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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).

Contact David Zahl

Author Archive
    
    Are You Burned Out?

    Are You Burned Out?

    …students were convinced that their first job out of college would not only determine their career trajectory, but also their intrinsic value for the rest of their lives. I told one student, whose dozens of internship and fellowship applications yielded no results, that she should move somewhere fun, get any job, and figure out what […]

    January Playlist


    Listen on Spotify by clicking here.

    Another Year Begins: Quarter Life Crisis, Relentless Parents, Haunted Houses, Merton's Epiphany, Trendy Church Names, and Jubilee Street

    Another Year Begins: Quarter Life Crisis, Relentless Parents, Haunted Houses, Merton's Epiphany, Trendy Church Names, and Jubilee Street

    Happy January! So glad to be back at the dials to kick off a fresh year of Mocking-activity and deeply grateful to our many supporters who came through, big time, this past month to make that possible. Stay tuned early next week for details about our upcoming NYC Conference (4/25-27), earlybird registration for which expires […]

    Mockingbird Update: What's in Store for 2019 and How You Can Help

    With 2019 busting down the door, it’s time for our annual update on all things Mockingbird! And what a year it’s been, praise God. Such a privilege to bear Good News, especially when the world feels like an increasingly merciless place.

    At the end of last year, we launched a series of new initiatives called “Mbird 2.0.” Twelve months in, the first fruits have arrived—top of the list being The Mockingapp, the cutting-edge app for iOSx mobile devices we unleashed in October. Next would be StoryMakers, our new children’s ministry venture which is going gangbusters (look for their first offering in early 2019). And then there’s our spectacularly redesigned print magazine, two issues of which appeared in 2018.

    We also held three conferences, published four books, and hosted five ongoing podcasts, including the revitalized lectionary guide, Same Old Song, which hit earbuds at the beginning of Advent.

    What’s next? My own book Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What To Do About It drops in April and is already available for pre-order. I think you’ll love it. In addition to our annual conferences in NYC (4/25-27) and Tyler, TX (4/5-6), we have a pastor’s gathering on the books for June, as well as a Fall event in Virginia. The Faith & Doubt Issue of our print magazine will be out in January, and later that month, we begin work on a second 365-day devotional! We’re also stockpiling new pastoral resources for a planned overhaul of this site.

    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. In 2018 we ran into some unexpected (one-time) expenses, mainly having to do with web hosting and conference scholarships. We’ve cut our budget going forward but are still playing catching up and could really use your help. Specifically, we need to raise $360,000 to keep fulfilling our mission in 2019. For more info about where the money goes, click here. Three easy ways to help might be:

    1. Become a monthly supporter. Close to 250 people give automatically to Mbird every month, anywhere from $10 to $1200. 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 or work at a church that is benefiting from our ministry but hasn’t gotten behind Mbird “officially” yet, be our advocate! Email us at info@mbird.com if you have 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 events and articles on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. Use one of our resources at your church or in your small group. Recruit folks to come to an event. 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 2018: Favorite Music, TV, Movies, Humor, Books, and Media

    Consuming 2018: Favorite Music, TV, Movies, Humor, Books, and Media

    Time for our annual round up of favorites, which now includes TV too. As always, these are predominantly personal picks, albeit with an eye toward Mocking-resonance. Click here to read last year’s list. Deep breath: Music Favorite Discoveries Josh White. Usually I have a pretty good idea of what to expect at the conferences we […]

    A Mockingbird Gift Guide: 2018 Edition

    A Mockingbird Gift Guide: 2018 Edition

    That time again! Click here to check out last year’s guide. And to make sure all the gifts below look their best, we recommend (w)rapping them in deliciousness or genius. For Your Small Group Leader Who Keeps Hinting That You Take Your Law/Grace Paradigm More Seriously Than Scripture Itself: An Easy Stroll Through a Short […]

    Another Week Ends: Gene Editing, Political Cults, Ultrarich Scorekeeping, Medical Forgiveness, Depressed Scientists, $25 Naps, and John the Baptist

    Another Week Ends: Gene Editing, Political Cults, Ultrarich Scorekeeping, Medical Forgiveness, Depressed Scientists, $25 Naps, and John the Baptist

    Before we jump in, our year-end update/appeal letters are out! On snazzy new letterhead, to boot. To be sure you get one, just sign up for our mailing list. We’ve got a ton of exciting things happening, and really need your help. Take it away, Kermit: 1. First up, last week’s Cambridge Literary Festival featured […]

    The De-Sexing of the American Teenager

    The De-Sexing of the American Teenager

    It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose, marking an episode of The Mockingcast “E” for “Explicit.” I just figured that when it happened, it’d be because of language (*ahem, Rev Jackwagon*) rather than content. But iTunes is notoriously touchy about these things and the “sex recession” is just too relevant of a subject not […]

    Gig Economies and the Evangelism of Pleeeeeeeeaassssee

    Gig Economies and the Evangelism of Pleeeeeeeeaassssee

    I really wish she hadn’t written this one. It would’ve stung no matter when it came out, but right now just seems cruel. Maybe you saw it and feel similarly exposed. Hopefully not. I’m talking about Ruth Whippman’s searing editorial in The NY Times “Everything Is For Sale Now, Even Us.” Believe me when I […]

    Pre-Order Seculosity Today!

    Couldn’t be more excited to announce that my forthcoming book Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion And What To Do About It is now available for pre-order! Won’t be out til April 2, 2019, but the more advance orders the better. Here’s the promotional copy and cover:

    At the heart of our current moment lies a universal yearning, writes David Zahl, not to be happy or respected so much as enough–what religions call “righteous.” To fill the void left by religion, we look to all sorts of everyday activities–from eating and parenting to dating and voting–for the identity, purpose, and meaning once provided on Sunday morning.

    In our striving, we are chasing a sense of enoughness. But it remains ever out of reach, and the effort and anxiety are burning us out. Seculosity takes a thoughtful yet entertaining tour of American “performancism” and its cousins, highlighting both their ingenuity and mercilessness, all while challenging the conventional narrative of religious decline. Zahl unmasks the competing pieties around which so much of our lives revolve, and he does so in a way that’s at points playful, personal, and incisive. Ultimately he brings us to a fresh appreciation for the grace of God in all its countercultural wonder.

    Promotion will amp up as we get closer to April, and we need your help spreading the word. Best thing you can do right now (other than pre-order) is to tell your friends, neighbors, colleagues, pastors, etc and start using the hashtag #seculosity on social media. This is going to be fun…

    Pre-Order Today!

    Culture and the Countercultural Cross - David Zahl

    The talk given at the Here We Still Stand conference in San Diego last month, in which I offered up the first full-length taste of my forthcoming book Seculosity (and had a lot of fun in the process). Many thanks to everyone at 1517 for putting it on:

    Another Week Ends: Purr-fectionism, Soulmates, Ambrose & Augustine, National Jealousy Day, Nick Cave and Patriot

    Another Week Ends: Purr-fectionism, Soulmates, Ambrose & Augustine, National Jealousy Day, Nick Cave and Patriot

    1. First up, some low-hanging fruit from The Atlantic, Olga Khazan’s “The Problem with Being Perfect,” an expert deconstruction of America’s favorite #humblebrag. Khazan fills in the shading a bit more than journalists usually do when tackling this subject, especially toward the end, where she catalogs not just the appeasement response to the law perfectionism, […]

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