New Here?
Posts tagged "Paul Zahl"

From Grace in Practice: “Grace in Everyday Life”

From Grace in Practice: “Grace in Everyday Life”

The following is an excerpt from pages 73-76 of Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life by Paul F. M. Zahl. Soak it up!

Grace has the power of the mallet. Every other prong and heavy-lifting device that seeks to change people is an expression of law and accomplishes the opposite of what it intends. People fear that grace will give permission to be bad. This is the classic fear: that grace will issue in a license–“007”–to do whatever you want, without consequences.

Yet that never happens! In fact, the opposite happens. When you treat people gracefully, they always end up…

Read More > > >

PZ’s Podcast: The Monolith


80s-hair-funny-weddingWe’re just awash — aground! — in “narratives” these days. “Narratives” are conceptual stories or frameworks that are designed by the ever-grinding mind to organize and categorize realities of everyday life. Many of the realities faced by the ordinary person, starting with me, are unsatisfactory and distressing. “Narratives” are a form of mental control, to vitiate and diminish some of the distress of life..

But “narratives” don’t work! They are seldom completely true; and more often, they are cataclysmically partial. In both senses! This cast examines two “narratives” — one regarding an apparently neglected English hymn writer and the other being racism — and comes up with a caution.

I then expand the caution to account for irrational experiences within personal relationships. I had a vision a year ago, at a lovely beach wedding in the Carolinas, which invalidated almost everything else in front of me. (And it happened to be a great wedding.) But my vision rendered null and void the entire situation. “Let me take you there.”

Let’s hear it, too, for General Johnson.

PZ’s Podcast: Cook’d Books


070409_r16088a_p646-320The text is from a leading Presidential candidate, but it applies to two of them — two persons who are ideologically apart but have one main thing in common.

That main thing is: They are exposing the Cook’d Book of life, which is designed — “Signed, Sealed and Delivered” (S. Wonder) — to sign, seal and deliver YOU over to utter captivity and soullessness.

The New Testament is not a world-affirming document. On the contrary, it pits the human being against the world. Or rather, it posits the world as being against us. Our task, an impossible one without Help — “Help!” – The Beatles, 1965 — is to dodge the world. Kerouac wrote that we are born into this world in order to be saved from it.

The Cook’d Book of the world is not only true of political parties. It is true of institutions generally, job environments generally, schools and universities generally (which is why youth is eternally looking for the ‘Mr. Chips’-type altruist — one in a million), you name it.

I’m glad that Bernie and the other one are cutting to the nerve. Je repete: this is not about ideology, it’s about control. And this world’s control is not — I repeat, not — designed to enable and deliver. It is designed to suppress and captivate. LUV U!

PZ’s Podcast: Mystic Traveler

69beb7a301876b0c0ac7cb7955465776EPISODE 215

What are we all looking for in this life…? The new being, rebirth, meeting your inner child again for the first time. However you name it, whatever you make of it, the truth of reality is this: we all withhold a few things from everyone including and especially from ourselves. We lose so much in the withholding and the repression, which is quite understandable. But there is hope! You can go forward through going backward. Aldous Huxley did it. He became a theological psychologist par excellence, and we can follow his lead. A graced archeological excavation can produce so much in the way of the teleological imagination.


The introduction to this cast is done by Bill Borror and Scott Jones, co-hosts of New Persuasive Words. Scott also hosts The Mockingcast.

PZ’s Podcast: How Do (Men) Get to Heaven?

PZ’s Podcast: How Do (Men) Get to Heaven?

EPISODE 214: How Do (Men) Get to Heaven?

There is this observable difference in the way most men and most women process romantic love affairs. Men tend — with exceptions — to live in the past and in past memories of love, especially as they grow older. Women tend — with exceptions — to desire to live in the present, with openness to the future, in the experience of romantic love.

The song that opens this cast, “How Do I Get To Heaven”, performed by Dave Mason, is a touching instance of the male processing. The lyric lurches, with no warning, from…

Read More > > >

PZ’s Podcast: Glamour Boy

PZ’s Podcast: Glamour Boy

Episode 213: Glamour Boy

Communication, I mean, real, person-to-person communication, is the name of the game in just about every relationship. It is also the name of the game in that Game of Love (1965, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders) which is preaching.

So this podcast is for politicians; for all who aspire to love another person — like Jean Valjean; and for everyone who undertakes to preach the Word of God.

You’ve got to “blow deep” — Jack Kerouac was never wrong about this — and thereby connect with the subterranean part of every potential listener or reader. That means blowing deep…

Read More > > >

PZ’s Podcast: Cursed Objects

PZ’s Podcast: Cursed Objects

Episode 212: Cursed Objects

There was a silly vicar in an English stage revue entitled “Beyond the Fringe”. His sermon was a total send-up. (You can Youtube it easily.)

Recently, however, I was in a situation in which that spoof came across as gravitationally serious. I was engaging — unsuccessfully — a problem of some long standing, and nothing was working! Not my spiritual director, not my small group, not my meditations, not the dharma, not my flesh and blood nor my friends. Nothing was working. Then I remembered an illustration from the satirical sermon in “Beyond the Fringe”, the one about…

Read More > > >

PZ’s Podcast: Son This Is She

PZ’s Podcast: Son This Is She

Episode 211: Son, This Is She

There is this amazing supposed contrast between the God Who comes to us from without, and the God Who speaks to us from within.

Historic Christianity generally hears the First. Eastern religion generally hears the second.

Personally, I hear both — by which I mean, a lot of Love is “channelled” or “made flesh” in the inspirations I feel to love and to cherish that are indistinguishable from my own best self. (“I’d like to know where you got the notion” (Rock the Boat) — The Hues Corporation, 1974).

Yet when I’m in a jam, when I am…

Read More > > >

The Essence of Christianity (Plus)

A couple of brand-new bonus recordings to which to draw your attention on this Tuesday afternoon:

  • Scott Jones and Bill Borrer interviewing Paul Zahl about “The Essence of Christianity” for their stellar New Persuasive Words podcast (which you can subscribe to here). You might think of it as a preview of the in-person conversation they’re going to have in April:

Sometimes these things don’t turn out as well as you’d hope. But sometimes they do, which seems to have been the case here. Or so we’ve been told, thank God.

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…

Read More > > >

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…

Read More > > >

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…

Read More > > >