Archives For Podcasts

Can the Church be inclusive towards LGBTQIA people without being a progressive Church? Does “All means all” mean so long as you all agree with us?

She’s back!

Friend of the podcast, Christy Thomas joins us to reflect on where the United Methodist Church is at in its present moment somewhere on the timeline between divorce and reconciliation. A week after the UMC Next and UMC Forward gatherings and a few months after General Conference 2019, Christy ponders whether Methodists are wasting the opportunity of a good crisis or whether we need to learn to live together in the tension that comes with a Church of adult ducks.

Plus we make jokes.

Christy is a retired United Methodist pastor from Texas, journalist, and blogger at The Thoughtful Pastor.

Before you listen, do us a solid and help out the podcast.

Click over to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com. Click on “Support the Show.” Become a patreon.

For peanuts you can help us out….we appreciate it more than you can

Thomas McKenzie is a church-planting Anglican priest at Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s also the author of the Anglican Way and a recent Lenten devotional on the Desert Fathers. He also knows, as few seem to know, that Battlestar Galactica is a far superior show to Game of Thrones.

Check out the video we mention in the show.

 

Before you listen— help us out!

Go to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com and click “Support the Show” to become a patron for peanuts.

If you’re in the Roanoke, Va area come on out for our Live Pubcast on Wednesday, June 19 at Ballast Brewing. Our theme will be “Incompatible” and our guests will be Jeff and Steve Mullinix, a married gay clergy couple from Ohio.

No, we’re not talking about Westeros and Winterfell. On the heels of Holy Week, Johanna brings her questions, which are your questions, about how Grace invites us to think of the antagonists in scripture (and in our own lives).

Help support the podcast!

Go to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com and click on “Support the Show” to become a patron for peanuts.

 

In this episode, I talked with Amy Laura Hall of Duke University about her upcoming work on muscular Christianity, her most recent book “Laughing at the Devil,” Julian of Norwich, and our mutual affection for Stan the Man.

Oh, and we also talked about Cowboy Churches (that’s really a thing, I’ve seen one), Cormac McCarthy, and Larry McMurtry. Amy Laura Hall is Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke University Divinity School. She is the author of Kierkegaard and the Treachery of Love; Conceiving Parenthood: American Protestantism and the Spirit of Reproduction; and Writing Home, With Love: Politics for Neighbors and Naysayers

If you like what we do, do us a solid. Go to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com and click “Support the Show” and pay it forward.

 

“Orthodoxy is historically defined according to the creeds, and there is nothing at all in the creeds about human sexuality.”

Steve Harper, author of the new book, Holy Love, published today, is our guest for Episode #206. Steve is a former Professor of Historical Theology at Asbury Theological Seminary, which is— mind you— the UMC’s most conservative school. Steve was also a leader in traditionalist movements like Good News and the Confessing Church Movement. In 2015, though, Steve’s understanding of sexuality in light of scripture changed.

His new book is a concise primer for all folks but especially those like his former self. He’s a warm and wise man with whom I felt honored to speak.

Here’s the blurb I had the opportunity to provide for the publisher:

In all our church fighting about what is and is not incompatible with Christian teaching, Christians seem to have forgotten the core of Christian teaching; that is, we’re all incompatible with Christian teaching. Not one of us is found compatible— we are made compatible by God’s grace. In Holy Love, Steve Harper reminds Christians that married love is holy precisely because it’s an arena where life with another exposes the stranger you call you to the unmerited forgiveness of the other who knows your worst self.  The experience of such grace makes us holy— different— in a culture premised on merit alone. Marriage, as the wedding rite makes clear, is about sanctification; therefore, to deny committed couples, gay or straignt, marriage deprives them not of a privilege but of a medicine. Holy Love provides pastors and parishioners the biblical and theological resources to have a holy conversation about how that medicine may be administered to same-sex couples too and how their marriages might also serve as parables for how God loves us all.

You can order his book from Cokesbury. 

If you like what we do, do us a solid. Go to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com and click “Support the Show” and pay it forward.


We’re working our way through the alphabet one stained-glass word at a time. Next up: Unity.

In a world (and even a Church) that appears anything but what does the Bible mean when it promises that, by the baptism of Christ’s death and resurrection, we are one in Christ?

Do us a solid.

Go to our website, click on “Support the Show,” and become a patron of the podcast.

Or, find us on Facebook. Like our Page and share the love.

 

In a culture of performancism, virtue-signaling, enoughness-chasing, and what Barbara Eihreneich calls the “tyranny of positivity,”  Nick Lannon’s new book tells us the good news that Life is Impossible (and that’s the good news).

Nick is an Anglican priest in Louisville, a movie buff (he corrected me on High Fidelity) and sports buff, and a contributing writer to Mockingbird Ministries and Liberate. You can find his book here.

Before you listen— or while you listen— do us a solid and help us pay the bills! Click HERE to become a patreon and support the podcast. If you’re too miserly, then go to our WEBSITE or our FACEBOOK Page, like something, share something, leave a comment, and tell others about the podcast.

Martin Luther said that God loves to hide himself behind his opposites. Though we prove time and again to think we need to strive and succeed so that we might be found acceptable by God or, in succeeding, find God in God’s glory, the God who condescends to us in the suffering Christ never stops so condescending, meeting us not in our triumphs but in our struggles, suffering, and failures.

Friend of the podcast Chad Bird, is back to talk about his new book Upside Down Spirituality: The Nine Essential Failures of a Faithful Life. You can find it here

In our age when the church can too often seem like a poor copy of the world, Chad Bird challenges us to reclaim the astounding originality of our ancient, backward faith. Where the world stresses the importance of success, Bird invites readers to embrace nine specific failures in the areas of our personal lives, our relationships, and the church. Why? Because what human wisdom deems indispensable is so often an impediment to our spiritual growth, and what it deems insignificant is so often essential to it.

With compelling examples from the Bible and today, Bird paints an enticing picture of the counterintuitive, countercultural life that God wants for us. He helps readers delight in all of the ways that Jesus turned the world upside-down, allowing us to experience true freedom, not from our weaknesses but in the midst of them.

Before you listen— or while you listen— do us a solid and help us pay the bills! Click HERE to become a patreon and support the podcast. If you’re too miserly, then go to our WEBSITE or our FACEBOOK Page, like something, share something, leave a comment, and tell others about the podcast.

“Father forgive them for they don’t understand what they’re doing.”

Really? They don’t understand?

And what does the Christian tradition mean by claiming that understanding proceeds from faith rather than being the means by which we arrive at faith (or unfaith)?

Working our way through the alphabet, Johanna, Teer, and I talk about Understanding in the latest installment.

 

Here’s a conversation I had with the wonderfully thoughtful and freeingly vulnerable, Carrie Willard. We talked about parenting, pastoring, Law and Grace, anxiety, and irreconcilable relationships in families.

Carrie is an attorney who works for Rice University and moonlights as a speaker and writer for Mockingbird Ministries. She’s also a clergy spouse. It’s one of the conversations for which I’m deepy grateful. The Mockingbird talk we reference in the conversation is here.

Before you listen— or while you listen— do us a solid and help us pay the bills! Click HERE to become a patreon and support the podcast. If you’re too miserly, then go to our WEBSITE or our FACEBOOK Page, like something, share something, leave a comment, and tell others about the podcast.

Calvin said the human heart is an idol factory. Augustine said our hearts are restless until they find rest in God. DZ of Mockingbird Ministries and the author of the new book, Seculosity, says we’re more religious than ever before we’re church “in church” in different ways.

Love, politics, parenting, technology, fitness are not secular alternatives to religion. They are, says DZ, secular ways of being religious. We’re never not in church now says David, but because the Church of Politics or Soul Cycle are inherently religions of Law, we’re increasingly exhausted, self-righteous, and cruel. We’er searching for “enoughness” from gods that, without the promise of grace, cannot bestow it.

Check out his work at www.mbird.com and grab a copy of his book over at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

And after you do David a solid, pay it forward by helping us out at the podcast to keep delivering you conversations about faith without using stained-glass language. Go to our website (www.crackersandgrapejuice.com) and click on “Support the Show” to become a patreon for chump change.

For this latest episode, I get to crush on talk with my hero Barbara Brown Taylor while talking with her about her new book, Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others. The author of previous books like the Preaching Life and Leaving Church, Baylor University recognized Taylor as one of the most influential preachers in the English language. I think you’ll enjoy this one.

You can get her latest book here.

This goodness isn’t easy nor is it cheap. Before you listen, help us out:

Go to iTunes, look up Crackers and Grape Juice and give us a rating— it helps others find out about the podcast.

Like our Facebook Page— how easy is that?

Go to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com and click on “Support the Show.”

There you can sign up to be a monthly or one-time donor for PEANUTS.

 

I know, it’s Ash Wednesday.

Whatever. We’re working our way through the alphabet and we thought “Trinity” would be a little unwiedly for a 20 minute conversation. So this week’s word is Transfiguration and as always Johanna is asking the hard questions. Let’s just hope her comparing Jesus to Freddie Mercury doesn’t get her struck by lightening.

 

 

The podcast team caught up with Emma Green from The Atlantic to talk about the implications of what occurred at the Special General Conference in St. Louis. Emma argues the storyline coming out of #GC2019 is a common storyline being experience throughout the United States: a breakdown or inability to live in community with people who we disagree with. This struggle to maintain community is causing fracture throughout institutions that once held up our communities.

Emma Green is a staff writer at ​The Atlantic, where she covers politics, policy, and religion.

https://www.theatlantic.com/author/emma-green/
https://twitter.com/emmaogreen

Our coverage from General Conference was only made possible because of our tribe of generous donors.

Pay it forward and become a patron of the podcast. CLICK OVER. DO IT NOW.

I feel like we’re on the Titanic and all of us are acting like Billy Zane, po’d about who’s sleeping with whom.

The posse from the podcast arrived in St. Louis yesterday for the Special General Conference of the UMC, called for the purpose of finding a way forward through our impasse over the issue of sexuality. As I pulled up to the airport yesterday morning, NPR was a playing a story about the conference. The woman in front of me on the flight, a lawyer, was reading a Wall Street Journal story about the conference. The man across the aisle was playing an NCAA game too loud on his phone, and reading a Washington Post story about the conference.

About how United Methodists will or will not include in its ministry those gay Christians in its Body.

Oh, and the usual crowd of protesters from Westboro Baptist Church are here with their bullhorns and their “God Hates Fags” placards.

As I mention below, it’s hard for me to think about this issue from anything other than a personal perspective. I might not be a pastor were it not for the influence of my first theology professor in college, Dr. Eugene Rogers, a conservative Karl Barth scholar who also happened to be gay. I think too of my friend Andy, clearly called by God to ministry and went all the way through seminary before coming out and culling himself from the ordination process before a committee of strangers did it for him. I think too of the various congregations I’ve served, all of which had LGBTQ folks in them and about whom none of these local churches needed lobbyists and bureaucrats from the larger institution telling them how to do their ministry.

Off my soapbox.

The posse recorded our initial thoughts about being here, below, and then we sat down for whiskey with Bishop Will Willimon last night. Here’s Will’s wisdom in a nutshell: “There’s a difference between a problem (which has a solution) and a condition (which does not). Methodism doesn’t have a problem; it has a condition. Maybe the best way forward is for the larger church to allow local churches to continue to muddle their way through this issue.”

Here are those episodes:

 

 

Soylent Green may be people, but old geezers are among my favorite guests on the podcast. Not only is Dr. John Goldingay an Oxford professor and the author of a new translation of the Old Testament, he’s a fan of Wilco, saw the Beatles perform live, and showed touching devotion to his late wife.

This goodness isn’t easy nor is it cheap. Before you listen, help us out:

Go to iTunes, look up Crackers and Grape Juice and give us a rating— it helps others find out about the podcast.

Like our Facebook Page— how easy is that?

Go to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com and click on “Support the Show.”

There you can sign up to be a monthly or one-time donor for PEANUTS.

“All of us in the Episcopal Church are praying for you guys.”

A friend of Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon is a friend of mine.

We’re 8 away from #200 and I’m talking with Bishop Andy Boyle, the Episcopal honcho for the State of Texas. Given the state of the UMC, this episode doubles as a job interview. Bishop Doyle is the author of many books including his most recent The Jesus Heist. 

 

I’d bet 3/4 of you at some time or another have said something like: ‘God has a plan for____________.’ And even if you’re never uttered that at the wrong time, you believe it. You think it’s true- that God has a plan for each of us.

Notice, both Job and his friends think its true. They believe Job’s suffering is a part of God’s larger plan. Both of them assume a world of tight causality, a world without randomness, a world where everything is the outworking of God’s will. And maybe Job et al (and you and me)- maybe we assume that because the opposite is too frightening.

Maybe it’s frightening to think that our lives are every bit as vulnerable and fragile as they can sometimes feel. Maybe it’s too frightening to think that the question ‘Why?’ has no answer. Maybe it’s too scary to admit that things can happen to us with out warning, for no reason and from which no good will ever come.

It’s understandable that we’d want there to be a plan for each of us, (as though we were characters on Lost) but the logical outcome to that way of thinking makes God a monster.

Pay attention.

What’s scary is that at the end of the Book of Job, 38 chapters later, after Job has cursed the day he was born, cursed God, questioned God’s justice, complained about God’s absence, accused God of abuse, and indicted God for being no better than a criminal on trial- at the end of the book, when God finally shows up and speaks, Job isn’t the one God condemns.

It’s Job’s well-meaning, religious friends.

I’ve been a pastor long enough to know that in our attempts to comfort and answer and explain sometimes we push people away from God., And I’ve stood at enough gravesides and bedsides to know: that the only thing worse than suffering with no reason, no explanation, is suffering without God. And for that reason, here’s my piece of advice is always: when there’s nothing to say, say nothing.

If you’re getting this post by email, you can find the audio here.

But wait! This goodness isn’t easy nor is it cheap. Before you listen, help us out:

Go to iTunes, look up Crackers and Grape Juice and give us a rating— it helps others find out about the podcast.

Like our Facebook Page— how easy is that?

Go to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com and click on “Support the Show.”

There you can sign up to be a monthly or one-time donor for PEANUTS.

 

“We are at a place in our culture where everything needs to be rethought and reimagined.”

This week the award-winning director and founder of Journey Films, Martin Doblemeier is back on the podcast to talk about his newest film, Backs Against The Wall: The Howard Thurman Story. Listen as he talks about how the life of theologian, philosopher and civil rights activist. Howard Thurman is relevant and important for today’s culture.

If you’re getting this post by email, you can find the audio here.

But wait! This goodness isn’t easy nor is it cheap. Before you listen, help us out:

Go to iTunes, look up Crackers and Grape Juice and give us a rating— it helps others find out about the podcast.

Like our Facebook Page— how easy is that?

Go to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com and click on “Support the Show.”

There you can sign up to be a monthly or one-time donor for PEANUTS.

 

Jesus doesn’t do miracles in John’s Gospel. He does “SIGNS.” And his first sign is an abundance of choice wine for a bunch of party-goers who are on a three-day bender, probably yakking in the outhouse. And as an aside, do you think the disciples thought Mary was a drag 3rd-wheeling with them to the hoe-down in Cana?

This week Jason and Johanna talk about the importance and significance of Signs. Listen in as we work our way through the alphabet one stained glass word at a time.

If you’re getting this post by email, you can find the audio here.

But wait! This goodness isn’t easy nor is it cheap. Before you listen, help us out:

Go to iTunes, look up Crackers and Grape Juice and give us a rating— it helps others find out about the podcast.

Like our Facebook Page— how easy is that?

Go to www.crackersandgrapejuice.com and click on “Support the Show.”

There you can sign up to be a monthly or one-time donor for PEANUTS.