Who's Who at MBird 2018

David Zahl - Charlottesville, VA

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A movie theater is a magical place. We laugh and cry, marvel and curse–occasionally we are even transported, the projector casting fresh light on both ourselves and the world around us. Mockingbird at the Movies collects essays from a wide range of contributors, exploring the films that have touched us most. Some are beautiful, some confrontational, some silly, some sad, some all of the above; taken together, they bear witness to the power of film to move the heart and lift the spirit. Grab your popcorn and press play

A movie theater is a magical place. We laugh and cry, marvel and curse–occasionally we are even transported, the projector casting fresh light on both ourselves and the world around us. Mockingbird at the Movies collects essays from a wide range of contributors, exploring the films that have touched us most. Some are beautiful, some confrontational, some silly, some sad, some all of the above; taken together, they bear witness to the power of film to move the heart and lift the spirit. Grab your popcorn and press play

David Zahl is the Director of Mockingbird Ministries  and editor-in-chief of the Mockingbird blog. Born in New York City, David graduated from Georgetown University in 2001 and then served for five years as a youth minister with FOCUS (Fellowship Of Christians in Universities and Schools) in their New England. In 2007 he founded Mockingbird in New York City. David and his wife Cate currently reside in Charlottesville, VA with their two boys, Charlie and Cabell, where David also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church, supervising their ministry to students and young adults. He is a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal diocese of Virginia, and his writing has appeared in Christianity Today, Modern Reformation and The Dish. He is also the author of A Mess of Help: From the Crucified Soul of Rock N' Roll.

John Zahl - Charleston, SC

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Church basements are curious places. Playing host to the vibrant world of 12 Step Recovery, they witness the sort of healing and redemption that would make those on the ground floor proud, and maybe even envious. Yet despite the Church and Alcoholics Anonymous both being in the business of bringing "hope to the hopeless," the two worlds seldom seem to interact. Packed with vivid illustrations, good humor, and practical wisdom, Grace in Addiction attempts to bridge this divide and carry the unexpected good news of AA out of the basement and into the pews--and beyond! Recommended for anyone who has struggled with addiction, knows someone who has struggled with addiction, or spent any time living and/or breathing.

Church basements are curious places. Playing host to the vibrant world of 12 Step Recovery, they witness the sort of healing and redemption that would make those on the ground floor proud, and maybe even envious. Yet despite the Church and Alcoholics Anonymous both being in the business of bringing "hope to the hopeless," the two worlds seldom seem to interact. Packed with vivid illustrations, good humor, and practical wisdom, Grace in Addiction attempts to bridge this divide and carry the unexpected good news of AA out of the basement and into the pews--and beyond! Recommended for anyone who has struggled with addiction, knows someone who has struggled with addiction, or spent any time living and/or breathing.

bio coming soon....

John Newton - Houston, TX

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Jesus was quite clear that we must lose our life before we find it. This book gives a hopeful and realistic look at what losing our life entails, articulating how “growth” in the Christian life is not our ascent to God but the process by which our eyes are opened to the beauty God has already given to us. It is a book about descending into God, and into our own inner depths, about the deep waters of the Christian faith. “Put out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch.” (Luke 5:4) We live in a world that values productivity and success, and we vainly imagine that God expects us to be spiritually productive and successful, too. It doesn’t matter how much we talk about grace, our conversation is often narrowly focused on what we need to do for God―so much so that we often block the work God longs to do in us. This book does not articulate God’s work as a process by which we become spiritually strong, but rather as the process by which we embrace our weakness as the place where we most fully experience God’s perfect strength (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Jesus was quite clear that we must lose our life before we find it. This book gives a hopeful and realistic look at what losing our life entails, articulating how “growth” in the Christian life is not our ascent to God but the process by which our eyes are opened to the beauty God has already given to us. It is a book about descending into God, and into our own inner depths, about the deep waters of the Christian faith. “Put out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch.” (Luke 5:4)

We live in a world that values productivity and success, and we vainly imagine that God expects us to be spiritually productive and successful, too. It doesn’t matter how much we talk about grace, our conversation is often narrowly focused on what we need to do for God―so much so that we often block the work God longs to do in us. This book does not articulate God’s work as a process by which we become spiritually strong, but rather as the process by which we embrace our weakness as the place where we most fully experience God’s perfect strength (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Not this guy..

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       ...this guy

After graduating in 2004 from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in business studies (BBA), John worked for eighteen months as the program coordinator for the Episcopal college ministry on the UT campus.  In 2008 John graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood at All Saints Episcopal Church in January of 2009, where he served for almost three years as the University of Texas Campus Missioner.  In February of 2011 John began working as Bishop Andy Doyle’s Canon for Lifelong Christian Formation in the Diocese of Texas, and in May of 2015 John moved into a new role as Bishop Doyle’s Chief of Staff. John is the author of two books: New Clothes: Putting on Christ and Finding Ourselves (2014) and Falling into Grace: Exploring our Inner Life with God (2016). His third book, Reckless Love: the Scandal of Grace in a Performance-Driven World, will be released in May 2018. John is married to his best friend Emily and the two of them reside in Houston with their daughters Annie and Kate and their golden retriever Scout.

 

Eric Earley (Blitzen Trapper) - Portland, OR

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A question I ask myself, why make records? And why in particular did I make this record? I've made lots of records, about half of them shared with the world, the other half squirreled away for no good reason.

Songs upon songs upon songs.

But I guess in the end I just had some stories to tell, like the one about the cop turned cocaine dealer, or the murderous 13 year old girl, or the underage lovers who steal her mom's checkbook, her dad's truck and go on a spree down the west coast, free as the wind, until it becomes clear the boy is addicted to heroin, the physical freedom outstripped by enslavement to the substance. And but lets not forget the one about the woman in the black TransAm who steals hearts from wrecked/jaded men deep in their cups, another form of internment. Stories upon stories.

Each story is true in some sense.

So I guess I have my reasons for making a record. For adding to the overwhelming fetid deluge of content running wild, pushing at the banks of cultural consciousness for no good reason. And really the value of a record seems to be increasingly non-monetary. As it should be I guess, the true craft, the reality of music, of voice, is played out on stages across the country, not in bluetooth earbuds.

And so 10 years after Furr, a record that touched a vein and continues to, the song itself more widely known than the band that made it, after 10 years of touring with Blitzen Trapper, after all the drug busts, run-ins with the law, drunken nights/fights/wrecks, flings with fans/groupies/angels, run ins with demons/criminals/saints, TV appearances, court appearances, disappearances, what do we have to show for it?

Nothing much that can be physically pointed to, it's more a feeling. A cerebral kind of currency, of having communed/partaken/contributed to the dialogue of rock music, of the musical arts as well as a sense of America as a whole. This country like a willfully ignorant child, blind to its faults, not knowing how good it has it, half-heartedly adhering to a God that no longer exists, its leadership nothing but a mirror held up to its own fat misshapen face. To possess this sense, this knowledge is worth its weight in gold. This is the true meaning of that genre we are a part of, what we call Americana.

We recently created a theater event that ran for a couple months in our hometown of Portland, OR called Wild and Reckless, half musical, half rock-opera dealing with heroin abuse, desperation, True Love and western power structures. Heady as shit, but in the end as it unfolded I realized it was really about music, that longing for escape, that pure juvenile psychedelia we possessed as kids laying in summer grass gazing up at the clouds in the sky seeing shapes in them, imbuing them with a reality that was not really there but that we saw it and named it. Stories upon stories.

This resultant album Wild and Reckless is a companion to Furr, a second volume in that wild dystopian reality of killers and shape-shifters, and there is a running narrative to it that, like its companion Furr hinges upon Love, love lost, found, hidden. That's the center, the Heart of the matter and all the stories upon stories revolve around it like a menagerie of rocks around a burning sun.

— Eric Earley

 

Charlotte Getz - Long Beach, CA

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Charlotte Getz was born in Birmingham and graduated from Pepperdine University in 2006 with a degree in Creative Writing. After three years serving as a youth minister at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, she went back to school at the Savannah College of Art and Design where she earned her MFA in photography. Presently, Charlotte spends most of her spare time watching re-runs of teen soap opera/dramas (for intellectual purposes only), eating Paleo cookie dough (it's a thing), and caring for her precious children Ford (4), Margot (2), and Hercules (77, in puggle-years). Her day job beyond the beautiful burden of motherhood is Editor-in-Chief at Rooted Ministry, as well as contributor at Mockingbird. Her Untitled book (co-authored with Mockingbird's own, Stephanie Phillips) is set to be released in April of 2018. Charlotte resides with her family in Long Beach, California but originally hails from the great(est) state of Alabama.

Required reading!.....www.mbird.com/author/charlotte-getz/

Aaron Zimmerman - Waco, TX

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Aaron was born in Houston, but his childhood took him to Mexico City; Washington, D.C.; Stockholm, Sweden; and Los Angeles, California, before finally settling in his hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

After earning a B.A. magna cum laude in History of Science at Harvard University, Aaron spent two years with an educational non-profit in Kazakhstan. Aaron later worked as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School and as an Executive Compensation Analyst with H.J. Heinz in Pittsburgh.

He received his Master of Divinity from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in 2008. Before coming to St. Alban's, he served churches in Pittsburgh and Houston. Aaron is a contributor to the Mockingbird blog and magazine, and President of the Board of Directors of Mockingbird Ministries. He is a member of the Better Together BU Advisory Board

Aaron's wife, Andrea, is originally from Michigan, and holds two degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She has worked in church ministry, apparel design, and as a non-profit director and event planner. Married since 2002, Aaron and Andrea are proud parents of three children.

The Magills & Co. - Tyler, TX

Matt and Megan Magill met on the stage in 1998 and have been at home together there ever since. They were married in 2001 and moved to New York City to pursue careers in music and theater. Having relocated to Tyler, TX in 2010, Matt and Megan now regularly perform around Texas and occasionally far beyond.   Matt is the Downtown Arts Initiative for Bethel Bible Church Downtown and Megan is the artistic director of Magill Musical Theatre Studio.   The couple also work for their non-profit, B3 Ministries, where they use their music, performances and productions as opportunities to bridge the gap between the church and the community around them.  Down Is Up Is Down is their newest release and features guitarist Marc Ford (The Black Crowes) and can be found with their other music, Matt Magill: Song x Song, The Magills: The Sting and The Honey, and The Magills: …And The Kings County Sound , on iTunes and www.themagills.bandcamp.com.  

Ricky Garner - Tyler, TX

Ricky Garner was born and raised in Tyler, TX. After graduating high school he joined the U.S. Air Force and moved away from Tyler. After serving in the Air Force Ricky and his family moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area where they resided for over 25 years. In 2000 he was called to the gospel ministry and in 2006 the Lord led Ricky and his wife to plant Unity Baptist Church in Ft. Worth where he served as senior pastor until returning home to Tyler in 2014. Ricky currently serves as assistant pastor at New Days Community Church in Tyler. He also serves on the boards of Promise Academy and The Mentoring Alliance. He has studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ricky has been married to his wife Jane for over 30 years and they have 4 children.

Brad Wofford - Tyler, TX

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Brad Wofford is the Director of Media at Pine Cove Camps and operates BW Design – a freelance creative shop in Tyler, TX. After working as an Art Director in Dallas for 5 years, on projects for Southwest Airlines, broadcast.com (when that was still a thing), MADD, Waste Management, Halliburton and IBM, he and his family moved to the pine forests of East Texas in search of a more meaningful creative life and a little less traffic. He was recently featured as “Designer of the Week” for Print Magazine and is still striving for “Dad of the Week” at home. Brad also plays the banjo and leads up a local string-band called The Scrips.

Ben Wheeler - Tyler, TX

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Ben Wheeler is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in American and just recently planted a new church in Tyler called Redeemer. He is the happy husband of Rachel and proud father of four.  After getting a BS and MS from Texas A&M, he did research and development in the food industry for about 10 years.  He then attended Westminster Seminary and went on to serve churches in Dallas, Rockwall, and Corpus Christi.   A Tyler native, he is very grateful to be back in his home town and able to proclaim God’s good news to the people he knows so well.

Aristeo Rodriguez , El Guapo Records - Tyler, TX

Aristeo Rodriguez ("A-Rod" for short) is the owner/operator of El Guapo Records.   El Guapo Records opened in December of 2016 and features vinyl, tapes, cds and various local music and swag.   He loves music and everything about it and he's deeply interested in the community of Tyler and prefers ALWAYS "keeping it local".

Blaine Davis - Tyler, TX

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Blaine Davis lives in historic Tyler, TX and works in a variety of fields. He is the current Humanities Chair at Grace Community High School and teaches 9th grade English. When not corralling squirrelly freshmen, he serves at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (NALC) as a council member and lay minister assisting in pulpit supply and visitation. Blaine is an ’06 graduate of Wheaton College and will be wrapping up his MA in Humanities and Literature at the University of Dallas this spring. He is happily married to Karin Davis, and together they are the proud parents of Annabelle and Penelope. In their spare time, the Davis’ co-own Sola Bread Co. along with Tim, Lindsay, Tommy, and Jack Long. Together they bake Tyler’s only naturally leavened, brick-oven bread.

Ryan Dixon - True Vine Brewing

Ryan Dixon and True Vine Brewing are about more than good beer. They are about love and integrity, walking in faith and hope, putting their neighbors before themselves and crafting brews that reflect the same, bringing people together and building community. Founded in 2011 by friends with a passion for life, quality beer and creative expression, we are an up and coming family based craft brewery located in Tyler, TX. Integrity, Community and Love are three core virtues at True Vine. You can read more about our hearts and vision in the January issue of BSCENE Magazine. 

Rev. Matt Boulter - Tyler, TX

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Matt Boulter is a 41 year old wayfarer from Texas who sometimes thinks he’s traveling down the right path. He is an Episcopal Priest and PhD student in medieval philosophy. He loves reading, running, drinking, smoking, and hanging out with his three brown-eyed girls. He blogs at religiocity.org.

Rev. Keith Pozzuto - Waco, TX

Rev. Keith Pozzuto is a cradle Episcopalian and a graduate of Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge PA, Keith grew up, served as a Youth Minister, and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburg.   He loves to road trip and to relax at home with his family, and enjoys reading what he describes as ‘extremely long history books.’ Possessing a deep relationship with the Lord, a warm heart, and a great sense of humor, Keith has been blessed by God with his wonderful wife Melinda, and their children Sam, a student in high school and Gregory, who works in Pittsburg, PA.

Micah Lewis, Artist - Tyler, TX

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Micah Lewis, an artist who's work could best be described as lowbrow, is living and working from the brick roads in beautiful downtown Tyler, Texas.   She is a self-taught artist who finds beauty in all of God’s creation, particularly in people…and coffee.  Having a heart for creativity from a young age, she draws inspiration from tattoo art, comic books, or old Godzilla movies. Additionally, she has a peculiar knack for portraits where she can capture the natural emotion present in each subject.  She prefers drawing with her collection of drafting pencils, a brush pen, or painting with watercolor, but enjoys challenging herself with any medium.To take a look into her process or to gain sneak peeks of upcoming projects, you can follow her at:

Instagram: @theyoungwarrior & Facebook: facebook.com/micahtheyoungwarrior