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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
    

    Jerry Seinfeld Discovers a Bottomless Pool of Energy

    This is too good not to have its own post. In a Zoom interview for Sirius XM back in late May, Howard Stern asked Jerry Seinfeld if it is possible to will yourself to get better at something, e.g. your craft, your life, etc. Both men had just watched The Last Dance docu-series about Michael Jordan, and Howard felt that he had consciously willed himself to become a better talk show host. Here’s Jerry’s response, which is for the ages:

    I’m going to adjust your perspective a little bit here. That was not will. What you were using, what Michael Jordan uses, what I use, it’s not will. It’s love. When you love something, it’s a bottomless pool of energy. That’s where the energy comes from, but you have to love it, sincerely — not because you’re going to make money from it or be famous or get whatever you want to get. When you do it because you love it, then you can find yourself moving up and getting really good at something you wanted to be good at. Will is like not eating dessert or something that is just forcing yourself. You can’t force yourself to do — to be — what you have made yourself into. You can love it. Love is endless. Will is finite.

    Breaking Up with the Hot Take

    When it comes to romantic break-ups, the “clean break” is something of a unicorn — admired and sought after but seldom if ever attained. It might be even rarer than the “amicable split.” At least when it comes to genuine love affairs. There are any number of reasons why clean breaks are so hard to […]

    August Playlist

    This one is half a soundtrack to this post and half inspired by this podcast episode.

    Click here to listen on Spotify. And if you want the motherlode, be sure to follow the Mockingbird Masterlist.

    Another Week Ends: Success-o-holics, The Office, Bob Ross, Singing Science, Antibody Blues, Sinful Goats, and Jarvis Cocker Gets Churched

    1. Let me ask you this: which religions-that-aren’t-called-religions do you think are the most popular, and which do you predict will become even more popular? Those are two questions I got in nearly every interview for Seculosity, so for the paperback–out Aug 25th!–I took the opportunity to put a few thoughts down on paper. Needless to […]

    Forty-Eight Years After John Lewis Was Attacked

    A stop-you-in-your-tracks story of (and reflection upon) sin, repentance, reconciliation, and hope from the late congressman John Lewis’ final book, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America, which we discuss on the forthcoming episode of The Mockingcast. Even if you’ve heard about the incident elsewhere, it’s worth reading Lewis’ own […]

    In Praise of Emotional Time Travel (Sort of)

    It arrived while we were at the beach. I had almost delayed our trip to be there to receive the package in person. Even from afar I could feel the tectonic plates of my personal archaeology click into place. After decades of dreaming and pining, a copy of New Mutants 87 was mine. We’re talking […]

    The Coach Who Changed Michael Lewis’s Life

    Very late to the game on this one, pun intended. For years people have been urging me to read Michael Lewis. Moneyball, The Big Short, Liar’s Poker; these are required reading for American dads my age. I know his appeal extends beyond that demographic, but I’ve resisted nonetheless, leaning more in the Brandon Sanderson direction […]

    July Playlist

    Click here to listen (almost all of it) on Spotify.

    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

    Reflections on a Rare Interview with the Rough, Rowdy, and Brilliant Bob Dylan

    Bottoming Out on Prediction Addiction

    The Illusion of Control: It Could be This Way Or That Way

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