mercy – Raleigh Sadler
  10. The Most Foolish Job in the World: Planting a Grace-Centered Church – Jonathan Adams and Curt Benham
  11. Impossible is Nothing… and Everything – Nick Lannon
  12. Grace-based Healing Prayer – Laurel Marr and Ben DeHart
  13. The Future’s Past: Time Travel and Justification in Fiction, the Bible and You – Adam Morton

1cf32dc0b32ac7254af47125729237cbOther Special Events include: A Mockingbird at the Movies panel, the first-ever Friday night Episco-Disco (courtesy of DJ JAZ), and a live taping of The Mockingcast in which Scott Jones sits down with Paul Zahl to talk about the 10th anniversary of Grace in Practice, among other things.

We’re still waiting to hear from a couple of potential speakers (sorry!), but we can tell you that the line-up for the “main stage” already includes theologian Ted Peters, sociologist Eric Klinenberg, musician Derek Webb, comedienne-priest Sarah Condon, wannabe gentleman farmer Ethan Richardson, and blizzard enthusiast David Zahl. Our chaplains this year will be The Rev. Dave Johnson and The Rev. Nancy Hanna. Watch this space, and conference.mbird.com, for more details as they emerge.

Earlybird discounts expire this coming Monday, Feb 1st, at which point all other price options will be available. Again, thanks for your patience. We are really, really excited about this event. I mean, who doesn’t need a little relief?!