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About David Zahl

David Zahl is the director of Mockingbird Ministries and editor-in-chief of the Mockingbird blog. He and his wife Cate reside in Charlottesville, VA, with their three sons, where David also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church (christchurchcville.org).

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Author Archive
    
    Another Week Ends: Tuesday Treatment, Sad Musk, #SelfCare, Catholic Mothers, Presbyterian Pool Parties, and Steve Perry

    Another Week Ends: Tuesday Treatment, Sad Musk, #SelfCare, Catholic Mothers, Presbyterian Pool Parties, and Steve Perry

    1. First up, the incredibly moving TED talk above, in which Aaron Stark describes what led him to consider perpetrating a school shooting–and what prevented him from going through with it. It’s well worth the seven minutes. And the phrase “treat you like a Tuesday” may be my favorite new euphemism for grace. Just beautiful. […]

    FAIL of the Week

    Déjà Vu Issue Shipping Today!

    Always an exciting day when we get to ship out a fresh issue of The Mockingbird, and today is no exception.

    I simply cannot wait for people to hold this one in their hands. It’s not only the most visually stunning thing we’ve ever done (thank you, Tom & Alyssa!), it includes a number of the articles that I’m personally most proud we’ve had the privilege of publishing over the years–all of it updated, polished, and prettified, with a bunch of brand new material thrown in. My own contribution, on “Underachieving Boys and the Masks Men Wear,” was rewritten almost entirely. You can peruse the Table of Contents and read Ethan’s full Opener here.

    Taken together, The Déjà Vu Issue makes for as good a summary and/or jumping on point to Mockingbird as we’ve produced. In other words, if you’ve been looking for something to hook a friend, or simply to explain all the fuss, look no further.

    Click Here to Purchase or Subscribe!

    The digital version is now available, too.

    As always, regular monthly supporters of Mockingbird receive an automatic subscription. You can sign up here.

    Another Week Ends: Saving MS-13, Church of Pod, Responsibilityland, Present Bias, Creative Hiatuses and Cheap Trick

    Another Week Ends: Saving MS-13, Church of Pod, Responsibilityland, Present Bias, Creative Hiatuses and Cheap Trick

    1. First up has got to be the video below, in which The Guardian(!) casts a light on some truly miraculous conversions happening in El Salvador at present. I forget who said that where sin remains theoretical, so does redemption, but whoever they were, this video illustrates the inverse truth beautifully. PTL: 2. “Humans seem […]

    August Playlist

    Click here to listen (to most of it) on Spotify.

    The Trouble with Ladder Theology

    From Gerhard Forde’s Where God Meets Man, pp 7-11, ht MF:

    …what is wrong with our usual understanding of the Christian faith[?] We tend to think it has to do primarily with “going up” somewhere — either to heaven or to some kind of “religious perfection.” The Christian faith is often likened to climbing a ladder or, if you will, a staircase. Take, for example, the symbol of “Jacob’s ladder.” In the middle ages it was popular, especially among mystics, as a symbol of the struggle the Christian must undertake to reach perfection…

    The difficulty with the idea of the ladder, however, is that it tends to send us off into the wrong direction. It tends to make us concerned with works of pious sublimation; it involves us in the task of ascending to heaven when we should be seeking like our Lord to come down to earth, to learn what it means to be a Christian here on this earth…

    The troublesome question of the nature of law and gospel and the relationship between them…it is here, in the question of the law and the gospel, that our incurable tendency to go “up the down staircase” is most apparent… The main trouble is that this “ladder theology” inevitably distorts our understanding of the gospel. The gospel is taken captive by the system and turned into a new kind of law… The gospel comes to make up for the deficiencies of the law. The gospel does not come as anything really new. It is not the breaking in of a radically new age with an entirely new outlook. It is simply “a repair job.” …The net result is that the gospel itself simply becomes another kind of law. (pp. 7-11)

    Another Week Ends: Washed, Teshuvah, Soul Salons, Medieval Peasants, Cranach and Sammy Hagar

    Another Week Ends: Washed, Teshuvah, Soul Salons, Medieval Peasants, Cranach and Sammy Hagar

    1. This first one hit close to home. I’m referring to Zach Baron’s column in GQ, In Praise of Being Washed. Not washed out, or washed in the blood of the lamb, but simply “washed”. To be “washed,” he tells us, is to have arrived at the point in life where horizons have begun to […]

    July Playlist

    P.S. We’re in the midst of making the playlists available on Spotify, working our way backward from the present. Here’s the link to this month’s.

    Lex Semper Accusat

    Lex Semper Accusat

    The following is excerpted from Mockingbird’s Law & Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints).  If the law were simply a matter of doing or not doing, commission or omission, we might reasonably imagine we have a shot at keeping it. And sometimes the echoes of law we hear in society are strictly behavioral. Not […]

    Nine Rules From Chris Pratt, Generation Award Winner

    File this under unexpected! Some inspired misdirection from the soon-to-be-appointed Youth Minister General of the United States, Burt Macklin Starlord himself, ht HE:

    The Father's Day Conundrum

    The Father’s Day Conundrum

    It’s not much of a secret in church circles that Mother’s Day is one of the best attended Sundays of the year, Father’s Day one of the least. The third Sunday in June is what’s known as a “low Sunday,” when the regular preacher often gives up the pulpit to a subordinate. If you happened […]

    Another Week Ends: Nigerian Babies, Pairing Alzheimer's, Lonely Affluence, Competitive Meditation and New Spiritualized

    Another Week Ends: Nigerian Babies, Pairing Alzheimer’s, Lonely Affluence, Competitive Meditation and New Spiritualized

    1. At the top of the docket, two beautiful and deeply encouraging examples of grace in practice, the first programmatic and the second person-to-person. Nigeria, as you may know, currently suffers from the highest rate of HIV-positive infants in the world. Apparently many of the transmission prevention methods that work elsewhere have had a hard […]