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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 (

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Author Archive

    Commandos For Christ Stockpile Grace Like it’s World War FREE!

    Of the many disappointments we weathered in having to cancel this year’s NYC conference, none was more painful than missing out on hosting a surprise early screening of the upcoming film Electric Jesus. The director Chris White is an avid Mbird reader and approached us with the opportunity after wrapping production last year, on the condition that we weren’t allowed to advertise. So we were going to spring the opportunity on attendees after they arrived. Those who’ve been following the film’s FB pagethe destination these days for top-drawer Christian kitsch (presented with affection rather than disdain!)–know the glory of what could have been. The promo for the movie describes it this way:

    ELECTRIC JESUS is a wistful coming-of-age music-comedy reminiscent of THE COMMITMENTS, THAT THING YOU DO, and SING STREET—a rock-and-roll movie about a band that never quite goes all the way. While the screen band’s music is a weird mash-up of 80’s hair metal and vacation Bible school, ELECTRIC JESUS wears its teenage protagonists’ hearts on its sleeve, à la THE BREAKFAST CLUB, LADY BIRD, and ALMOST FAMOUS.

    As if that weren’t enough, the original songs and score were provided by no less than indie rock god Daniel Smith (Danielson Famile, Sufjan Stevens, Jad Fair, et al). Can I get an amen?! White assures me that Mbird will have another shot at a pre-release viewing, but in the meantime, the first music video has arrived and it is … a revelation. I’ve posted the lyrics in the comments. Share and share alike my friends:

    Another Week Ends: Unreliable Interpreters, Radical Acceptance, Strange Rites, White Guilt, Parental Burnout, Doomscrolling, and Gritty Hope

    Before we get going, time for our semi-annual update-and-appeal video: Click here to take us up on the invitation. And as always, THANK YOU! 1. Not sure how I missed this first one. Tim Kreider penned “A Pandemic Commencement” for Medium a few weeks ago and one paragraph in particular warrants embroidery (on a very […]

    Dylan on COVID and Little Richard’s Fugitive Good News

    Bob Dylan to the rescue! The bard granted a rare interview last week to Douglas Brinkley, and man he did not disappoint, offering his brilliantly in-the-world-but-not-of-it perspective on Little Richard, COVID, and the mysterious nature of songwriting. Reminiscent of his transfiguration interview from a few years ago, and the line about the Eagles made me […]

    Bottoming Out on Prediction Addiction

    One of the more memorable bits of Zahl family shorthand was introduced when I was a kid of eight or nine. We were visiting my grandparents in Florida one summer. A new library had just been built in their town, so we decided to seek it out on the first overcast day. We’d been given […]

    June Playlist

    Click here to listen to (most of) it on Spotify. And if you need a video to sustain you this week, might I suggest Rance Allen recording Dylan’s “When He Returns”:

    From Minneapolis to Constantinople

    Quick update: the new episode of The Mockingcast, which we recorded this past Friday, is up.

    Needless to say, this was a tough one so I’m extra grateful to my co-hosts for braving the discomfort around race and jumping in with me. I hope we didn’t put our foot in it too much.

    The official description being “In which Sarah, RJ, and Dave talk picky eaters, casual racism, George Floyd, and Brendan the Navigator. Also, Dave presses some steel while Sarah reheats some frozen garlic bread.”

    Click here to listen.

    For further reading:

    • Click here to read CNN’s report on picky eating.
    • Click here to read The NY Times piece on How to Talk to a Racist.
    • Click here to read CT’s article on The Gospel Legacy George Floyd left in Houston.
    • Click here to read Fr Stephen Freeman’s “It’s Good To Be Here.
    • Click here to read the NY Review of Books article on A Tale of Two Churches.

    We’ll be taking a couple weeks off as people travel but will be back in action the third week in June.

    Also, today marks Todd Brewer‘s first day as Managing Editor of this website. The existing cast of characters isn’t going anywhere, just shuffling around a bit (stay tuned). But we are SO excited to have Todd aboard in this more official capacity. He’s been with us since day one and knows Mbird inside and out. Welcome Todd!!

    Another Week Ends: Downward Ascents, Prayerology, Endless Dishes, Middle Earth SSRIs, and the Church of QAnon

    Slightly truncated weekender today, as we’ve been up to our ears prepping our big Spring newsletter/appeal, which just went to the post office. Needless to say, we need your help more than ever (and hope you’ve appreciated our stepped-up efforts during these past few months!). If you’d like to receive a copy of the letter, […]

    When Is a Baseball Card More Than Just a Baseball Card?

    Blame Michael Jordan, or blame COVID-induced storage diving, or blame birthday number four-zero-one last month, but I’ve been doing some serious time traveling of late. The calendar may read 2020, but inside my head I’ve been traversing 1986-1994, one pop culture artifact at a time. Listeners to The Mockingcast have now had to listen to […]

    From The New Yorker

    A lot less COVID specific than one might wish:

    Mt Methuselah Zoom Church

    This is pretty hilarious, via SNL this past weekend:

    May Playlist

    Sort of a Quarantine: Mach II… Click here to listen on Spotify.

    Another Week Ends: Productive Epiphanies, Withers’ Stutter, Emotion Police, Parking Lot Worship, Parental Distress, Swedish Covers and Corona Commercials

    1. Nothing like a global pandemic to expose the limitations of the cult of productivity, eh? At least, that seems to be one of the more universally agreed upon lessons to emerge thus far from our corona-ordeal. Hardly a day has gone by without some fresh high profile confession about the psycho-spiritual burden of not […]