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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 (

Contact David Zahl

Author Archive

    Law and Gospel in Youth Ministry

    So grateful to Rooted for inviting me to give this presentation back in August, which went public today. Hopefully the content applies beyond any specific age group!


    An Epiphany for the Haters (and Anyone Else Tempted, Like Me, to Call it on 2021)

    “Make the World Go Away / Just Get It Off My Shoulder”

    January Playlist

    Click here to listen on Spotify.

    Mockingbird Update: What’s in Store for 2021 and How You Can Help

    The rumors are true: 2021 is almost here! Much as I hope you’ve been spared the brunt of this year’s challenges, odds are, that January page in the calendar looks mighty enticing. I know it does for me.

    At the same time, I couldn’t think of a better season to have released a new 365-day Mockingbird Devotional (Daily Grace). Just so happens we’d been working away on it for three-plus years! So the launch felt providential, as did that for the Sports Issue of our print magazine, which also shipped last month. The response to both thus far has been nothing short of rapturous. In fact, the initial print-run of the devotional sold out in about two weeks (now back in stock!).

    As folks have been forced to look online for spiritual sustenance, we’ve been gratified to hear how Mockingbird has served as a lifeline of hope and faith. Our virtual audience increased by almost 30% during COVID, and episodes of our principal podcast, The Mockingcast, now average over 10,000 downloads. Our recent Advent video series attracted close to 3000 views per installment.

    I am so grateful God put us in such a strong position to minister grace to people during this trying time. No “pivot” required!

    What’s next? First up in 2021 is the long-awaited launch of the overhauled, which we cannot wait for you to see! A whole new level, right in the nick of time. While we wait to discover what form our events can take — likely some mixture of in-person and virtual (look for an announcement soon) — we’ve been working on several exciting new podcast and video projects. We’re also prepping the Surprise Issue of the magazine and an updated, hardcover edition of Grace in Addiction.

    All this while the parade of high-quality written and audio content continues apace.

    How You Can Help

    Mockingbird relies on the generosity of individual donors and churches to fund its operations. We need to raise $360,000 to keep fulfilling our mission in 2021. For more info about where the money goes, click here. Three easy ways to help would be:

    1. Become a monthly supporter. Close to 400 people give automatically to Mbird every month, anywhere from $20 to $2000. We would love to see that number increase. Remember, anyone who signs up for monthly giving will receive a complimentary subscription to The Mockingbird. Same goes for those who give one-time gifts of $500 or more.
    2. See if your church can help. A handful of “partner” churches support us every year with funds from their outreach budgets. Others give via discretionary accounts. If you attend a church that is benefiting from our ministry but hasn’t gotten behind Mbird “officially” yet, be our advocate! Email us at with any leads.
    3. Spread the word. If you’re not in a place where you can give, there are other ways to pitch in. Write a review of one of our books on Amazon. Rate one of our podcasts on iTunes. Publicize Mbird articles on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. Use one of our resources at your church or in your small group. Invite someone to an event, once they resume. Above all, pray for us!

    If you believe in what we’re doing and want to ensure that it continues, consider making a donation to Mockingbird today. Thanks for reading, and we wish you the happiest of new years.

    Consuming 2020: Favorite Music, Television, Podcasts, Journalism, Humor, and Publications

    Taylor Swift, Onion Headlines, Zadie Smith, and More!

    Pot Kettle Black: Keeping the Mocking-Score in 2020

    Our Most Popular Essays, Podcasts, and More!

    Batteries Not Included

    Hello friends. I’ve just posted the new episode of The Mockingcast, Batteries Not Included,” which, as RJ explains in the prelude, will be our final episode of the year.

    Those who follow us on social media know that, just after the cast was recorded, co-host Sarah Condon received some unbelievably tragic news. You can read her message here, but please please please keep Sarah and her family in your prayers.

    Given the context, we were a little hesitant to release the episode, but she, RJ, and I are ultimately hopeful that it could speak some comfort to those who are hurting with/for her. It certainly did me. You can listen here. The blurb is as follows:

    In which RJ, Sarah, and Dave talk mer-baby mishaps, library impermanence, celebrity pastors, and their increasing distaste for the season of Advent.

    • Click here to read Elizabeth Faidley’s write-up of the Pearl the Mermaid Baby Saga, which includes a picture of you-know-who (you’ve been warned).
    • Click here to read Ben Dolnick’s piece about Library Books.
    • Click here to peruse our gift guide.
    • Click here to read Ruth Graham’s article on the Rise and Fall of Carl Lentz.
    • Click here to read the article on Sad Clowns.
    • Click here to read David French’s column on The Crisis of Christian Celebrity.
    • Click here to read Walter Russell Mead’s meditation on Advent.

    Per the announcement at the beginning, you can support The Mockingcast by texting “Mcast” to 77948 (or going here). As always, thank you SO much for listening — thank you even more for praying — and we look forward to coming back at you in 2021.

    A Mockingbird Gift Guide: 2020 Edition

    A Harrowing of Hell Comic Book, A Bonhoeffer Shower Curtain, and More!

    Another Week Ends: Liam’s Hymn, UnOptimistic Hope, Medical Forgiveness, Neo-Feudalism, Toxic Productivity, Bradbury Imputation, and Bee Gees

    1. First up, just in the nick of time, Oasis main-man/’90s troublemaker Liam Gallagher ushers us into the season with a soul-stirring hymn to the “kind of love that’ll be there when the world is at its worst.” The tune is what they call a real belter, potent enough to close out the next season […]

    Thou Shalt Be Needed but Never Needy: Sad Clowns, Lonely Husbands, and COVID Friendships

    Middle Age is Not the Time of Maximum Mastery. It is the Time of Maximum Need.

    Count Your Midlife Blessings (At Your Own Risk)

    On Expectations, Gratitude, and Going to Church

    It’s a Mockingcast Birthday Extravaganza!

    Happy birthday to us!! Thank you so much to everyone who wrote in (and continues to write in!) to say how much the cast means to you — the outpouring has been such an encouragement to RJ, Sarah, and myself. And thank you for listening, period. This project is a true labor of love.

    The milestone 200th episode is up as of this morning, in which we celebrate by talking soul toupées, American happiness, None elevator pitches, and the compelling perfectionism of Yeshua. Also, Dave comes to grips with his ADD, Sarah starts a new hobby, while RJ serenades them both like some kind of overgrown Dutch choirboy–with the help of the meme to the right.

    • Click here to read about Soul Toupées.
    • Click here to read Ruth Whippman’s article on “America the Anxious.”
    • Click here to read Eric Weiner’s piece on what it’s like to be a None.
    • Click here to read a portion of Francis Spufford’s Yeshau chapter from Unapologetic.
    • Click here to read the article Dave mentions about mid-life crises.
    • Click here to read Sarah’s post on Overconfident Men and Underestimating Women.