265 episodes

From "Telstar" to "Vault of Horror," from Rattigan to Kerouac, from the Village of Bray to the Village of Midwich, help PZ link old ancient news and pop culture. I think I can see him, "Crawling from the Wreckage." Will he find his way? This show is brought to you by Mockingbird! www.mbird.com

PZ's Podcast Mockingbird

    • Christianity
    • 4.9, 45 Ratings

From "Telstar" to "Vault of Horror," from Rattigan to Kerouac, from the Village of Bray to the Village of Midwich, help PZ link old ancient news and pop culture. I think I can see him, "Crawling from the Wreckage." Will he find his way? This show is brought to you by Mockingbird! www.mbird.com

    Episode 304 - Speed Bump

    Episode 304 - Speed Bump

    I like Greg Townson very much! He's a guitarist who's been around for a while, but is now a leading member of Los Straitjackets. He combines that great Rockabilly sound of theirs with some really lyrical passages. Townson's track "Speed Bump", an excerpt of which begins this cast, got me started on the theme.

    It's a familiar theme, especially with Mockingbird; but should never be foregone. A speed bump is when an obstacle or blockage on the road on which you are traveling causes you -- if you are going too fast or not looking where you're going -- to crash, or at least shock you out of yourself.

    In regular life, a speed bump is the unexpected loss or blow or intrusion that makes you stop. "Hey, what's that sound/Everybody look what's goin' down" (Buffalo Springfield, 1966). It can be the illness of your child, a sudden catastrophic interruption/lurch in your marriage, a notice that you've been fired, a pandemic (to say the least), or one's nervous collapse into absorbing anxiety.

    Ideally -- and this is the Christian point of the cast -- your biggest speed bump should cause you to stop and re-evaluate, "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" [The Stylistics, 1971]. The old word for this is Repent. And always with a view to a fresh direction and a new beginning.

    At a key moment in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, something happens -- a proposal of marriage goes terribly wrong -- which causes both the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, and the hero, 'Mr. D'Arcy' individually to re-evaluate their whole lives. The "speed bump" of that catastrophic conversation causes each of them and both of them to see themselves in a new light -- really, to humble each of them in their own eyes. The result of their speed bump is lasting good and great blessing.

    What has been your biggest speed bump? Where are you with it now? Tell me.

    • 23 min
    Episode 303 - Jimmy Loves Mary Anne

    Episode 303 - Jimmy Loves Mary Anne

    This is a further thought on "narratives", tho' with a Biblical example (from Jeremiah) and a recent public incident that has me both "stunned and amazed" (Pretenders, 'My City Was Gone', 1984).

    The President of Harvard has issued a letter announcing the end of the University's sanctions against the undergraduate Final Clubs and all "single gender" organizations on or off campus. These sanctions, which brought with them a sort of "Stasi"-like network of anonymous informants and secret tip-offs connected to the Dean's Office, were put into place in 2017. This week, however, due to a Federal Court ruling in Massachusetts, buttressed by a recent Supreme Court decision, Harvard admitted officially that its policy could not stand up in court, and it was therefore withdrawing the policy.

    Whether you care or don't care about Ivy League colleges and their current policies and dicta, what stunned and amazed PZ was the fact that the organizations' deliverance came from "out of the blue" and from a quarter we didn't expect. That's the point: from a quarter and connected to a logic we didn't expect.

    I find this enormously strengthening, if also convicting. God can solve one's problem. But He's going to do it in His way and not mine or yours. Thus Jeremiah 27, a passage with which Mary and I have been wrestling of late, came abruptly to new life! My ideas concerning how my beloved undergraduate organization from decades past might survive the tyranny of Pharaoh -- my narrative of (despaired for) deliverance -- proved false. But deliverance came anyway! ("What a fool I was, what a dominated fool" -- My Fair Lady)

    Hope you like the cast. Hope it gives you new hope. And... hope it helps you appreciate Looking Glass.

    This cast is dedicated to Elder Harold Fuller of City of Destiny Church, Apopka, FL.

    • 18 min
    Episode 302 - Narrative Schmarrative

    Episode 302 - Narrative Schmarrative

    "Narratives", which used to be called "paradigms", and before that, "preconceptions", are like shackles on human necks. They force one to look down from what is before you, rather than at it.

    Narratives short-change reality because you either discard things that don't fit your narrative or you alter the facts in order to squeeze them in. I'm not talking about the ideological content of your narrative. (That varies from person to person.) I'm talking about the idea that we need narratives to understand what we are facing.

    Take the narrative couched within the statement, "You've got to go toward the cannons". In order to deal with the negativities in your life, you have to confront them directly rather than flee them or deny them. Sounds good.

    But here comes another narrative: "In this context there is no room for that idea." If someone is guilty of this or that objectionable action or idea, they have to be nullified, deleted.

    So behold: two narratives, entirely in conflict. Yet sometimes I hear the same person enunciating them both within the space of a single hour.

    Narratives are everywhere, and they are like heavy yokes, causing one to look down not_ at_.

    In my experience, only the Christian freedom of the New Creation, the New Being, is sufficient to un-yoke narratives. Only the New Being can act freely, love freely, give freely in emancipation from narratives.

    This is a lesson, incidentally, to be derived from Charles Dickens' (previously unknown to me) novel Our Mutual Friend. That book, by the way, is a total must. T O T A L M U S T.

    Oh, and talk about the New Being: Listen to the Wagnerian sounds of The Delfonics, with which this cast begins and ends. The Delfonics, together with their inspired producer Thom Bell, were not burdened by narratives, so they broke through to inspired heights. Just like the un-shackled you can.

    • 18 min
    Episode 301 - Emotional Rescue

    Episode 301 - Emotional Rescue

    Feelings cover both the personal and the general. They cover both the individual and the collective. So you feel deeply when you are loved and loved back, and you feel deeply when a cause -- political, social, or cultural -- captures your heart's allegiance. We are seeing this dramatically within the current mood and its fiery passions.

    But wait: I was here before!

    I was "here", in the Spring of 1968 when the match was lit by the assassination of Dr. King. I saw personally the inferno that became Northeast Washington (D.C.), and was even stopped and threatened because I broke the curfew. Everything "normal" came to a halt.

    Then again, in the Spring of 1970, in the aftermath of Kent State, everything seemed to stop. Classes cancelled, round-the-clock demonstrations; and again I got stopped one night for breaking the curfew. That was twice in two years.

    Yet oddly, it is not those famous events, Dr. King's assassination and Kent State, that I remember the most. What I really, indelibly, remember from that time is relationships at risk, reconciliations gone wrong, and driving in the rain listening to "No Time" by The Guess Who.

    Your life is like a Doppler map on your weather app. The Doppler shows where the storm and the front is at its most severe. You are able to see the "cells" of intense weather, and where the wind and rain are at their worst.

    Consider your life, from the day you were born right through to today, as a Doppler map. The times of greatest stress, looking back, show "sun spots" of intense activity -- good and bad. And while they may not have been the actual crises of political warfare and lockdowns that you weathered, those crises "brought up", from deep inside you, electric storms of anger, unfairness and rejection -- not to mention horizons of calm, justice, and connection.

    In assessing where you are right now, weigh the Big Issues of the current scene. They are Big. Bigger still, though, are the inward storms, both for shattering and for fulfilling. Listen to "Question" by The Moody Blues.

    • 24 min
    Episode 300 - (You're) Having My Baby

    Episode 300 - (You're) Having My Baby

    Mrs. Zahl and I had a sort of 'Abraham/Sarah' moment (i.e., Genesis 17) this week, and it brought to mind an immortal song from 1974, performed by Paul Anka. But it was all because of the virus!

    This new cast, which is the 300th, talks about the supernatural Power of God in relation to the scourge that is whipping us all. I bring back an 'Oldie but Goodie', William Hale White (aka 'Mark Rutherford'), to witness concerning the Power of God through a remarkable short essay he penned in 1908. The essay is entitled "Little Nell". The conceit of White's elliptical piece is that actual conversion and authentic transformation is possible within the human situation. Not just "God with us" in our pain; but God come to reverse it, and heal it. In "Little Nell" William Hale White moves from Dickens' account of an old man's conversion to non-self-referenced love for his grand-daughter, to the conversion of St. Paul, to the power of outside love to alter the entire chemistry of the "inner man".

    The cast concludes with an excerpt from Eddie James's track "Power", assisted by Ashley Brison and Patricia Miller, which, if this doesn't get you out of your seat, then the virus-panic really has gotten to you. LUV U!

    • 21 min
    Episode 299 - Kolchak and Corona

    Episode 299 - Kolchak and Corona

    In the middle of what may be the worst week, or close to it, this cast offers hope of a real breakthrough -- and not just in mental attitude or "approach", but in the substance of the pandemic.

    At the start there is some slight use of the now-taboo word "over-reaction"; but hey, you can see it either way -- just as long you stay vigilant and wash your hands a lot. No question about that.

    Yet there remains the question of faith, as in the moment right after Christ stilled the storm, when He asked the disciples: "Where is your faith?"

    I feel we need to not give up on actual faith. And by that I mean the faith that God is able to quell the storm, de-potentiate the virus, and heal those who have it -- let alone, shield those who don't.

    I mean seriously, hasn't anyone seen War of the Worlds -- either the George Pal version (1953) or the Steven Spielberg one (2005)? Both of them end the way H.G. Wells ended the novel on which they are based. God killed the Martian invaders. Not the USAF nor the British howitzers. But God... through an unseen.... virus.

    Stay open to God as Deliverer.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
45 Ratings

45 Ratings

idestella ,

Ep. 304

Thank you for a very encouraging podcast from someone who has had at least one speed bump per decade!

Josh Claridon ,


Thankful for this podcast! You’ll never be bored!

mrdjsk ,

Must listen more than once

PZ is very enjoyable and slightly wacky in a very good way. Edgy, even. The thing I’ve come to realize is that the best way to listen to PZs podcasts are to hear them twice. This way, you better comprehend the context of the first song, which is often quirky and sometimes even slightly cringey (delightfully so). He’s a master of engagement, thought, and entertainment. Thank you for this wonderful addition to the Internet. Please keep them coming.

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