Remembering that it happened once,
We cannot turn away the thought,
As we go out, cold, to our barns
Toward the long night’s end, that we
Ourselves are living in the world
It happened in when it first happened,
That we ourselves, opening a stall
(A latch thrown open countless times
Before), might find them breathing there,
Foreknown: the Child bedded in straw,
The mother kneeling over Him,
The husband standing in belief
He scarcely can believe, in light
That lights them from no source we see,
An April morning’s light, the air
Around them joyful as a choir.
We stand with one hand on the door,
Looking into another world
That is this world, the pale daylight
Coming just as before, our chores
To do, the cattle all awake,
Our own frozen breath hanging
In front of us; and we are here
As we have never been before,
Sighted as not before, our place
Holy, although we knew it not.
One day I walked imagining
What work I might do here,
The place, once dark, made clear
By work and thought, my managing,
The world thus made more dear.
I walked and dreamed, the sun in clouds,
Dreamer and day at odds.
The world in its great mystery
Was hidden by my dream.
Today I make no claim;
I dream of what is here, the tree
Beside the falling stream,
The stone, the light upon stone;
And day and dream are one.
Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.
In line with the boomers-stickers speech from Wendell Berry, Christian Smith’s Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood is a sociological look into the hyper-relativist boom-ist mentality of today’s 18-23 year old. His book identifies five of the premier values of emerging adults today (consumption, sexual relativism, binge drinking, political apathy, etc.), all of which point to an infantilized adulthood, an adulthood priding itself on mobile acceptance, a conception of freedom which paradoxically kills it. Smith is a bit heavy on the criticism, to the point that his understanding misses empathy, as well as too much of the…
Last Monday, Wendell Berry, widely known as today’s quotable agriprophet, America’s modern man of letters, was given the prestigious honor of presenting the Jefferson Lecture, the nation’s highest prize for “distinguished intellectual achievement.” What he spoke of–beyond his grandfather’s h0meland loyalty and the tragic industrial legacy of James B. Duke, for whom Duke University is named–was an ethic of affection, a turning way from the Diaspora of Modern Mobility–our privatized and lonesome Babylon–a repentance and return to a culture of sympathetic humility to one’s own. Berry’s essay was titled “It All Turns on Affection.”
A gracious Sabbath stood here while they stood
Who gave our rest a haven.
Now fallen, they are given
To labor and distress.
These times we know much evil, little good
To steady us in faith
And comfort when our losses press
Hard on us, and we choose,
In panic or despair or both,
To keep what we will lose.
For we are fallen like the trees, our peace
Broken, and so we must
Love where we cannot trust,
Trust where we cannot know,
And must await the wayward-coming grace
That joins living and dead,
Taking us where we would not go–
Into the boundless dark.
When what was made has been unmade
The Maker comes to His work.
I don’t know about you but I’ve had protesters occupying my mind, off and on, for over 30 years now. YOU’LL NEVER HAVE A CAREER…YOU’RE NOT THAT SMART…YOU BETTER GET SOBER… SHE’S NEVER GOING TO LOVE YOU… THE PAIN WILL END IF YOU END. Those are the kinds of homemade signs I see, the sort of slogans I hear. Candy corn anyone? Maybe a hug?
I’m continually reminded that I need something bigger than me to sort out my life, to show me the path. Last week, I suddenly found myself getting choked up when a certain infamous trial in Italy…
It’s undeniable that the Locavore Movement has been gaining momentum for years now, and that having a small backyard vegetable garden is no longer a reliable counterculture identifier. (You only grew kale from seed?) The phenomenon of buying local, eating local has settled in stride with the contemporary (and arguably ancient biblical) values for the neighbor, the gift of good land; the public awareness of a dissipating ozone layer, the (apparent) dissatisfaction with gargantuan supercenters and megaplexes; and so its arrival spawned a fecund harvest of lo-fi documentaries and hipster publications–until it became the thing, rather than a thing. It’s…
I go by a field where once
I cultivated a few poor crops.
It is now covered with young trees,
for the forest that belongs here
has come back and reclaimed its own.
And I think of all the effort
I have wasted and all the time,
and of how much joy I took
in that failed work and how much
it taught me. For in so failing
I learned something of my place,
something of myself, and now
I welcome back the trees.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like more information.
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