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Atticus Finch Did Not Die for Your Sins

Atticus Finch Did Not Die for Your Sins

From our friend Jeff Dean, another Alabamian who knows a thing or two about procrastination. Zing!  

[Some spoilers below]

You probably shouldn’t read Harper Lee’s “new” novel, Go Set a Watchman.

If the book interests you as a “sequel” to her iconic To Kill a Mockingbird, you’re apt to be profoundly...

Thoughts on the S—- Word and Left-Handed Power

Thoughts on the S—- Word and Left-Handed Power

You guessed it – secularization! There was that recent Pew survey release showing that 78% of Americans identified as Christians in 2007, but only 70% in 2014. DZ’s already covered that topic pretty well, and the stats are disheartening, but it’s worth thinking about some possible silver linings.

First, from a...

Gru?s nemesis, Vector (JASON SEGEL), shows off the shrink ray in Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment?s inaugural 3-D CGI feature, ?Despicable Me?.  The film tells the story of one the world?s greatest villains who meets his match in three little girls.

PZ’s Eight Easy Ways To Shrink Your Church

The strangest thing happened. The other day, just after penning his “Ten Ways to Grow Your Church”, PZ was looking through an old box of letters and found a sealed envelope he’d never seen before. The return address read only “Screwtape”. He was so surprised and bedazzled by its contents...

The Wild West of an Ashley Madison Internet

The Wild West of an Ashley Madison Internet

Up until a week ago, I would have told you that a website called Ashley Madison must be a name generator for preppy girls who like monograms. I know. Color me naïve. Suddenly, the website and its torrid details are everywhere.

People I have known for years are on the list....

The Art of Getting Used to Justification

The Art of Getting Used to Justification

Perusing our archives the other day, I was surprised to discover that we’ve never quoted from Gerhard Forde’s crystal clear, absolute must-read essay on sanctification from the somewhat lazily titled Five Views of Sanctification. Well, today is the day we rectify that oversight:

Sanctification, if it is to spoken of as...

God Save Us From The Nasty Effect

God Save Us From The Nasty Effect

Quite a close-to-home article appeared in The NY Times the other day, “This Story Stinks”, in which Dominique Brossard and Dietram Scheufele relay some findings from a report published last month in The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (!) about the so-called “nasty effect” that afflicts online culture. Specifically, the comments...

Stephen Colbert Loves the Thing He Most Wishes Had Not Happened

Stephen Colbert Loves the Thing He Most Wishes Had Not Happened

It turns out that Stephen Colbert has a sign on his computer that reads, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the existence of God.” No joke. I tell you this by way of context for what comes next. GQ ran a profile of him this month entitled “The Late,...

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Another Week Ends: Trigger Warnings, Performance Bias, More Tinder, More True Detective, Plus Donald Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gandhi and Tolstoy

Another Week Ends: Trigger Warnings, Performance Bias, More Tinder, More True Detective, Plus Donald Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gandhi and Tolstoy

1. The Atlantic’s cover story this month comes from social science favorite Jonathan Haidt. His topic is the apprehension-du-jour, the ever-growing problem of P.C., especially in the realm of college classrooms and student learning. Haidt, a professor himself at NYU, sees the trend of “trigger warnings” and “vindictive protectiveness,” different from the political correctness interest of the 80s and 90s, mainly because this wave stems from emotional reasoning more than it does from objective reasoning. And he sees this as a danger to the learning of students, precisely because it prioritizes evasion of conflict rather than the confrontation of it.

Haidt…

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Shining Some Light on True Detective, Season Two

Shining Some Light on True Detective, Season Two

This season of True Detective has – to say the least – not lived up to the high standards set by the gripping first season. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are hard acts to follow, so perhaps the expectations were too high. But the real Achilles heel of this season has been its plot, which was so convoluted that I had to consult a lengthy summary before watching the finale. As we all learned from the most recent season of a certain beloved comedy, TV shouldn’t be that hard to follow and I still can’t remember all of the main…

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Frank Lake on Praying Badly

Frank Lake on Praying Badly

From Frank Lake’s Clinical Theology, one of the original voices in clinical pastoral counseling, this passage talks about the purpose (and pitfalls) of prayer for the Christian wound up in his/her own neuroses.

One of the reasons why pastoral dialogue with men and women suffering from the common symptoms of psychoneurosis is necessary, is in order that prayer, which is their life-giving communication with God, may be re-established. When Christian people fall into despair, into bitter isolation, into depression, into separation-anxiety, or into dread of non-being, they have, to this extent, lost any clear sense of God as loving or personal, fatherly…

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From the NYC Conference: Absolution Is Just

This from our Calvary-St. George’s host, the one and only Rev. Jacob Smith

Absolution is Just – Jacob Smith from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Never Lost Again: Tinder, Porn and the Dying Art of Falling in Love

Never Lost Again: Tinder, Porn and the Dying Art of Falling in Love

In our upcoming sixth installment of The Mockingbird, the Technology Issue, we had the opportunity to interview the sensei on the subject, Nicholas Carr. Carr was a Pulitzer finalist for his 2010 book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, and his recent book, The Glass Cage, deals with the growing presence of automation in our lives. Part of the book deals with Google Maps, and the difference between what he calls “wayfaring” versus “transport.”

Wayfaring is messier and less efficient than transport, which is why it has become a target for automation. “If you have a mobile phone…

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Grace in A Most Violent Year

Grace in A Most Violent Year

2015’s cinematic rendition of the Rich Young Ruler comes to us from J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, which opens with the lead man, Abel, running—fast. Abel later explains that only cowards run, because they are too afraid to face the truth; Abel himself, however, firmly believes that he’s running towards something, not away from it. Later, his wife asks him a pointed question: “Are you delusional?” These kind of questions, of subtle inner conflicts, are central to Chandor’s latest work.

Despite the title and the promos, which cite that 1981 was one of New York’s most violent years, this film…

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From the Forgiveness Issue: 11 Special Portraits of Forgiveness in Film

From the Forgiveness Issue: 11 Special Portraits of Forgiveness in Film

This list, from the Rev. JAZ, is our first free peek at our summer issue. If you’d like to order a copy, check them out here. 

Les Miserables In any version, this is the gold standard. You know the scene: Jean Valjean steals the Bishop’s silver in the middle of the night. When the police bring him back to the Bishop’s house to answer for his stash, the Bishop adds two silver candlesticks to the bag full of stolen property, and then dismisses the police. “Today I bought your soul.”

The September Issue (2009) A fine documentary about the ins and outs…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem, Pt. 3: How Much Is Too Much?

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem, Pt. 3: How Much Is Too Much?

This is the third installment of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem. To start from the beginning, go here. To read the second installment go here. 

When the people feared that Moses had abandoned them to die in the desert, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make for us gods!” and from their jewelry Aaron forged a golden calf, and they worshipped it.

Wayne Rauh and his wife D’Ann own eighty Dodge Vipers, including one that is painted gold, “the only gold Viper in the world.”

It’s likely the Rauhs have spent well over $7 million for their Vipers and…

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Devotions from the 2015 NYC Conference

These gems come from our 2015 conference chaplain Jim Munroe.

Devotions – Jim Munroe from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

PZ’s Podcast: Shag (The Movie), Cimarron, The Sacraments Rightly Understood, Mirage Fighter, and What Actually Happens

PZ’s Podcast: Shag (The Movie), Cimarron, The Sacraments Rightly Understood, Mirage Fighter, and What Actually Happens

Episode 195: Shag (The Movie)

That’s a great little movie, from 1989. But I’m afraid it’s going to get banned one of these days, by the Ministry of Truth. Right from the “get go”, there’s an image in it that’s distressing today.

Which gives me a chance to talk Christianly about how to deal with
distressing or upsetting material? Do you rid yourself of it by burning it? By hauling it down and cutting it up, and “take out the paper and the trash” (The Coasters, 1958)? Ecrasez l’infame!?

I don’t think that works. (Wish it did.) The averse material, if it touches something…

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Another Week Ends: Unfunny Comedians, (More About) The End of the Tour, U2, Refugees, Migrants, and Local Symmetry

Another Week Ends: Unfunny Comedians, (More About) The End of the Tour, U2, Refugees, Migrants, and Local Symmetry

1) This week, the Atlantic posted an article entitled “That’s Not Funny! Today’s college students can’t seem to take a joke.” It seems that students who once had healthy desire not to step on controversial toes have seamlessly evolved into politcal-correctness police: The article’s author, Caitlin Flanagan, writes: “O, Utopia. Why must your sweet governance always turn so quickly from the Edenic to the Stalinist?” The article is ripe with provoking material on little-l laws and low anthropology.

Apparently it’s challenging for stand-up comedians to do live acts on college campuses, because it’s near-impossible to satisfy all the sensitivities the students…

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Two Love Stories

Two Love Stories

For your weekend, here’s a reflection on what Alain de Botton considers to be the root of all status anxiety, from his 2004 book of that title. He begins by explaining that our never-ending search for love drives our hungry pursuit of status, and in turn that this love-search is only really half-acknowledged:

“Every adult life could be said to be defined by two great love stories. The first—the story of our quest for sexual love—is well known and well charted, its vagaries form the staple of music and literature, it is socially accepted and celebrated. The second—the story of our quest for love
from…

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