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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

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Another Week Ends: Jung’s God, Smart Drummers, Game of Peanuts, Justified Magic, Disappointed Youth, and Inside Out

Another Week Ends: Jung’s God, Smart Drummers, Game of Peanuts, Justified Magic, Disappointed Youth, and Inside Out

A mercifully truncated weekend column today, as we finish prepping for our week at Kanuga. (Probably goes without saying but next week will be light on content). Happy Father’s Day!

1. First off, an incredibly moving picture of collective grief in Charleston, via John Zahl, who was present at a citywide prayer service at Morris Brown AME Church. Our hope is truly built on nothing less:

2. The new issue of The Mockingbird is here! And copies shipped to subscribers yesterday afternoon. Order your copy, or subscription, here. By way of reminder, anyone who signs up for monthly support of Mbird not…

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Jurassic World and Facebook Elegies

Jurassic World and Facebook Elegies

Sitting in a breezy movie theater waiting for Jurassic World to start, my friend looked up from his Facebok timeline to ask me a question. We had been talking earlier about the devastating death of a friend and classmate, and in the last hour it had started to dominate our News Feed. “Dude, are we supposed to like these posts?” He asked. “It doesn’t seem quite right.”

In this day and age, it seems like nothing has truly happened until it’s documented online. As the saying goes, “Pics or it didn’t happen.” Jacob Silverman wrote an article with the phrase as…

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“You Do Not Have to Be Good” and Other Lines That Could Save a Life

“You Do Not Have to Be Good” and Other Lines That Could Save a Life

When the box spring squeals at four in the morning and jolts me into wakefulness—or when the sleeping pill wears off too early and I am dragged just so slowly by life’s tide back onto the shore of Day—I like to pretend God (or the universe, if it’s too early to say God) is trying to turn me into Mary Oliver. Someone patient and attentive—someone who can enjoy a thousand mornings.

Of course when the real me checks the time on her iPhone, the first words on her lips are profanities and not poetry; and she has enjoyed about three in…

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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 such huge ratings, but one is surely the way it demands our full attention with its radical–and some might say overly antagonistic–plot developments. Yeesh.

It’s hard to tell when multitasking became our default mode of consumption, but it was at least a year or two before AMC started promoting their “two-screen…

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From the Magazine: Heavy Loads in the Happy Workplace

From the Magazine: Heavy Loads in the Happy Workplace

Another look back at the Work and Play Issue. This one covering the history of happiness came from Ethan Richardson.  

“It wasn’t just about building a business. It was about building a lifestyle that was about delivering happiness to everyone, including ourselves.”

So says Tony Hsieh, internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and CEO of Zappos.com. Hsieh is the author of the bestseller Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose and has just spent the last three years on his most ambitious venture yet. It is called the Downtown Project, a redevelopment ‘Techtopia’ in the middle of downtown Las Vegas—a $350…

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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 that rips off the blindfold, the aloe that cools the burning gash, and the elixir that tastes of Eden.” To say that it’s shot through with our favorite themes would be a supreme understatement. Moreover, the text bristles with humor and personality, drawing on enormous wells of empathy and even…

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PZ’s Podcast: Dead End (My Friend) and Norwegian Wood

PZ’s Podcast: Dead End (My Friend) and Norwegian Wood

Episode 186: Dead End (My Friend)

Is there anything worse than romantic rejection when you’re at an impressionable age? Well, is there?

When a ‘No’ in romance is not talked about, or brought to the light, but it just sits there, you never get healed. Never, ever, ever.

Time does not heal all wounds. (The Four Tops expressed this perfectly in their 1972 single, “I’ll Never Change”.) Point is, if a romantic rejection is not somehow abreacted and brought into the light — and among Christian young people, it rarely is brought into the light — there are hundreds of thousands of romantic martyrdoms out there…

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On Fishing and Fatherhood

On Fishing and Fatherhood

With Father’s Day almost upon us, a reflection on the subject courtesy of Scott Brand:

Of all the things that I am ashamed of, one of the more ridiculous is this:

I don’t know how to fish.

On the scale of things that have caused shame in my life, being unable to “cast a line” (is that how you say it?) is slightly above being unable to swallow pills until I was 16 and considerably lower than wetting my pants in second grade. And yet I am far more willing to admit both of those factoids than I am my complete lack of…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

This comes from Mockingbird Magician-in-Chief, Jim McNeely.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Going to the Mountain

A couple of years ago I went with my friend Bart Shadbolt to Baker Lake, which a is an absolutely stunning glacier-fed lake near Bellingham Washington which is…

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Another Week Ends: Aspirational Fallout, Political Hating, Lonely Calvin, Dissertation Tweets, Yuccies and Christopher Lee

Another Week Ends: Aspirational Fallout, Political Hating, Lonely Calvin, Dissertation Tweets, Yuccies and Christopher Lee

1. A fierce editorial by George Monbiot appeared in The Guardian this past week about the fallout of Aspirational Parenting in the UK, “aspirational” being a loose euphemism for what we call “performancism”. The tagline makes no bones: “Surrender your freedom, avoid daylight, live to work, and you too could join a toxic, paranoid elite”. The statistics about mental health he cites are as alarming as they’re intended to be, though I dare say that most could be transposed to a yank context. (I’m familiar with “nursery consultants”, but this is the first I’m hearing of $450/hr playdate coaches). Monbiot’s…

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Parables and the Difficulty of Direct Communication

Parables and the Difficulty of Direct Communication

When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that

“they may indeed look, but not perceive,

and may indeed listen, but not understand;

so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.” ’

He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is…

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I Still Believe in Love & Mercy (and Brian Wilson)

I Still Believe in Love & Mercy (and Brian Wilson)

Saw Love & Mercy last night, and wow. As reviewers have been noting, it is not your average biopic, and certainly not much of a summer film, despite the source material. Which makes sense, I guess, since Brian Wilson is not your average bear. It has more in common with I’m Not There, than, say, Ray or Walk the Line, choosing as it does to focus on the two most dramatic periods of Brian’s life, his 1967 breakdown and his 1988 “comeback” (played by separate actors), rather than depict the full arc.

I’d read interviews where Brian himself decried the heaviness…

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