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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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Author Archive
    
    God As Heather Kopp Doesn’t Understand Him

    God As Heather Kopp Doesn’t Understand Him

    Happy to report that we’re in the midst of putting the final touches on the Forgiveness issue of The Mockingbird magazine (should be out at the end of June). One of the last elements to be added is “On Our Bookshelf”, which is exactly what it sounds like, a short list of what’s been making the rounds internally. Anyway, one of my selections this time around is Heather Kopp’s Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk, which I’ve been greatly enjoying. The subtitle kind of says it all. It’s a superbly written account of what happens when…

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    Anders Breivik and the Commandment We See in the Faces of Others

    Anders Breivik and the Commandment We See in the Faces of Others

    By way of follow-up to yesterday’s post on the problems facing boys, if you haven’t bookmarked Karl Ove Knausgaard’s essay about mass murderer Anders Breivik in last week’s New Yorker, run don’t walk. It may not be beach reading exactly, but nothing’s more edifying than when a great writer tackles a subject that’s worthy of him/her, of which this represents a prime example. The depth of reflection is truly impressive, as is how strenuously Knausgaard works to avoid the word “evil”. But for our purposes, the Norwegian master explores at some length the ‘distancing from self’–or disembodiment–that modern life makes…

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    From The Onion: Parents Clinging To Lone Religious Element Of Daughter’s Wedding Ceremony

    How do they keep this up? That’s what I’d like to know. Just in time for wedding season:

    ROCHESTER, NY—After sitting through an outdoor ceremony officiated by the groom’s best friend, local parents Scott and Linda McNeil were clinging to the lone religious element of their daughter’s wedding, sources confirmed Saturday. “The vows they wrote for each other were nice, but the passage from Corinthians they used on the back of the wedding program was just beautiful,” said Linda McNeil, adding that she and her husband were both deeply touched by the inclusion of the biblical quote “Love still stands when all else has fallen,” which appeared beneath a verse from a Sarah McLachlan song. “I’ve always loved that passage, and it’s a part of the Scripture that really captures who they are.” McNeil then added that she knew the small image of a dove above the quote would have made her late mother very happy.

    Read the original here.

    Feministic Fallout? More on Underachieving Boys and Gracious G.A.W.F.s

    Feministic Fallout? More on Underachieving Boys and Gracious G.A.W.F.s

    There’s a telling scene at the end of Whit Stillman’s film Barcelona (above). One of the characters remarks about how wonderful it is to marry someone from another country. Alienating traits, instead of being taken personally, can be chalked up to national differences. As in, “must be a Spanish thing”, or “in Japanese culture, that’s just how they operate”. The scene has been playing in my head these past couple of weeks as various articles about the state of gender relations in America have crossed my desk. One wonders if, in leaving behind certain gender expectations and roles, we have…

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    From The New Yorker

    GiveUP

    The Final Confession of Donald Draper

    The Final Confession of Donald Draper

    Spoilers, people, spoilers.

    “I broke all my vows. I scandalized my child. I took another man’s name and made nothing of it.”

    Thus goes the bottoming out we’ve been waiting for these past 7-8 years from Don Draper. His long dismantling, both self-instigated and otherwise, reached its endpoint in Mad Men‘s finale. Don’s marriage, his position, his children are gone–the various phone calls make that clear. Even his “niece” Stephanie refuses to let him be needed, going so far as to remove his last shred of agency, stranding him at the retreat center. Reduced to nothing, Don makes his confession to…

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    Ten Notes on Religious Decline (plus A.W.E.)

    Ten Notes on Religious Decline (plus A.W.E.)

    “Pot-bellied pigs have been wildly unfashionable since 2005. Owning a pot-bellied pig is frowned upon almost as much as being a Christian.”

    1. These are the words of Erlich Bachman in the most recent episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley, perhaps the funniest show on television at the moment (Veep being its main competition). They come after Erlich has heard a pitch from a tech start-up that he’s considering investing in, a Christian dog-sharing company(!). Before launching into the pot-bellied pigs riff, he tells the two would-be entrepreneurs, “Besides, I’m sure you know that Christianity is borderline illegal in Northern California”. It’s…

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    No Room in the Nosebleeds for Dre Kirkpatrick

    With Mother’s Day in the rearview, time to shift our sights, and how better to do so than with this wonderful, tearjerking story from Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, ht BB.

    How Louis CK Received a Massive Gift

    How Louis CK Received a Massive Gift

    Some refreshingly counter-cultural thoughts about identity, kids, and self-fulfillment from America’s favorite comedian, courtesy of a recent conversation with NPR’s Terry Gross:

    C.K: When I first got married and had kids, I thought, you know – I had some friends that I played poker with on Mondays, and I thought the poker game on Mondays is – that’s the water line. Like, if I don’t make that game, I’m losing something. I’m losing something if I don’t make it to that game. It means I’m letting go of my youth, I’m letting go of my manhood – all of things –…

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    The Crucial Eccentricity of the Christian Faith (According to Frederick Buechner)

    Thanks to Key Life for bringing this wonderful, Mr. Rogers-esque clip to our attention. Great final line:

    May Playlist

    Another Week Ends: Grace Cubed, Fay’s Tyndale, Not-So-New Atheists, Nihilist Arbys, Catholic Daredevils, and Tomorrowland

    Another Week Ends: Grace Cubed, Fay’s Tyndale, Not-So-New Atheists, Nihilist Arbys, Catholic Daredevils, and Tomorrowland

    1. It’s always gratifying to see the discussion about grace and law taking place in unexpected venues. For instance, over at The Living Church, a publication geared toward Episcopalians, a couple of articles have gone up recently about the preaching of absolution and the role of ethics/exhortation in the Christian life. Before you glaze over at the insider language, it would appear that Mockingbird–or at least our perspective–served as a reference point. In the initial post, “Grace, growth and God’s dream”, Jordan Hylden was critical of what he perceives to be a biblically reductive and borderline Manichean approach to the pulpit, raising some valuable (if familiar) questions in relation…

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