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Posts tagged "Paul Walker"

The Chimera of Identity in an Anxious World – Paul Walker

NYC Conference video number three here we go, from the inestimable Paul Walker:

The Chimera of Identity in an Anxious World ~ Paul Walker from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Hopelessly Devoted: The Beauty Beneath February

This comes to us from one of our NYC conference speakers, the inestimable Paul Walker:

Things to love about February: 1) it is short and 2) the following month holds the dawn of spring.

But there’s more, even in the midst of these ongoing frigid temps. There is still the hope of a huge, pulverizing snow, which forces the suspension of all activity. (I realize this is not on the positive side of the ledger for some, but the inner child still pleads for a snow day!) And then there is Valentine’s Day. Again, maybe not everyone’s favorite day. And then there are the fires in the fireplace. Who doesn’t love fires?

What I really love about February, however, is the way its spare beauty points to God. Spring is bursting, summer is lush, autumn is burnished. Their beauties announce themselves, obviously. February’s beauty is a shy beauty – a demure month. What other time do you notice the skeletal branches against the flat sky? What other time does the cardinal pop so brilliantly against the snowy hedge? What other time do you so carefully observe the slowly lengthening days?


When eyes are not overwhelmed with stimuli, they sometimes see deeply through the spare offerings. Is there a deeper beauty, a beauty below (or above, or within, or around) the beauty? St. Augustine thought so. In his famous passage, “What do I love when I love my God”, he says,

“It is not physical beauty nor temporal glory nor the brightness of light dear to earthly eyes, nor the sweet melodies of all kinds of songs, or the gentle odor of flowers, and ointments and perfumes, nor manna or honey, nor limbs welcoming the embraces of the flesh; it is not these I love when I love my God. Yet there is a light I love, and a food, and a kind of embrace when I love my God – a light, voice, odor, food, embrace of my innerness, where my soul is floodlit by light which space cannot contain, where there is sound that time cannot seize, where there is a perfume which no breeze disperses, where there is a taste for food no amount of eating can lessen, and where there is a bond of union that no satiety can part. That is what I love when I love my God.”

Thanksgiving and the Human Family

This short Thanksgiving Day devotion comes to us from Paul Walker: Virginians, being Virginians, like to claim that the first Thanksgiving took place not at Plymouth Rock, but at Berkley Plantation in Virginia in 1619. The ships that arrived from England had a charter that required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as […]

Malicious Agencies and Intangible Malignities in Moby Dick

A sublime passage from the 41st chapter of Moby Dick on Original Sin and scapegoating, or -whaling as the case may be, followed by a sermon that references it to great effect, ht PW:

P762The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung. That intangible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Christians ascribe one-half of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the east reverenced in their statue devil;—Ahab did not fall down and worship it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.

And here’s “A-R0d, Ahab, and the Daughter of Abraham” from Paul Walker:

The Day of All Days: Reflections on Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour On The Cross”

This morning, we are honored to bring you original commentary on the meaning of Good Friday by the inestimable Paul Walker, written as part of a special broadcast of Joseph Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour On the Cross” on WTJU-Charlottesville, 91.1 FM. For those unfamiliar with the piece, it was commissioned by the […]

The Life and Work of William Faulkner: A Conference Breakout

Join Paul Walker and James Wilson (yes, of Sons of Bill fame) for The Life and Work of William Faulkner.  We discuss Faulkner’s brave, honest, (and perhaps peerless?) exploration of “the human heart in conflict with itself,”–his self-proclaimed raison d’etre for his varied and voluminous literary corpus. And, we attempt to make a compelling case for the deeply flawed (go figure) author’s Christian hope which stealthily seeps up out of the fecund ground of his imaginative, storytelling, Christ-haunted genius. We give special attention The Sound And The Fury, the work we believe to be the masterpiece of American literature.

No lit-crit savvy necessary!  As one professor said, “If you want to learn about other people, read Dostoyevsky. If you want to learn about yourself, read Faulkner.” So, come one, come all!

Here’s the audio recording from the session.


Or, if you prefer, you can download it by right clicking here and selecting “Save link as…”

Hopelessly Devoted: Luke Chapter Fifteen Verses Eleven Through Thirty-Two

Our intrepid podcaster has been taking a breather this past couple weeks while he’s been out of the country, so we thought we’d run another Hopelessly Devoted this morning. This one comes from Paul Walker, and takes as its text the Parable of the Prodigal Son, dovetailing nicely with the Forde quote from last week, […]

Birmingham Conference Recordings: Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

A major thank you to everyone who helped us put on our conference in Birmingham, AL, especially all the good people at Cathedral Church of the Advent. What a delightful and inspiring time it was! Lots of laughter, a few tears, some great food and tons of new connections, we could not be more grateful. […]

Birmingham Conference 10/28-29: Happening Today!

Our Birmingham Conference is less than two days away! We couldn’t be more excited about how things have come together. A few new details to share:

1. Primary talk titles have been finalized:

  • Talk 1. Friday Evening. “Why We Always Lose When We Keep Score” – Paul Walker
  • Talk 2. Saturday Morning. “Game Over: The Foolish Wisdom of God’s Grace, Pt 1” – Paul Walker
  • Talk 3. Saturday Morning. “The Curse of Autonomy and the Hope of a New Word” – David Browder
  • Talk 4. Saturday Morning. “You’re Not Wrong, Walter: Love in a Time of Argument” – David Zahl
  • Talk 5. Saturday Afternoon. “Game Over: The Foolish Wisdom of God’s Grace, Pt 2” and Q&A – Paul Walker

In addition to these talks, there will be several devotions and presentations. For the fully updated schedule, go here.

2. Sam Bush of The Hill and Wood (and Christ Church C’ville) will be our conference musician, leading both the opening and closing worship. And Gil Kracke has graciously agreed to be our conference chaplain, giving short devotions before each of Paul’s talks. These are amazing developments; our cup runneth over!

3. The conference will close on Saturday afternoon with a special Mockingbird reception at The Redmont Hotel, a mere two blocks away, from 3-5pm. The reception will double as a launch party for the new Mockingbird resource, Paul Zahl’s The Merciful Impasse: The Sermon on the Mount for Those Who’ve Crashed (and Burned) audio collection. Dr. Zahl will be on hand to sign copies and talk briefly about the release.

4. Finally, if you have run into trouble finding an affordable/appropriate place to stay, we may be able to help. No guarantees, but do email us at and we’ll give it our best shot.

Online pre-registration is now closed. While last-minute walk-ins will of course not be turned away, we cannot guarantee them food or childcare. Hope you can join us for any part of the program.

BONUS TRACKS: To give you a better sense of our main speaker, Paul Walker, we’ve uploaded a trio of recent sermons (in reverse chronological order).

Hopelessly Devoted: Psalm Forty Two Verse Five

Our series of Monday devotions continues this morning with one from Paul Walker, Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA and speaker at the upcoming Birmingham conference. This particular reflection aptly addresses the affliction of scorekeeping, and the message of grace that responds in your defense: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, […]

Mockingbird Fall Conference in Birmingham, AL – Registration Now Open!

Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

October 28-29, 2011
Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, AL

The great theologian Robert Capon once wrote, “Grace cannot prevail until law is dead, until moralizing is out of the game…, until our fatal love affair with the law is over — until, finally and for good, our lifelong certainty that someone is keeping score has run out of steam and collapsed.”

A bold sentiment, perhaps, but also a true one. Keeping score is what we do, either consciously or not: in our work, in our friendships, in our marriages, yes, even in our spiritual lives. Who’s winning and who’s losing? Who’s pulling ahead? Who’s falling behind? Who owes us and to whom are we indebted? Where does it all end?! Scorekeeping in life is as exhausting as it is prevalent. But the Gospel is Good News to people who aren’t measuring up, a word of relief for those in need of one.

Join us in Birmingham this Fall as we explore what Christ meant when he said, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). With the healthy dose of humor, cultural fluency and psychological acuity you’ve come to expect from Mockingbird.

Our main speaker this time will be none other than Paul Walker, rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA and founding board president of Mockingbird. He will be aided and abetted by David Zahl and David Browder.

The cost of the event, which includes dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday, is $50. Childcare is available during the event for children ages 5 and under. If you are planning on coming, we ask that you pre-register beforehand, so we can plan accordingly.


Osama bin Laden and The Closed Circle of the Law

We normally hesitate to comment on political matters. Fortunately, the reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden goes beyond those parameters. Paul Walker, rector of Christ Church here in Charlottesville and main speaker at our Fall conference in Birmingham (10/28-29), has the following wise words: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let […]