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The Mockingcast

The Mockingcast is a bi-weekly podcast hosted by RJ Heijmen, Sarah Condon and David Zahl, and brought to you by Mockingbird Ministries, an organization which seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways. You can find out more about Mockingbird at www.mbird.com.Audio production provided by TJ Hester.

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Episode 89: The Raising of the Crucified One - Fleming Rutledge

Friday evening talk at our 2017 Conference in NYC, given by The Rev. Fleming Rutledge. Delivered April 28th, 2017 at St George's Episcopal Church.


9 May 2017

Rank #1

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Episode 5: Asking Polly What To Do When You’ve Been Pulverized In Palo Alto

In this episode of the Mockingcast we look at the a phenomenon in Palo Alto and what it tells us about the performance pressure cooker in which we all find ourselves. We also ask what grace has to do with it. The post Asking Polly What To Do When You’ve Been Pulverized In Palo Alto appeared first on New Persuasive Words.


20 Nov 2015

Rank #2

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Episode 34: The Gospel Is For Sinners

This week’s show features an interview with Fleming Rutledge about her recent book, The Crucifixion:Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ. Then the usual suspects review the contents of Another Week Ends.  Scott, David and Sarah talk social media and emotional health, whether we have free will, and consider a documentary that reminds us that the Gospel is first, foremost and forever for sinners. The post The Gospel Is For Sinners appeared first on New Persuasive Words.


20 May 2016

Rank #3

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Episode 62: He’s Back…

Friend of the show Mark Oppenheimer returns to share about his recent adventure with Episcopalians. He also explains why he quit the NY Times and why he still writes to his daughter in cursive. Then the usual suspects talk Bill Murray, teen anxiety and Cormac McCarthy.Special Guest: Mark Oppenheimer.


4 Nov 2016

Rank #4

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Episode 22: Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious, Let The Healing Begin

This week Scott talks with David Dark, author of  Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious. You can click here for the full length, unedited version of the conversation. Then Scott, David and Sarah talk about moral aligment, criticism and the trajic nature of suicide. The post Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious, Let The Healing Begin appeared first on New Persuasive Words.


11 Mar 2016

Rank #5

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Episode 11: The Power of Confession, The Fear of Failure, and Paul Zahl on Donald Trump

In this episode C.J. Green breaks down the highlightd of Another Week Ends. We consider the power of Derek Webb’s recent published confession, talk about failure and mediocrity, and consider how the story of our lives isn’t always one we can chart with any kind of rational metric. All this and a special guest appearance by Paul Zahl who reflects on the rise of Trump and what it tells us about the country and ourselves. The post The Power of Confession, The Fear of Failure, and Paul Zahl on Donald Trump appeared first on New Persuasive Words.


8 Jan 2016

Rank #6

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Episode 72: Good Riddance

Dr. Todd Brewer, New Testament Professor at General Theological Seminary, comes on the podcast to talk about Mockingbird’s best theology book list of 2016. Then the roundtable talks about, among other things, Good Riddance Day.


6 Jan 2017

Rank #7

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Episode 151: Don't Wash Your Face

In which RJ, Sarah, and DZ discuss Hollis-mania, intuitive eating, and useless awards. Also, RJ sucks on a rock. Articles discussed include: "Girl, Follow Jesus" by Jen Oshman via The Gospel Coalition "'Girl, Wash Your Face' is a Massive Best Seller With a Dark Message" by Laura Turner via Buzzfeed "Intuitive Eating: The Latest Diet Trend is not Dieting" by Amanda Mull via The Atlantic "Love Gone Wrong: When Ash Wednesday Falls on Valentine's Day" by Sam Bush via Mbird.com "All Awards are Stupid" via Seinfeld


9 Mar 2019

Rank #8

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Episode 18: The Protest Vote and The Magic of Protestantism

In this episode of the show we talk with some really interesting people. We begin with a conversation with J.R. Rozko, co-director of the Mission Alliance (www.missioalliance.org). They are doing a series of conference gatherings to explore what different past traditions have to offer the church and its mission in a post-Christian future. We’ll actually be doing a live recording of the show at their May gathering in Philadelphia which will look at the Reformation tradition (http://www.missioalliance.org/gatherings/reformedevent/). Then we chat with Aaron Zimmerman, rector of St. Alban’s Church in Waco Texas. He shares his top five insights for preachers who want to preach more life giving and graced sermons. (http://www.stalbanswaco.org/sermon-podcast). We conclude talking about our wrap up post, Another Week Ends. As usual you can find all the content we discuss at our website www.mbird.com. The post The Protest Vote and The Magic of Protestantism appeared first on New Persuasive Words.


12 Feb 2016

Rank #9

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Episode 105: Liars and Madmen and You: The Art of Narrative - CJ Green

Most people will recognize Stephen King’s It as the one about the killer clown. Which it is. But at 1100 pages, it has to be more than that, you know? In his dedication King writes: “Fiction is the truth inside the lie”—which, I’ll admit, I still don’t fully get—but that’s nevertheless a good place to begin investigating one of It’s running themes: extracting the truth from the lies, particularly the ones we tell ourselves. Centered around a group of raggle-taggle tweens, It is a story about growing up and facing fears, about selectively remembering (and discarding) our early painful memories. What the characters develop, as their first line of defense against the killer clown in question, is an elaborate but ultimately fragile method of narrative construction that carries them into adulthood: Mike Hanlon, one of the story’s protagonists, explains, “We lie best when we lie to ourselves.” It’s true for all of us. With the recent deluge of social studies concerning #confirmationbias, and with the self-righteousness of American politics cropping up wherever we look—not to mention moral dispatches from Starbucks cups—there’s never been a better time to take a second glance at the stories we tell ourselves. If spun right, “taking control of your narrative” can sound just as liberating as “taking a trip to Aruba”; but the late David Carr, in his memoir, The Night of the Gun, illustrates the exhausting side of this self-embossed coin: “You spread versions of yourself around, giving each person the truth he or she needs—you need, actually—to keep them at one remove.” So let’s get all our narratives in one place and talk about them, Friday, April 28, 3:30PM, at the 10th Annual Mockingbird Conference. We’ll discuss some of the best stories told by liars and madmen, including some by me and some by you. And—of course—we’ll talk about the great, final page-turner that illuminates the truth about us and pulls us into it, not as tragic heroes but as pardoned villains.


26 Jul 2017

Rank #10

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Episode 23: Preaching and Hearing The Word In Holy Week And A Live Recording From #MbirdTyler2016

This week we have Jacob Smith back on the podcast to talk about preaching and hearing sermons during Holy Week. David, Sarah and Scott also record live from the Mockingbird Tyler conference in the Lone Star State. The stars and night are big and bright, clap, clap, clap….! The post Preaching and Hearing The Word In Holy Week And A Live Recording From #MbirdTyler2016 appeared first on New Persuasive Words.


19 Mar 2016

Rank #11

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Episode 91: Did It Have to Be Jesus? - Nicole Cliffe

Saturday morning talk at our 2017 Conference in New York City, given by Nicole Cliffe (The Toast). Delivered April 29th, 2017 at St George's Episcopal Church.


9 May 2017

Rank #12

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Episode 117: The Mockingcast Rides Again!

Our first "proper" episode in eight months(!), David and Sarah are joined by new co-host RJ Heijmen, as they talk Disneyland, church types, sexual harassment, male libido, Advent, and the difference between justice and revenge. Click here to read the McSweeney's list. Click here to read Stephen Marche's article about Male Libido (and David's commentary on it. Click here to read Abby Farson Pratt's article about the troublesome distinction between art and artist. Go here to Fleming Rutledge's Advent devotion. And click here to subscribe to Scott Jones' terrific Give and Take podcast.


1 Dec 2017

Rank #13

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Episode 106: Freedom in Christ, or, How We Can Do What You Do on the Dance Floor

Drew discusses how Christ keeps our feet moving.


1 Aug 2017

Rank #14

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Episode 169: Optimizing the Broken

In which RJ, Sarah, and Dave talk procrastination, child-ing, and going home with Beth Moore. Also, RJ's three-year-old wakes up with a song in his heart. To read Tim Kreider's article about procrastination, click here. To read Agnes Callard's article about panic and parenting, click here. To read Wesley Hill's article about unnecessary gifts, click here. And to read Sarah Condon's article about Beth Moore, go here.


27 Oct 2019

Rank #15

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Episode 76: Pastrix

Our guest this week is Nadia Bolz-Weber. She is a pastor, author, speaker, fitness jedi and poster child for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Then the roundtable tackles fat shaming, date hating, food solidarity and the definition of a sermon.Special Guest: Nadia Bolz-Weber.

1hr 15mins

3 Feb 2017

Rank #16

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Episode 84: Fear and Trembling

Our guest this week is Jeffrey Hanson, author of "Kierkegaard and the Life of Faith: The Aesthetic, the Ethical, and the Religious in 'Fear and Trembling'". Then the roundtable talks Yik Yak, the breeding grounds of resentment and more Melissa Febos.Special Guest: Jeffrey Hanson.

1hr 4mins

24 Mar 2017

Rank #17

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Episode 107: No, Actually I Don't Work Out - Nick Lannon

Nick opens Mockingbird's "500 Years of Grace" Event in DC.


6 Nov 2017

Rank #18

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Episode 103: The Word of the Cross - Jim McNeely

The time for the most wondrous conference – the Mockingbird NYC spring conference – has rolled around again, and the powers-that-be have condescended to let me come and do a breakout session! I’m going to talk about a book I’ve been writing for 3 years now called “The Word of the Cross.” I’m very excited about this material! The Cross is our Solution? The Corinthian church was a mess. There were divisions and theological quarrels and pride about obscure knowledge. Gross sexual sins were being tolerated. Church members were suing one another. There was idolatry, overeating at potlucks, and a carnal fascination with spiritual gifts. If anyone ever talks about the early church as a model of success, they certainly don’t mean this particular early church. Paul wades into this familiar-sounding morass of fleshliness and spiritual immaturity with a very unlikely message: For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (1 Cor 1:18-2:5) For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:3-4) Paul considered the cross of Christ to be so important and central to this mess of a church that he began and ended his letter to them with it. In fact, he was determined to know nothing else among them, and he delivered it to them as of first importance. The question is, how does the cross of Christ speak to these terrible (if all too familiar) problems? Is it possible that the cross of Christ, far from being some obscure point of doctrine or the subject of strange and dusty old hymns, is in fact the power of God which holds the key to addressing the very real carnality and fleshliness in the church? The Word Made Flesh is a Crucified Word In the first chapter of the book of John, we learn that the “Word” which was in the beginning was with God, and was God. If Jesus Christ is the very word of God made flesh, then what is He saying to us? He didn’t just speak God’s words — He actually is God’s word. What is the message of this word of flesh and bone and blood? Of all the things He taught, there was no greater word than the cross. You can be certain that every word that Jesus spoke and every action He took was done in light of His crucifixion. When He rose from the dead, He was not raised as a completely healed man as if newborn. He retained the scars. His crucifixion has become an essential part of His identity. This preserved evidence of crucifixion was proof to the disciples of His identity, that the risen Savior is the the Savior who has suffered. He describes Himself to John in the vision as the One who was dead, who is alive forevermore (Rev 1:18). It is the Lamb standing, as if slain, who is worthy apart from all creatures, to open the scroll in the Father’s right hand (Rev 5:6). He is worthy because He was slain, and purchased men for God with His blood. (Rev 5:9). He is known as a slain lamb, and His worthiness is that He was slain. All of heaven understands the centrality of the cross of Christ. An Infinite Well of Atonement Theories There seems to be some controversy in some circles about whether this atonement theory or that atonement theory of the cross is true. I have come to think that not only are almost all of these theories true, but they are not even exclusive. The cross is speaking virtually everything that God ever wants to say to us at once – so many important and beautiful things! Far from being exclusive, these words of the cross are like the bones and sinew and organs and nerves which together make up a human body. They are like the many facets of a single exquisite diamond. They are like many rivers which come together to fill up the ocean. The cross speaks a powerful word of crushing law while at the same time it speaks a liberating word of lavish grace. The cross speaks forth perfect justice, and at once speaks forth a startling mercy. The cross speaks forth the wrath of God at the same time that it speaks forth an enduring declaration of the love of God. The cross speaks that God understands our suffering, and that our worst circumstance can be turned around to become something beautiful. The cross says that we will in Christ transcend the ever-present problem of evil within ourselves and all round about us. The cross speaks forth that God understands our suffering and is able to cause even our most grief-stricken and sorrowful times and our most shameful failures to turn out for good. The cross speaks forth a powerful grace in the form of penal substitution – for which I will give, not simply a biblical defense, but a philosophical defense. I hope everyone walks out convinced that this strange doctrine is really a very deep well of incredibly scandalous and delicious grace. In the end, the cross speaks forth a theologically profound word, and it also speaks forth a most tender and effectual pastoral word. The word of the cross speaks forth the only true transformation available to us as humans. The cross is the truest and surest word written supernaturally by the very finger of God Himself on the fabric of human history.


10 Jul 2017

Rank #19

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Episode 126: Some Kind of Sinners Anonymous

After sharing their least anxious journal entries, Sarah, RJ and Dave come clean about loneliness, AA and self-forgetfulness. Also, RJ talks way too much about Spider-man.


14 Apr 2018

Rank #20