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About David Zahl

David Zahl is the director of Mockingbird Ministries and editor-in-chief of the Mockingbird blog. He and his wife Cate reside in Charlottesville, VA, with their two sons, where David also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church.

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    From The New Yorker

    agechast

    Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second…)

    Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second…)

    I owe you an apology. Or at least a confession. Nine months after switching to a flip phone, and about six months after making a big stink about it, I went back to a smart one. I’m not proud.

    What got me in the end wasn’t Internet itself. I stand by what I wrote about the cost, both personal and communal, of non-stop web access. I probably undersold it. What made me, er, flip back was two things: music and texts. They were the rationalization, in any case.

    I realized about a month into the experiment that I wasn’t willing to live…

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    Another Week Ends: Knuckled Mascots, Poetry Haters, Holy Fools, Healthy Teenagers, Q-Tip Effects, and Beloved Waterboys

    Another Week Ends: Knuckled Mascots, Poetry Haters, Holy Fools, Healthy Teenagers, Q-Tip Effects, and Beloved Waterboys

    Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with Kenneth Woodward, the former religion editor at Newsweek and recent author of Getting Religion: Faith, Culture, and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Era of Obama.

    1. First off, The Huffington Post was kind enough to alert us of our new mascot: Injured Mockingbird Given Pair Of Wee ‘Snowshoes’ To Heal Its Feet. Just wonderful, ht SB.

    2. Really interesting article in The Atlantic asking why people hate poetry. The answers they come up with–via Ben Lerner’s new book The Hatred of Poetry–are not…

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    Pretentious Believers and the Law of Authenticity

    Pretentious Believers and the Law of Authenticity

    There was a period of time, and I’m not proud of it, when the worst insult my friends and I could lob at a person/place/thing was that they were ‘pretentious’. It connoted everything we didn’t like: phoniness, humorlessness, and haughtiness.

    At least, in theory it did. Over time, the word became less of a spear and more of a shield, fending off anything that made us feel bad about ourselves. That grad school student who disagreed with our opinion? Pfff, pretentious! That girl who wouldn’t give us the time of day?! So pretentious. That writer who slagged off Guns n Roses…

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    50 Years of Star Trek

    Can’t let the day pass by without acknowledging it in some fashion. Would love for the Trekkers out there to weigh in with their favorite moments. For example:

    The Last, the Least, the Lost, the Little and the… Old?

    The Last, the Least, the Lost, the Little and the… Old?

    I don’t have to think of a clever lead-in for this post. Erlich Bachmann has me more than covered:

    That’s a solid four and half minutes of unaired, improvised, and largely top-drawer old-fogey jokes courtesy of T.J. Miller’s Silicon Valley maestro. As with much of what happens on that show, there’s a biting subtext, in this case the writers hinting at what one publication recently called The Brutal Ageism of Tech.

    “Another day, another -ism”, the cynical among us might sigh, and at this point you can’t exactly blame them. A culture of complaint has a way of devaluing grievance, especially when it comes…

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    Another Week Ends: Jesus Alone, Secret Keepers, Undertakers, Burger Ontology, Clapter, Mascots & the Multiverse

    Another Week Ends: Jesus Alone, Secret Keepers, Undertakers, Burger Ontology, Clapter, Mascots & the Multiverse

    Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with Mark Tietjen, author of Kierkegaard: A Christian Missionary to Christians.

    1. Everything else fades into the background in a week when something like this initial item appears. It’s the first bit of music Nick Cave has released since his son Arthur died tragically last November, and it speaks volumes and volumes–even to those, I suspect, who haven’t spent the last few weeks cradling a newborn:

    2. Have you heard about Secret Keeper, the new app for Amazon Echo that allows you to whisper private thoughts to…

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    The Complicated Righteousness of Yoga Pants

    The Complicated Righteousness of Yoga Pants

    In years to come, when Hollywood makes its first period pieces about the mid 2010s, or HBO films a miniseries about American life at the end of the Obama presidency, they’ll have a wide range of fashion trends to choose from when dressing the cast. But they won’t be able to pull off a credible depiction of today’s professional class without putting at least some of the females in “athleisure”, e.g. yoga pants and the like.

    Jokes about ladies adopting high-end athletic gear as their go-to daily uniform (for all manner of non-athletic activity) have cropped up in enough movies and…

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    September Playlist

    Surviving November

    Surviving November

    Even though it’s not even September, the weary need their rest. As we enter a particularly vicious (and ridiculous) election cycle, we bring out from the archives our “Surviving November” series from four years back. Based on Jonathan Haidt’s work, The Righteous Mind, DZ delves into the sociology of political strife, and what hope we might be able to gather in spite of it.

     

    I. Political Divides, Intuitive Dogs, and Rational Tails

    Maybe the non-stop and increasingly ludicrous “opposition ads” have started to make you dread turning on the TV. Maybe you can’t read your (predominantly pop culture-focused!) Twitterfeed without getting depressed about…

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    Another Week Ends: All-American Phelps, Puritan Play, Forgiving Mel, Cargo Shorts & #FirstSevenJobs

    Another Week Ends: All-American Phelps, Puritan Play, Forgiving Mel, Cargo Shorts & #FirstSevenJobs

    Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, in which Scott interviews Krista Tippett, host of NPR’s On Being. Seriously!

    1. Even if you’re not as absorbed in the Olympics as yours truly, you can’t have spent much time on the interwebs this week without hearing something about what’s happening in the pool down in Rio. The US is dominating to an almost embarrassing extent, and you-know-who just keeps on winning gold medals. Since we didn’t highlight it back in June, do read Karen Crouse’s “Seeking Answers, Michael Phelps Finds Himself” if you haven’t had a chance, as…

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    When Forgiveness Flounders

    Timely paragraph from Miroslav Volf’s volume Exclusion and Embrace, ht SJ:

    exclusion-and-embrace-1“Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion — without transposing the enemy from the sphere of the monstrous… into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows [as the cross demonstrates] that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person’s humanity and imitate God’s love for him. And when one knows [as the cross demonstrates] that God’s love is greater than all sin, one is free to see oneself in the light of God’s justice and so rediscover one’s own sinfulness.”