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Posts tagged "Fear"

It Comes at Night and the Fear of Grief

It Comes at Night and the Fear of Grief

If you’ve caught any trailers for It Comes at Night, you know it’s a scary one. I went to see it the other day, and, preparing for the worst, I took a seat near the back and nestled in behind my popcorn. Sensing a particularly horrific part coming, I fixed my eyes at a corner of the screen. Alas the scares came too suddenly for me to look away, but for the most part, I didn’t want to. In Trey Edward Shults’ second feature, not all was as it seemed. It Comes at Night promised something sinister lurking outside the red…

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An Irrational Lack of Fear…

An Irrational Lack of Fear…

Politics is becoming overwhelming. Listening to today’s endless snipes, tweets, melt-downs, and outrage filling all airwaves, I am left bemused at the bubble of now. Politicians are vengeful, reporters are angry. Commentators are in high dudgeon. It matters not what “side”; the basis is fear and loathing.

I think they are missing something.

The news is filled with perpetrators and zealots: it’s the loudest world, screaming in each instant. The breathless desperation of healthy, free, employed participants lives in a tiny place amid the immeasurable context of everything.

For me, there is a perverse joy in seeing the irrational rampaging — it’s delightfully…

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Hopelessly Devoted: 1 Samuel Chapter Twelve Verses Twenty through Twenty Four

This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional comes to us from Bonnie Poon Zahl.

140623_r25161-969And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. (1 Samuel 12:20-24, ESV)

“You have done all this evil…” These are the dread words of judgment, of being found out. We might be good at hiding our sins from others, but we have no way of hiding them from God. We all stand before objective goodness, even the most pious of us, and know that, though we claim to be followers of God, we could never justify ourselves on account of our own goodness.

Yet these words of judgment to God’s people come joined with words of love: “Do not be afraid…for the Lord will not forsake his people… because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.” This is perfect love, the kind that drives out fear (1 Jn 4:18).

Though you have everything to fear as you stand before God’s judgment, you also have nothing to fear—because there is no fear in love. God’s love compels Him to forget judgment in order to make you His own. As you stand before the righteous God, He will see every part of you, and in spite of it all, He will not forsake you. He sees you through perfect Love—Jesus Christ.

Five Golden...Themes! What We Loved Writing about in 2015

Five Golden…Themes! What We Loved Writing about in 2015

As we blanket our house with nic-nacs and expensive toys, it’s the perfect time to look back at the things that matter—or the things that mattered—or the things that at least we thought mattered at the time—to us this year. Here are Five Golden Themes for 2015—repeated stories and obsessions that didn’t just creep into the collective cultural psyche, but seemed to define it, for better or worse.

Performancism and Suicide. I had to check and make sure this hadn’t been on one of our previous year-end roundups. I thought surely, with all the times we’ve written about “the epidemic,” this…

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Lydia Davis Gets Ready to Die in a Plane

Lydia Davis Gets Ready to Die in a Plane

From the MacArthur Genius’ (very funny) book of daydreams, real dreams, and five-sentence memoirs, Can’t and Won’t. Recommended reading for this summer–each entry is mostly no longer than a page, many times without much of a plot–and this one talks about in-flight complications, and the anxious (even superstitious) thinking of the end of one’s life. The pilot has just made an announcement about the wings’ failure to slow the plane down, so it must circle very close to the ground to attempt to slow itself down. Davis journeys back through the way her mind processed this news.

The announcement,…

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Divine Memory and The Right to Be Forgotten

Divine Memory and The Right to Be Forgotten

Whenever I hire my annual student intern, a part of my hiring process is a quick Google search. I’ll be working with this student for the next academic year or so, which is my excuse for scrutinizing the applicant’s web footprint for reasons to hire or not to hire. I’m told that nowadays blind dates operate the same way- a quick Google search is customary to make the date a little less blind. That internet search reveals the good, bad, and ugly: family photos and keg stand photos from college days, angry name calling on twitter and kind birthday wishes…

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Andy Bernard to Give Graduation Speech at Cornell University … Ever Heard of It?

Andy Bernard to Give Graduation Speech at Cornell University … Ever Heard of It?

It has been a Mockingbird tradition to highlight worthy graduation speeches amidst the vast sea of snoozers. As the spring commencement season approaches, I want to point out that Ed Helms, the actor who played Andy Bernard on The Office, will be giving a speech at Cornell University’s graduation on May 24. This is noteworthy because Andy Bernard, the sycophantic airhead with anger-management issues, always brags about how he went to Cornell (’93). “Ever heard of it?”

Helm’s upcoming speech is bound to go at least semi-viral just by his showing up at Cornell. But it’s even more likely to go viral…

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Control Is Just an Illusion, But Love Casts Out Fear (in Disney's Frozen)

Control Is Just an Illusion, But Love Casts Out Fear (in Disney’s Frozen)

This deeply personal, honest, and insightful reflection on Disney’s Frozen – and our love affair with control – comes from our friend Brandi Midkiff.

Lots of people sneer at the Control Freak archetype. I do not understand these people. They seem to think loss of control would be a good time—like a roller coaster, perhaps, which is actually a tightly controlled construct when functioning correctly and not killing people. Also people choose whether or not to get on the thing, thereby exercising control; so this is not the best illustration, though I see it used a lot.

Loss of control is not an…

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Some Thoughts on Wartime Mentality and the Fear of God

Some Thoughts on Wartime Mentality and the Fear of God

This reflection comes from Brooks Tate.

After writing The Perfect Storm (1997), Sebastian Junger wrote War (2010), a melting pot of observations of the American soldier in Afghanistan. In segments over a 15-month period, Junger joins the Battle Company in the Korengal Valley, home of the heaviest fighting in Afghanistan. Multiple firefights in a day is no anomaly. With individuals exposed to so much combat, Junger explores the effects of combat on man (as we also see in Hollywood’s The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty). Why are veterans unable to return to normal life at home? Why do men choose to reenlist?…

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Everything Is Not OK (on Parenthood)… the Bad Thing Is Already Happening

Everything Is Not OK (on Parenthood)… the Bad Thing Is Already Happening

Have you been watching the new season of Parenthood? This show continues to deliver the goods, which mostly come in the form of true-to-life suffering, chaos, loss, and grace, love, and peace amidst it all—very much in line with the Mockingbird conference last week in Charlottesville.

Spoiler alert! Don’t read on if you are a Parenthood fan but aren’t up to speed.

The most recent episode’s title says so much: “Everything Is Not OK.” It refers to the startling news that Kristina Braverman has received (I used to find Kristina’s character fairly annoying, but she has been endearing…

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The "Upside" of Anxiety in a Culture of Control

The “Upside” of Anxiety in a Culture of Control

You’ve got to hand it to the editors of Time; in a digital age, they sure know how to make a person pick up a print magazine. Even if it’s out of sense of double-take disbelief at this week’s cover story – while the rest of the world learned about Egypt, we Americans got Alice Park’s bold “Why Anxiety Is Good For You.”  It’s enough to trigger anyone’s interest, maybe even their anxiety…! But the article itself is considerably less exciting or controversial than the title might suggest. Park provides a survey of current research in evolutionary psychology and neuroscience,…

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Do You Have A Zombie Plan? Part VI

Do You Have A Zombie Plan? Part VI

As promised in the last post, we will now begin exploring how zombie movies can use the uncanny to explore our fears of other people.

Early one morning this past Fall, when my wife was pregnant, a criminal kicked in my elderly neighbor’s door and entered her house.  Luckily, a dog chased him away, but the psychological damage was done both to my neighbor and me as a husband and expectant father.  In the wee hours of the next morning, you could see crazy ol’ David Browder sitting out on the porch, looking like the Unabomber, and keeping watch.

Zombies can represent…

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