300 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

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 60 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 339 - Anglican/'Anglican'

    Episode 339 - Anglican/'Anglican'

    The Gospel of God's One-Way Love can find an appealing, commodious platform within the Anglican tradition. This is because when that tradition is allowed to be fully itself -- historically, theologically, and even aesthetically -- it supports the Good News and pastorally embodies it.

    On the other hand, like any ancient tradition, 'Anglicanism' can become dry and even choking. When the tradition becomes an end rather than a means to an end -- a "thing" rather than a fountain -- then it can desiccate the very soil on which it was first planted.

    In this cast I tell something of my own Anglican story, which goes back to 1960. There is within it some of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- and when it comes to the Church of England, mostly the Good.

    If you're an Episcopalian, I hope you'll be encouraged. Mary's and my story within the Church is also quite funny (at least to me). Hope you'll laugh along.

    Incidentally, the opening music is the very first song my suite-mates played for me when I arrived at a C. of E. theological college in September 1973. It was counter-intuitive, to say the least. LUV U!

    P.S. The second song they played was... "China Grove" by the Doobie Brothers. (That one I knew.)

    • 21 min
    Episode 338 - Privilege (1967)

    Episode 338 - Privilege (1967)

    The vehement secularism all around us is no secret. I have seen its pointed perseverance in at least three settings recently, and most powerfully at my 50th Harvard College class reunion.

    In all three settings, 'God' was sedulously left out of the discourse, and, it felt to me, conscientiously. Nothing new in that, to be sure; but it made me reflect on the Christian Church, at least in its traditional manifestation, and what is it that "triggers" the sharp antagonism.

    But I came up with a slightly different answer.

    Had recently read John Weaver's book Evangelicals and the Arts in Fiction from McFarland Books, that wonderful publishing house which specializes in sincerest monographs on subjects such as the history of wax-museum horror films or 1940s Mummy movies.

    Weaver's book is counter-intuitive in the extreme, and contributes an insight that I have read nowhere else. So maybe we can learn from contemporary secularism, albeit from a different direction.

    The cast concludes with one of the most unusual Christian pop songs ever recorded, and filmed, from Peter Watkins' 1967 "anti-Establishment" movie Privilege, starring Paul Jones, the lead singer of Manfred Mann (i.e., "Doo Wah Diddy").

    In brief, you can learn something about yourself by studying what others dislike about you. LUV U.

    • 24 min
    Episode 337 - Our M'bird Guest 2022

    Episode 337 - Our M'bird Guest 2022

    Mockingbird's 14th annual New York City conference, entitled "Hope for a Weary World", was a kind of summit for this utterly needed Word. I'll bet almost everyone there felt the same way.

    Was it the fact that we hadn't met in person for two years? Is that what made this conference so refreshing? Was it the depth of the content, let alone the humor, the music and the sheer joy of the message? What was it?

    For me it was the unique chord of utter realism with electric Hope. You could hear it in everything -- in Aaron's Zimmerman's timely video/s and tone, in David Zahl's Titian and St. Dismas, in the video by the German hardware company Hornbach that encapsulated base-line empathy, in Simeon (and Bonnie) Zahl's phrase "theory of change"; in the trenchant, applicable breakouts; in the delicious meals that we wanted never to end; in the tracks of JAZ's eternal 'Episco Disco'. The main thing was that chord of realism (even tragic realism) assimilated to us personally by means of Divine Hope.

    Oh, and there was also a special guest among us. Did you see him? Not sure you did. He's been dead awhile but he came back for Mockingbird 2022. He was actually there!

    He signaled to me, first, from the balcony. Then later, during "Drinks with PZ", from the back of the church. And he sent me something he had written ... to read to you. Which I include at the end of this cast.

    All My Love -- and in its after-glow, which I hope will never fade.

    • 23 min
    Episode 336 - Death Star Portal

    Episode 336 - Death Star Portal

    It seems as if almost everybody is a little like the "Death Star" in Star Wars. There's a way in to our inner reality, but it's very small -- tiny, in fact -- and it takes a sure shot to get inside.

    With people, it is often serious stress or failure of some sort that opens up the portal; and even then, it seems rare that some healing hope makes contact with the real you.

    I remember how gripping Dr. Frank Lake's essay was, from the mid-70s, entitled "The Presence of Christ in the Healing of Primal Pain". He pointed us, you might say, to the cure for one's profoundest trouble. But how many didn't take him up on it? Didn't take God up on it?

    This cast starts with an illustration from Jacques Demy's despairing masterpiece A Room in Town ("Une Chambre en Ville") from 1982. A Communist labor organizer's "Death Star Portal" is pierced by an entrancing person -- and all his "primary" commitments turn "secondary" in exactly five minutes. His portal opens and his world explodes. Sadly for the activist, known as 'Guilbout' , things happen too fast for him to understand what has happened. (Wish I'd been there in the script to try and help him towards a transformed life.)

    The cast proceeds to talk about Spotify and iTunes playlists. (I make a new one every single day, absurd as that sounds.) But there's a portal lurking there that is also probably important.

    Oh, and here's to brevity. Episode 336 is short.
    LUV U, PZ

    • 17 min
    Episode 335 - The Big Street

    Episode 335 - The Big Street

    Can you ever "over"-impute? Can you treat a person as they actually are not to such an extent that you lose yourself and are ultimately taken advantage of?

    The short answer to the question is No. Imputation can never go too far. Of course the 'imputor' may lose himself/herself in the act of treating someone as they are (objectively speaking) not. Christ did. But the effect of imputation in 99% of its enactions is transformative. Yes, you may have to take it pretty far. And yes, you may lose your "boundaries" and self-protections in loving someone the imputation-way. But it almost always, finally, works.

    Case in point -- trying to sound like Rod Serling for a sec -- is the amazing movie The Big Street, which came out in 1942. Based on a short story by Damon Runyon entitled "Little Pinks", The Big Street stars Henry Fonda as a busboy who makes his life's work the enablement, protection, and care of an impossible woman, played by Lucille Ball. The woman could care less about him. Poor 'Little Pinks' is taken gross advantage of by a scheming harridan who appears interested only in money, things and ruling over men -- but never 'Pinks'! The audience keeps wanting to shout at 'Pinks': "Leave her. Forget about her. She will only use you, for good, and then cast you off. You have no future with her." That's what the audience keeps wanting to, literally, scream.

    But watch the movie through. Even the Lucille Ball character has her limits -- that is, the limits of her resistance to self-sacrificing love. I think The Big Street is probably unique in the annals of Hollywood depictions of Christ-like romantic love. It goes all the way.

    I stand by my meme, which someone in Dallas has apparently placed behind the piano in an elementary school classroom: "ONE WAY LOVE IS THE CHANGE AGENT OF LIFE."

    • 20 min
    Episode 334 - Animotion II

    Episode 334 - Animotion II

    The first cast, "Animotion I", laid the 'low-anthropology' groundwork for this new one. Carl Jung's typification of animus and anima diagnosed the male/female dynamic buried within us primordially -- _a la _"Quatermass and the Pit" (1967). Now comes the Hope, which for me is not only real but also empirical.

    Damon Runyon (d. 1946) understood about men and women.

    How could the author upon whose stories Guys and Dolls was based not have done so? Runyon's stories are vignette after vignette of oddly paired (but not to Jung) couples who find lasting love, grace and transformation. The context may be New York City streetlife of the Depression era, but the 'types' and situations are universal. The exterior framework is limited to a place and time, but the people inside themselves could be you and me. And in every case, or almost every case, grace triumphs, justice works itself out, and transformation occurs. (Thus you absolutely have to see the 1941 mini-movie of Runyan's short story "The Old Doll's House". Mockingbirders will hardly believe what they see. You can pull it up on YouTube.)

    What I am saying is that God works (a la Damon Runyan) within the framework He has made (a la C.G. Jung) . The inborn primordial framework of our personhood does not prevent God from working for our good. He is always doing something, even if it looks at first like the "back story".

    That is the point of this cast and I hope you like it. Oh, and see Guys and Dolls (1955), with Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, and Frank Sinatra. It's all there. LUV U.

    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
60 Ratings

60 Ratings

driver_8 ,

My favorite

I can’t think of anyone who’s been more influential in my theological/life outlook than PZ over the last few years. He’s so funny, so insightful, so interesting, and he’s been so kind, gracious, and encouraging to me. He’s wonderful, and so is his podcast.

idestella ,

Ep. 304

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

Nicholas Giuliani ,


I have never listened to someone so out of touch with the concept of the power of the grace of God than this man. Don’t waste your time. Antiquated religious ideas quite literally spat into a microphone.

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