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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...

2017 NYC CONFERENCE RECORDINGS

2017 NYC CONFERENCE RECORDINGS

Thank you again to everyone who helped put on this year’s conference in NYC, especially our invaluable friends at Calvary St. George’s! What a truly special celebration it was.

We are rolling out the recordings a little differently this year, making them available first as fresh episodes of The Mockingcast. All...

How to Draw a Crowd on the Playground

How to Draw a Crowd on the Playground

On Fridays I mentor a fifth-grade boy at a local elementary school. The hour we spend together begins in a classroom where he eats his lunch and we work jigsaw puzzles, play board games, and build race cars out of Legos. But when lunch is over, this boy cannot wait to...

Be Prepared to Be Unprepared

Be Prepared to Be Unprepared

I was a Boy Scout for a while…until I realized that none of the cool kids were Boy Scouts. As soon as I figured out that it wasn’t “cool” to be in the Boy Scouts, I quit to try to jump start my social life. It turned out, of course,...

Alien Righteousness: Reflections on Prometheus and its "Sequels"

Alien Righteousness: Reflections on Prometheus and its “Sequels”

It’s time to talk about Prometheus. If you haven’t seen it, probably best to stop reading now [rhymes with ‘boiler inert’]. But before we do, a few reflections on the franchise out of whose chest it sprang.

For all of its flaws, the Alien quadrilogy has aged remarkably well. In fact,...

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...

Announcing The Very Persistent Pirate, Mockingbird's First Children's Book!

Announcing The Very Persistent Pirate, Mockingbird’s First Children’s Book!

We are very excited to announce Mockingbird’s first children’s book, The Very Persistent Pirate, a swashbuckling tale of good news for sinners and saints ages 3-8.

When most children are drifting to sleep, one kid and his monkey are drifting at sea. One day, they spy a treasure that is not theirs…

Over the course of 34 beautifully illustrated pages, The Very Persistent Pirate winds...

Dear Evan Hansen, I'm Missing Richard Simmons from S-Town, or: A Note from the Outcast

Dear Evan Hansen, I’m Missing Richard Simmons from S-Town, or: A Note from the Outcast

I saw the emotional avalanche that is Dear Evan Hansen two weeks ago, on a yearly childless pilgrimage my husband and I make to the city where we fell in love, and conveniently, where Mockingbird holds an annual conference. Maybe it’s the range and sincerity displayed by headliner Ben Platt, with...

Transhumanism: No More Death

Transhumanism: No More Death

“Unreal City, Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, I had not thought death had undone so many.”  – T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland.

In an excellent essay for n+1, Meghan O’Gieblyn connects transhumanism’s striving take on human perfectibility with Christian eschatology....

Latest entries

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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Healing Wings on Highway Winds: An Interview with Wesley Randolph Eader

Healing Wings on Highway Winds: An Interview with Wesley Randolph Eader

This review comes to us from Daniel Melvill Jones.

Several dozen children were gathered around an upright piano in our church’s basement. They were loudly singing a song that succinctly describes the life of Christ with melody and words so well fitted that they could pierce the listener’s heart. The children performed the song at our annual Christmas concert and since then, I’ve lost track of the number of parents who’ve told me how it’s impacted their family and have asked for more details.

The song came from a collection of old-time hymns written by Portland, Oregon’s Wesley Randolph Eader and featured on his…

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The God of Seven Buses

The God of Seven Buses

I recently started reading Gregory Boyle’s excellent Tattoos on the Heart, a memoir of his powerful ministry in Pico-Aliso, a low-income area in L.A. dominated by gangs. So far, it’s full of incredible stories about the action of grace upon those who had spent years cultivating facades of toughness and independence, almost as a matter of survival. Boyle, a Jesuit, and the grace-brimming adults (predominantly women) of his community find, through the love they show, an inside look at the hearts of the ‘homies’ they befriend. My favorite vignette from the first chapter is below:

At Camp Paige, a county detention facility near Glendora, I was getting…

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When the World Tastes Like Cold French Fries

When the World Tastes Like Cold French Fries

Durga Chew-Bose’s Too Much and Not the Mood is a small collection of essays printed in a charming paperback edition, and it’s perfect for carrying around this summer. A poet by inclination, Chew-Bose’s essays are lyrical and wonderfully meandering, especially the lead, “Heart Museum.” This passage is from a little further along in the book, in a piece called “Miserable.” She shows great sensitivity and power illustrating the world’s ability to disappoint.

As a child, a Slinky stalled on a flight of steps caused me acute stress. The way it would cede to its coils — sometimes pause and appear to levitate — and then fail, abandoning…

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How to Draw a Crowd on the Playground

How to Draw a Crowd on the Playground

On Fridays I mentor a fifth-grade boy at a local elementary school. The hour we spend together begins in a classroom where he eats his lunch and we work jigsaw puzzles, play board games, and build race cars out of Legos. But when lunch is over, this boy cannot wait to go outside.

You can learn a lot on an elementary school playground. Your hand-eye coordination improves as you learn to dodge the four-to-five basketballs that are always flying. I’ve discovered that the number one kind of football catch that every fifth-grade boy wants to make is the backwards, flying, three-finger catch immortalized…

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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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Cringe-Watching Catastrophe

Cringe-Watching Catastrophe

For the last few weeks at bedtime, my youngest son has requested that I read him a story out of a book called “Farmyard Tales.” These are innocuous little stories of Apple Tree Farm, and the family who lives there. They are sweet and lovely, and also criminally boring. They are perfect bedtime stories for a tired little kid, though, and I send him off to dreamland with pleasant little stories about goats and pigs and their little farmyard antics galloping through his head.

By contrast, my husband and I then go downstairs to our living room to fold piles of…

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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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Dear Evan Hansen, I'm Missing Richard Simmons from S-Town, or: A Note from the Outcast

Dear Evan Hansen, I’m Missing Richard Simmons from S-Town, or: A Note from the Outcast

I saw the emotional avalanche that is Dear Evan Hansen two weeks ago, on a yearly childless pilgrimage my husband and I make to the city where we fell in love, and conveniently, where Mockingbird holds an annual conference. Maybe it’s the range and sincerity displayed by headliner Ben Platt, with whose image I am considering adorning my bedroom walls (I think my husband will be fine with it; considering our age difference, it would be more of a proud Teen Mom situation). Maybe it’s the poignant and earworm-ridden soundtrack. Maybe it’s the tendency of the cast to depart from the…

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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.

Another Week Ends: Specious Ideology, Moral Grandstanding, J Crew, Alain on Augustine, Passive Aggression, Yelp Reviews & Catastrophe

Another Week Ends: Specious Ideology, Moral Grandstanding, J Crew, Alain on Augustine, Passive Aggression, Yelp Reviews & Catastrophe

Alrighty, one last lap before the plunge (and this hits):

1. Another week, another report (or three) of ideological insularity in the halls of higher learning. This week the flashpoints were a peer-reviewed philosophy paper about transracialism and a sensitivity training seminar at a divinity school. Next week there will no doubt be fresh ones. The specifics vary and, even if I knew all the parties involved, I wouldn’t deign to comment on them here. I’ll spare you the links in fact; they can be easily found. What’s clear is that it’s only getting uglier out there, both in the academy…

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Free as a Mother: Telling the Devil to Sit on a Tack

Free as a Mother: Telling the Devil to Sit on a Tack

Last week, as my kindergartner and I approached the pool for his first swimming lesson of the season, I noticed all of the children sitting there in goggles. I panicked. Goggles! Of course! Forget that I learned how to swim without goggles. Forget that we go through 14 pairs of goggles a summer because we lose them like we are getting paid to. Forget that children the world over have swum without protective eye covering for millennia. My baby needed goggles and I forgot them.

One more check in the Sarah is a Crappy Mom column.

I always…

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