Archives For Podcasts

“The truthfulness of Christian convictions can be known only as they are demonstrated through the lives of the faithful.”

Our guest this week is Dr. Jeffrey Pugh, Professor of Religion at Elon University. Jeffrey is the author of books such as The Devil’s Ink, The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to the End Times, and Religionless Christianity: Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Troubled Times. It’s his expertise on Bonhoeffer we turn to in this episode, asking him to reflect on the border crisis, how Christians are to discern when they’re in a “biblical moment” that calls for witness and resistance, the need for another Barmen-type confession.

He also gives the best answer to the “What do you want to hear God say when you arrive in heaven?” question.”

A: ”At least you didn’t fuck that up.”

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We’ve been working our way through the alphabet one stained-glass word at a time, and today our word is everyone’s favorite Bible word:


Are we just sinners in the hands of an angry God?

Or is there something better, even good news, behind this five-letter scare word?

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Seldom do we hear about the burden our culture of mass-shootings places upon the undertakers who have to go about the painstaking work of putting the victims back together again for their loved ones to bury.

Friend of the podcast, Thomas Lynch, rejoins us to talk about his new book, Whither and When: On Lives and Living. Thomas is an undertaker and poet whose work has garnered numerous awards, including the National Book Award for his collection of essays The Undertaking: Notes on the Dismal Trade.

“Racism is the ideological building block of our nation. Our current politics, our prisons, our inner cities— our system produces exactly the results it seeks by design.”

As we celebrate Independence Day weekend and Democrats re-debate bussing and a new strain of birtherism gets directed at another candidate of color, we talk with with Joel Goza who is a Duke Divinity School alumni and now works as a church planter and for a non-profit in the 5th Ward. His new book is an important one, especially on Independence Day weekend. It’s titled America’s Unholy Ghosts: The Racist Roots of Our Faith and Politics. 

Our awesome producer, Tommie, has also spliced in a couple of tracks by my favorite band, The Drive-By Truckers, one song on Trayvon Martin and another about Charlottesville, as both come up in the course of our conversation with Joel.

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God kills and makes alive and through no more frequent means than water. What unsettles us about the Noah story is what God does every time God baptizes, drowning us into Christ’s death and resurrection.

We’re working our way through the alphabet one stained glass word at a time…here’s the latest on Water.

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For the fourth year in a row, the podcast posse hosted a live pubcast to kick-off annual conference, this time at Ballast Point Brewery in Roanoke where we had over 200 folks attend. Our guests were Jeff and Steve Mullinix, who shared with us their story of growing up in the closet, attending Bob Jones University, and eventually finding one another and marrying. Jeff is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and Steve is a teacher. As Steve told us in an earlier podcast, “I am incompatible with Christian teaching because of my relationship with another man; his name is Adam.”

If you’d like to get your own “Incompatible” glass that we passed out to partcipants that night, go to our website to order your own.

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Friend of the podcast, the wild and crazy Dr. David Fitch is back to talk about his latest book, “Us vs. Them: “Freedom from a Faith that Feeds on Making Enemies.” Fitch talks with us about how ideological functions to shape our reading of scripture, how we can read scripture locally as community, and how we discern where God is leading us in a way that avoids cultural antagonisms.

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The breath of God, the voice from heaven, wind and fire…baby-momma Dr. Johanna is back and so is (Her)Men*You*tics to talk about our latest stained glass word in the alphabet: “Voice.” That’s right, Johanna had a baby (Elin Lucy) and yours truly is the proud godfather…

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Jason and Taylor sat down with Joshua Retterer to talk about the late Robert Farrar Capon and his work. Their conversation touches on a number of subjects including eschatological nerve, an affair with a happy ending, laughing in church, and being overwhelmed with morality.

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Is the UMC in decline not because of gays but graduate degrees?

Just ask Winfeld Bevins— Methodism’s decline goes back further than the 60’s cultural revolution to the professionalization of pastors. I resemble that remark.

Fresh on the heels of his recent Twitter face-off with Jerry Falwell Jr, we talked with Winfeld Bevins about his his new book Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation.

Actually, no, we talked to Winfeld months ago, before the UMC’s General Conference even, and we’re posting it now to take advantage of the social media scrum.

Still, it’s a conversation worth your attention.

Bevins is an Anglican and a professor of church-planting at Asbury Seminary in the Bluegrass State.

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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.

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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.


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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).

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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

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“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. 

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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?

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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.