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Posts tagged "2017 NYC Conference"


NYC Plenary Talk Titles, Updated Menu, and Misc

A week away, people! High time we announced the final talk titles:

Thurs PM
“Rock n Roll All Night, Party Every Day: The Secret of Mockingbird’s Success” – Aaron Zimmerman

Friday AM
“Jackwagon Junction: The Losing Battle of Being in Charge” – Sarah Condon
“Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin” – Simeon Zahl

Friday PM
“Sisyphus’s Inbox” – Oliver Burkeman
“Culture Against Culture” – William Deresiewicz
“The Raising of the Crucified One” – Fleming Rutledge

Sat AM
“ARCHITECT: Fellow & Failing” – Duo Dickinson
“Did It Have to be Jesus?” – Nicole Cliffe
“Another Decade Ends: The First 10 Years in Flight” – David Zahl

View the full, final schedule here. We’ve also adjusted the menu ever so slightly (and added cold brew coffee!), which you can check out here.

Again, while the meals themselves are sold out, the conference is not. The more, the merrier in fact. Online pre-registration ends on Tuesday, but last-minute walk-ins are always welcome.

Oh and probably goes without saying, but there’s no cover charge on Friday night for this:

P.S. Those who’ve signed up for the pre-conference art tour with PZ, which is currently at capacity, will be receiving an email with details on Monday.

The Dynamite of Salvation: A Conference Breakout Preview

The Dynamite of Salvation: A Conference Breakout Preview

This conference breakout will be led by the one and only Scott Keith. If you want to read a longer preview of Scott’s talk, go here. 

Dynamite does one thing well: it blows stuff up. Dynamite is no more than an absorbent material, such as sawdust, soaked in a highly combustible chemical called nitroglycerin. The absorbent material makes the nitroglycerin much more stable. Attached to the nitroglycerin infused sawdust is either a fuse of a blasting cap. Once lit, the fuse or cap creates a small explosion that triggers the larger explosion in the dynamite itself. Once ignited, the dynamite burns…

Read More > > >

Multiple Marriages to the Same Spouse: A Conference Breakout Preview

This breakout preview comes to us from Debbie and Ellis Brazeal.

Nietzsche said that he would only believe in a “God who dances.”

As Mockingbird devotees, and survivors of three marriages, Debbie and I have come to believe in a dancing God.  Yet, this view of God only came after years, many years, in which we didn’t.

A romantic courtship, with breathless excitement and anticipation of an American-dream marriage, quickly turned into a marriage of unmet expectations from both sides.  Indeed, each of us hurt the other (albeit unintentionally) in the very fashion that would cause the most pain. We unknowingly tread upon the past hurts and expectations that each of us brought into the marriage.

Our marriage devolved into separate lives with no hope of reconciliation–none.  We certainly didn’t believe in a dancing God–in one who could bring dance into our marriage.  We believed in a God who rewarded effort and wise decisions. We thought we had married the wrong person. In fact, we each wished that the other was dead or that we were dead.

But then, the dancing God, the God we talk about at Mockingbird, stepped in. By God’s limitless grace, we both began learning of a God who knew the depths of our dark hearts–the true extent of our sinful flaws–but loved us nonetheless with His limitless, eternal love. Over the years, as we became more convinced of God’s unfathomable, eternal love for us, we began to love each other.

My favorite parable is the one concerning the “treasure in the field.”  Virtually always, the “treasure in the field” is construed as the Kingdom of God.  Yet, when you review the parables surrounding it (the lost coin, the lost sheep), it becomes abundantly clear (as I first learned from CI Scofield) that we are the “treasure in the field,” that Christ sold everything (gave His life) to purchase. The character of a Kingdom is determined by the character of the King.

This King is the savior and redeemer of individuals, of marriages, and of all creation.  As Sally Loyd Jones writes in Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing: “God made everything in his world and in his universe and in his children’s hearts to center around him–in a wonderful Dance of Joy!  It’s the dance you were born for.”

Science Is From Mars, Theology Is From Venus: A Conference Breakout Preview

This conference breakout preview comes from Bonnie Poon Zahl and Bethany Sollereder.

According to the Pew Research Center (see here and here), over half of American adults who were sampled (59%) believe that, in general, science is often in conflict with religion. But “conflict” is only one way of seeing how science and religion might relate. Other possibilities include “independent”, “competition”, “dialogue”, “discussion”, “engagement”, “partnership”, “collaboration”, among others. Some, like scientist and theologian Alister McGrath, take a more nuanced approach, and describe the relationship as complementary, while historian John Hedley Brooke (writing before Facebook was a thing) simply described the relationship as: “It’s complicated”. How about you? How do you view the relationship between science and religion?

We (Bonnie and Bethany) have spent a great deal of our professional and personal lives thinking about how science and religion might relate. We’ve heard people tell us that Christians can’t be scientists, on the one hand, and that theology is the queen of the sciences, on the other – and everything in between. One of us is a scientist (Bonnie) and one is a theologian (Bethany) and we’d like to invite you on a brief journey on the history of how we’ve gotten into this complicated relationship through our disciplines of psychology and theology– and more importantly, hear your thoughts on –the unanswered questions about how science and theology speak to the suffering in the world and in personal lives.

Greetings from the Upside Down: A Conference Breakout Preview

Kendall Jenner once said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Just kidding! It was Maya Angelou who said that. But now that I have your attention, do you agree? Because I’ve had to give this topic A LOT of thought lately.

My family was recently uprooted from Atlanta to Sydney, Australia because #grace, and the fallout has been…a bit of everything. No demogorgons have shown up, but that hasn’t squelched the similarities with Stranger Things because a) said comparison allows me to equate myself with Barb in our hair color and suffering; and b) this new life in the Down Under feels not totally unlike the Upside Down–absence of Winona Ryder notwithstanding–what with the disorientation, opposing seasons, and strange lighting patterns (aka Daylight Savings flipped).

Kendall Jenner, Winona Ryder, and Barb: is that click-baity enough for you? Well, allow me to further tease that I’ll be providing handy keys on how not to assimilate in a foreign country, embarrassing stories about my (lack of) driving skills and language difficulties, further details of my IKEA breakdown–all as a guide to managing depression: Aussie Edition. But the big kicker will be what home means for those of us torn between an upside-down world and the Upside Down Kingdom. Spoiler alert: tons of ambivalence, a Ron Burgundy reference, cities with oceans attached. Oh, and wine. Lots of wine.

NYC Conference Countdown and Update: Final Plenary Speaker!

Believe it or not, this time next month (Thursday, 4/27), we’ll be setting the tables for the opening feast in NYC–the enchiladas will be roasting, the ceviche nearly prepped, the churro bites ready to fry, with the sangria on ice. Needless to say, conference-related posts will be coming chock-a-block these next few weeks. We’ll be publishing the full slate of breakout sessions later this week (brace yourself) but first, I am beyond thrilled to announce that our final plenary speaker will be someone whose byline you may recognize from major articles in The NY Times, The Atlantic, Harper’s, or The Nation. Lord knows we haven’t been shy about highlighting his work over the years. I’m talking about none other than noted author and critic William Deresiewicz (Excellent Sheep, A Jane Austen Education).

Not ringing a bell? Take, for example, his pot-stirring 2014 editorial in The New Republic, “Don’t Send Your Kids to the Ivy League”:

So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error. Once, a student at Pomona told me that she’d love to have a chance to think about the things she’s studying, only she doesn’t have the time. I asked her if she had ever considered not trying to get an A in every class. She looked at me as if I had made an indecent suggestion.

Or his 2012 column for The NY Times, “A Matter of Taste?”:

“Eat, Pray, Love,” the title goes, but a lot of people never make it past the first. Nor do they have to. Food now expresses the symbolic values and absorbs the spiritual energies of the educated class. It has become invested with the meaning of life. It is seen as the path to salvation, for the self and humanity both… A good risotto is a fine thing, but it isn’t going to give you insight into other people, allow you to see the world in a new way, or force you to take an inventory of your soul.

And let us not forget his recent essay for The American Scholar,  “On Political Correctness: Power, Class, and the New Campus Religion”:

The assumption on selective campuses is not only that we are in full possession of the truth, but that we are in full possession of virtue. We don’t just know the good with perfect wisdom, we embody it with perfect innocence. But regimes of virtue tend to eat their children. Think of Salem. They tend to turn upon themselves, since everybody wants to be the holiest. Think of the French Revolution. The ante is forever being upped.

Suffice it to say, no one has a more finely tuned radar for the mechanics of righteousness (and performancism!) in contemporary culture, the ways that religious impulses find ‘secular’ expression–a la DFW’s classic “everybody worships” line–than William Deresiewicz. He not only sees “the thing beneath the thing”, but articulates it time and again with boldness, precision, and compassion. I consider it an immense honor that he’s agreed to join us on Friday afternoon, April 28th.

Click here to pre-register today!

P.S. There is still some limited scholarship funds available. Email us at info@mbird.com for more info.

2017 NYC Conference (4/27-29): New Video Invitation and Scholarships

With (magnificent!) Tyler behind us, it’s time to go full steam on the promotion for our big 10th Anniversary Conference in NYC which takes place the end of next month, April 27-29th. First up is our new video, which we encourage you to share to the ends of the Earth #markbabikowisourhero:

2017 Mockingbird Conference – 10 Years of Grace St. George’s | April 27-29, 2017 from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

While we’re on the topic, the schedule is being released in bits and pieces (sorry!), with the main presentations pretty much set in stone over on the conference site. Breakouts will be announced next week. And menus right after that.

Last but not least, thanks to the generosity of several patrons/sponsors, there are 12 10 7 5 2 complimentary registrations to the conference available! If you’re interested, send us an email with the how’s and why’s at info@mbird.com as soon as possible. There’s a small budget to help with accommodation & travel cost as well.

The Tenth Annual Mockingbird NYC Conference: 10 Years of Grace

Hard to believe that the 2017 Spring Conference will be our 10th annual get-together in New York City. It happens April 27-29, 2017 and you are warmly invited. Registration is now open! We’re so excited we produced a video about it:

We would love to see you there. Get your tickets here

Earlybird prices expire at the end of the year.

P.S. Just over two weeks til Oklahoma City! Click here for more info about this *free* event.