What Would Jesus Tweet? The Gospel in the 21st Century (Conference Recordings!)

What Would Jesus Tweet? The Gospel in the 21st Century (Conference Recordings!)

An enormous thank you to all the fantastic people at St Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church in Louisville, KY, who made the What Would Jesus Tweet mini-conference possible earlier this month! What a privilege it was to meet so many new friends; the warmth and graciousness of the welcome...

All You Need Is (One Way) Love, or Looking at All the Lonely People

All You Need Is (One Way) Love, or Looking at All the Lonely People

Pleasantly surprised by how well this came together and greatly encouraged by the response it received. Filmed at the Liberate Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL on 2/22: Liberate 2014 - David Zahl from Coral Ridge | LIBERATE on Vimeo.
First Issue of The Mockingbird Now Available!!

First Issue of The Mockingbird Now Available!!

The first issue of The Mockingbird, our brand new quarterly magazine, is in the mail! If you signed up for our mailing list, you should have one coming to you, free of charge. If haven’t, sign up before March 1st and we’ll happily send you one. If you want to...

Buried Radioactive Material: Introducing The Guess Who (and Burton Cummings)

Buried Radioactive Material: Introducing The Guess Who (and Burton Cummings)

Recently a friend asked me to recommend something that a young man considering a call to ordination might profitably read. I went through “the usual suspects” (i.e., Bishop Lightfoot, John Stott, W.H. Griffith-Thomas), but actually came up with a novel, or rather a novella, to help him spell out the...

Does Raising Awareness Work?

Does Raising Awareness Work?

Sometimes, but maybe not as well as we’d like to think. I work in a downtown pedestrian area, and on any given walk to a coffeeshop or lunch spot, if the weather’s nice there will be environmentalists, Global Medical Brigades reps, pro-Tibetans, and other generally worthy and important causes. ‘Did...

Everything Is Awesome: Grace in The LEGO Movie

Everything Is Awesome: Grace in The LEGO Movie

Some thoughts on grace and the new LEGO movie come from Michael Belote, author of the wonderful reboot:Christianity blog and author of Rise of the Time Lords, doubtless the best (review here) geeky intro to Christian doctrine available.

Something weird is happening in Hollywood. Just four months ago, the world was introduced to...

Sleeping on Mortality: An Ash Wednesday Reflection

Sleeping on Mortality: An Ash Wednesday Reflection

We continue our tradition of anonymous Ash Wednesday reflections on rest:

…the night cometh, when no man can work.

-John 9:4, KJV

Four hours last week, followed by a full day of breakneck productivity. Those of us who pride ourselves on working without sleep find solace in our indefatigable nocturnal spirits, sustained by...

SPRING CONFERENCE IN NYC: Theme and Schedule

SPRING CONFERENCE IN NYC: Theme and Schedule

“I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.” –Franny Glass in J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey

Is there any question that inspires more fascination and worry, creativity and fear, than ‘who am I?’ Or, put differently, ‘who are you?’ No matter where we are in life, the...

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Fighting a Long-Lost Battle in Romans 7

From Mark Seifrid of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

perspectives-on-our-inner-struggle“Paul does not speak of the Christian struggle with sin in Romans 7. He describes a battle already lost, long ago in Adam. Nevertheless, in sheer wonder, the long-lost battle has been decided in our favor by God in Christ. The Christian is thus called to walk the very narrow path marked by the intersection of the new creation with the present fallen world. On the one side we are subject to the danger of the despair that loses sight of God’s work in Christ. On the other hand, we are subject to the danger of a pride that falsely supposes that the power of salvation is now ours, if only we realize its potential. Such a pride in its own way also loses sight of God’s work in Christ. It brings a ‘therapeutic Christianity’ that turns outward achievements, whether individual, corporate, or social, into a measure of spiritual progress and a mark of the presence of the kingdom. It does not see that what has been accomplished in Christ is located abidingly in Christ, not in ourselves. Our salvation, and therefore all true progress, both individual and corporate, does not rest in our hands…

As Paul tells the Philippians, progress is a progress in faith (Phil 1:21). It is not a turning inward but a being-turned-outward. It is hearing the address of the gospel afresh within the changing circumstances of life. To use Paul’s language, it is again and again ‘reckoning yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus’ (Rom 6:11)… Not only the first step but every step of Christian progress begins with Paul’s sober and realistic confession in Rom 7:25b [...with my flesh I serve the law of sin]. It begins with the acknowledgment that as long as we remain in this body and life the unhappy truth that we ‘serve the law of sin’ remains.”

-Mark A. Seifrid, Perspectives on Our Struggle with Sin

Dilla’s Donuts:  The Ticks and Pops of the Hip Hop God

Dilla’s Donuts: The Ticks and Pops of the Hip Hop God

Another track from Joey Shook.

Earlier this week, Long Island hip hop veterans De La Soul announced they would be releasing a new mixtape called Smell The D.A.I.S.Y. as a continuation of their 25th anniversary celebration– this coming only weeks after they released their entire catalog for free download (!) on their website.  Most notable about this announcement though was that the entire mixtape would use beats produced by the late Detroit hip hop producer J Dilla.

Each year around this time, a number of articles and mixtapes surface on the internet to pay tribute to J Dilla’s legacy (this year’s most…

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NYC Conference: Talk Titles and PZ Reception!

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Hard to believe we are less than four weeks away from our annual conference in New York City (4/3-5)! High time we announced the titles of the main talks, eh? Be sure to note the special reception taking place on the evening of the 4th:

Thursday April 3rd

6:30PM  “Can You See the Real Me? Lonely Ambition and the Roots of Freedom” – David Zahl

Friday April 4th

9:00AM  Morning Talks

  • “The Chimera of Identity in an Anxious World” – Paul Walker
  • “Communicating Grace Through Story” – Sally Lloyd-Jones*

2:30PM  Afternoon Talks

  • “Nietzsche & Me” – Tim Kreider
  • “Thomas Cranmer’s Gospel of Divine Allurement” – Ashley Null

5:30PM   Cocktail Reception in the St. George’s Chapel celebrating the release of Comfortable Words: Essays in Honor of Paul F.M. Zahl and PZ’s Panopticon (including Book Signing with Paul Zahl)

7:00PM   “Can You Say the Creed (And Still Call Your Soul Your Own)?” – Francis Spufford

Saturday April 5th

9:30AM   “The Rationalist Delusion and the Perils of Certainty” – Jonathan Haidt

10:15AM   “On Not Being C.S. Lewis” – Francis Spufford

*Sally’s session will not be recorded or taped.

BONUS TRACK: Check out the amazing menu that the caterers have prepared for us by clicking here. As you’ll see, we’ve upped the ante this year. There’s even word that Brooklyn Brewery may be sponsoring the event (say a prayer).

PRE-REGISTER TODAY!

An Introduction to the Excessive World of The Mockingbird

An Introduction to the Excessive World of The Mockingbird

This letter from the editor opens up our first issue of The Mockingbird, our quarterly magazine which has just arrived in mailboxes! To subscribe to The Mockingbird, click here. 

“Tell me which kinds of excesses fascinate you, tell me which kinds of excesses appall you, and I will tell you who you are.” –Adam Phillips, “In Excess”

If Phillips is right, and excesses are the ways we are revealed, then there’s plenty to say about what’s been passing through my Newsfeed. Just this week: Kanye West commissions a Kim Kardashian pop-art portrait from one of Andy Warhol’s cousins in Arizona….

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Toothpaste Paralysis and the Difference Between Regret and Remorse

Toothpaste Paralysis and the Difference Between Regret and Remorse

I hate shopping for toothpaste. You probably know what I’m talking about. There’s the kind that’s good on cavities but doesn’t whiten. There’s the environmentally friendly brand that cleans well but doesn’t do much for the breath. There’s the all-in-one variety that looks promising but only comes in a small (expensive) tube. And then there’s every possible variation thereof. The hours I’ve killed in that brightly colored aisle are more than embarrassing, they’re borderline irresponsible.

Like you, I’ve read about the paradox of choice (the more options, the harder it is to choose), but truth be told, it has yet to…

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Mining Netflix: A Baller’s Sanctification in Linsanity

Mining Netflix: A Baller’s Sanctification in Linsanity

You didn’t have to be a basketball fan to know what “Linsanity” was in 2012, you just needed a pulse. When an athlete like Jeremy Lin surfaces, the whole world can’t help but oogle for a minute or two. Jeremy Lin, undoubtedly, earned the rights to that cagey nickname because, plainly, “insanity” was the only way to describe the speed of light metamorphosis that reshaped his NBA career.

As a member of the globally renowned New York Knicks, Lin reached a Rudy-like prestige, only unlike Rudy, Lin was actually good. Jeremy’s openness about his faith was a proverbial cherry atop his…

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NYC Preview: National Lampoon: Stephen Colbert and Ancient Pulpit of Satire

NYC Preview: National Lampoon: Stephen Colbert and Ancient Pulpit of Satire

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.  –Jonathan Swift

He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” (Mk 4.11-12)

In a Google Talk in 2012, Stephen Colbert spoke (without his character) on the nature of satire, specifically his kind of satire, and the intended “clanging against the world”…

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On TV: “Form and Void”, True Detective

On TV: “Form and Void”, True Detective

[Spoiler Alert]

The closing installment of the hitherto brilliant True Detective may have disappointed some. There were all sorts of outlandish theories, complex and convoluted, some with only minimal support from prior episodes. Most notably, people thought that Maggie was going to be a killer, or her father, because her and Marty’s children arrayed their male dolls in a circle around a prostrate female one, re-enacting the show’s central, unseen cultic rape. The show is stronger without Maggie’s involvement – in that case, her children’s sexual acting-out is a plot clue, the result of a traumatic past. But the way things went down,…

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Anger at Time Stolen, A Curious Assumption

From Lewis’ Screwtape Letters (ht LB)

9780394815008_custom-606a12ba6a12795a7752919b06aa8b396ccb571e-s6-c30“Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured, and as a result, ill-tempered. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend’s talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tete-a-tete with the friend), that threw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feel that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright.”

Les Mousserables

Another Week Ends: Lenten Anthropology Meets Carl Rogers, New Community, Charlie Kaufman, Oscars Morality, Auden (Again), and Katims on Crying

Another Week Ends: Lenten Anthropology Meets Carl Rogers, New Community, Charlie Kaufman, Oscars Morality, Auden (Again), and Katims on Crying

1) A particularly Lenten roundup this week, starting with this very beautiful, concise reflection from Will Willimon over at OnFaith, called “Good News! You’re a Sinner and Lent Is Here,” which deals primarily with the deep relief that comes in knowing yourself as a sinner. (Reminds us a little of someone we get to meet in NYC this spring, who has spoken quite frankly about the “cruel optimism” of our contemporary world.) The truth is, more often than not, the scandal of the Christian faith is not merely the nature or existence of God, but the sin of humankind—and the…

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Scripting Others: Stephen Covey on Imputation?

Scripting Others: Stephen Covey on Imputation?

Despite my instincts to steer clear of self help literature, I recently read Stephen R. Covey’s classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Can anything good come from the self help genre? To my surprise, yes, especially this excerpted section below on “Scripting Others” from Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw (basically, self care). In the following section he talks about something akin to imputation—the act of attributing to someone a trait not otherwise natural to themselves.

At some time in your life, you probably had someone believe in you when you didn’t believe in yourself. They scripted you. Did that…

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A Prayer for The Drive-By Truckers

A Prayer for The Drive-By Truckers

Another stellar contribution from Emily Stubbs:

In regard to Patterson Hood—front man for the Drive-By Truckers—my friend Graham recently said, “As far as I am concerned, he’s right up there with Rudyard Kipling.” In my humble opinion, and I think it is obvious that at least Graham would agree with me here, Patterson Hood is the greatest storyteller of our generation (that is not to say that Mike Cooley and Jason Isbell, who is currently crushing it in his solo career, are not incredibly talented as well). Yes, maybe I am super biased because I am a Southerner and, moreover, I…

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All You Need Is (One Way) Love, or Looking at All the Lonely People

Pleasantly surprised by how well this came together and greatly encouraged by the response it received. Filmed at the Liberate Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL on 2/22:

Liberate 2014 – David Zahl from Coral Ridge | LIBERATE on Vimeo.

NYC Preview: The Terrible Parables of Christ

NYC Preview: The Terrible Parables of Christ

I can’t believe Jesus. He said some things that just can’t be true. In fact, almost everything he said can’t be true. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like some it: He said that he came to fulfill the law. I like that. He said to love others and to love God. That’s tough (and maybe impossible) but it at least sounds good. It sounds right. But some of the patently untrue things he said also just sound wrong to my Christian ears. He told stories that seemed to say if you didn’t have your act together, you’d get…

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