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What happens when an entire denomination struggles with language regarding human sexuality and three pastors try to ask questions? Teer, Taylor, and I grabbed a spot in the hotel lobby at Annual Conference recently to talk about the sexuality debate in the United Methodist Church.

Help support the show! 

Go to Amazon and buy a paperback or e-book of Crackers and Grape Juice’s new book,

I Like Big Buts: Reflections on Paul’s Letter to the Roman. 

All proceeds go to support the podcast.

 My podcast, Crackers and Grape Juice, has released an ebook, available in paperback too, as a fundraiser to cover the costs of the show. Below is a little teaser from a reflection I wrote on Romans 3.

You can listen to a podcast the guys did about the book with out me below.

Go to Amazon and get the book. Even better, leave us a review there. It’ll help people find the book.

As many of you know, I do a lot of my work at Starbucks.  I have my reasons. For one thing, I get more accomplished without Dennis pestering me to show him how his computer works. But to be honest, the main reason I go to Starbucks…is because I like to eavesdrop. It’s true. What ice cream and cheesecake were to the Golden Girls eavesdropping is to me. 

     At Starbucks I’m like a fly on the wall with a moleskin notebook under his wing. I’ve been dropping eaves at coffee shops for as long as I’ve been a pastor and, until this week at least, I’ve never been caught. 

     This week I sat down at a little round table and started to sketch out a funeral sermon. At the table to my left was a 20-something guy with ear phones in and an iPad out and a man-purse slung across his shoulder. At the table to my right were two middle-aged women. They had a bible and a couple of Beth Moore books on the table between them. And a copy of the Mt Vernon Gazette. 

     The first thing I noticed though was their perfume. It was strong I could taste it in my coffee. 

     Now, in my defense I don’t think I could properly be accused of eavesdropping considering just how loud the two women were talking. Like they wanted to be heard. Their ‘bible study’ or whatever it had been was apparently over because the woman by the window closed the bible and then commented out loud: 

‘I really do need to get a new bible. This one’s worn out completely. I’ve just read it so much.’

     Not to be outdone, the woman across from her, parried, saying just as loudly: 

‘I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t spend time in the Word every day. 

I don’t know what people do without the Lord.’ 

     “They do whatever they want” her friend by the window said. 

     And I said- to myself- ‘Geez, I’ve sat next to two Flannery O’Connor characters.’

     I assumed that since they were actually reading the bible there was no way they attended this church, but just to make sure I gave them a double-take. They had perfectly permed hair flecked with frosted highlights. And they had nails in which I could see the reflection of their large, costume jewelry. 

     “Baptists” I thought to myself. 

     They continued chatting over their lattes as the woman by the window flipped through the Mt Vernon Gazette. She stopped at a page and shook her head in disapproval.  

     Whether she actually said ‘Tsk, tsk, tsk,’ or I imagined it I can’t be sure. 

     The other woman looked down at the paper and said: ‘Oh, I heard about that. He was only 31.’ 

     ‘Did you hear it was an overdose?’ the woman by the window said like a kid on Christmas morning. 

     And that’s when I knew who they were gossiping about. I knew because I was sitting next to them writing that young man’s funeral sermon. 

     ‘Did he know the Lord?’ the woman asked. 

     ‘Probably not considering the lifestyle’ the woman by the window said without pause. 

     They went on gossiping from there.  They used words like ‘shameful.’ They did not, I noticed, use words like ‘sad’ or ‘tragic’ or ‘unfortunate.’ 

     It wasn’t long before the circumference of their conversation spun its way to encompass things like ‘society and what’s wrong with it,’ how parents need to pray their kids into the straight and narrow, and how this is what happens when our culture turns its back on God.’ 

     After a while they came to a lull in their conversation and the woman opposite the window, the one with the gaudy bedazzled cross on her neck, gazed down at the Mt Vernon Gazette and wondered out loud: 

    ‘What do you say at a funeral like that?’ 

     And without even looking at them, and with a volume that surprised me, I said: ‘The same damn thing that’ll be said at your funeral.’ 

     They didn’t even blush. But they did look at me awkwardly. 

     ‘I hardly think so’ the woman by the window said, sizing me up and not looking very impressed with the sum of what she saw. 

     And so I laid my cards down: ‘Well, I probably won’t be preaching your funeral, but I will be preaching his.’ 

     And then I pointed at her theatrically worn bible, the one resting on top of her copy of A Heart Like His by Beth Moore, and I said: ‘If you actually took that seriously you’d shut up right now.’

     “No one is righteous, not one,” St. Paul indicts us all in Romans 3.

   Go get the book now!

    

     ‘. 

   

          

What does it mean to make an offering? What exactly are we offering? Are we appeasing an angry god?
We talk about offerings each week during worship as metal plates passed through our sanctuaries. Did you know offerings go back to the Hebrew Bible and were a part of how the day-to-day religious life of Israel was organized? What do can we make of Christ’s offering for us? And how then are we making an offering to God? This and more on this episode about ‘offering.’

Help support the show! 

Go to Amazon and buy a paperback or e-book of Crackers and Grape Juice’s new book,

I Like Big Buts: Reflections on Paul’s Letter to the Roman. 

All proceeds go to support the podcast.

 

In this episode I talk with Ken Jones, the pastor of Glendale Missionary Baptist Church in Miami, Florida and the co-host with Michael Horton and Rod Rosenbladt of the radio show and podcast The White Horse Inn.
Ken was formerly the pastor of the large racially diverse Greater Union Baptist Church in Compton, California, a fact which leads to one of the conversation topics we cover; namely, how diversity, according to St. Paul, is the fruit of clear and urgent Gospel proclamation but it is not to be confused, as happens often in the mainline churches, with the Gospel itself.
In the conversation, we also discuss the Scofield Bible, grace over race, serving a church in Compton, peculiar speech, Christian posture towards the U.S. government, and unhealthy alliances.

As always –

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Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

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Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

If you’re getting this by email and the show doesn’t pop up, you can listen at www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

Ken is an e-friend, fellow Dylan lover, and a great encourager of the podcast so I hope you enjoy this conversation.

“Omni” is a prefix we attached to God without thinking: omnipresent, Omni-powerful. But what does “omni” really mean?

And, if God is all things is Dr. Johanna correct in her 3rd grade question, “is God in my poop?” Heavy, heady matters. Music used in the middle of the episode – “God is Not a White Man” by Gungor

As always –

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

If you’re getting this by email and the show doesn’t pop up, you can listen at www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

 

Taylor and Teer got together to record an episode shortly before our last live event and on the eve of my transition after 13 years to a new congregation they shared wisdom from their own recent transitions. Having both come up in my congregation and worked alongside me, they offer a few nuggets for my new congregation at Annandale from the vantage point of both parishioner and fellow pastor.

In truth, I haven’t yet listened to this episode so if they say anything unflattering about me you should know right know that they’re liars.

Stay tuned for future episodes. We’ve Ken Jones talking about diversity as the fruit of the Gospel not the Gospel itself, our live conversation with Johanna and Kendall Soulen, Mark Galli of Christianity Today, Charlotte Getz and Stephanie Phillips about their joint comedic memoir Unmapped, and anabaptist friend John Nugent, author of Endangered Gospel, is returning to calm the crazy and reflect on how we can be the Church in an outrage culture.

As always –

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

If you’re getting this by email and the show doesn’t pop up, you can listen at www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

‘Nomos’ is the Greek word for ‘Law,’ one of the two words, according to Luther reading St. Paul, by which God has spoken to us and still speaks to us. In this episode, we talk about the Law, it’s uses, and its fundamental purpose to drive us to the Gospel of mercy and grace.

Along the way, we talk about Romans 13, proof-texting, Jeff Sessions, and MSNBC. Is the take away ‘its okay to suck’ or is it, as Dr. Johanna insists, that we should have some shame?

As always –

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

If you’re getting this by email and the show doesn’t pop up, you can listen at www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

For Episode #157, we talked with Erin McKenney who is the Executive Director of Just Neighbors, a legal aid and advocacy organization for immigrants in the DC-Northern Virginia Region. We talked to Erin amidst the furor over the administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border. Erin helps us think about the issue of immigration from a broader systemic perspective as well as biblically in a way that, I think, moves beyond headline hyperbole and avoids perpetuating the cultural antagonisms of Red vs. Blue.

You can find out more about Just Neighbors, donate, or sign up to help by clicking the link here

The whole podcast posse was together in Hampton, Virginia for a live podcast event with theologian Kendall Soulen. Over 170 people came out. We’re incredibly grateful for the support, thoughtful feedback, and encouragement. We ran out of our 50 free pint glasses an hour before starting!

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

If you’re getting this by email and the show doesn’t pop up, you can listen at www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

If its true that clergy suffer from certain health issues at a rate higher than the general population, the why are pastors in such poor health? And what can be done to help them step into the abundant life God desires for them?

We tackle these questions and more with the co-authors of Faithful and Fractured: Responding to the Clergy Health Crisis, Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, and Jason Byassee.

From the book –

“Although anecdotal observations about poor clergy health abound, concrete data from multiple sources supporting this claim hasn’t been made accessible–until now. Duke’s Clergy Health Initiative (CHI), a major, decade-long research project, provides a true picture of the clergy health crisis over time and demonstrates that improving the health of pastors is possible. Bringing together the best in social science and medical research, this book quantifies the poor health of clergy with theological engagement. Although the study focused on United Methodist ministers, the authors interpret CHI’s groundbreaking data for a broad ecumenical readership. In addition to physical health, the book examines mental health and spiritual well-being, and suggests that increasing positive mental health may prevent future physical and mental health problems for clergy. Concrete suggestions tailored to clergy are woven throughout the book.”

You can find the book here.

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

If you’re getting this by email and the show doesn’t pop up, you can listen at www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

 

Is the trouble with Christian engagement with public issues today because social media makes it impossible for us ever to be truly alone? This and more in the latest episode.

It’s almost a podcasting rule at this point. The interviews assigned to us by publicists and publishers (I’m looking at you, Chester Johnson) are the ones I force myself to do, expecting little, and, sure enough, they turn out to be the ones I’m most grateful to have done.

Robert Hudson is a damn good writer and a damn good interview. He’s edited about half the religious books you’ve ever read, and, a Bob Dylan scholar, he’s written a book of his own: The Monk’s Record Player: Thomas Merton, Bob Dylan, and the Perilous Summer of 1966. In case, you don’t know Thomas Merton was a Trappist Monk and author of Seven Story Mountain who, despite being a hermit, had quite a worldly record collection. Dylan, meanwhile, employed his own Christian-ish kaleidoscopic poetic imagery that found its way into Merton’s own writing and poetry.

Listen to the interview yourself, he’s infectious for his delight about Merton and Dylan and the faith both of them share(d).

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

If you’re getting this by email and the show doesn’t pop up, you can listen at www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

 


A little over a week from today, the podcast posse from Crackers and Grape Juice will be hosting a live event at Bull Island Brewing Company in Hampton, Virginia. This is our 3rd annual kick-off to the Virginia Annual Conference.

Professor of Theology at Candler Seminary, Kendall Soulen, will be our special guest. This year’s theme is “What We Talk About When We Talk About God.” 

The event is free, but you can register ahead of time here. Or, just tell us you’re coming on our Facebook Page.

The first 50 to attend will get a free Crackers and Grape Juice pint glass.

DATE AND TIME

Thurs, June 14, 2018

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT

LOCATION

Bull Island Brewing Company

758 Settlers Landing Road

Hampton, VA 23669

 

Do good fences make good neighbors? What’s the limit to the scope of our moral obligation to another? How do Christians model the command to the stranger when the State does not?

On (Her)Men*You*tics, we’re working our way through the alphabet, one stained glass word at a time. We’re in the N’s and, like Mr. Rogers and the lawyer who wanted to justify himself, we’re asking about the meaning of Neighbor.

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

If you’re getting this by email and the show doesn’t pop up, you can listen at www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

In this latest episode, Teer and I talk with Episcopal priest, school chaplain, and Mockingbird writer Connor Gwin about deconstruction, doubt vs. faith vs. authenticity, Stan the Man, formation, and life after near death.

Here it is. And, you remember the drill:

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

The late Robert Jenson, America’s best theologian, wrote of the Eschaton in his 2 Volume Systematic Theology that “the End (of all things) is music.”

Inspired by Jens, in this episode Teer, Taylor, Johanna, and I hung out and talked about our favorite songs from a theological point of view. This was the first podcast we’ve done as a group in a while and the first time Teer and Taylor had hung out with Johanna in the flesh. It was a fun episode.

Here it is. And, you remember the drill:

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

For those keeping score, she compared me to Will Willimon and Richard Hays.

I’m good with that.

Here’s my dialogue at the Mockingbird Conference in NYC with the Beyonce of Anglicanism, the one and only Rev. Fleming Rutledge, author of The Crucifixion and The Bible and the New York Times. She’s my preaching muse so getting to spend a couple of days with her and having her all to myself for dinner and lunch will go down as a highlight of my vocation.

In the dialogue I tried to engage her by getting her to bring her apocalyptic interpretation of scripture to the Protestant (and Augustinian) distinction between Law and Gospel. Really, I just tried to stay out of her way.

You can find the talk at Mockinbird’s latest podcast stream, Talkingbird. Click over. Do it.

Do you know your spouse’s passwords?

You should.

This nugget of wired wisdom and more come from renaissance man Andy Crouch as he talks about his recent book The Tech-Wise Family. The conversation covers scope of Crouch’s book and it includes thoughts on intentional parenting, technology as the framework of the world, pharmaceuticals as idolatry, password sharing, and much more.

It’s a good conversation from a good dude. Full disclosure, Brad (and his wife!) is a prized friend and trusted fellow believer. We agree on much and much makes us want to throw the other threw a window. In other words, we’re Christians.

You can find Brad’s book here and here.

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

Forget white evangelicals. Most of them didn’t vote for Obama either. Trump won in 2016 and Trump’s base abides because of the story of a Rust Belt voter archetype few saw coming.

Women under 45.

Voting on guns.

This insight and many more are unpacked in the new book by Brad Todd and Salena Zito, The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics.

For episode #150, we ventured into to the headquarters of veteran Republican strategist Brad Todd to examine the why and how of the outcome of the election and then look to how 2016 will influence elections to come. Salena feigned laryngitis for the episode. If she can’t talk for Rush, I’ll buy it.

From the publisher – 

The Great Revolt delves deep into the minds and hearts of the voters the make up this coalition. What emerges is a group of citizens who cannot be described by terms like “angry,” “male,” “rural,” or the often-used “racist.”

They span job descriptions, income brackets, education levels, and party allegiances. What unites them is their desire to be part of a movement larger than themselves that puts pragmatism before ideology, localism before globalism, and demands the respect it deserves from Washington.

It’s a good conversation from a good dude. Full disclosure, Brad (and his wife!) is a prized friend and trusted fellow believer. We agree on much and much makes us want to throw the other threw a window. In other words, we’re Christians.

You can find Brad’s book here and here.

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts


I spent last week at the Mockingbird Conference in NYC. Podcast partner Johanna Hartelius joined me, and we enjoyed the happy coincidence of hearing from many listeners to the podcast, particularly fans of Her(Men)*You*Tics. Apparently people like the podcast where “that woman gives Jason @#$% about the faith.”

Fair enough.

We’re working our way through the alphabet one stained-glass word at a time. Next up, LITURGY. Liturgy isn’t only a word mainline clergy use to avoid talking about Jesus; it’s our word for worship, meaning: “the work of the People.”

While we’re at it, let’s use this opportunity to congratulate Johanna on her new position at her alma mater, the University of Texas, teaching rhetoric.

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts

Crackers and Grape Juice continue our tradition of kicking off the Virginia UMC’s Annual Conference with a Live Podcast. Dr. Kendall Soulen of Candler School of Theology will be our special guest along with Dr. Johanna Hartelius of the University of Texas and host of our sister-podcast, Hermeneutics.

Details:

Thursday, June 14 from 6:00-9:00

Bull Island Brewing Company

You can find out more here

 

Tony Jones is a practical theologian with degrees from Dartmouth and Princeton. He’s an editor with Fortress Press (meaning, he’s my Crabtree), and he’s an avid hunter.

In a culture where guns are such a fraught and divisive issue, Tony brings his life experience, passion, and theological lens to the subject. Check out his hunting blog here.

Help us reach more people: 

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. 

It’ll make it more likely more strangers and pilgrims will happen upon our meager podcast. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page too. You can find it here.

Help support the show! This ain’t free or easy but it’s cheap to pitch in.

Click here to become a patron of the podcasts