Archives For Podcasts

od9n-cyv_400x400If you’re unfamiliar with him, Rob Bell is the Leonardo DiCaprio of the Christian world. A preacher, teacher, writer, and speaker of obvious and abundant gifts that elicits secret admiration and haughty public scorning from many of his peers. Rob Bell is Exhibit A, I think, that pastors are not immune from and may be especially susceptible to infections of jealousy.

“I could write that book” I’ve heard many opine, like an ignoramus at an art museum, about Rob Bell’s writing.

Having just written a book and knowing the sheer amount of work it requires, I can reply: “No, you couldn’t. Or, you would’ve.”

“Rob Bell left the Church for Oprah. He traded the Gospel for self-help” is another complaint I hear lobbed against him. It’s especially curious to me that, having made ministry in the evangelical church all but impossible, evangelicals now blame him for finding gainful work outside of the Church.

Google Rob Bell interview and you’ll find no shortage of what I think could be characterized as nothing but “gotcha” interviews- hostile, loaded questions, which assume Rob Bell is a heretic or charlatan, that expect him to justify and explain himself.

A few weeks ago my friends and colleagues at the Crackers & Grape Juice Podcast managed to snag Rob Bell for an interview. We went back and forth over as many weeks, brainstorming the sorts of questions we wanted to ask Rob. Quickly, we decided we didn’t want to do another interview like so many of the ones we found in YouTube. We didn’t want to put him on the defensive, prove our own orthodoxy by casting aspersions onto his own, or justify ourselves and our faithfulness by critiquing his supposed infidelity. That’s not to say I’ve not been critical of Bell. I think his book on Hell, Love Wins, would’ve been better received had he cited the ancient Church Fathers, like Gregory of Nyssa, from whom he ripped off many of his points. I also think his interpretation of the cross (“death is a natural part of life”) is a profound misreading of scripture that inflicts deep wounds onto any coherent ontology of peace. Nonetheless, knowing Rob Bell would be our guest on the podcast made me realize how too often the Christian community does not treat people with whom it disagrees as guests. The hospitality that seemed an obvious obligation for hosts of a podcast is no less the hospitality demanded of our every interaction and relationship.

Rob Bell- our how the Christian community has treated him- reminds us, has reminded me at least, that too often Christians are so obsessed in getting our message right we neglect to consider whether our mode in any coheres with our message.

In other words, this new practice of podcasting and interviewing strangers as guests has, to my surprise, turned out to be a kind of spiritual discipline.

Alright, enough of me.

Here’s the first installment of the Crackers & Grape Juice interview with Rob Bell. Be on the lookout for the second part of it later in the week, as well as a special bonus episode. And be on the lookout for future episodes. We’ve already got enough interviews lined up to take us into the new year.

You can download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here

We’re breaking the 1K individual downloaders per episode mark and our David Bentley Hart episode reached 2K downloaders in a day.

Help us reach more people: 

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

It’s not hard and it makes all the difference. 

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.

 

Crackers & Grape Juice Silhouette Tagline Inverted

I recently interviewed David Bentley Hart, my man-crush Mt. Rushmore theologian as well as my former teacher. You can find the interview here above from our podcast Crackers and Grape Juice. In it, I mention how DBH taught me as a new Christian and undergraduate that God is the most obvious thing of all.

This is a theme DBH picks up again in his latest book, The Experience of God.

In a nutshell, The Experience of God is a retrieval of the ancient metaphysical definition of God. Like all of his previous works, this is a significant book. Unlike his previous works, this book is accessible for the average lay person- that’s not to say it’s easy reading, just accessible.

Hart reminds the reader of the philosopher Richard Taylor with this wonderful illustration, which in turn reminds me of the Terrence Malick film, Tree of Life.

Here’s the quote from Hart. Imagine, he writes:

“a man out for a stroll in the forest unaccountably coming upon a very large translucent sphere.
Naturally he would immediately be taken aback by the sheer strangeness of the thing, and would wonder how it should happen to be there.

More to the point, he would certainly never be able to believe that it just happened to be there without any cause, or without any possibility of further explanation; the very idea would absurd.

But, what that man has not noticed is that he might ask the same question equally well about any other thing in the woods too, a rock or a tree no less than this outlandish sphere, and fails to do so only because it rarely occurs to us to interrogate the ontological pedigrees of the things to which we’re accustomed.

What would provoke our curiosity about the sphere would be that it was so obviously out of place; but, as far as existence is concerned, everything is in a sense out of place.

The question would no less intelligible or pertinent if we were to imagine the sphere either as expanded to the size of the universe or as contracted to the size of a grain of sand, either as existing from everlasting to everlasting or as existing for only a few seconds.

It is the shear unexpected ‘thereness’ of the thing, devoid of any transparent rationale for the fact, that prompts our desire to understand it in terms not simply of its nature but of its very existence.

The physical order confronts us at every moment with its fortuity.

Everything about the world that seems so unexceptional and drearily predictable is in fact charged with an immense and imponderable mystery.

How odd it is, how unfathomable, that anything at all exists: how disconcerting that the world and one’s consciousness of it are simply there, joined in a single ineffable event.”

david_bentley_hart_zps3fe63909For Episode 34 of our Crackers and Grape Juice Podcast I got to sit down with my former teacher and ongoing muse and man crush Dr. David Bentley Hart. Anyone who’s spent any time here at Tamed Cynic will already know DBH’s name and his influence upon me. He was my first theology professor at the University of Virginia, coming not long after I became a Christian. As such, he had a lasting imprint upon my faith and thought.

David Bentley Hart may well prove one day to have been the most significant theologian of the 21st century. He is the author of The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami?, The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth, Atheist Delusions: Christianity and Its Fashionable Enemies, and The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, and Bliss. You can find all his books, including his work of fiction here.

You can find a short Wall Street Journal essay that served as the genesis for The Doors of the Sea. It’s a great starting point into DBH for newbies and laity.

And, as you’ll hear, he’s just translated the New Testament for Yale University Press.

With his famous dog Roland at his feet, DBH discusses the Church’s loss of classical theism, the (evil) God most Christians worship, the logical incoherence of Process Theology, Hell, Christian Freedom, Reformed (mis)translations of Scripture, and his own personal suffering.

Be on the lookout for future episodes with Rob Bell and others.

You can download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here

We’re breaking the 1K individual downloaders per episode mark.

Help us reach more people:

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

It’s not hard and it makes all the difference. 

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.

For those of you getting this post by email, here’s the link to the podcast for you to cut and paste:

http://www.spreaker.com/user/crackersandgrapejuice/episode-34-all-creation-afire-as-a-burni

 

 

 

 

Crackers & Grape Juice Silhouette Tagline InvertedEric Clapton may to change the world, but Jesus doesn’t call Christians to do so.

According to John Nugent, Social Justice Christians and Heaven Obsessed Christians both get the Gospel wrong. We’re not called to give people Jesus so they can leave this place when they die nor are we supposed to roll up our sleeves and make this world a better. Instead, argues Nugent, Christians are not to make the world a better place. Rather, we’re called to be the better place God through Christ has made possible.
I really enjoyed my conversation with John about his new book Endangered Gospel: How Fixing the World is Killing the Church. Try this quote on for size: “The most dangerous religion is not Islam nor is it Atheism but it is a form of Christianity that uses Jesus’ name to keep people happy but doesn’t call them into a community that displays God’s Kingdom. 

Be on the lookout for future episodes. We’ve Rob Bell scheduled for an interview this week and we’ve got a couple of episodes with David Bentley Hart in the queue waiting for editing.

You can download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

So…

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. It’s not hard and it makes all the difference. 

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.

Crackers & Grape Juice Silhouette Tagline InvertedIs Satan a real person? How do we know the difference between acting Christ-like and acting Satan-like when Jesus is always stirring up trouble? For Episode #32 Morgan Guyton discusses how we can think about and live through these questions.

Be on the lookout for future episodes. We’ve Rob Bell scheduled for an interview this week and we’ve got a couple of episodes with David Bentley Hart in the queue waiting for editing.

You can download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

So…

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. It’s not hard and it makes all the difference. 

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.

Crackers & Grape Juice Silhouette Tagline InvertedFor Episode #31, Teer and I sat down for a conversation with Nathan Gilmour, Professor of Humanities at Emmanuel College and host of the Christian Humanist Podcast. As part of our conversation we invited a mutual college-bound friend, David King, to talk with Nathan about his advice to new students.

We’re now up to 1k individual downloads per episode.

You can download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

So…

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. It’s not hard and it makes all the difference. 

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.

Again, special props to my friend Clay Mottley for letting us use his music gratis. Check out his new album.

 

13502037_1615405398788080_7321135075900787492_nMorgan sported a nice maroon negligee for an early morning conversation with Teer and Jason about the exclusivity of Jesus. So is Jesus really the only way?

We’re now up to 1k individual downloads per episode.

You can download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

So…

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. It’s not hard and it makes all the difference. 

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.

Again, special props to my friend Clay Mottley for letting us use his music gratis. Check out his new album.

13502037_1615405398788080_7321135075900787492_nThe summer has been a busy time, and it’s been a while since my Crackers & Grape Juice co-conspirators have all recorded a podcast together. Morgan, Teer, and I recently got up at the butt-crack of dawn to discuss the Confessing Church Movement and just how we understand the Gospel.

In this episode, I rib Morgan for being on the Confessing Church’s mailing list in the first place and later I rant about the Confessing Church Movement co-opting their name from those few Christians who resisted the rise of Nazism in Germany.

We’re now up to 1k individual downloads per episode.

You can download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

So PLEASE…

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. It’s not hard and it makes all the difference. 

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.

Again, special props to my friend Clay Mottley for letting us use his music gratis. Check out his new album.

HBC_Covers_EndTimes_FINAL_2.25.16Teer and I recently had the privilege of interviewing Jeff Pugh on his new book The Home-brewed Christianity Guide to the End Times: Theology After You’ve Been Left Behind

I first “met” Jeff through his book Religionless Christianity: Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Troubled Times. If you’ve been duped into reading that crap Eric Metaxas book on Bonhoeffer then here’s an alternative.

Jeff is an ordained United Methodist Elder in Virginia and teaches Religious Studies at Elon College. If I have anything to say about it, he’s going to be a Crackers and Grape Juice Regular as we seek to develop an East Coast flavor for Tripp Fuller’s Home-brewed Christianity family.

Everyone knows someone who subscribes to what Jeff likes to call “batshit crazy” theology about the eschaton. Take a listen so you can learn to understand your sister-in-law, co-worker, or neighbor.

You can download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

We’re up to 15K listeners now.

We’ve got more listeners per episode than the average UMC has on Sunday am.

In fact, if podcasts were churches, we’d be the pastors of one of the largest United Methodist Churches in the world.

Even better, we do this s#$% gratis, in our own free time just because we think ordinary people in and out of the church need conversations about God, faith, and life without stained-glass language.

So PLEASE…

Give us 4 Stars and a good review there in the iTunes store. It’s not hard and it makes all the difference. 

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.

Again, special props to my friend Clay Mottley for letting us use his music gratis. Check out his new album.

If you’re receiving this by email, here’s the link to the podcast: http://www.spreaker.com/user/crackersandgrapejuice/episode-28-leaving-left-behind-behind

 

4371604984_6212ed3d58_zFor Episode #27, Bishop Will Willimon talked to Crackers and Grape Juice Live at Jurisdictional Conference. For you non United Methodist nerds, JC is our quadrennial festival of bureaucracy where we elect bishops.

Willimon, author of the new book Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, talks with Teer and talks crap on me.

You can download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

We’d love for you to 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.

Again, special props to my friend Clay Mottley for letting us use his music gratis. Check out his new album.

Here you go:

And if you missed it, here’s an episode we recorded in June with three soon-to-be-ordinands, including my friend Taylor Mertins.

salient-logo-retina-1Our final Wild Goose interview was with Emily Joy, an incredible poet who lives in Nashville.

Emily grew up homeschooled in a fundamentalist family. She went to Moody Bible Institute where she was one of a handful of women to major in theology (in this decade). They discussed online feminism, intersectionality, and the importance of listening to your heart. Then Emily closed with her viral poem “How To Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin: Five Easy Steps.”

Download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

Puppy Dog Eyes: 

Give us a 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.

 

salient-logo-retina-1Crackers & Grape Juice descended upon the Wild Goose Festival in the North Carolina mountains a couple of weeks ago and grabbed a party bag’s worth of interviews with an eclectic group of speakers. For those of you who don’t know, Wild Goose is like a Woodstock Hipster Paradise for Theology Nerds. If that’s not clear, then you can check it out here.
This Wild Goose interview was interview was with Bec Cranford, the volunteer director at the Gateway Center for homeless people in Atlanta. Bec is a heavily tattooed progressive Pentecostal wonder-woman. On the interview, she shared powerful stories of a tough life journey that has left her full of empathy. Everything was going well until she started speaking in tongues.

Download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

Puppy Dog Eyes:

Give us a 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.

salient-logo-retina-1Crackers & Grape Juice descended upon the Wild Goose Festival in the North Carolina mountains a couple of weeks ago and grabbed a party bag’s worth of interviews with an eclectic group of speakers. For those of you who don’t know, Wild Goose is like a Woodstock Hipster Paradise for Theology Nerds. If that’s not clear, then you can check it out here.
Morgan’s third Wild Goose interview was with Brandan Robertson, the author of ‘Nomad: A Spirituality for Traveling Light.’ His original book contract was rescinded when he came out as queer, so he had to republish with a UK publisher. Brandan was a fundamentalist street preacher in the Baltimore Inner Harbor at the age of 13. He went to Moody Bible Institute where he was almost expelled for doing a radio interview with Brian McLaren. It was refreshing to hear how little bitterness Brandan has for his past and how he seeks to integrate all the phases of his spiritual journey as he wanders and wonders into the future.

Help support Crackers & Grape Juice by getting the “Make the Gospel Great Again” T-Shirt.

Buy it for near cost and the extra couple bucks will go to help us keep the podcast going. Order your T-Shirt here.

Here’s the permanent link for you cut and pasters:  https://teespring.com/Makethegospelgreatagain#pid=6&cid=619&sid=front

Download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store hereGive us a 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.

Wild Goose Week

Jason Micheli —  July 20, 2016 — Leave a comment

wildgoose-webbanner-2015-v2Crackers & Grape Juice descended upon the Wild Goose Festival in the North Carolina mountains a couple of weeks ago and grabbed a party bag’s worth of interviews with an eclectic group of speakers. For those of you who don’t know, Wild Goose is like a Woodstock Hipster Paradise for Theology Nerds. If that’s not clear, then you can check it out here.

Since C&GJ interviewed so many folks there, we’re posting a couple per week in the dog days of summer. The first two are Alicia Crosby and and Sarah Heath.

Alicia Crosby is the co-founder and co-director of the Center for Inclusivity in Chicago. In our interview, she talked a lot about expanding the concept of church. She makes the point that while Jesus spent some time in the temple, most of where he did church was in people’s houses and on the streets. Alicia discussed what holiness looks like for an inclusive Christian and how the church should be responding to police violence against black people.

Sarah Heath, the pastor of First United Methodist Church of Costa Mesa, California. Sarah’s pure, Christlike heart is contagious. She talked a lot about the beautiful, eclectic mix of people in her church and how sad she would be if the United Methodists decided to split.

While I’ve got your attention, my dear friend Clay Mottley, whom you know from our theme music on Crackers & Grape Juice has just released his third full length album, Best of Days. It’s really good.

You should check it out here: http://www.claymottley.com

We’ll be doing an interview/solo show with Clay for the podcast next month so be on the lookout for him to share about beauty, aesthetics, and the creative process.

Lastly-

back

front

Help support Crackers & Grape Juice by getting the “Make the Gospel Great Again” T-Shirt.

Buy it for near cost and the extra couple bucks will go to help us keep the podcast going. Order your T-Shirt here.

You won’t get charged until we hit our minimum number of orders for a printing. Doubtful, I know.

Here’s the permanent link for you cut and pasters:  https://teespring.com/Makethegospelgreatagain#pid=6&cid=619&sid=front

Okay, you know the drill by now. Download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store hereGive us a 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.

13267779_1598247963837157_8683614937225097742_n
Here’s Episode #20 of our Crackers and Grape Juice Podcast. Who the hell knew we’d make it past #4?

When we spoke to Fleming Rutledge for this installment of ‘Fridays with Fleming,’ it was Omar Mateen and Orlando on our minds. Just after the Nice attack and a week after the Dallas massacre, Fleming’s thoughts on praying for victimizers and victims is just as timely and convicting.

We’re quickly nearing the point where the podcast comes with some costs (audio storage). To help support Crackers and Grape Juice, we hereby invite you to get in on the ground floor of some C&GJ Swag:

The “Make the Gospel Great Again” T-Shirt.

frontback

Buy it for near cost and the extra couple bucks will go to help us keep the podcast going.

It’s Christmas in July. Get it for that husband or grandkid you can’t convince to go to church on Sunday, wear it while you’re shredding at Crossfit or while you eat a tub of ice cream at 10:00 PM – it’s all for a good(ish) cause.

And for all you thee-hipsters reading this, the T-Shirt will be American Apparel so it will go nicely with your Grizzly Bear concert tee.

Order your T-Shirt here.

You won’t get charged until we hit our minimum number of orders for a printing.

Doubtful, I know.

Here’s the permanent link for you cut and pasters:  https://teespring.com/Makethegospelgreatagain#pid=6&cid=619&sid=front

 Alright, back to Fleming.

Download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store hereGive us a 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.

 

maxresdefaultTheologian Stanley Hauerwas is the Teddy Roosevelt on my theological Mt. Rushmore. As you’ll hear in the podcast, I first ‘met’ Stanley Hauerwas when I was waiting tables in the dining room of an upscale retirement community in Charlottesville, Virginia. A resident there, the theologian Dr. Julian Hartt, took me under his wing and mentored me the summer before I left for Princeton. Julian encouraged me to prepare by reading some of his former student at Yale’s work. “You’ll find Stanley has something to say” Julian told me.

In the same way that Calvinists can quote C.S. Lewis without thinking about it and can speculate on what Lewis would have said to any new questions, I speak Hauerwas speaking Christian. This is why, I suspect, my interview here with Stanley Hauerwas sucks. It does so because I know his work well enough to know he was falling into offering me his familiar tropes and talking points but I respect far too much to have pushed back on him. Well, he does speak a bit about the atonement, which he has seldom done over the years so there is that little nugget of novelty.

In his fantastic memoir, Hannah’s Child, Hauerwas muses that most people don’t need to become a theologian in order to become a Christian but that he probably did. I can tell you without any hyperbole that I am someone who needed Stanley Hauerwas to be a theologian in order for me to be a Christian.

Download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

For the love of all that is holy:

Give us a 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.

 

13502037_1615405398788080_7321135075900787492_nA few weeks ago the Crackers and Grape Juice team assembled for our first ever Live Podcast.

We kicked off our denomination’s Annual Conference by hosting a Pub Theology at an awesome rooftop venue in downtown Roanoke, Virginia. In this 2nd half of the night, we fielded questions from a crowd of about 150.

 

Download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

For the love of all that is holy:

Give us a 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.

Live Podcast

Jason Micheli —  July 8, 2016 — Leave a comment

13502037_1615405398788080_7321135075900787492_nA few weeks ago the Crackers and Grape Juice team assembled for our first ever Live Podcast.

We kicked off our denomination’s Annual Conference by hosting a Pub Theology at an awesome rooftop venue in downtown Roanoke, Virginia. We began by interviewing our podcast mate, Morgan Guyton, on his new book How God Saves the World from Us and then we fielded questions from a crowd of about 150.

A dozen different people came up to me during Annual Conference to tell me the Live Podcast was the highlight of their conference experience, so check it out.

Here’s the first half of the event.

Download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.

For the love of all that is holy:

Give us a Many Starred 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.

14DavidFitch-420For our 16th Crackers and Grape Juice Podcast, I sat down for a conversation with David Fitch. David teaches at Northern Seminary in Chicago, hosts the Theology on Mission Podcast, and is the author of Prodigal Christianity and the Great Giveaway.

He’s pastored and participated in many church plants including Life on the Vine Christian Community a missional church in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Most recently he and his family have joined Peace of Christ Church, Westmont, a church planted from Life on the Vine. He writes on the issues the local church must face in Mission including cultural engagement, leadership and theology. His theology combines Neo-Anabaptist streams of thought, his commitments to evangelicalism and his love for political theory.

Here, David talks about the challenges of the Church’s present post Christendom context, and he and Jason share their mutual affection for both Fleming Rutledge and Stanley Hauerwas.

Download the episode and subscribe to future ones in the iTunes store here.Teer spends unpaid HOURS editing this stuff, so spread the love.

Give us a Many Starred 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.

14DavidFitch-420Here’s an old interview with David Fitch from Teer and Jason’s maiden podcasting effort several years ago. See how far we’ve come! We’ve got a brand new interview with David in the queue waiting for editing so be on the lookout.