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Announcing Churchy: The Real Life Adventures of a Wife, Mom, & Priest by Sarah Condon!

Announcing Churchy: The Real Life Adventures of a Wife, Mom, & Priest by Sarah Condon!

Well, it’s that time of year again! The ubiquity of Mariah Carey heralds the thrill of hope and the pressure of gift-giving–and the release of new Mockingbird publications. We could not possibly be more excited to present you with the first of the two:

“One woman’s hilarious and deeply touching dispatch from the trenches...
Let’s Have an Uncomfortable Talk About Infertility and (I Guess) Grace

Let’s Have an Uncomfortable Talk About Infertility and (I Guess) Grace

This moving reflection comes to us from Ben Maddison.

Sitting alone in the doctor’s office at a quarter past two on a Wednesday, I held out hope that I was still in control of my life. After a year and a half of trying—of home tests and office tests, and pills...

Announcing More Theology & Less Heavy Cream by Robert Farrar Capon!

Announcing More Theology & Less Heavy Cream by Robert Farrar Capon!

This is such an honor. A dream come true even–if we’d been bold enough to dream that big. Today we can finally announce the release of More Theology & Less Heavy Cream: The Domestic Life of Pietro and Madeleine, a brand new title from the late Robert Farrar Capon. Father...

Bumper Stickers and Background Screens: Reflections on Losing a Child

Bumper Stickers and Background Screens: Reflections on Losing a Child

Our bumper stickers and computer backgrounds reveal so much about us. Through the college team logo, the institution we attended, a political cause, or images of loved ones, we tell the world so much about what we love, desire, and stand for.

I have often considered what the picture displayed on...

The Mockingbird, No 8: The Mental Health Issue!

The Mockingbird, No 8: The Mental Health Issue!

At long last, the eighth (!) issue of The Mockingbird is now available. Click here to get the one issue…or here if you’d just like to go ahead and subscribe. (If you’re already subscribed, help us out and spread the word on social media!)

To whet your appetite, here’s Ethan’s Opener...

Latest entries

Mockingbird Asks Polly: Our Interview with Heather Havrilesky

Mockingbird Asks Polly: Our Interview with Heather Havrilesky

Another sneak peek into the Mental Health Issue, folks. Order up! They’re going going going…

We first came across the name “Heather Havrilesky” back in 2011, when The New York Times Magazine published a column under her name comparing two television shows set in high school, Friday Night Lights and Glee. She noted how the former found beauty in the fragility and uncertainty of life, and virtue in selflessness, while the latter seemed to revolve around the bold-faced pursuit of personal glory and vindication. Here was someone putting fresh words to some of our favorite themes, with a wit and compassion…

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A Quick Calvin and Hobbes

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The Gospel Monday Through Friday – Alex Large

The second video from OKC is here! And it’s a wonderful one, courtesy of Mbird stalwart Rev. Alex Large. Enjoy:

The Gospel Monday through Friday: Glimpses of Grace in Relationships – Alex Large from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

The Great Dissolving (According to Karl Holl)

The Great Dissolving (According to Karl Holl)

A few passages from Karl Holl’s classic “The Distinctive Elements in Christianity” (1937) that will never lose their urgency:

Jesus preaches a God who wants to have dealings with sinful men, a God to whom he who has sunk deep stands, in certain circumstances, especially near. And Jesus does not do this from undue consideration for weakness. His preaching begins with the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, which implies at the same an imminent ruthless judgment…

Jesus regards the will to forgiveness as rooted in God’s very innermost being.

He dealt a blow at everything that earnest ethical thinking about the relation…

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When God Speaks To You (Personally) Through a Movie

When God Speaks To You (Personally) Through a Movie

Here’s one from someone named Paul Zahl:

I think we’re all agreed that movies and television have the power to help us abreact (i.e., bring to the surface) grief, feel (vicariously) painful emotions, and illustrate in arresting ways the Grace of God. It has almost been a “plank” in the platform of the Mockingbird project, that the visual arts, together with music, are marvelous ways in which profound convictions and universal experiences can be conveyed and observed.

I’d like to take this just a little further — “Just a Little Bit” (Beau Brummels). I’d like to ask you the question: Through what…

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A Gift Discarded in Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”

A Gift Discarded in Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”

Somehow, all these years later, that “dark speck” has stuck with me.

I first spotted it over 30 years ago, when I discovered John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” (available online here) in a short story class in college. I knew then that there was much more much going on in that beautiful story than I would  ever be able to divine. But I did know that I would not easily move past that “dark speck.”

Elisa Allen lives in the beautiful but cloistered Salinas Valley. As the story opens, she wears a man’s black hat pulled down low and her…

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A Grace Too Powerful to Name

A Grace Too Powerful to Name

Mike Birbiglia has touted his ability to make any awkward situation more awkward, but I think I win. Not long ago, I reply-all’d to a church discussion an a-propos-of-nothing question about how to take hold of grace. I immediately regretted it, because it was an unanswerable question. I know that divine forgiveness is, in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s words, “a grace too powerful to name.” It can’t be summed up in an email.

Sometimes, though, it can be expressed in a song. The latter quote comes from “It’s Quiet Uptown,” a pivotal song in the musical Hamilton wherein the titular character mourns the death of his…

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Religious Experts vs. the Cross: On Reading the Book of Job

Religious Experts vs. the Cross: On Reading the Book of Job

In the first chapter of Fleming Rutledge’s impressive book, The Crucifixion, she explains that modern Christianity shares the same widespread rival as early Christianity: gnosticism. She doesn’t mince words bringing the dusty historical term back down to the ground: “All the various forms of gnosticism are grounded in the belief that privileged spiritual knowledge is the way of salvation.” With one swoop of the vested arm, Rutledge knocks down the pawns of self-help, educated elitism, not to mention a massive percentage of the modern-day Christian church—in short, “religion”. To cherry-pick some of her key remarks on this subject:

Defining this philosophy is no…

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Let’s Have an Uncomfortable Talk About Infertility and (I Guess) Grace

Let’s Have an Uncomfortable Talk About Infertility and (I Guess) Grace

This moving reflection comes to us from Ben Maddison.

Sitting alone in the doctor’s office at a quarter past two on a Wednesday, I held out hope that I was still in control of my life. After a year and a half of trying—of home tests and office tests, and pills and vitamins and online tips, and all those pesky “lifestyle changes”—I waited for the doctor to come in and give me the news I wanted. I sort of knew I was grasping at straws. That didn’t stop me from hoping for the best.

It’s weird to anxiously wait for test results…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Colossians Chapter Three Verse Three

This brief but powerful reflection comes to us from JAZ himself. 

For you have died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3, NIV)

goblin-king-sarahImagine that you suddenly find yourself, without any preparation, standing on a stage and being watched by an enormous audience. How would wearing a mask over your face affect your level of comfort? If you’re like me, the answer is: immensely. It’s like being able to tell someone something that you’ve always wished someone would say to them, but without them knowing that it was you who said it. Wearing a mask enables you to feel either detached from or, at least, less associated with anything of yourself that you might regret exposing.

When we are given security that is not contingent upon our own intrinsic abilities, fruit is born, as if by reflex. It is life lived in the absence of condemnation.

As far as today is concerned, there is no rehearsal, but the performance must go on. In a very real sense, God has already covered your life with His Holy Spirit. “Your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

Another Week Ends: Jailed Dads, Imperfect Moms, Failed Perfectionists, Leonard Cohen, Kenny Lonergan, and Atlanta

Another Week Ends: Jailed Dads, Imperfect Moms, Failed Perfectionists, Leonard Cohen, Kenny Lonergan, and Atlanta

1. There’s been a lot of talk of reconciliation these last few days, and for good reason. It’s a topic that can get dangerously abstract, dangerously quickly. Fortunately, we couldn’t have asked for a more powerful, gut-level picture of what reconciliation looks like than the clip below. Guilt, shame, forgiveness, mercy, second chances, estranged fathers (little-f and capital-F), prayer, gratitude–this one has it all. Just be sure to have some tissues handy. I haven’t cried so hard since my son was born. Praise God (for a Day!), ht GWL:

While we’re on the subject of kids being reunited with parents, if you have…

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What You Should Say to Your Children: Shield the Joyous

What You Should Say to Your Children: Shield the Joyous

Nearly every news source in our lives right now is highlighting the question, “What do we tell our children?”

The morning shows have brought in psychologists. Photos have been posted of disappointed little girls crying. People are trying to simplify concepts like systemic racism and economic insecurity so that their second graders can “understand.” Good luck with that.

My advice is to tell them as little as possible.

It is easy to overexplain life to children. My favorite example is when a 3-year-old asks where babies come from, and the well-meaning parents launch into awkward detail about human genitalia. When they’ve finished their…

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