Posts tagged "Paul Zahl"
A Reality Check from Bad Suns (and John Calvin)

A Reality Check from Bad Suns (and John Calvin)

I recently discovered Bad Suns, an up-and-coming band from California, whose song “Salt” seems to be played almost daily during my commute. Listen to what it says: “Look in the mirror and tell me/ What it is like to be free/ How do I grasp reality/ When I don’t have an identity?/ Who, who can I look to ’cause I’m not like you, you?/ And I don’t believe in the truth, truth/ Because all of my life’s built on lies.”

When I hear these lyrics, I can’t help but think of what Paul Zahl recently says in PZ’s Podcast episode #162 called “Rain Dance”. Simple…

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PZ’s Podcast: Deetour and Happy Clappy

PZ’s Podcast: Deetour and Happy Clappy

EPISODE 163: Deetour

The Contraption just keeps getting bigger. And I sort of wish He’d stop.

This podcast shows Him widening His sphere of influence. Is the “widening” welcome? Well, yes, if you believe that Karen Young, in her magnificent song “Deetour”, speaks the truth. (How can what she sings be denied?)

I also talk about job searches in the parish ministry, and rector search committees. (How could one have been so blind?) Blame it on the Contraption!

Episode 163 is dedicated to JAZ, the Minister of Edits.

EPISODE 164: Happy Clappy

I feel like in order to begin, you have to come to the end….

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PZ’s Podcast: Rain Dance

PZ’s Podcast: Rain Dance

EPISODE 162: Rain Dance

Nobody’s talking about the truth, about the reality of… This Thing (Gerald Heard). I saw it so clearly the other day while surfing the cable news. Every single one of the cable news networks was talking about Obamacare. Every one, at the same time! And it was the same arguments, pro and con; the same advocates and same objectors; and the same unrelieved impasse.

I wasn’t interested so much in Obamacare as I was in the repetitive nature of the “conversation”. “Over and Over and Over Again” (Dave Clark Five).

Then I understood why. I understand why it’s all…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Exodus Chapter Sixteen Verses Two and Three

Hopelessly Devoted: Exodus Chapter Sixteen Verses Two and Three

This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional comes from Paul Zahl himself!

And the whole congregation of the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt… for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:2-3, RSV)

“How loooow can you goooo?” “The Limbo Rock” was a one-hit wonder in my long-ago high school days. It sums up the words of the people to Moses and Aaron reported in the sixteenth…

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A View to a Death: Paul Zahl’s Christianity for the Dying

A View to a Death: Paul Zahl’s Christianity for the Dying

This quote comes from our inimitable purveyor of one-way love (and world religion!), Paul F.M. Zahl, in his latest work, PZ’s Panopticon:

“This guide to world religion is written through the lens of a near-death panopticon. It takes the position of a person who finds himself floating up the wall, on the ceiling, looking down helplessly as the surgeons try to save his body on the operating table…

Religion is not about the superiority of one concept in comparison to another concept.

Rather, religion is about salvation in the most imminent sense of the word. Religion is…

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Can God Work in Poetry? Simeon Zahl on Spiritual Experience

Can God Work in Poetry? Simeon Zahl on Spiritual Experience

From Paul Zahl’s recent Festschrift, Comfortable Words, Simeon Zahl argues convincingly that God may work in any avenue of human life, broadening the Holy Spirit’s arena beyond the traditional Word (preaching, Bible) and sacrament:

In Isaiah, we are reminded that “All flesh is grass… The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it”… the communication of this truth, this broad and profound truth about the futility of merely human activities and strivings in light of death, falls under the remit of the Spirit of truth, despite the fact that it does not immediately or directly reference Christ or…

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PZ’s Podcast: PBS

EPISODE 161

Ever since I read John Harris Harper’s miraculous new book Witnesses to the Light, which has just been published in Birmingham, I have been thinking about what it means to do something that is not half baked. This is because Harper’s book is thoroughly baked, a completely realized achievement.

Sometimes, because I can be paresseux, a thing I do will be half baked. I cut a corner, or fail to corroborate a fact, or skip a step in the argumentation. It’s just a fact of my work, and John Harper’s new book is a timely call to me to be thorough.

This podcast concerns the “escapism” of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). In particular, it consists of a reflection on some lines that occur near the end of his poem “Adonais”. These lines connect with my Panopticon, and with an experience I had on May Day of last year.

We’ve “Gotta Get Away” (Rolling Stones) from this world, deep down, in order to engage. Like the nuns in “Call the Midwife”.

You Can Never Have Enough (Copies of Tomb of Ligeia): A PZ’s Panopticon Teaser

You Can Never Have Enough (Copies of Tomb of Ligeia): A PZ’s Panopticon Teaser

As we approach the holiday season, in which I look forward to Paradox Interactive’s Europa Universalis IV and a new sweater for the frigid mid-Atlantic, I was recently reminded of the floater, a (non-) fictional man on the ceiling lovingly created by Paul F.M. Zahl, an out-of-body person watching the doctors operate on his body. What could each religion mean to him, when he needs it most? Specifically, things – a new historic simulation video game or a Tauntaun sleeping bag?

Zahl, in his newest book, PZ’s Panopticon, examines the religion of Things in a remarkably fresh way, using his ‘panopticon’ (‘all-seeing’) of…

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NOW AVAILABLE! Comfortable Words: Essays in Honor of Paul F. M. Zahl

NOW AVAILABLE! Comfortable Words: Essays in Honor of Paul F. M. Zahl

Talk about a double whammy! As promised, here’s the second part of our PZ-centric month at Mbird. This project has been in the works for quite some time–ever since the father figure in question hit the big 6-0 in fact–and we are absolutely thrilled it is finally available! Edited with care and precision by John Koch (aka JDK) and Todd Brewer (aka Todd Brewer), published by Wipf and Stock, and containing entries from a slew of Mbird contributors (and many other esteemed colleagues!), not to mention a preface from Tullian Tchividjian, this is something special indeed. After all, it’s not…

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Announcing PZ’s Panopticon: An Off-the-Wall Guide to World Religion!

We are so proud and excited to announce the release of a brand-new Mockingbird publication, Paul Zahl’s first book in seven years, PZ’s Panopticon: An Off-the-Wall Guide to World Religion! Entertaining, page-turning, and quirky almost beyond words, the Panopticon mines fresh territory without ever losing sight of the “heart of the matter”, providing a remarkably fresh survey of the world’s most captivating answers to the question of being human. It is unlike anything you’ve ever read (in the best possible way), a true cult classic in the making, both Dr. Zahl’s funniest and most personal piece of work to date. We’ll run some previews in the coming weeks but for now, enjoy the blurb on the back cover, which reads as follows:

panopticoncoverImagine you have ten minutes to live. You’re in a near-death situation, like the patient who’s being operated on and suddenly finds himself looking down on the action as the doctors try to save his life.

What do you need to know when your life’s end is near? What is there to know? What can this religion or that religion say to you when you really need some light? Maybe nothing, for sure. But maybe something, possibly.

PZ’s Panopticon weighs the world’s organized religions, such as Christianity and Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism; but it also weighs “dead” religions like those of the Aztecs, the ancient Egyptians, and the Greeks and Romans. There are also religions that are not called religions, like money and fame and sex; family and children; ideology and power.

PZ’s Panopticon is a wild ride. But it’s part of a trip we’re all going to take.

Now available on Amazon, but if you want more of the revenue to go to Mbird, PLACE YOUR ORDER HERE TODAY!

P.S. The Panopticon is only the first of two PZ-related projects that are hitting shelves this month. Stay tuned for an announcement next week about the long-awaited Comfortable Words: Essays in Honor of Paul F.M. Zahl.

PZ’s Podcast: Changing Social Conditions in Indianapolis and The Happiest Actual Life

PZ’s Podcast: Changing Social Conditions in Indianapolis and The Happiest Actual Life

EPISODE 158: Changing Social Conditions in Indianapolis

Credible hope — hope that works — something to dispel the advancing clouds of agnosticism. Those clouds really do exist for people, especially as life begins to flummox them. Combined with alcohol, they’ll do you in.

Booth Tarkington found a gem of hope at the end of his novel The Magnificent Ambersons. Later that novel became a famous movie. Though they left out the game-changer scene! Did you know that at the heart of that story, there is a supernatural intervention? It’s not only credible but it succeeds.

Just like John Galsworthy’s astral moment in his…

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Relational Fissures, Proportional Loving, and Grace with Siblings

Relational Fissures, Proportional Loving, and Grace with Siblings

In honor of Kim Kardashian’s engagement to Kanye, here’s the “Grace with Siblings” section from Grace in Practice:

I once buried a man who had three sons. He was a first-generation immigrant from Europe. One of his sons had become extremely successful in the real estate business. Another had become an alcoholic at an early age and was in bad shape. The third seemed moderately happy; he had a wife and two small children and an okay job. At the gravesite the troubled son became very anxious and had to be restrained by his brothers from jumping into the open…

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PZ’s Podcast: I Am Curious (Orange) and Every Mother’s Son

PZ’s Podcast: I Am Curious (Orange) and Every Mother’s Son

EPISODE 156: I Am Curious (Orange)

This is a Protestant “take” on a kind of war horse, a Swedish war horse. Gosh, it packed a punch in its day. And gosh, how little I understood it. Like zero to nil.

Watching it again, after all this time, was devastating to me. How did I miss its message, and its reality, so completely? But I did. Completely.

Don’t go back and see it, in any event. It’s too much to take in: how wrong you were, and how wrong categorization is, in particular. That the Golden Oldie of which I speak was never about…

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PZ’s Podcast: Groovy Kind of Love, Love in the 40s, Kramer, and Mandy

PZ’s Podcast: Groovy Kind of Love, Love in the 40s, Kramer, and Mandy

EPISODE 152: Groovy Kind of Love

This is about increasing your love, especially when you don’t feel that much of it in relation to “certain people”.

It takes off on a comment Gerald Heard made, from his deathbed, to Christopher Isherwood on August 3, 1967. Heard’s love, the further he moved away from “life”, was increasing rather than decreasing. He said something amazing to his old friend, and his friend recorded his amazement.

The cast is also a meditation on the old saw: All cats are grey in the dark. I used to not believe that, and thought it damaged the individuality of…

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PZ’s Podcast: Girl Talk

Episode 151: Girl Talk

61-Y57WkTyLI’ve just written a new book. It is called PZ’s Panopticon: An Off-the-Wall Guide to World Religion, and will be published by Mockingbird, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.

“Girl Talk” is an explanation of the book’s central idea, and also an “off-the-wall” explanation of why the book doesn’t talk about certain issues that are important. Important in this world, that is. To a dying person, they are not important.

Religion, to be worth something, must have something, and something fairly good, to offer a dying person. And hey, who isn’t?

There’s no question that religion is designed to meet the quandaries of “Living in the Material World” (G. Harrison). But the Big Red One is death, and dying.

The cast is “Dedicated to the One I Love” (The Mamas and the Papas): Ray Ortlund.