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“When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure”, and Sometimes I’m Just Pleasant

“When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure”, and Sometimes I’m Just Pleasant

I was talking about the film “Secretariat” with a friend recently, and I remember him saying “I’m not really into horse movies”. That made me laugh. It’s like saying “I’m not into books about turtles”. It just seems to be an odd thing to be averse to. Anyway, I guess...

Inside The Forgiveness Issue (Opener and Table of Contents)

Inside The Forgiveness Issue (Opener and Table of Contents)

As Father’s Day rolls around, so does our Forgiveness Issue (purely coincidental). Here’s a teaser to the Fifth Issue of The Mockingbird–the Opener as well as the Table of Contents. Subscriptions and orders can be placed here.

A Cop Out in the Woods

It turns out writing about forgiveness is hard. Maybe...

When John Locke Turned Gospel Into Law

When John Locke Turned Gospel Into Law

It’s no secret that here at Mockingbird we like to talk about how the themes of Law and Grace play out in everyday life, so much, in fact, that there’s now a Mockingbird publication which bears its namesake.

When we say “law”, we tend to mean that the posture of the...

Distinguishing Between Law and Gospel: A Brief Guide

Distinguishing Between Law and Gospel: A Brief Guide

This handy guide comes from the first appendix to our newest book, Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints), coauthored by Will McDavid, Ethan Richardson, and David Zahl. Hope you enjoy:

The distinction between law and gospel is the highest art in Christendom –Martin Luther

A strong belief of Luther, and those who...

A Response to Charleston: Finding the Gospel at Prayer Vigils

A Response to Charleston: Finding the Gospel at Prayer Vigils

Yesterday, I went to one of the many prayer vigils that happened at African Methodist Episcopal churches all over the country to show support and love for the people tragically killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. I’ve been to these kinds of events before. But this one was different...

Focus Focus Focus! The Law of Attention in an Age of Distraction

Focus Focus Focus! The Law of Attention in an Age of Distraction

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: You know you’re watching something good when it forces you to shelve your laptop. This was certainly the case this past Sunday evening, during the finale of a certain HBO fantasy drama. There are plenty of reasons why Game of Thrones gets...

The Real Value of Justification By Faith (For Fragile and Broken Souls)

The Real Value of Justification By Faith (For Fragile and Broken Souls)

I’m a couple of chapters in to a remarkable new book, Sin Boldly!: Justifying Faith for Fragile and Broken Souls by Ted Peters. It’s an approachable yet meaty treatise on the everyday value of Justification By Faith, what the author calls, “the key that unlocks the prison door, the hand...

Thou Shalt Prepare for Baby: Law and Grace in Pregnancy for Husband and Wife

Thou Shalt Prepare for Baby: Law and Grace in Pregnancy for Husband and Wife

Tasha Genck Morton is married to Adam Morton and serves as Associate Pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster, PA. They are due in July.

Adam: I have a confession to make: I have read exactly zero pregnancy or baby books. Occasionally I will pick one up from its resting...

Gospel According to Pixar: Inside Out

Gospel According to Pixar: Inside Out

The reviews for Pixar’s latest, Inside Out, are not just hype. I went to see the movie on Tuesday night, and I’m still processing different parts of it, which to me is always the sign of a goodie. It’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Pixar: appealing to all...

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PZ’s Podcast: Scuppernong and Why Weepest Thou?

PZ’s Podcast: Scuppernong and Why Weepest Thou?

Episode 188: Scuppernong

Tupper Saussy (1936-2007) was a composer and musician that helmed a group in the late 1960s who were called The Neon Philharmonic. Even if you have never heard of The Neon Philharmonic, you’ll recognize their famous hit entitled “Morning Girl”.

Tupper Saussy — it’s a Huguenot name — was also a wanted fugitive for ten years, a devout and thoughtful Christian, a painter, a playwright, and a famous libertarian.

What interests me, though, in addition to his music as The Neon Philharmonic, is his personal fate. Saussy came into the sights — by his “own deliberate fault” (BCP) — of…

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Another Week Ends: More Thoughts on Charleston, Papal Sustainability, NPR Snobbery, Holy Metal, and Delinquent Ethicists

Another Week Ends: More Thoughts on Charleston, Papal Sustainability, NPR Snobbery, Holy Metal, and Delinquent Ethicists

1. As a follow-up to the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last week, the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan points out the extraordinary character of the community’s response:

[In the courtroom, victims’ family members] spoke of mercy. They offered forgiveness. They invited the suspect, who was linked in by video from jail, to please look for God.

There was no rage, no accusation—just broken hearts undefended and presented for the world to see. They sobbed as they spoke.

“I just wanted everybody to know, to you, I forgive you,” said the daughter of Ethel Lance, killed in the shooting. “You took something very precious…

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Rubbing the Rabbit’s Foot: a Chronicle of Failure (with Free Quotes from Interesting People)

Rubbing the Rabbit’s Foot: a Chronicle of Failure (with Free Quotes from Interesting People)

I did everything I could to avoid posting something this week.

I slowly and meticulously inventoried all our books, even alphabetized them. I spent an afternoon hiding in the attic (read: furnace in the sky), then prolongedly squawked about how hot it was. I made a lot of pour-over coffees. I initiated long conversations about any- and everything with people who had better things to do, including the homeless people in the park across the street.

And then the worst possible thing happened, which is that my to-do list of inverted priorities dwindled down to one major item left glaring up at me from…

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Gospel According to Pixar: Inside Out

Gospel According to Pixar: Inside Out

The reviews for Pixar’s latest, Inside Out, are not just hype. I went to see the movie on Tuesday night, and I’m still processing different parts of it, which to me is always the sign of a goodie. It’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Pixar: appealing to all ages – wholesome, charming fun for kids and adults but still emotionally rich and thought-provoking.

Here are two things that I thought the movie did really well and stick out as reasons to go see it: the wonderful, gospel-infused treatment of memory and the strong examples of self-sacrificial love.

Before I get…

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When John Locke Turned Gospel Into Law

When John Locke Turned Gospel Into Law

It’s no secret that here at Mockingbird we like to talk about how the themes of Law and Grace play out in everyday life, so much, in fact, that there’s now a Mockingbird publication which bears its namesake.

When we say “law”, we tend to mean that the posture of the self in some way fails to be truly at rest. As the Glossary puts it,

In practice… the requirement of perfect submission to the commandments of God is exactly the same as the requirement of perfect submission to the innumerable drives for perfection that drive everyday people’s crippled and crippling lives…

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Authority to Forgive and Two Kinds of Christianity – Nadia Bolz-Weber

Another video from our 2015 NYC Conference, featuring a fantastic talk from Nadia Bolz-Weber:

Nadia Bolz-Weber from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

The Mockingbird Issue 5 Out Now!

The Forgiveness Issue is here! Order your (boyfriend’s, stepdad’s, daughter’s) copy today! To check out the Opener and Table of Contents, click here.

MBIRD_V5_Cover_LowRes

Thou Shalt Prepare for Baby: Law and Grace in Pregnancy for Husband and Wife

Thou Shalt Prepare for Baby: Law and Grace in Pregnancy for Husband and Wife

Tasha Genck Morton is married to Adam Morton and serves as Associate Pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster, PA. They are due in July.

Adam: I have a confession to make: I have read exactly zero pregnancy or baby books. Occasionally I will pick one up from its resting place somewhere near the living room couch, flip through, and set it down again. Tasha, who is due to give birth to our first some time next month, has done more than her share of reading. I am not utterly ignorant–I did attend some classes with her, and can correctly pick…

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Introducing Tupper Saussy

Introducing Tupper Saussy

It’s painful to have to label myself “artist” or “composer” or “writer” or “musical director.” Yet I was gifted with abilities to do what these persons do. Can’t I do the things without taking the names? One day the answer came in a letter from a Texas student of my works: “I’m not attracted to your uniqueness. I am attracted to the Substance of your uniqueness which is ‘Christ in you.’ It’s His workmanship that attracts me.” -Tupper Saussy

Well, I lived his music, back in the late ’60s, but I didn’t understand the music.

I’m talking about Tupper Saussy, who was…

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Reviewing True Detective: “The Western Book of the Dead”

Reviewing True Detective: “The Western Book of the Dead”

I welcome judgment.

[Spoilers follow.] The opener of season 2 for HBO’s newest flagship seemed to do everything it could to distance itself from the expectations and tone of its first season. Where once we had the show’s reflective, philosophical voice from the haunted, brilliant, and wise Rustin Cohle, we get comic musings from a fraudish guru: “When we see the universe from God’s eyes” (to paraphrase), “it is meaningless… but God would not create a meaningless universe. Hold these ideas as true and equal.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Farrell’s sad musings – “Astronauts don’t even go to the…

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“When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure”, and Sometimes I’m Just Pleasant

“When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure”, and Sometimes I’m Just Pleasant

I was talking about the film “Secretariat” with a friend recently, and I remember him saying “I’m not really into horse movies”. That made me laugh. It’s like saying “I’m not into books about turtles”. It just seems to be an odd thing to be averse to. Anyway, I guess if I was pressed on the topic, I’d say I kind of like horse movies, Sea Biscuit, Secretariat, War Horse, and Black Beauty all come to mind. The film Secretariat came up in our conversation because we were talking about favorite movie scenes. I had mentioned that one of my…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Chapter Seven Verses Sixteen through Nineteen

This morning’s devotion comes from the main character in this video

You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:16-19, NASB)

3039842-slide-s-5-hipstory-leadersI grew up in the South, where this was an often-quoted verse. And people said things like, “We’re not judging, we’re just being fruit inspectors.” I’m not kidding. I’ve actually heard people say that, and they believed it. Conversely, I recently came across this quote from good ol’ Honest Abe: “A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear falls at length into his lap.”

Quaint as it may be, I feel like this relates much more to what Jesus is really talking about. If the standard is perfection, and we all fail equally, then how can anyone be a “fruit inspector”?

I once listened to a preacher talk about how profoundly passive a metaphor the fruit tree was. Think about it: a tree has no input on where it’s planted, where it grows, or even what kind of fruit it produces. It’s completely at the mercy of external forces as to whether it even produces fruit to begin with. A tree has no say in the matter. It simply must be what it is.

This is oddly comforting. God is working out His plan in, through, and all around us. It’s often difficult, but I know I can trust that. Passivity is the key to activity. Seems counterintuitive, but if we take Abe for his word, it actually works.