HTH: The Mockingbird Family Issue

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Our friends at Mockingbird publish a quarterly magazine, and this summer’s issue focuses on the family. It does what Mockingbird does best: challenge, comment, entertain, and delight, all the while directing readers to examine the role of law and grace in their lives and lifting our gaze to Jesus.

The variety of perspectives, styles, and voices is one of the strengths of Mockingbird. There’s no shortage of fun; you’ll find cultural commentary ranging from Harry Potter to the family dog. There’s also no shortage of though-provoking challenge to our accepted cultural and religious norms. “The Seculosity of Parenting” an excerpt from Mockingbird founder David Zahl’s recent Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Theology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What We Can Do About It (see our review here) challenges parents to think about how culture shapes our parenting and how the gospel might offer a better way. In “Do This, Get That?,” an interview with psychologist Alfie Kohn, we are reminded this is going to require effort and thought:

The hard road of parenting, on the other hand, is one that is respectful and responsive, empathetic and caring, involved to the extent that it makes sense, and governed primarily by what’s in the child’s best interest, not governed by our own fears or our own agenda or our own history. What is deeply unsettling to most people about this analysis is that it leads to us gulping and ultimately having to reconsider the ways we were taught and raised, rather than mindlessly reproducing sometimes dubious approaches to parenting our own children.

Fortunately for us, the gospel of grace guides us as we reconsider our own upbringing, and several articles here do exactly that. Chad Bird examines parental failure and grace in “Super- Moms, Uber- Dads, and Other People Who Don’t Exist.” Carrie Willard shares grief and hope in her relationship with an estranged sister, and Adam Morton tackles the difficult question of interpreting exactly what Jesus thought about biological ties in “Call No Man Father.”

But in a magazine full of wisdom, insight, and humor, the most profound and affecting piece is Ben Maddison’s “The Cruciform Family.” The hard road of infertility led Maddison and his wife to become foster parents, but his observations apply to us all:

All families are cruciform because God’s family is cruciform. Born out of and containing all human brokenness, God worked to form a family for himself. Not one free from suffering, but one that coalesces from suffering toward redemption and reconciliation.

Order The Family Issue here!

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