339 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
    • 4.7 • 64 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 378 - PZ's Mature Thoughts Concerning Rock n' Roll

    Episode 378 - PZ's Mature Thoughts Concerning Rock n' Roll

    Personally, I think that one's most cherished tunes come from ... oneself. By which I mean that the music you love may say more about you than about the music itself.

    You hear a Pretenders single and it calls you instantaneously back to the person you were when you first heard it. "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds has the power to instantly recreate the mood you were in when you first saw The Breakfast Club in the theater. Or maybe it brings to mind and heart the person you were with when you saw it!

    I seriously ask you, Why do you like the music, and especially the rock 'n roll music, that you still like? Why does a particular song have the power to evoke tears -- like in two seconds? Why? Tell me, please -- I'm deeply interested. And why interested? Because I care about you. I care about your heart. I care about the assimilation of both your negativity -- which often has its origin in long ago experience of pain -- and your positivity -- which can boost you up when other things pull you down.

    How would you begin this podcast? I mean, with what music would you open it? And conclude it?

    Incidentally, the Spirit of God spoke to me during the recording of it. You'll notice a change which takes place near the end. So I left it in -- the unexpected change -- because, well, it witnesses. LUV U!

    • 23 min
    Episode 377 - Happy 50th, Rod McKuen

    Episode 377 - Happy 50th, Rod McKuen

    I've been thinking some about "borderland" states, meaning extremely strong states of mind and feeling that are not necessarily explicit, but are nonetheless real. Borderland states of mind are when you are in despair concerning your life, or your primary relationships, or simply the way you feel inside. Sometimes the borderland state is positive -- for example, when you fall deeply in love, or when somebody reaches out to you in selfless concern when you are "all fall down". More often, the borderland is negative, and can result in self-destructive acts or even suicide.

    Rod McKuen (d. 2015) was a magician of the borderland. His songs, performed with that hoarse, breaking voice of his, are almost all addresses to the borderland of human feeling. They are almost all slightly "abnormal", expressing laconic extremes of feeling.

    Their "kitsch" -- as they are sometimes pigeonholed -- is only as kitschy as extreme states of feeling are kitschy. We want to jump off a bridge or call up everyone we know to announce our euphoria or whisper our disappointment to the ends of the earth.

    Rod McKuen's songs are hymns to the borderland. You could almost say they are a little "off". But who is not a little off? His songs actually carry huge promise.

    Note that this cast references a recent sermon from Brad Knight, who spoke from his own borderland to the borderlands inhabited by his hearers. He hit the mark!

    Podcast 377 is dedicated to the Very Rev. James G. Munroe.

    • 22 min
    Episode 376 - Fury

    Episode 376 - Fury

    One just can't get over that repeating, concluding forcefulness of Los Straitjackets' music by which they almost always save the best for last -- like in the wedding at Cana, sort of.

    They light up the sky in the last third -- sometimes even the last fifth -- of their covers and their songs.

    Like you and me could do!

    And especially if we could take the heartfelt learnings of the last third of our lives and import them retroactively into our lives' stressful, burdened second third. Now that's what PZ is trying to do for you today. "For you the living/This Mash was meant, too".

    I am trying to impute what I believe has inspired me in recent times to one's listeners' stressful and demanding adult lives.

    I can't tell you, as my now deceased colleague in South Carolina used to tell me almost every time he saw me: "Relax, Paul!" He meant well, yes, but it only made me feel always worse when he said it.

    What I want to say is more like this:

    "Let me take you there" ('Strawberry Fields', 1967). Let me take you in your now to a place of focus on the Big Things, the Big Heart, the Big Connection/s. I feel sometimes like the character 'Emily' says she feels in the last act of "Our Town". Recently dead, she returns to the scene of her 12th birthday, and longs for her parents and brother -- and herself back then- - to see what's really going on. Not to-ings and fro-ings and "process", but rather real love and real care and real gestures and real connection and real feeling -- real heart!

    Will you let me be to you today, dear Listener, a surrogate for Emily?

    "Let me take you there" -- to a life not of obvious burden and exhaustion, but a life of optimism and promise and satisfaction and joy. That's what PZ's Podcast is all about. LUV U.

    • 18 min
    Episode 375 - New Morning

    Episode 375 - New Morning

    Heard a sermon last night that cut to the quick. It evoked the image of a "new priesthood" -- a new movement of God in the New Year. The preacher's vision of life and the work of God in the world felt inspired to the first power.

    And then I thought of Jack Kerouac -- right in the middle of her sermon. I thought of his amazing book, on practical Buddhism no less, entitled Some of the Dharma. Kerouac and the preacher were on the same line.

    Then something else came to mind: the jaw-dropping last act of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town".

    Each of these three 'productions', i.e., Paula White's sermon, Jack Kerouac's spiritual diary, and TNW's seminal play: they were all saying the same thing.

    To wit, the Truth of life lies in every case under the surface of the world. What you see, and even what you think you want to see, is not the Lasting Thing. God's work is infinitely higher than our desires and our ratiocination, tho' at times linked with those things.

    Ultimately, what God is doing is different from what we think is going on.

    What a relief! What a redemption (of our pasts)! What a Promise of real action!

    So I'm hopeful for 2024. Hope you can be, too. LUV U.


    • 21 min
    Episode 374 - The Girl I Married (TZ 1987)

    Episode 374 - The Girl I Married (TZ 1987)

    On December 29th, 2023 Mary and I have been married exactly 50 years.

    What a marker for us! (I truly feel it and celebrate it.)

    This marker-episode concerns the primacy of individual belovedness over any and everything else, including career and professional achievement. This primacy becomes instantly apparent whenever you get sick, or find yourself in the neighborhood of death, or experience a catastrophic fall from perceived security.

    The cast goes on to echo Meister Eckhart's enduring maxim, that "If you cannot find God, go back to where you lost Him." Or, in everyday experience, If you cannot find belovedness in the marriage you have, go back to the point in time when you did have it, when you did feel it. That works in life-long marriage, and every time!

    Finally I give a brief synopsis of Mary's and my own marriage, of 50 years, from its "Peter Pan's Ride" beginning, to the "Pallisers Theme" return-to-basics. I sure hope you like this.

    Podcast 374 is dedicated to Mary Cappleman Zahl, the Girl I Married.

    • 23 min
    Episode 373 - “Everybody’s Talkin’” — NOT!

    Episode 373 - “Everybody’s Talkin’” — NOT!

    Bishop Colin Buchanan died November 29th in Leeds Infirmary, and there’s been almost no coverage of it — not even in the Church press. Astonishing!

    Colin was one of the most influential ministers and scholars in the Church of England during the 20th Century. Yet it seems today as if he almost never existed.

    This podcast is a reflection on the anonymity of death.

    It also references Robert Blair’s superb poem from 1743 entitled “The Grave”, together with the sublime illustrative plates that William Blake created to accompany the poem.

    And, believe it or not, this is a Christmas podcast!

    The cast is dedicated to the Very Rev. Laurie Thompson.

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
64 Ratings

64 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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