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Posts tagged "Paul Zahl"

PZ’s Podcast: Saved!

PZ’s Podcast: Saved!


When you were in a tight spot, how did help get through to you, assuming help did get through to you?

Did God speak from out of the whirlwind — of crisis, panic, and despair? Or did aid come from inside yourself — a ‘how-to’ or random thought that proved serviceable in the midst?

If you’re a regular listener to PZ’s Podcast, you may well answer, the former. That’s certainly what happened to PZ!

Nevertheless, your source of inspiration, and help, and salvation in the imminent immanent sense of the word: what was it?

You won’t be surprised that I’ve been thinking, in…

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PZ’s Podcast: How To Be Popular If You’re a Guy

PZ’s Podcast: How To Be Popular If You’re a Guy

Episode 209 (up now!)

The answer to that question has to lie, somehow, in whatever explains the popular success of Rodney Marvin (‘Rod’) McKuen.

Rod McKuen died a year ago, and did you know he sold 100 million records? No kidding. Rod McKuen sold 100 million records.

(He also sold 60 million books. But hey…)

Here is a man who was universally dismissed, from day one of his earthly success, as being a “kitschy” Philistine and arch-sentimentalist. No critic had a word of praise for him. Ever, ever, ever. And that’s been true right up to the present day.

And let the People say: He…

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PZ’s Podcast: Five O’Clock World

PZ’s Podcast: Five O’Clock World


Now we think that reality, the “real world”, is what happens “between nine and five”, that is, what happens at work, in the office, at school, in career, and so forth. And a lot of people want to tell us this is true.

But not The Vogues. They were from Pittsburgh and they understood about shifts and hourly pay. Yet they understand more than that!

For the fact is, ‘as you lay dying’ (Faulkner), you won’t give your “nine-to-five” life a single second thought. Not one single second thought! You’ll forget it all, in the absolute blink of an eye. That’s just…

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PZ’s Podcast: Is Paris Burning? (1966)


Here are a few thoughts concerning the atrocity attacks in Paris. I talk about Islam (and “Islamophobia”), Syrian migration into Europe, Original Sin and “low” vs. “high” anthropology, reaction-formations among young men when drones are over their heads and they have no control, let alone “buy-in”; and finally, a threatening experience Mary and I had on Times Square recently. Call this PZ’s perspective on a current (big) event.

From Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians”

From Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians”

An addendum to episode 206 of PZ’s Podcast (“The Rich Man and Lazarus”), courtesy of the host himself:

A few weeks ago a new play finished its New York run, entitled “The Christians”. The play is by Lucas Hnath.

Initially, I was reluctant to see “The Christians”, believing it was probably a hatchet job on evangelical Christianity. Well, it wasn’t, and it’s not.

Here is a quotation from the play. The ‘Associate Pastor’, who is conservatively evangelical in the traditional sense, is explaining himself to the ‘Pastor’, who has become a liberal in theology.

Up to this point in the play, the audience’s sympathies…

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PZ’s Podcast: Unforeseen & The Rich Man and Lazarus

PZ’s Podcast: Unforeseen & The Rich Man and Lazarus

Episode 205: Unforeseen

It’s not an abstraction! It’s more than something just to talk about or consider. It could happen to you. In fact, it probably will.

I’m talking about unforeseen death. Some people hold on for a long time, even when they don’t really want to. Other people want to hold on, but illness intervenes and they go a dozen years earlier than they expected. (You never expect it.) Other people had a bad habit in youth and maybe adulthood, and it catches them later. They never thought they would be hooked up to a respirator personally.

“I Had Too Much To…

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A Mockingbird Guide to 10 Current Colloquialisms

A Mockingbird Guide to 10 Current Colloquialisms

Compiled by Friends of Mockingbird John and Anne Nolon, Liz and Duo Dickinson, Betsy and Larry Roadman, Paul and Mary Zahl, and The Rev. Nancy W. Hanna:

1) “It’s all good.”
Meaning: It’s not all good, something has gone badly amiss. And I absolutely don’t want to admit it.

2) “It is what it is.”
Meaning: I can’t stand this particular situation I’m in. Actually, I hate it and don’t want to talk about it.

3) “Yuh think?!”
Meaning: I want you to agree with me, but don’t want you to think I think I’m smarter than you are. Though I do!

4) “Perfect!”
Meaning: This is fine,…

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PZ’s Podcast: Honest to God

PZ’s Podcast: Honest to God


Pop songs about love are like a corkscrew for understanding the Bible. Songs like “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Don’t Pull Your Love Out on Me, Baby”, together with a zillion co-belligerants that are written and performed “In the Name of Love” (Thompson Twins), reveal the nature of love and loss, undoings and exaltings, and painful stasis and buoyed forward movement.

Now just imagine if professional New Testament scholars “parsed” pop songs the way they want to parse the Gospels. You can’t do it. Or rather, you don’t need to do it. “She Loves You” (The Beatles) is so obviously…

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PZ’s Podcast: Pope Francis and the Historical Jesus

PZ’s Podcast: Pope Francis and the Historical Jesus


So much has been written — I mean, SO MUCH — concerning the so-called Historical Jesus: a welter of books and “Untersuchungen”. I’ve spent most of my career reading these books, and writing a few, too.

Then Pope Francis came along and put them all in a cocked hat. This is because if you want to see with your own eyes how Jesus operated in the New Testament — how he acted, how he spoke, how he was desired, and how he was received — all you need to do is watch Francis. Phrancis.

The way Christ was with Zacchaeus, Bartimaeus,…

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Pope Francis clasping hands with an inmate at a Philadelphia prison yesterday.

PZ’s Podcast: Pope Francis – SPECIAL EDITION

Pope Francis clasping hands with an inmate at a Philadelphia prison yesterday – Click here for PZ’s commentary.


Did you cry at any point as you watched Pope Francis in action during his visit? If you did, when was it? What made you cry?

Now it wasn’t just John Boehner! I noticed as I watched the Pope inter-acting with individuals, and especially with individuals in acute need or distress, that it was those encounters that touched me personally. (I was abreacting all over the place.)

I don’t have spina bifida. I’m not in a wheelchair. I’m not six years old, nor…

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PZ’s Podcast: The Real Thing


Is there anything to it?

MI0002445199Is vertical religion — not just calls to social justice, not just implied belief (system) — but actual vertical religion, rooted in anything resembling fact?

I’m bummed these days by mainstream Christianity that just leaps over the religious element on the way to the “mission” element. There’s nothing there, I mean nothing there — to aid an everyday sufferer. Like me, for example.

On the other hand, evangelicals continue to fake it royally. They’ll talk you blue in the face about God’s being present in the worst and darkest moments of your life. But when it’s you who is actually there, you who is sitting flummoxed in the Shadows of Knight (1966), they act as if they didn’t mean a word of it. Grace? Real Grace? “You have got to be kidding.” Book him!

The theme of my 201st podcast is Real Religion. Does it exist? What is it like if it does?

Oh, and SEE The Sentinel (1977). Don’t miss The Sentinel (1977). It’s about to be released on Blu Ray; and with all its memorable eccentricities, it is a total home run about The Real Thing. LUV U. (PZ)

This podcast is dedicated to Melina Smith.

Gru?s nemesis, Vector (JASON SEGEL), shows off the shrink ray in Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment?s inaugural 3-D CGI feature, ?Despicable Me?.  The film tells the story of one the world?s greatest villains who meets his match in three little girls.

PZ’s Eight Easy Ways To Shrink Your Church

The strangest thing happened. The other day, just after penning his “Ten Ways to Grow Your Church”, PZ was looking through an old box of letters and found a sealed envelope he’d never seen before. The return address read only “Screwtape”. He was so surprised and bedazzled by its contents (reprinted below) that he almost missed the subheading on the envelope, “Do not open until 2015”

Eight Easy Ways to Shrink Your Church

Just in case you’re not yet part of the program, there is still time. Here is how:

1) Preach to your congregation not as individuals but as a “worshiping community”….

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