David Zahl is the director of Mockingbird Ministries and editor-in-chief of the Mockingbird blog. He and his wife Cate currently reside in Charlottesville, VA, with their two sons, Charlie and Cabell, where David also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church.
- Wolfman Jack – Todd Rundgren
- Heaven Sent – INXS
- Anticipatin’ – The Explorers Club
- Faith In Something Bigger – The Who
- Junk – Brainpool
- Milk Train – The Everly Brothers
- Eight Days a Week – Kristine Sparkle
- Dance Apocalyptic – Janelle Monae
- I’m Scared – Burton Cummings
- Keep Me Turning – Pete Townshend
- Get Behind Me – Scott Walker
- Breathless – Nick Cave
- Mirage – Mack Starks
- Good Graces – Johnathan Rice
- Pensacola – Jolene
- Tough – Martin Vogel/Bruce Springsteen
- No. 1 Party Anthem – Arctic Monkeys
- Come to Jesus – Mindy Smith
- This coming Friday evening and Saturday morning in Louisville, KY, the docket at St Francis in the Fields’ annual renewal conference is packed with Mockingbirds! Myself, Jacob Smith, and Jady Koch are gathering to discuss “What Would Jesus Tweet?” (#thegospelinthe21stcentury). Click here for more information. Everyone who registers for the event gets a complimentary copy of The Mockingbird Devotional!
- A job opportunity in the Mbird-o-sphere: Here in Charlottesville, the Christ Church Preschool is looking for a new Head Teacher. It’s a 30 hour/week position, teaching 3-4 year-olds, a mix of kids from local and refugee families. The school is a small-but-thriving attempt to incorporate the grace message into preschool education, and the Head Teacher will be a key part of the Christ Church and Mockingbird community here in C’ville. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
It doesn’t get any, er, tastier than this. I’m referring to the amazing little piece (of m-bait) that appeared on The Daily Beast this past weekend, “Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience” by Michael Schulson. We’ve been down this road a number of times before, but Schulson outdoes himself here, highlighting the undeniable religiosity that lies at the heart of so much of our culinary and health culture these days. That is, food is much more than food–and always has been, though perhaps not to the current extent. Purity, Status, Mortality, Justification, even Atonement–these are the subjects we find ‘messaged’…
Raise your hand if you’re currently obsessed with HBO’s True Detective. Okay, hands down – you’re all suspects. I’ve been telling myself to hold off on writing about the series until it finishes, that it’s far too elegant to take apart before we have all the pieces. And it is. HBO has given us an exquisitely crafted drama, as gripping as it is rigorous, something that not only invites but rewards reflection and, yes, investigation (in one of the show’s many meta-gestures, writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto is making detectives of us all). It’s also a show that is clearly much smarter…
A particularly incisive passage from the fourth chapter of Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis, in which our upcoming conference speaker expounds on the universality of hypocrisy and the intoxication of self-righteousness:
There is a special pleasure in the irony of a moralist brought down for the very moral failings he has condemned. It’s the pleasure of a well-told joke. Some jokes are funny as one-liners, but most require three verses: three guys, say, who walk into a bar one at a time, or a priest, a minister and a rabbi in a lifeboat. The first two set the pattern, and the…
Another Week Ends: Self-Making Atheists, Structural Dating, Indiscriminate Addiction, Christian Metal, Guilty Pleasures, and Failed Figure Skaters
1. In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik took the release of two new books about the history of atheism to issue one of his periodic ‘state of modern belief” pieces. Most of the word count is devoted to the question of when the burden of proof definitively shifted from atheists to believers (The Onion weighs in here), and while there are certainly some interesting tidbits, one can’t help but be distracted by: first, wasn’t the exact opposite thing was being said five years ago?, and second, the dichotomy he embraces from one of the books is downright weird, at least…
I’ve just finished reading Pete Townshend’s brutally honest autobiography Who I Am, and one section struck me as good Valentines Day fodder. Which may be a little ironic, given that Townshend and The Who are not known for making terribly romantic music. But by way of context, the end of the 70s found Pete in a pretty low place. The Who had suffered the death of drummer Keith Moon (and would soon endure an incredibly tragic riot at one of their concerts in Cincinnati), Pete’s drinking and drug use was off the charts, and that, combined with his philandering, had…
As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.
Also, two quick announcements:
Amazing. Just amazing:
WASHINGTON—While experts agree you’ve been remarkably successful so far at keeping up the ruse that you’re a capable, worthwhile individual, a new report out this week indicates that today is the day they finally figure out you’re a complete and utter fraud.
The report, compiled by the Pew Research Center, states that sometime within the next 24 hours, people will find out that you have no idea what you’re doing, that you’ve been faking it for years, and that, through continuous lying and shameless posturing, you’ve actually managed to dupe virtually everyone around you into thinking you’re something other…
In Booth Tarkington’s 1915 novel The Turmoil, the character ‘Bibbs Sheridan’ suffers a nervous breakdown as a young man and is confined to a sanatorium. During this period he composes an essay entitled “Leisure”, from which the following (stunning) excerpt comes. A nice addendum to Will’s yesterday’s post about happiness:
“A man may keep a quiet heart at seventy miles an hour, but not if he is running the train. Nor is the habit of contemplation a useful quality in the stoker of a foundry furnace; it will not be found to recommend him to the approbation of his superiors. For a profession adapted solely to the pursuit of happiness in thinking, I would choose that of an invalid: his money is time and he may spend it on Olympus. It will not suffice to be an amateur invalid. To my way of thinking, the perfect practitioner must be to all outward purposes already dead if he is to begin the perfect enjoyment of life. His serenity must not be disturbed by rumors of recovery.“
File this one under required reading. David Brooks’ column in The NY Times this week “Alone, Yet Not Alone” mines a very rich vein: the discrepancy between how religious faith is presented and how it is experienced in America (and the world) today, particularly in terms of the role doubt plays. The man appears to be on something of a hot streak, quoting Augustine and Heschel in equal measure, and dropping what could be a career-making (hopefully not -wrecking) endorsement of singer-songwriter Audrey Assad. The intro goes like this:
When secular or mostly secular people are asked by researchers to give…
A hilarious and seriously relevant bit from comedian Mike Birbiglia about the fragility of what it means to be (or think of yourself) as a “decent person” and the often comic discrepancy between motivation and action. Taken from the recent goldmine of an episode of This American Life about “Good Guys”, ht CW:
“To some people, I may seem calm. But if you could peer beneath the surface, you would see that I’m like a duck—paddling, paddling, paddling…” – Scott Stossel
You don’t have to have a therapist on speed dial to relate. You don’t need a prescription to Xanax or Ativan, or a shelf full of ‘dealing with anxiety’ books to know what he’s talking about. You don’t even need to be interested in mental health. If you have a pulse, you know. Of course, it helps if you have an Internet connection too. The skyrocketing rates of anxiety in America are no…