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A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

Few things are certain in this world, but there is this: however critics feel about a movie, I will almost certainly disagree. There have been rare exceptions; the triteness of He’s Just Not That Into You, for example, pissed a lot of us off. Usually, however, I can be counted on as...

Alexa, Now!

Alexa, Now!

Whenever a new technology comes on the scene, there’s always a bridge that needs to be built. That bridge is a cognitive bridge and it takes some powerful envisioning (and marketing!) to communicate that vision to the public. It is a bridge between what before was only manageable by human...

Announcing! The Food and Drink Issue!

Announcing! The Food and Drink Issue!

Ladies and gentlemen, diners and tipplers, gather ’round! The ninth issue of The Mockingbird is officially available for order! Note, too, we have a deal for bulk orders. If you/your church/your favorite hole-in-the-wall needs a bundle of copies, email us: info@mbird.com. And, as always, we place before you the menu and...

Jesus Came to Save (Even) Leslie Charping

Jesus Came to Save (Even) Leslie Charping

Here’s something of a revised obituary, brought to us by Ben Maddison.

There is a train that goes past my house at 12:30 AM every night, which gives me a lot of opportunities to sleepily scroll through late-night Facebook: a weird and generally silent beast, driven by algorithms and insomnia. Tucked away...

Publish and Perish: Law in Academia

Publish and Perish: Law in Academia

A tonic for the anxious academic, written by our friend Matthew Milliner. 

Every community has its own law. But academia’s penchant for the oppressive ought, its tilt toward domineering expectations of accomplishment is, one could say, special. The undergraduate — once justified by acceptance into the right college — is freighted with the inadequacy...

In Praise of Chance

In Praise of Chance

An ode to the Rapper of good news, by Cody Gainous.

Someone alert the end-time prophets: Jesus is coming back a day early. And it’s all thanks to one of the many stars of the 2017 Grammys, and a somewhat unlikely hero — he’s only 23 years old, and he has...

The Joys of Agnostic Eating

The Joys of Agnostic Eating

Ethan has joked elsewhere about our recent Food & Drink Issue: we had selected a topic that was intentionally “lighter fare” to chase Mental Health and then watched as the stuff that came in delved into the heaviest possible corners of gastronomic experience (pun sort of intended). Addiction, mortality, moralism,...

Insanity, Marriage, and the Virgin Mary

Insanity, Marriage, and the Virgin Mary

I couldn’t let this day pass without posting my favorite passage from Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love, in which our favorite Swiss pop-philosopher/religious atheist hints at the appeal of ‘true religion’ under the guise of abreactive art and in the process gives us a crash, er, course on...

Mbird Tyler 2017 (2/24-25): The Soul of the Gospel

Mbird Tyler 2017 (2/24-25): The Soul of the Gospel

Come join us next month (2/24-25) for our third annual event in downtown Tyler, TX! Our theme this year will be “The Soul of The Gospel”. Paul Zahl and Sarah Condon, along with a host of others, will guide us as we explore the question, “what remains when cultural attachments...
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Sit and Watch as Tears Go By

Sit and Watch as Tears Go By

Mockingbird has several shibboleths; one is the word, “abreaction.” Type that into the search on this website, and you will come up with a slew of great articles about it or containing the term. Go ahead, do it, I’ll wait.

See, I told you.

In the abridged version of Frank Lake’s Clinical Theology, Lake defines abreaction this way:

“A technique employed in psychoanalytic therapy by which repressed emotions, which belong to earlier and usually painful situations, are relived vividly and with feeling, thus lessening the emotional tension caused by inner conflict and its repression. “

My version of that would go something like this. You know when you hear…

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Letter from a Hospice Chaplain in Las Vegas

Letter from a Hospice Chaplain in Las Vegas

Here’s one from Matthew Metevelis:

I work as a chaplain for a non-profit hospice in Las Vegas. Anyone who has served as a chaplain will tell you that the work can be routine but it is never dull. The problems and situations that you find yourself working through with people in hospice run the gamut from the touching to the tragic to the hilarious (“hospice humor” is a thing – next time you meet a hospice worker, ask). But one thing has never come up in seven years. Nobody has ever asked me if they’ve gotten their politics correct. I’ve never…

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Mary Oliver’s Scrambled Turtle Eggs

Mary Oliver’s Scrambled Turtle Eggs

Living in the country, there are some beautiful things you get to experience that you simply don’t experience elsewhere. Without sounding too much like a Kubota tractor ad, I will say that nothing quite beats an early morning walk down to the river with a hot thermos of coffee, except perhaps doing that and bringing your swimsuit. Or the thick racket of peepers and bullfrogs and cicadas in the night.

But it’s not all joy and romance. Sometimes I’ll step out into the night air and look up at the stars, do some deep breathing, hope to “have a moment,” appreciating…

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Fake Ads and Real Good News

Fake Ads and Real Good News

This one was written by Clayton Hornback. 

Today I was driving around Birmingham, listening to the radio. It was about 3:00 o’clock. And rather than tune into The Paul Finebaum Show, which can be both full of law and humorous grace, I instead turned the dial to the local NPR station (90.3 WBHM). I’m so glad I did, because NPR’s afternoon program Here and Now was in the middle of a piece titled, “LISTEN: These 5 Fake Ads Will Sell You On Some Of Life’s Real Delights.” The basic gist of the piece was highlighting five completely made-up ads which were created…

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Learning About the Gospel from Self-Help, AA, and Tony Robbins

Learning About the Gospel from Self-Help, AA, and Tony Robbins

The following comes to us from Bill Walker.

The kind of religion many people in America grew up with went something like this: do or believe these things in order to be “right with God.” But as experience will show, following either of these directives tends to lead to greater frustration, disillusionment and anxiety. “Am I really good enough?” “Am I really saved?” This encounter with church or Christianity for many did not enable a more joyful, tranquil and abundant life. It did the opposite. Sometimes it told folks they had to vote Republican. In other instances, it made them feel…

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Seeing Upside Down Pt 1: The Down-and-Out Hero and Hollywood’s Love for the Lost

First of the talks from the Dallas event last month (“Grace on the Big Screen”) is here! What an incredible time that was. Many thanks as always to Mark Babikow for making the trip and capturing it all on tape:

Seeing Upside Down – Part One: The Down-and-Out Hero and Hollywood’s Love for the Lost – Ethan Richardson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Gaga for Gaga

Gaga for Gaga

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” -Irenaeus

I don’t know the last time I was so fixated on a Super Bowl half time show. Actually I can state with complete confidence that I’ve never been so fixated on one. From beginning to end, Lady Gaga’s performance at Super Bowl LI was one for the record books. It was glorious in the best sense of the word.

No doubt Gaga’s performance will inspire a sea of words on the interwebs in the next 24 to 48 hours. I hesitate to add the pile of prose. But something caught my eye that…

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SHADOWLANDS, Debra Winger, Anthony Hopkins, 1993, (c) Savoy Pictures

Super Bowl LI Postscript: Joy and Pain, That’s the Deal

Fact. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever. Fact. Super Bowl 51: to rehash it would be to diminish it.  To explain how exceptional Tom Brady and the Pats were at the end (if we are talking human beings, celebrities, biggest stage) would be to diminish them. Hear this out: The arguably greatest QB in history, before Sunday, just orchestrated the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.  That’s not hyperbole. That’s what happened.

Cut to my very-much-in-Atlanta family room with all of our offspring fully present in full Falcon regalia. Third quarter: Falcons up 28-3. What? No really, seriously? We were…

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A Halftime Show Not of Human Origin

A Halftime Show Not of Human Origin

“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin” (Gal 1:11).

Lady Gaga began her halftime show from a perch high above everyone else: Above the stadium, underneath a drone-filled night sky, she was dressed in what Variety called “an MTV exec’s idea of what Y2K was going to look like” — in other words, a glittery silver spacewoman outfit; her eyes were bedazzled with a silvery mask.

Everyone I spoke to beforehand was eager to see what Gaga would do but anxious about whether or not she would get political. In that sense, it was…

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Slow Zoom Toward the Mysterious Unseen

Slow Zoom Toward the Mysterious Unseen

Here’s a beautiful reflection from our friend, Elsa Wilson.

We don’t do a lot of waiting nowadays. A few extra seconds of Internet load time merits a complaint call. We don’t like waiting, but we’re asked to do a lot of it. We especially don’t like waiting when it comes to movies. We tend to favor fast cuts and snappy punch lines. These movies “reward” the viewers (and also usually the characters) for their time by pairing questions with answers, effects with causes, and situations with explanations. There are actually storytelling formulas that dictate how long the viewer should be left to wonder…

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Another Week Ends: Food, Drink, Sermons, Apologies, Snackadiums, Haters, Finders and Keepers

Another Week Ends: Food, Drink, Sermons, Apologies, Snackadiums, Haters, Finders and Keepers

Here in the office we’re drowning in Food & Drink! The issue, that is, which arrived today and is already out the door to subscribers. To quote Seinfeld’s Poppy, it turned out “more succulent than even we hadda hoped”! Click here to check out the Table of Contents and whatnot. #humbled

Why not kick things off then with a couple of food-related items from the world of social science? First, The Telegraph reported on a new study out of UPenn on the effects of fat shaming. Surprise surprise, it tends to have the opposite effect than what’s intended:

Professor Rebecca Pearl, of…

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Super Bowl Preview 2 (and Prediction) – The Transformation of Tom Brady

Super Bowl Preview 2 (and Prediction) – The Transformation of Tom Brady

“Your men love you. If I knew nothing else about you, that would be enough” – Prince Edward (to Heath Ledger/William) “A Knights Tale”.

We know a lot about Tom Brady, and there are so many reasons to hate him. He cheated. He is a good friend of of the person most centered in the cross-hairs of the ire of many right now. He’s married to (according to us) the woman who possesses the most robust combination of  wealth and beauty of any woman in the world. That pretty much covers it for many of us. Such a variety of…

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