Just when we think we have settled our account, life presents a new one, more difficult to pay. – T.S. Eliot
One of The Onion’s most brilliant headlines has got to be “Man Gets Life in Order for 36 Minutes.” Who can’t relate? The story captures something important about our daily lives. Try as we might, need and trouble never seem to go away – in relationships, in work, in the world, in ourselves. It can be exhausting, to say the least! Fortunately, the good news of God’s grace has no expiration date. Join us in Manhattan this coming April 18-20th as we explore what the Christian faith has to say to us about today… tomorrow… and the next day.
Our keynote speaker this year will be Tullian Tchividjian, noted author, pastor and all-round hero. We are still waiting to confirm a couple of very special guests, but rest assured Tullian will be joined by other members of the Mockingbird team, with devotions from conference chaplain Drew Rollins. There will also be a number of breakout sessions, covering a wide range of topics, from television and social media, to addiction and theology, to literature and parenting. The full schedule will be up by Feb 1st.
If the past five years are anything to go by, the conference is sure to be a time of warmth, fun, great food, and maybe even a little emancipation. We hope you can come!
The event is open to anyone and everyone. Our emphasis at Mockingbird is always on keeping things as down-to-earth as possible. Just be sure to pre-register ASAP, as space is limited.
An article that appeared in Monday’s New York Times discussed something absolutely fascinating to me. I had no idea of the problems that the New York City cigarette tax has created for so many New York residents.
According to the article, an average pack of smokes now costs $12.50 in Midtown Manhattan, a price that is outrageous. Even with the salary premiums that New Yorkers enjoy when compared with other parts of the country, such a high price is going to price people out of the habit…or should price people out. But instead, it simply turns them to…
Each year it seems like such an undertaking: spending money on travel for myself that could have been used for a family vacation; enduring crowded flights and dreary layovers; trudging to and fro on subway lines and unfamiliar avenues, a stranger in a strange land – all to spend a few fleeting days at a religious conference. Is it worth it, you may ask? Well, I wrote what follows after last year’s conference, and it sums up the reason why I intend to make this annual pilgrimage to New York City as long as there is a Mockingbird…
Here at Mockingbird we pride ourselves on being Theologians of the Cross. That is to say, we believe that God works, most often and most powerfully, through weakness and defeat, rather than in strength and victory. As Paul writes, recounting God’s answer to him in the midst of suffering:
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in…
NEW YORK CITY—This dance school image was part of a photo story about upper-class children taking dancing lessons and being taught social graces. The lesson pictured was conducted in the lobby of a ritzy Park Avenue building to the music of a live four-person band, part of the social set Lester Lanin Orchestra that used to play at many of the New York balls and social events (and perhaps still does), 1977.
Taken from Slate’s always amazing MAGNUM photo gallery.
Watch the Mockingbird favorite Metropolitan if you want to see those kids all grown up.
Frank Bruni cooked up (!) quite the enlightening editorial in Saturday’s NY Times about the recently deceased fitness guru Jack LaLanne, tracing the ways LaLanne was responsible for turning exercise into a religion, the gym into a temple, etc. I’ll spare you a diatribe about the superficiality of “discipline” for discipline’s sake – Bruni says/implies what needs to be said/implied – what’s more interesting here is that although LaLanne may not have come up with the outside-in approach to self-improvement (that particular ‘face’ has been launching ships since the Stone Age), he was certainly instrumental in figuring out how to…
I’m a huge Steelers fan. I come by it honestly, having lived in Pittsburgh for three years while I was in seminary. Yet I’ve recently noticed that rooting for the Steelers really throws my lack of sanctification into sharp relief.
Before last week’s AFC Championship game against the hometown Jets (my parish, though in New Jersey, is closer to New York than New Meadowlands Stadium, where both the “New York” Jets and Giants play), people started asking me if we were going to throw a Super Bowl party at our church. We did last year, watching the Colts fall short…
You see, The Portsmouth Sinfonia was founded by an English art school in 1970. Oddly, its primary requirement was that the musicians not be…well… musicians, or at least not play the instrument to which they were assigned. This reminds me of what I put my parents through for nine years of semi-annual school orchestra concerts (not to mention practices).
But why expose anyone to this abysmal cacophony of Nixon era ear horror? Because they took it seriously. Just as we take seriously our daily moral efforts and supposed petty superiorities. The music presents itself as…
Stanley Fish is doing our job for us over on the New York Times Online OpEd Section. Fish, an academic known for his postmodern literary criticism (think interpretive communities) and guest writer for the NYT, wrote a piece entitled Narrative and the Grace of God: The New ‘True Grit’ which sounds like something Nick Lannon would write about here at Mockingbird. Be Warned: Dr. Fish’s article contains spoilers though this post does not!
I haven’t seen the new Coen Brother’s movie yet, but rest assured that will be remedied in the next few days. Until then, I figured…
A timely reflection from Mbird friend Russ Masterson:
The tug is relentless this time of year – look at things, buy things, think about things. In December materialism is like breathing, at least it is for me. In the Christmas season we tend to overshop and overeat – an admittedly weird way to celebrate the birth of Jesus, a man who modeled simplicity and moderation. Of course, Santa Claus has become as much the key person in the holiday as Christ. You probably know the story: Saint Nicholas was a fourth century saint, the bishop of Myra (present day Turkey)…
A refreshingly high culture year-end list from Mbird behind-the-scenes man Ken Wilson, aka KW:
Dance World Best and Worst of the Decade
The birth and growth of Suzanne Farrell Ballet: The little ballet company run by George Balanchine’s last muse is only a part-time operation that can’t compete for top talent with neo-classical troupes in New York, Miami, Seattle or San Francisco. But nowhere else do the master’s works look so fresh and the dancers so musical, and Farrell regularly revives forgotten works he made on her. “Apres moi, le deluge,” Mr B. said. But not while Farrell is still coaching.…
Fascinating little article in last Friday’s NY Times about the unfortunate castration and subsequent politicization of the gospel song “Come By Here,” known these days by its infamous anglicized title, “Kumbaya”:
One particular day [in 1926, down-on-his-luck musicologist Robert Winslow] Gordon captured the sound of someone identified only as H. Wylie, singing a lilting, swaying spiritual in the key of A. The lyrics told of people in despair and in trouble, calling on heaven for help, and beseeching God in the refrain, “Come by here.” With that wax cylinder, the oldest known recording of a spiritual titled …
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 two full-time staff, David Zahl and Ethan Richardson and one part-time, 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 in Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.
WHEN: Mockingbird was incorporated in June 2007 and is currently in its sixth year of operation.
The work of Mockingbird is made possible by the gifts of private donors and churches. Our 2013 operating budget is roughly $170,000, 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.
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