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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 three sons, where David also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church (christchurchcville.org).

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Author Archive
    

    January Playlist

    Can’t Stop the Signal: Enduring Hope for Divided Times

    Been waiting for the right opportunity to post a video of this talk, which I had the privilege of giving twice this past Fall. I actually prefer the San Diego one (from the Here We Still Stand conference – sorry, DC!), partly cause it’s a little more theological, partly cause the lighting was better–read into those signals what you will. But as I was ruminating on a possible ‘state of the union’-type New Years post, I realized it contained a good deal of what I’d want to say:

    p.s. As you’ll discover, you can hear but not see the clips I reference. The second one makes sense without the video (read a description), but the first one from Curb Your Enthusiasm is a lot funnier if you can see Larry’s face.

    Consuming 2017: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, and Books

    Consuming 2017: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, and Books

    Alrighty, my friends, it’s time for our annual round up of favorites, which I had way too much fun putting together. As always, these are predominantly personal picks, albeit ones with an eye toward Mocking-resonance. TV went live last week. (Click here to check out last year’s list). Here goes:

    Music

    Favorite Discoveries

    Jimmy Webb. This one counts as about 20 discoveries wrapped up into one. I had known the hits–“Galveston”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Macarthur Park”, who doesn’t?–but that was as far as it went. Talk about the tip of the iceberg! Webb’s is a gift that’s been giving for nigh on…

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    A Couple Seasonal Calvin and Hobbes


    To peruse our archive, click here.

    A Conspiracy of Hope and Light: Reviewing U2's Songs of Experience

    A Conspiracy of Hope and Light: Reviewing U2’s Songs of Experience

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a review of a U2 record that isn’t preceded by a lengthy prologue wrestling with the band’s stature, either in the culture at large or the reviewer’s upbringing or both. They’re the kind of band that provokes not just adulation and irritation but qualification, even from their most ardent fans. I guess when you court importance–and the record release as Event–as Bono and co have done so doggedly these past 30-ish years, you’re kind of setting yourself up for it. Whatever the case, people have baggage when it comes to U2.

    Earlier this year David…

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    A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2017 Edition)

    A Mockingbird Gift Guide (2017 Edition)

    That time again! Click here to check out last year’s guide. And to make sure all the gifts below look their best, we recommend using (w)rapping paper.

    For the grandmothers and grandmothers-at-heart in your life, or anyone you’d like to thank for being a friend: Golden Girls Clue board game. (“Who ate the last piece of cheesecake?”)

    For the high-energy first grader down the street whose parents are always hovering: My First Fire Gift Box. If you sense they’re an Anglo-Catholic in training, though, there’s always Wee Believers’ Mass Kit for Kids.

    For the foodie in your midst whose locavore commitments you suspect…

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    Another Week Ends: Justice and Revenge, Tiger's Comback, Fleming's Advent, 35 Year Old Thrillers, Avocado Toast, and Truly Terrible Movies

    Another Week Ends: Justice and Revenge, Tiger’s Comback, Fleming’s Advent, 35 Year Old Thrillers, Avocado Toast, and Truly Terrible Movies

    A bit of a truncated weekender today, as we recover from a flurry of activity here in Cville, most notably the relaunch of The Mockingcast and the sending of our year-end newsletter and appeal. If you’d like to find out more about what we’ve got planned for 2018 (#mbirdtwopointoh!) and how you can help, we’d love to put a copy in the mail to you. Just be sure we have you on our physical mailing list. And as a reminder, anyone who signs up for any amount of regular monthly giving receives an automatic subscription to The Mockingbird. We rely on…

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    Masculinity in Crisis: Unexamined Libidos and the Organizing Principle of Lady Bird

    Masculinity in Crisis: Unexamined Libidos and the Organizing Principle of Lady Bird

    If it’s true what Stephen Marche writes in The Unmade Bed, that there’s nothing less manly than talking about manliness, I’m not sure where that leaves me. After reading Marche’s latest column in The New York Times, “The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido,” I realized I’m averaging one essay per year on the subject:

    Underachieving Boys and the Masks Men Wear
    Online Males, Deadbeat Females, and the Simplest Thing in the World
    Are You Man Enough? When Virile Was a Compliment
    Please Help The Cause Against (Middle Age Male) Loneliness

    It’s some of the stuff I’m most proud of, to be honest, partly because…

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    The Humanity of Harassment

    The Humanity of Harassment

    I’ve been trying to find a way in to writing about the rash of Hollywood headlines, and sexual harassment more generally, and may have finally found one. Don’t think I wasn’t tempted to take Sarah Silverman up on her question–the key question, as far as I can tell, but also too important of one to broach in haste, or before we’ve all had a little longer to absorb the gravity and breadth of the situation.

    That is, it feels like any pronouncements at this point, theological or otherwise, would be premature if not insensitive, possibly even a way of avoiding the…

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    Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad (and Him, Too)

    Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad (and Him, Too)

    You can’t time this stuff. At least, if you did, it wouldn’t pack half the punch.

    I’m referring to the release of The Rentals’ song “Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad” a few short weeks before Rolling Stone published a full-length profile of the man in question. We’ll take them one at a time.

    The Rentals, which at this point is really just the moniker for Matt Sharp (of early Weezer fame), haven’t released a record since 2014’s excellent Lost in Alphaville. Then, on October 5th, “Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad” appeared out of nowhere, a seven minute gospel pop opus…

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    From The New Yorker

    The Possibility of (Actual) Dialogue Between Atheists and Christians

    The Possibility of (Actual) Dialogue Between Atheists and Christians

    Hooray! The much-esteemed Francis Spufford has a new book out this month, a collection of essays entitled True Stories & Other Essays. Highly recommended for anyone interested in language and literature, to say nothing of thoughtful Christianity (or, curiously enough, the Arctic!). The earliest piece in the “Sacred” section takes the form of an open letter to atheists–not surprisingly perhaps, given that it was published in 2012, at the height of the New Atheist hubbub. The whole thing overflows with characteristic wit and eloquence, and despite the title, aims to move beyond categories of antagonism. Its stirring final paragraphs are…

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