New Here?
     
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.

Contact

Author Archive
    
    Location images of Love & Friendship, a Jane Austen film adaptation starring Kate Bekinsdale and Chloe Sevigny, directed by Whit Stillman. CHURCHILL PRODUCTIONS LIMITED. Producers Katie Holly, Whit Stillman, Lauranne Bourrachot. Co-Producer Raymond Van Der Kaaij. Also Starring: Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell & Morfydd Clark

    Another Week Ends: Ambitious Critics, Saving Beauty, Love & Friendship, Infinite Jest, Mother Theresa, Suede and The Whitney Plantation

    Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast, featuring Stephanie Phillips.

    1. Funny how some weeks a single theme comes to dominate this column. This week that theme appears to be beauty and our relationship to it. First up, NY Times film critic A.O. Scott has a tome coming out next week entitled Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth, which attempts to make sense of his field in a time when social media appears to have devalued or trivialized it. This past weekend his employers ran a precis of the book,…

    Read More > > >

    The Outsider Gets Radical: Notes on Blaming the Victim and Loving the Alien

    The Outsider Gets Radical: Notes on Blaming the Victim and Loving the Alien

    Must have been almost fifteen years ago. I was sitting down with the chaplain of a prestigious New England prep school, and although he was being incredibly polite about it, he was sussing me out. You see, I was a stranger on campus, brought there on behalf of the para-church organization for which I worked, at the invitation of the school’s Christian fellowship group. He had every right to know where I was coming from before signing off on my presence/involvement, a responsibility to parents and administrators to ensure that students would be spared any high-pressure proselytizing while away from…

    Read More > > >

    February Playlist: Bowie’s Last Score

    Haven’t done one of these dedicated lists in a while, but since he’s all I’ve been listening to this past month, it felt appropriate. The rules are: 1. Every song had to have been recorded some time in Bowie’s final two decades-ish (1995-2015) and 2. It couldn’t have been released as a single, i.e., deep cuts only. Pretty happy with it! Presented in chronological order:

    From The Onion: Boss Wants Friendly, Relaxed Company Culture In Place By Friday

    Some hilarious work/play resonance from America’s Finest News Source. Reminds me of the time I watched a clergyman berate his staff for a perceived lack of joy at the Christmas Eve service, sadly sans tongue in cheek. Sigh:

    nvkoit2smgcnjm50yeboSAN MATEO, CA—Warning of severe consequences if he didn’t see results, Pantheon Digital Consulting COO Daniel Abelson, 59, told employees Monday he wants a relaxed, friendly company culture implemented by the end of the week, sources within the organization confirmed. “I don’t care how you make this a laid-back, fun place to work, just get it done, and get it done fast,” Abelson said during a meeting of the company’s various department heads… “If we have to stay late every night this week figuring this thing out, then that’s what we’re going to do. And if we don’t have a casual, cheerful workplace environment all wrapped up by end of day Friday, everybody’s coming in this weekend.” Abelson reportedly dismissed a project manager later that day when the employee failed to loosen up after Abelson demanded she do so.

    Click here to read the whole thing.

    The Best Natural Disaster There Is? In Praise of Blizzards

    The Best Natural Disaster There Is? In Praise of Blizzards

    The psychology around snow days is fascinating. Blizzards especially, like the one we experienced in Virginia over the weekend. For all they cover up, a massive snowstorm also exposes some less-than-fluffy sides of our species and culture.

    If you’re like me, the snow days of childhood are cloaked in soft-focused wonder and excitement. A break from routine, a time to sled and build forts and drink hot chocolate. Like one of Riley’s Minnesota memories in Inside Out.

    The snow days of adulthood are different. There is still beauty to be seen and fun to be had, walks to be taken, new recipes to…

    Read More > > >

    Another Week Ends: That Dragon Cancer, Grief Police, Fat Waiters, Groucho’s Invention, Bad Jazz and Barcelona

    Another Week Ends: That Dragon Cancer, Grief Police, Fat Waiters, Groucho’s Invention, Bad Jazz and Barcelona

    Click here for this week’s episode of The Mockingcast.

    Thank You For Playing (2016) – Official Teaser from Thank You For Playing on Vimeo.

    1. I’m a little embarrassed we haven’t given this initial story its due yet. Given the nature of the content and my own stage in life, I suppose I’ve been putting it off. But it’s simply too powerful and beautiful to ignore any longer, a testament to the very best that Christianity has to offer the world, and in a highly unexpected form. I’m referring to the creation and release of what is being called “the most profound…

    Read More > > >

    From the Archives: MLK’s Eulogy for Martyred Children

    From the Archives: MLK’s Eulogy for Martyred Children

    The following speech/sermon was given by Martin Luther King, Jr after the bombing at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963, just three weeks after the March on Washington.

    This afternoon we gather in the quiet of this sanctuary to pay our last tribute of respect to these beautiful children of God. They entered the stage of history just a few years ago, and in the brief years that they were privileged to act on this mortal stage, they played their parts exceedingly well. Now the curtain falls; they move through the exit; the drama of their earthly life comes…

    Read More > > >

    Another Week Ends: More Bowie, Evolving Brooks, Idolatrous Doctrine, Insulted Servants, and Gaming Gratitude

    Another Week Ends: More Bowie, Evolving Brooks, Idolatrous Doctrine, Insulted Servants, and Gaming Gratitude

    Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast. Be sure not to miss the special Theology/Church episode released earlier this week.

    1. It’s been a David Bowie world this week, and we just live in it. Despite the sadness, I feel like the immersion has been good for my soul, or at least, a timely reminder that our venerated “low anthropology” is not a ceiling so much as a baseline, a starting point rather than upward limit, that beauty and creativity and courage exists alongside the other, less savory aspects of our nature. Which is not to…

    Read More > > >

    The God of Tidying Up Hates Me

    The God of Tidying Up Hates Me

    Buried in last week’s installment of Another Week Ends, CJ mentioned the new book by sociologist Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Faith: Why the World Is More Religious than Ever. The subtitle pretty much says it all. The Wall Street Journal, in its review, summarized Stark’s principal finding this way:

    Huldufolk

    For the champions of the secularization thesis [i.e. that the planet is growing steadily less religious]…, Empty churches [in Europe] are a sign of reason’s progress. Mr. Stark offers some amusing evidence to the contrary. Drawing on the Gallup poll, he notes that Europeans hold all sorts of supernatural beliefs. In Austria, 28%…

    Read More > > >

    The Manner of Men – Rudyard Kipling

    The Manner of Men – Rudyard Kipling

    Wow. This was new to me. A short story by the renowned Jungle Book author, which recounts Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27-28 from the point of view of the sailors who accompanied him. Takes a little while to get going, but once it does… Brilliant. The ending especially. Click here for more background. There are a lot worse ways to spend your afternoon/evening.

    Bridgeman; (c) David Brangwyn; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

    ‘If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts.’— I Cor. XV. 32

    Her cinnabar-tinted topsail, nicking the hot blue horizon, showed she was a Spanish wheat-boat…

    Read More > > >

    Just Like That Bluebird: The Mortal Prayers of David Bowie, RIP

    Just Like That Bluebird: The Mortal Prayers of David Bowie, RIP

    Gutted by this morning’s tragic news about the death of David Bowie. His incredible new single “Lazarus” had actually been on repeat in our office the past couple weeks. By way of paltry tribute, here’s the reflection from the back of A Mess of Help, slightly embellished. The world will be a duller place without him:

    Rumor has it that David Bowie lobbied for the role of grand elf Elrond in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of The Rings. As good as Hugo Weaving was, Bowie would have been better, and not just because he played more or less to type in…

    Read More > > >

    The Secret History of William Axl Rose [Super Deluxe Edition]

    The Secret History of William Axl Rose [Super Deluxe Edition]

    Well, the unthinkable has happened. Axl and Slash have buried the hatchet and are confirmed to be playing a headlining set (with Duff, possibly others) at Coachella this year. True to my word, to celebrate the momentous news, I’m posting the full Guns n Roses chapter of A Mess of Help. Portions of it appeared years ago in various forms on this site, but what you’ll find below was completely rewritten and is about three times longer – thus the Super Deluxe descriptor. Hope you have a fraction of the fun reading it that I had writing it. 

    Intrigued, excited, and…

    Read More > > >