This is the first installment in a series of monthly-ish interviews between myself and various Mockingbird writers and members of the Mockingbird community. These posts will explore some aspects of each individual’s personal story and some aspects of Mockingbird’s larger story and ministry as we celebrate its 10th Anniversary.
Charlotte Donlon: What has surprised you most about Mockingbird since it was started ten years ago?
David Zahl: Well. I’m a little surprised it’s still here. When we started, our vision was (purposefully) rather vague. We had our theological convictions in mind, and a good deal of sincerity/energy, but we didn’t know how the…
The never-ending bustle of the 24/7 workplace. The three-places-at-once gymnastics of the after-school carpool. The siren’s call of the smartphone screen. The ever-quickening treadmill of doctors’ appointments. Whatever the stage of life, our daily grind has become inescapably breathless. There are simply not enough hours in the day!
We invite you to take a breather with us this October (28-29) in Oklahoma City as we explore how the Christian faith addresses a world overfilled with expectation and obligation, hurt and division. The emphasis, as always, will be on where the comfort and reprieve of the Gospel meets us where we actually live–in places that matter (and some that don’t).
To help, we’ve assembled a truly wonderful group of speakers. The conference kicks off at 1pm on Friday, October 28th at All Souls Episcopal Church, extends through dinner that evening, ending just before lunch on the Saturday the 29th. We’re putting the final touches on the full schedule, so check back in soon for that update. If past events are anything to go by, it is sure to be a spirit-lifting time, jam-packed with grace, laughter, and delicious food. We hope you’ll join us.
Best of all, like the grace of God, this conference is entirely free! Just be sure to pre-register ASAP so we can plan accordingly.
Only if it’s not another thing to stress over, that is.
As this year’s Oscar buzz revs up, be sure to take a look at our latest publication, Mockingbird at the Movies, an anthology of film essays collected from many of Mockingbird’s contributing writers. Last week, we quietly released the fully-polished final edition, which consists of a few less typos but all of the same thought-provoking, Gospel-centered content. See the full Table of Contents here, order a copy here, and read the intro, by editor CJ Green, below. Oh and if you feel inspired to post a review on Amazon, by all means.
It was an ill-defined notion but there nevertheless—my vague childhood idea that ‘Hollywood’ had it…
A major thank you to everyone who helped put on this past weekend’s conference in New York! We could not be happier or more grateful for how it all went. We are offering the recordings free of charge again this year; we only ask that those who were not able to attend this year *consider* making a donation to Mockingbird to help cover the cost of the event. Download links are followed by an in-line player for each recording.
1. A great little editorial on Slate about the recent instances of “Twittercide” committed by folks as wide-ranging as Gilbert Gottfried, Tucker Carlson, Keith Olbermann, and Rashard Mendenhall. The author wisely points out how silly it is to blame the medium – its immediacy is a big part of its genius after all – that while twitter may amplify trash-talking by catering to impulse, the animus/judgment was there a priori. That is, the problems are a matter of nature, not technology or even self-control:
I reject the idea that Twitter trips up naïve users such…
At long last, the new site is here! We encourage you to explore. Beyond the crisper presentation, there are a variety of new features for you to check out. One of our chief aims with this new site was to create a platform that made better use of our increasingly vast archives (there’s gold in them hills…); we understand that the range of topics we cover can be a bit frustrating for folks who are only interested in certain aspects. To that end, we’ve introduced a number of new ways for content to “bubble up,” that is, to find past…
A companion piece to this week’s episodes of PZ’s Podcast, which deal with the Protestant (architectural) face of Anglicanism:
There are few sympathetic portrayals in literature of Anglican or Episcopal clergy who are Evangelicals. Most novelists have described Anglican Evangelical clergy as self-righteous, puritanical, and hypocritical. The classic portrayals are ‘Mr. Slope’ in Trollope’s Barchester Towers, ‘Mr. Honeyman’ in Thackerey’s The Newcomes, and ‘Mr. Chadband’ in Dickens’ Bleak House (tho’ Mr. Chadband may be a Dissenting Minister rather than a Minister of the Established Church). There is also a devastating portrait of a young ‘Simeonite’ (i.e., Evangelical) clergyman at Cambridge…
Amy Adams, who just received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for her role in The Fighter was on Tavis Smiley in December to promote the film. Tavis asked Amy about having a new baby, and her response was priceless:
“I like the world more now. The focus is off of me, and that is freedom. That I no longer am the most important thing in my life. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, before I was self-centered. I didn’t even realize how self-centered. My small day to day drama is now…
Mockingbird’s resident opera aficionado Ken Wilson offers forth a truly breathtaking moment of beauty:
John Donne’s plea in Holy Sonnet XIV that grace will break his captive will, set to necessarily inadequate but characteristically gorgeous music by John Adams and sung by bass-baritone Gerald Finley in the Adams opera Dr. Atomic (about Robert Oppenheimer and the setting off of the first atomic bomb):
Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for youAs yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bendYour force, to break, blow, burn, and…
Some details subject to change (slightly). To pre-register go here.
P.S. We’ve heard that people are getting great deals on hotel rooms in the vicinity via booking.com. Also, word has it that AirTran is having particularly good sale this week, and Delta is matching the price points. Just sayin.
P.P.S. For a great and provocative discussion of keynote speaker Mark Galli’s recent work, check out InternetMonk!
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, weekly podcasts, a quarterly print magazine, semi-annual conferences, and an ongoing publications initiative.
WHO: At present, we employ three full-time staff, David Zahl, Ethan Richardson and CJ Green, and four part-time, Sarah Condon, Scott Jones, Bryan Jarrell and Marcy Hooker. They are helped and supported by a large number of contributing volunteers and writers. Our board of directors is chaired by The Rev. Aaron Zimmerman.
WHERE: Our offices are located at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.
WHEN: Mockingbird was incorporated in June 2007 and is currently in its tenth year of operation.
The work of Mockingbird is made possible by the gifts of private donors and churches. Our fundraising burden for 2017 is roughly $290,000, and with virtually no overhead, your gifts translate directly into mission and ministry. Can you help? Please feel free to email us at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like more information.
As a convenience, we are set up to accept online donations via Paypal. This method will allow you to give with a credit card, in any amount you wish. Simply click on the button below and follow the instructions.