1. Our Pensacola mini-conference is underway! If you live in the area, don’t be afraid to drop in unannounced… We would love to see you. And those of you that don’t live in the area, don’t be afraid to say a prayer in support.
2. An unsettling firsthand account of professional plagiarism over at The Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “The Shadow Scholar”, the most arresting portion for us being (ht AZ):
I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat…
Old news by now, but slightly dated beat aside, it’s a fantastic tune, and a great blast of vintage MJ-victimhood spleen-venting: True, it may not be for us to know the times or dates the Father has set, but occasionally we catch a glimpse: only 34 days until MICHAEL is released! [Click here to watch part of the interview Oprah did with his family yesterday.]
p.s. Never thought such exciting posthumous MJ news could come close to being matched, but word has just come out that Mbird heroes Pulp are reuniting! This blogger has never forgiven himself for missing their secret show…
With Halloween/Reformation Day almost here, what better time to revisit Michael Jackson’s 1996 little-seen opus Ghosts? Conceived as a Thriller-style mini-movie (or maxi-video), the 40-minute “horror” piece never really saw the light of day, and remains unavailable on DVD. Thank God for youtube! Thank God also for Nathan Rabin of The A/V Club, who just published a masterful look at this HIStory-era curio, in an excerpt from his terrific new book, My Year of Flops. If you’ve never seen Ghosts, I commend it to you for three reasons: 1. It’s Michael Jackson 2. The Stan Winston-effects are really something to…
Mockingbird’s purpose is “to connect the historic truths of the Gospel with the realities of everyday life in as fresh and down-to-earth a way possible.”
That means we use a lot of illustrations. Whether it’s the films of Whit Stillman or Pixar, the music of Elvis or Michael Jackson, or recent headlines from the world of sports or psychological research, we’re always beginning with analogies, stories, illustrations, and examples to explain things like sin, grace, love, forgiveness, and redemption. At times, people object: should Christians be listening to/watching/reading that “culture” stuff?
Why? Because people generally don’t want to hear what we have…
Sometimes a really bad idea can be a beautiful thing. It can even be inspired. Take, for instance, David Bowie doing Little Drummer boy with Bing Crosby in 1977. Or Bob Dylan doing a Christmas album (and a Victoria’s Secret commercial) this past year. Left-field career-killing moves are nothing if not fascinating. Another prime, but little known, example would have to be The Jackson 5 choosing to follow up their hit 1972 single “Lookin’ Through The Windows” with an extremely peppy take on Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes.” Presumably Motown was looking to cash in on the (nominal) success of…
1. John Shore’s follow-up to his Huffington Post piece, “How My Wife Took The News Of My Sudden Conversion”. It should be noted that Mr. Shore published a book in 2007 with the killer title: “I’m OK-You’re Not: The Message We’re Sending To Non-Believers And Why We Should Stop”. Along those lines, it’s worth taking a look at his post “What Non-Christians Want Christians To Hear”.
2. Fascinating report from the San Fracisco Chronicle about behavior on Facebook and LinkedIn. Turns out both networks employ scientists whose sole job it is to track and analyze our behavior… With a particular…
Okay, here goes. I would break the pop culture of 2009 down this way: a pretty good year for music, an alright year for film and a downright incredible year for television.
Five Favorite Films Of 2009*
1. Fantastic Mr Fox
2. District 9
3. In The Loop [warning for profuse-albeit-very-inventive foul language]
Most Underrated: Duplicity
Most Overrated: Inglourious Basterds
*Bear in mind that I haven’t seen The Hurt Locker, An Education, A Serious Man, The Road, Dr Parnassus, Big Fan or 2012 yet. So this is definitely more of a favorites list than a “best of”. And I am as surprised by the predominance…
As Avatar-fever begins to grip the nation and the world, writer/director/deep-sea-diver James Cameron is once again back in the spotlight. Any time an ambitious and successful figure takes such a long layoff (Axl Rose), it is important to take note – has it really been 12 years since Titanic?! How our hearts have gone on…
In case it wasn’t abundantly clear before, Cameron’s layoff has everything to do with an almost astronomical need to prove himself. To be the best and the biggest. His identity is so completely wrapped up in his achievements, in his works if you will, that each…
Just couldn’t wait until Friday to post this amusing review of This Is It. From TIME magazine of all places, the Mbird-worthy passages of which include (major ht Jeff Dean):
Death and resurrection. That’s the scenario not just for gods but for pop stars who earn fans’ ardor with an electrifying presence and their sympathy with very public private lives of addiction and misbehavior. The stars’ talent makes them unique; their transgressions make them human… It took death to restore [Michael Jackson's] standing as one-of-a-kind entertainer — to bring him back to life.
But full redemption, not to mention true resurrection, requires…
1. Old White Lincoln – The Gaslight Anthem
2. It’s All True – The Lemonheads
3. Don’t Go Away – Oasis
4. Hey Bulldog [mono] – The Beatles
5. Psalms 40:2 – The Mountain Goats
6. Bless This Mess – David Bazan
7. Jena & Jimmy – Derek Webb
8. True Love 1980 – Ash
9. Got The Hots – Michael Jackson
10. Do It Again – Steely Dan
11. Come Undone – Duran Duran
12. Wake Up – Teddy Thompson
13. For Your Lover, Give Some Time – Richard Hawley
14. Jesus Is Waiting – Al Green
15. All Things Must Pass – Billy Preston
16. Why Do I Keep Counting – The Killers
1. A fascinating review of How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer over at Boing Boing (ht Jeff Dean). The book appears to be ar neuroscience-for-dummies study of the decision-making process, aka another volley in the post-free-will debate, this time claiming that decision-making is neither wholly rational or wholly emotional, but a mix of both. What sounds especially interesting to the Mockingbird in me is the role that dopamine plays in our brains as a “predictor” of future events, prompting all sorts of “decisions” based on anticipated reward. Or on the flipside, the discussion of the power of “loss-aversion”, esp as…
Can’t seem to shake this britpop/MJ/Mott the Hoople kick… Enjoy:
1. Eliza – The Color Bars
2. I Wish I Was Your Mother – Mott The Hoople
3. Safe In My Garden – The Mamas & The Papas
4. All The King’s Men – Wild Beasts
5. Your Control – Crooked Fingers
6. Hot Patootie Bless My Soul – Meat Loaf
7. Oogum Boogum – Brenton Wood
8. Holy Spirit – Limousine
9. Night Time Lover – LaToya and Michael Jackson
10. The Miracle – Richard Ashcroft
11. Dream Another Dream – Rialto
12. Made Of Stone – The Stone Roses
Our MJ-tribute soldiers on! This time with a little theology thrown in… We drop the word “Pelagian” pretty often on this blog, as well as its more devious cousin “Semi-Pelagian”, but I’m not sure we’ve ever posted a definition. According to Wikipedia (and yes, I can’t believe I’m quoting them as an authority either) Pelagianism is:
A theological [heresy] named after Pelagius (ad. 354 – ad. 420/440). It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine Aid. Thus, Adam’s sin was “to…
WHAT: Mockingbird seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.
WHY: Are we called Mockingbird? The name was inspired by the mockingbird’s peculiar gift for mimicking the cries of other birds. In a similar way, we seek to repeat the message we have heard - God’s word of grace and forgiveness.
HOW: Via every medium available! At present this includes (but is not limited to) a daily weblog, semi-annual conferences, and an ongoing publications initiative.
WHO: At present, we employ three full-time staff, David Zahl and Ethan Richardson and William McDavid. They are helped and supported by a large number of contributing volunteers and writers. Our board of directors is chaired by Mr. Thomas Becker.
WHERE: Our offices are located at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.
WHEN: Mockingbird was incorporated in June 2007 and is currently in its seventh year of operation.
The work of Mockingbird is made possible by the gifts of private donors and churches. Our 2014 operating budget is roughly $195,000, and with virtually no overhead, your gifts translate directly into mission and ministry. Can you help? Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like more information.
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