Posts tagged "Paul Zahl"

PZ’s Podcast: Wooden Ships

PZ’s Podcast: Wooden Ships

EPISODE 169: Wooden Ships

What is a person’s duty toward the world? Do we “owe” the world our efforts and our action? If not exactly, then how are we supposed to relate to the world? “How shall we then live?”

This cast talks about Meister Eckhart, who for my money was never wrong about anything. I just never find myself disagreeing with anything he ever said. Or maybe just one thing.

Eckhart preached a sermon in which he said, “What is reaped in contemplation is sown in action.” Gosh, that sounds good.

Yet it’s the only statement he ever made that I can’t get…

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PZ’s Podcast: Emotion and Generation Zahl

PZ’s Podcast: Emotion and Generation Zahl

Episode 167: Emotion

It’s a primary theme. ‘Lobo’ talked about it as well as any of our troubadours. So did, and does, Burton Cummings.

Cummings teaches so much, partly because he doesn’t filter his emotions. His songs sometimes have odd emotional interjections within them, words and phrases that sound dis-junctive. A classic example is his 1976 single “Stand Tall”. The song is pure emotion, no editing. You could almost say that “Stand Tall” sounds un-cool. But that’s because the singer/writer is not filtering what he is feeling.

Religion at its best takes the filters off, too; and embodies healing for uncooperative turbulence within….

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PZ’s Podcast: The House That Jack Built

PZ’s Podcast: The House That Jack Built

EPISODE 166

It is really happening now, a much prayed for thing. Women are starting to be called to the big jobs, at least in the church. The “walls of Jericho” (as in Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night”) are coming down. “No Doubt About It” (Hot Chocolate).

Podcast 166 talks about the promise inherent in this breakthrough, such as reduced conflict in parish communities, reduced transference on the minister, reduced counter-transference from the minister, reduced reactivity (in everybody), and in general, reduced resistance. What a relief for there to be less “heat in the kitchen” when it comes to parish ministry….

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PZ’s Podcast: Cosmic Recension

PZ’s Podcast: Cosmic Recension

EPISODE 165

In traditional New Testament studies, the student is trying to get as close as possible to the original text. The idea is that the closer you are to the original, the closer you are to the Inspiration that created the text in the first place.

The same principle applies to almost any branch of study, and also to art and literature. You want Kerouac’s actual scroll, Pollack’s actual canvas, Wordsworth’s actual pad, Mike Francis’ actual demo.

I think that Burton Cummings, Canada’s piano man, comes close to Inspiration in several of his songs, including songs he performed with The Guess Who….

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Ministry as Leisure, from Comfortable Words

Ministry as Leisure, from Comfortable Words

In NYC a couple of weeks ago, we held a reception for Paul Zahl’s Festschrift, Comfortable Words (more details here), edited by Jady Koch and Todd Brewer. The work honors Paul Zahl’s life-giving influence upon academics, pastors, laypeople, and everything in between. Among many extraordinary essays, Dylan Potter’s “Ministry as Leisure” struck a note with its insight and empathy into a commonly neglected problem with ministers, one which easily extends to lay Christians, too:

One indication that a clergyperson has come under the law’s heavy hand is that they begin to eschew leisure in order to pursue what are perceived to be…

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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”.