Announcing a brand new audio resource from Mockingbird! These 18 hours of lectures from Dr. Paul F.M. Zahl were recorded last summer during a week-long course he taught on his book Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life. They are now available for download on our Publications page for $30.
The Gospel of forgiveness is a beautiful idea, but it can be difficult to connect with our daily, down-in-the-trenches lives in a way that’s meaningful for practical experience. Christianity is often maligned as limiting and downbeat, but at its core lies the all-encompassing message of grace, which liberates the heart by speaking comfort into our lives. Dr. Zahl both starts and ends with this grace, following the application of one-way love into every corner of human endeavor. Indeed, no stone goes unturned.
The occasion for these recordings was an invitation Dr. Zahl received to teach his seminal Grace in Practice for one week in the summer of 2012, five years after its original publication. He took the opportunity to expand on his distinctive lens of theology for everyday life, rooting the message of grace in the lived human experience of judgment and love. Over the course of five days, the lectures touched on a prodigious range of topics, from singleness and marriage to infancy and old age, from the unique action of Jesus Christ to the way that the forces of grace and law play out in even the most mundane areas of our lives.
In between the more systematic elements of the course, Dr. Zahl adventurously free-associates on the theme of God’s grace, contributing a wealth of unfiltered and often-hilarious personal experience. His teaching style has a broad range; he speaks in turns as academic theologian, literary scholar, classroom therapist and stand-up comedian.
The lectures also serve as a veritable library of Christian literary references, from high art to pulp novels to three-minute plays, as well as a storehouse of practical, earthed wisdom. With help from Leo Tolstoy and William Hale White, Thornton Wilder and Terence Rattigan, Zahl traces the lineaments of love from its divine origin to its vivifying effect in human relationships. Taken as a whole, these recordings enhance our understanding of both Christianity and daily life by painting, in concrete experience, the broad strokes of God’s grace for sinners.
As a teaser, here’s the first session:
The full tracklisting, which functions almost as a table of contents, is as follows:
- Introduction: Freedom and Morality (43:49)
- From the Bottom Up (1:03:32)
- Known and Loved (38:25)
- Free Will, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Free Agency (50:19)
- “Janet’s Repentance” (54:17)
- When the Dam Breaks: Grace in the Examination Room (41:33)
- “I Wanna Know What Love Is” (52:33)
- Red Beard (23:20)
- Death and Resurrection in Marriage (48:03)
- Three Uses of the Law (58:34)
- Grace with Children: From Toilet Training to Adulthood (37:21)
- Earthed Theology: Catherine Furze and Spontaneous Grace (41:41)
- Pastoral Counseling and Ice Cream Breakdowns (1:03:00)
- Beyond Hope, Life (1:04:37)
- The Underground River, Revisited (25:21)
- Practical and Impractical Law (49:51)
- Grace and Listening (36:49)
- Lord Buckley and The Naz (19:15)
- Grace and Punishment: Kant, Tolstoy, and John Profumo (57:45)
- “The Wounded Soldiers Serve” (43:37)
- Grace in Society: Passive Ethics and Unintended Consequences (40:30)
- Grace and Military Preemption (33:01)
- Grace in Ecclesiology (50:54)
- Preaching: A Catastrophic Meltdown Every Night (54:29)
- Mr. Magoo and The Retrospective Gospel (32:57)
Given the sheer amount of material, the package is broken up into five manageable zip files (each one collecting a single day’s mp3s), plus a PDF with the tracklisting, course bibliography, and short introductory essay, a large part of which we’ve reproduced above. When “unpacked” there should be 25 tracks, totaling roughly 400mb in size.