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Posts tagged "PZ’s Podcast"

PZ's Podcast: Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life, Facing the Cannons (NOT!), and Tupper

PZ’s Podcast: Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life, Facing the Cannons (NOT!), and Tupper

EPISODE 252: Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life

In a quote that’s been making the rounds recently, Rudolph Bultmann wrote, “When we encounter the words of Jesus in history, we do not judge them by a philosophical system with reference to their rational validity; they meet us with the question of how we are to interpret our own mode of existence. That we ourselves be deeply disturbed by the problem of our own life is the indispensable condition of our inquiry.”

Note that word “indispensable”.

I used to pussy foot some around this, trying to allow for “stronger” personalities or less either-or ways of…

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PZ's Podcast: The Spider and the Fly

PZ’s Podcast: The Spider and the Fly


Benjamin Britten’s ‘Spider and the Fly’ number from his Suite for “Johnson over Jordan”, by J.B. Priestley, takes you by surprise. It sounds like Gershwin at the start, then becomes a kind of danse, and is ultimately sinister. The composer meant it like that, for he was drawn to Priestley’s play because it concerns life after death; and Britten was interested in life after death during this period of his career.

Priestley broke an English taboo, you might say — but it’s a taboo in our country, also, in practice — in his 1939 reflection on purgatory, and salvation, which…

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PZ's Podcast: Bells Are Ringing

PZ’s Podcast: Bells Are Ringing


This is a short riposte to the politicization of basically everything just now; but not in the way of taking sides, but rather in the way of digging deeper. I mean, digging deeper to the best and true interests of human beings.

The best and true interest of human beings, the necessary condition for our welfare, exists in the direction of connection with another person; and, most typically (tho’ not absolutely always), a romantic connection. The best interest of us does not consist in political concerns and goals. As Sting sang it, in “Spirits in the Material World” (1981), “There…

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PZ's Podcast: Sanctification (Is Making Me Late)

PZ’s Podcast: Sanctification (Is Making Me Late)


Ellis Brazeal recently pointed out a clear-and-present fact about what we call “sanctification”. Ellis observed that the moment we begin to think we have it, or have made it, it is completely nullified. In other words, the only actual sanctification at which one ever arrives is un-self-conscious.

Another way of putting this would be to say that no amount of or “espece de” virtue-signalling will ever cut it. The moment you draw attention to your “growth” or “discipleship”, at that exact moment it gets disqualified as evidence of moral improvement. The only material sanctification is, to the evincer of it,…

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PZ's Podcast: Dead Reckoning

PZ’s Podcast: Dead Reckoning


Pastoral experience in hospital pre-op units provides abundant evidence for the existence of the soul. I first saw this evidence in Birmingham years ago, when someone we knew and loved was having to go into the operating room twice the same day, because the first “pass” that morning had failed. The situation was in fact do-or-die, and I had never before seen the look of fear which had come over the patient’s face as she was being prepared for her second procedure.

Then another time, in Washington, as the gurney was being wheeled out to surgery, a kind of fluttering…

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PZ's Podcast: Shoe Horn

PZ’s Podcast: Shoe Horn


People are constantly trying to shoe horn their search for God into containers too tight for the Object of the search. This is probably true of some of your interests, whether it’s food or Hammer horror films or “Philadelphia Soul” — to name two of my current but chronic faves — or you name it. On something or someone, you are probably pinning very high hopes.

The blogosphere is full of such shoe horns — interests such as a movement or style or movie or type of music that attracts your “ultimate concern” (Tillich). But they don’t actually produce for…

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PZ's Podcast: Welcome to the Club

PZ’s Podcast: Welcome to the Club


One of the best things about the recent Mockingbird conference in NYC was its unerring focus on universals and primary factors in human destiny and identity, rather than on contingencies and elements in life that do not endure, but pass away.

Hence one’s love for Blue Magic.

Blue Magic were a Philadelphia group in the early and mid-1970s who stuck to absolute basics. Which is to say, Blue Magic stuck to romantic connection and romantic loss as the big drivers. Almost every song they performed is about acutest mourning (for a person) or ecstatic presence (of a beloved and loving person)….

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PZ's Podcast: Soul-Tie

PZ’s Podcast: Soul-Tie

Please note: PZ’s Podcast is now on Spotify!


This cast is a kind of summation of my thinking about romantic love in its relation to one’s soul’s salvation.

I have thought about the compelling nature of romance — between two people, I mean — in both its positive, inspiring importance and also its possible negative and undermining impact. In fact, one has long searched for a key, the ‘haft’ that actually opens the door and heals one of scarring memories and long-carried-over inward losses.

Not only has this theme of romantic love’s long-term vicissitudes been with me for awhile, but I’ve often…

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PZ's Podcast: Hitchcock Railway

PZ’s Podcast: Hitchcock Railway

Episode 243: Hitchcock Railway

This cast is about low anthropology, or rather, hidden anthropology.

Have you been struck by the comments concerning the Austin bomber in which people near and dear to the young man say they saw no signs or external evidence of any kind that he was thinking about doing this, or about anything, for that matter, out of the ordinary, let alone murderous?

My experience of people, especially act-outers in life, is that what they do often takes one by surprise. They didn’t “advertise”, in other words, their deeper, let alone their deepest feelings. The internal preoccupations of the acter-out…

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PZ's Podcast: Bay of Angels

PZ’s Podcast: Bay of Angels

Episode 242

I’m always surprised when proponents of One Way Love fail to apply it in concrete cases. In other words, we can talk a good game — about how Christ is always there, gets there first (!), when we are at our lowest ebb, in our worst place of sin and paralysis — how no sin, no sinner is ever beyond the reach of His “saving embrace” — but when we or someone close to us — someone we really KNOW, in other words — is lying there bleeding to death from a self-inflicted wound, well, then… I just don’t…

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PZ's Podcast: Urgent

PZ’s Podcast: Urgent


People are so good at minimizing the human situation. I’ve encountered this throughout Mary’s and my ministry, right from the very start, in Silver Spring, MD.

The religious “professionals” detested my message, that the world was in incomparable conflict with itself, and that each human being experiences comparable conflict inwardly. People would say, your message is too “down”, and I just don’t like it. It’s too dark, or depressing, or gloomy.

But what actually happened is that a majority of the people listening tuned in fast! And then they started inviting their friends.

It’s not that the human condition is hopeless. With…

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PZ’s Podcast: 8 Days a Week


I don’t talk about romantic love because it is worshipful in its own right. I talk about romantic love because it is the closest signpost we have to God.

Whether it’s the Beatles (“Eight Days a Week”) or Hugo (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”) or Wagner (“Tannhauser”) or Jimmy Webb (“Wichita Lineman”) or James Gould Cozzens (“By Love Possessed”), the inspired listeners of the world have not failed to miss the Back Story, underneath all our ‘narratives’ and front stories, of the noble search for love and merger, the absolutely right and proper desire of every human person to merge with another human person. This Back Story underwrites every natural life. If you won’t see it — because everybody can see it — then your life will end on a note of unconquerable wistfulness.

Yet romantic life is never quite right! It is always a little “off”. This is because it calls the almost-Absolute — i.e., another human being — the Absolute — i.e., God. Romantic love, when not subsumed to God, i n e v i t a b l y disappoints, because it takes place between bodies, which decline and die; and it takes place in time, which “must have a stop” (Shakespeare/Huxley). In other words, romantic love is an almost exact dress rehearsal of the Real Thing, but not the Real Thing itself.

That is why this podcast begins with “Eight Days a Week” but ends with “Tell Me Why (You Cry)”. LUV U!