Archives For Crackers and Grape Juice

fifty

Jason Micheli —  November 10, 2016 — 1 Comment

img_2439Several many years ago Tony Jones noted that I’m a guy “who thinks he’s got something to say.” Tony encouraged me to start a blog (www.tamedcynic.org) a suggestion that since has become both a ministry and a hobby in its own right.

Tony has since become my friend and my editor. He makes my gifts stronger and he calls bullshit on my “growing edges.” A couple of years ago Tony suggested I add a podcast to the blog. An amateurish kitchen table podcast with my friend Teer Hardy followed. It was fun for us but definitely sucked as bad Freaks and Geeks and died a quick death.

Then I got cancer, and I didn’t, as I expected, die.

Two vantages I was privy to from the infusion chair:

I treasure my friends more than I can say out loud without crying.

I truly feel haunted by Jesus and love talking faith with whomever I can fool in to a conversation.

When I came off of medical leave in February, I asked my friend Teer if he’d be interested in breathing new life into our stllborn podcasting venture. I invited Morgan Guyton, a friend from college, to participate. Eventually, 30 some episodes in, my mentee turned friend and colleague Taylor Mertins graduated from our tech lackey to full-fledged cracker.

When we started I never thought we’d make it to 50 Episodes nor do I think we’d quickly acquire one the largest diasporas of nerd listeners on the theology interwebs.

We keep repeating the stat because it is a big deal: we have more weekly downloaders than just about any Methodist church does on a Sunday morning. Brings new meaning to a word Methodists throw around a lot: connection. So, here’s episode 50 with the Crackers and Grape Juice gang doing some self-congratulatory looking back.

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Check out our website: www.crackersandgrapejuice.com to find all the episodes.

Now that the election is over and everyone says we should come together to support the President-elect, we at Crackers and Grape Juice thought we’d do our part.

 

  1. Click here to get your very own Make the Gospel Great Again T-shirt. 
  2. Click here to join our Crackers and Grape Juice Summer Mission Team to roll up your sleeves and help build the wall along our southern border. 

Heads up- in January the Crackers and Grape Juice Team will be in California to partner with our friends at Home-brewed Christianity for a Theology Camp, think summer church camp for theology nerds. If you’d like to participate, you can get a discount by telling them you’re a listener of C&GJ when you register.

If you like what we’re doing, head over to iTunes and give us a rating and review. It helps others happen upon the podcast.

 

 

 

 

 

sb5v8_t5For Episode 49 of Crackers & Grape Juice, I sat down with Luke Norsworthy, host of the popular Newsworthy with Norsworthy podcast. Not only is his podcast miles ahead of Crackers and Grape Juice, compared to Luke (to quote Devito in the Arnold flick Twins) Jason looks like genetic garbage. Luke also keeps it weird as the pastor of Westover Hills Church in Austin, Texas.

I think it’s the best interview I’ve done as a part of the podcast thus far.

Be on the lookout for future episodes with Ben Witherington, Brian McLaren, Father James Martin, Becca Stevens, Danielle Shroyer, and Mihee Kim Kort.

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. 

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.

Oh, wait, you can find everything and ‘like’ everything via our new website: www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

If you’re getting this by email, here’s the permanent link to the episode.

 

kenneth-tanner-headshot-400x401For Episode #48 (#50 is fast approaching), we talked with our #1 Fan, Kenneth Tanner.

Who is Kenneth Tanner?

Ken is best known for his Facebook memes. No, they are not memes about cats playing a piano but instead are of the theological flavor. Ken has found a way to utilize what is normally a means of poking fun or ridiculing someone, to now be a way of sharing theological ideas in a way that is more accessible than most blogs.

This is from my podcasting partner Teer Hardy. If you haven’t already, check out his blog.

Who is Kenneth Tanner?  This is what I asked Jason a few months ago as our podcast, Crackers & Grape Juice, began to gain more followers than the average United Methodist Church has sitting in the pew each Sunday morning.  Kenneth Tanner is a Charismatic Episcopal Priest in Rochester Hills, Michigan.  Before meeting Ken on Facebook a few months ago, I had no clue there was such as a thing as a Charismatic Episcopal.  Having grandparents who are and were Episcopalian, and even taken a class at an Episcopal seminary, a Charismatic Priest in the Episcopal church is like a Millennial walking into a mainline church.  They just don’t exist, and if they do, we need to study them.

Ken is best known for his Facebook memes.  No, they are not memes about cats playing a piano but instead are of the theological flavor.  Ken has found a way to utilize what is normally a means of poking fun or ridiculing someone, to now be a way of sharing theological ideas in a way that is more accessible than most blogs (including this one).

I want to share one of those Facebook commentaries with you.

Ken wrote the following as a response to a video showing what can only be described as a WWE-style baptism.

Ken’s response:

A sad mockery, which exposes what must be a total misunderstanding of the sacrament. Baptism is a participation in the death of Christ, a reenactment of the cross. It’s a gift but also one approached with great reverence and humility. It is the work of the Spirit of God and not, as the actions here suggest, something that *we* do. Yes, it is to be celebrated but this practice loses connection with the hard wood realities of the cross.

Baptism is not a spectacle.

And this is not a matter of worship “style.” I disagree with any sense of subjectivity —you have your way of doing it and they have theirs—because the vast majority of Christians around the world across all denominations who are alive and walking the earth today, including the vast majority of those who lived in past centuries, would not recognize what’s happening here as Baptism.

Ken will be joining us on an upcoming episode of Crackers & Grape Juice.  We will talk about what a Charismatic Episcopalian is, he will dive into this video a little more, and I even attempt a Fleming Rutledge podcast prayer.  Use the links below to subscribe to the podcast so you do not miss our conversation with Ken and our other great guests.

Be on the lookout for future episodes with Brian McLaren, Father James Martin, Becca Stevens, Danielle Shroyer, and Mihee Kim Kort.

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. 

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.

Oh, wait, you can find everything and ‘like’ everything via our new website: www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

fred-schmidt-h-copyHere’s Part Dos of our conversation with Fred Schmidt wherein I share with him my own inner angst about hosting an election-themed communion service at my church.

Fred is the author of the Dave Test, Conversations with Scripture, and What God Wants for Your Life. He blogs at Patheos,  and is the professor of Spiritual Formation at Garrett Theological Seminary in Chicago.

Teer and I had a great time talking with Fred and I think it shows in our conversation.

Be on the lookout for future episodes with Brian McLaren, Father James Martin, Becca Stevens, Danielle Shroyer, and Mihee Kim Kort.

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. 

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.

Oh, wait, you can find everything and ‘like’ everything via our new website: www.crackersandgrapejuice.com

maxresdefaultIn this episode, Teer and Jason talk with Joseph Mangina. A professor of theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto, he is the author of Karl Barth: Theologian of Christian Witness, a great intro to Barth for all you newbies out thereas well as the recent Brazos Theological Commentary on the Book of Revelation. He also serves as the editor of Pro Ecclesia, a journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology.

We’re rapidly approaching our 50th Episode!

Who knew we’d make it past our crappy pilot episode or that early installment where Teer didn’t realize his mic wasn’t muted to become one of the fastest growing, Methodist-flavored theological podcasts on the interwebs.

For our 50th Episode, we’d like to do a special Listener Call-in/Fan Q& A episode.

We’ll respond to any questions you’d like the C&GJ Team to address. We’ll respond to any feedback about the podcast or our guests that you’d like to offer. Here’s how you can participate:

  1. Go over to the new brand spanking new Crackers and Grape Juice website Teer built for us and click on the SpeakPipe widget on the right side of the homepage. It will let you use your computer to leave us a voicemail message.
  2. Go over to Facebook Page and leave us a written question or feedback. You can do so on Twitter too.
  3. Email me directly at jamicheli@mac.com
Okay, here’s the episode:

8565330_origWe’re rapidly approaching our 50th Episode!

Who knew we’d make it past our crappy pilot episode or that early installment where Teer didn’t realize his mic wasn’t muted to become one of the fastest growing, Methodist-flavored theological podcasts on the interwebs.

For our 50th Episode, we’d like to do a special Listener Call-in/Fan Q& A episode.

We’ll respond to any questions you’d like the C&GJ Team to address. We’ll respond to any feedback about the podcast or our guests that you’d like to offer. Here’s how you can participate:

  1. Go over to the new brand spanking new Crackers and Grape Juice website Teer built for us and click on the SpeakPipe widget on the right side of the homepage. It will let you use your computer to leave us a voicemail message.
  2. Go over to Facebook Page and leave us a written question or feedback. You can do so on Twitter too.
  3. Email me directly at jamicheli@mac.com

For this episode #45, Teer and I got up at the buttcrack of dawn one morning to talk with Dr. Ian McFarland, the author of From Nothing: A Theology of Creation. Professor Ian McFarland teaches at Cambridge University. Here, he frames for us what Christians mean when they talk about creation. Hint: it’s not what Christians think they mean when they put dinosaurs in the garden with Adam and Eve. He even took a last minute jab at the end of the conversation at the UMC seminary system.

We’ve got episodes scheduled through the New Year, including Part Two of our conversation with Fred Schmidt, a Karl Barth for Dummies episode with Joseph Mangina, and our first Jewish theologian on tap, Ephraim Radner.

If you like what we’re doing, share the love. You know the drill. Like our Facebook Fan Page.

Give us a review in iTunes because it helps others find our podcast.

 

“…the meaning of life is connected, inextricably, to the meaning of death; mourning is a romance in reverse, and if you love, you grieve and there are no exceptions—only those who do it well and those who don’t.”

– The Undertaking LynchHat

For episode #44 of the podcast, newcomer to the posse, Taylor Mertins, joins me for a conversation with: Thomas Lynch.

Thomas Lynch is quite simply and without exaggeration one of the best damn writers in the English language. And, it turns out, he’s a delightful human being too.

A renowned poet, essayist, and fiction writer Lynch is something of an oddity in the book world for also being a full-time undertaker. Lynch is the inspiration behind the television series, Six Feet Under, as well as the subject of a PBS Frontline Documentary.

the_undertaking.largeI first encountered Lynch’s work at Princeton when I was assigned his book of essays, The Undertaking; Life Studies from the Dismal Trade. It’s elegantly written and achingly beautiful and was a finalist for the National Book Award. You should stop and buy it right now.

His poetry is likewise beautiful and frequently takes up the same themes of death and life and holiness.

 

Near the end Thomas Lynch answers my theological twist on James Lipton’s 10 Questions, which has become a podcast tradition.

Be on the lookout for future episodes that we’ve got lined up with Ian McFarland, Joseph Mangina, Danielle Shroyer, Ephraim Radner, William Cavanaugh et al.

We’ve already got enough interviews lined up to take us into the new year.

You can find them all on the brand spanking new Crackers and Grape Juice website Teer built for us.

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. 

PLEASE HELP US REACH MORE PEOPLE: 

GO TO OUR PAGE IN ITUNES AND GIVE US A REVIEW AND RATING

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.

image-7-e1474136271607

What do you say to someone who’s been sexually abused? To someone addicted to porn? To someone thinking of committing suicide?

“Don’t be a dumbass Christian.”

– Steve (Not Stone Cold) Austin

Teer snagged this interview with Steve Austin. I hadn’t heard of Steve Austin or his book, From Pastor to a Psych Ward. I was tired, had plenty of checks left to mark on my To Do List plus a sermon to write. I felt like begging off and letting Teer take the interview by himself. I’m so glad I didn’t.

Six months into our podcast, this conversation with Steve Austin, for which I had no expectations, turned out to be our best one, I think. It’s definitely the episode that has struck me the deepest as both a pastor and as a human being. It’s also the episode where Teer and I have done the best job yet of listening to one another and anticipating each other’s questions.

In his book and in this conversation, Steve bravely shares about being sexually abused as a child, suffering the consequent shame and panic attacks later, and attempting suicide while he served as a pastor. His authenticity is what people crave from Christians and it’s what many churches sorely lack.

Give him a listen. You’ll be as surprised and grateful as I was to have heard from him.

Be on the lookout for future episodes that we’ve already got in the can: interviews with Fred Schmidt, Ian McFarland, Joseph Mangina, Kenneth Tanner, Fleming Rutledge, William Cavanaugh, Bishop Andy Doyle, and Poet/Undertake Thomas Lynch.

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. 

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.

If you’re getting this by email, here’s the link to listen: http://www.spreaker.com/user/crackersandgrapejuice/episode-39-dont-be-a-christian-dumbass

 

 

405728Is your God like a drunk Mr. Miyagi? Or is your Christianity closer to Jersey Shore?

For this episode of Crackers and Grape Juice, Jason talks with Eric Hall, author of the forthcoming The Home-brewed Christianity Guide to God: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Almighty. 

unknownEric is a Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. In his book, he narrates a bit of his own journey from Pentecostalism to Catholicism and the beauty of ancient Christianity that become available to him once he gave up on sola scriptura.

Check it out and pre-order the book!

Be on the lookout for future episodes that we’ve already got in the can: interviews with Eric Hall, Steve Austin, Fred Schmidt, Ian McFarland, Joseph Mangina, Kenneth Tanner, Fleming Rutledge, William Kavanaugh, Bishop Andy Doyle, and Poet/Undertake Thomas Lynch.

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.

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.

51aakymtbalThe Reverend Jerry Herships spent two decades in entertainment. He was surprised when his pastor, Bill Barnes, suggested he’d make a great United Methodist pastor.

The Rev. Jerry Herships, AfterHours Denver: “I curse like a sailor. I like brown liquor, look at pretty girls. I said, ‘I am not the guy to go into ministry at all.’ To his credit, he said, ‘Maybe you are just the guy who should go into ministry.’ Once I was given permission to not be perfect or not be as holy as I thought you had to be, then it became more intriguing.”

He’s the founder of Afterhours Bar Church in Denver and the author of Last Call: From Serving Drinks to Serving Jesus. He spoke with Crackers and Grape Juice in Episode 39.

Be on the lookout for future episodes that we’ve already got in the can: interviews with Eric Hall, Steve Austin, Fred Schmidt, Ian McFarland, Joseph Mangina, Kenneth Tanner, Fleming Rutledge, William Kavanaugh, Bishop Andy Doyle, and Poet/Undertake Thomas Lynch.

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.

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.

 

360_wbell_0425You’ve read Velvet Elvis and Love Wins. You listened to his teachings and Robcast. You’ve watched all the Nooma videos. But, do you know what is Rob Bell’s favorite word? Do you know his favorite curse word (hint: he’s a fan of the Wire)? Do you know what other jobs Rob Bell would like to try other than his own?

To conclude the Crackers & Grape Juice Interview with Rob Bell I thought it would be fun to ask Rob the 10 Questions from Inside the Actors Studio. Thanks to technical difficulties I was not able to take credit for this idea to Rob but Teer Hardy executed it nonetheless.

Here it is. If you missed Episodes 36 and 37 with Rob Bell go to iTunes and subscribe.

Be on the lookout for future episodes that we’ve already got in the can: interviews with Eric Hall, Steve Austin, Fred Schmidt, Ian McFarland, Joseph Mangina, Kenneth Tanner, Fleming Rutledge, William Kavanaugh, Bishop Andy Doyle, and Poet/Undertake Thomas Lynch.

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.

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.

church-of-today-1Morgan, Teer, and I- the Crackers and Grape Juice Triumvirate- catch up and kvetch about Millenials.

Be on the lookout for future episodes that we’ve already got in the can: interviews with Eric Hall, Steve Austin, Fred Schmidt, Ian McFarland, Joseph Mangina, Kenneth Tanner, Fleming Rutledge, and Poet/Undertake Thomas Lynch.

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.

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.

 

 

od9n-cyv_400x400Here’s the second installment of the Crackers & Grape Juice interview with Rob Bell. Be on the lookout for future episodes that we’ve already got in the can: interviews with Eric Hall, Steve Austin, Fred Schmidt, Ian McFarland, Joseph Mangina, Kenneth Tanner, Fleming Rutledge, and Poet/Undertake Thomas Lynch.

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.

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.

 

Original Sin

Jason Micheli —  September 23, 2016 — 2 Comments

160921160806-03-adam-rhew-charlotte-protests-large-169According to a congressman in North Carolina black protestors there in the South- in the South (in case you missed the emphasis: in the South) hate white people because white people are successful. That’s the real reason they’re angry. He’s since offered the boilerplate politico mea culpa that in the moment he said something he didn’t really mean, but we all know that it’s exactly in those moments, guard down and heart out, when we’re most likely to say what’s really on our mind.

According to police Keith Scott was carrying a gun and thus his shooting was justified because (dot, dot, dot) we all know a black man with a gun warrants suspicion.

According to social media, Terence Crutcher had his hands up and had his back to police to put his hands on his car when he was manslaughtered murdered so, Facebook friends testify, the officer involved must be a racist.

And then the many memes:

The Donald is a fraud. Hillary is a liar. Obama is a Manchurian President. Michelle hates America. Immigrants are rapists and Republicans are racist.

A third of us want to keep all Muslims out.

Another third want to flee to Canada if that third get their way, thinking about that third how the other third think about 3/3 of Muslims.

We’re everywhere projecting motives onto other people. Drawing lines. Culling into tribes. Rallying the righteous to our side. Pretending to know, by virtue of soundbites and campaign slogans and ticker tape summations and hot am air, who is good and who is evil.

The Christian reading of Genesis 1 is that original sin is occasioned by the tempter’s inducement for Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

“But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God,* knowing good and evil.”

Christian interpretation typically fixes original sin onto the first clause in that last sentence: “You will be like God.” We fell then because of our desire to ascend. To be like God. To take God’s place. In essence, to not have God over us to whom we’re accountable.

But, lately, I wonder.

As any good writer knows, if you can work it, the main point should always fall last in your sentences (“knowing good evil”). And as any preacher knows, the emphasis should always be on the verbs (“knowing”).

So I wonder.

I wonder if original sin, the sin into which we’re all born, the sin which binds us in captivity and from which Jesus means to save once and for all, is our desire to appraise one another, to know good and evil, to be like God in Christ, separating who we take to be the goats from the sheep. That is, is our base sin our desire to know, like God, who is good and who is evil? Are the “All Lives Matter” memes, the “Blue Lives Matter” tweets, and “colorblind” FB rants just an updated form of picking the fruit from the tree?

I wonder because this morning my good friend Teer Hardy and I interviewed Ian McFarland, author of From Nothing, for our podcast. In it, Ian explained how the Christian belief in creation from nothing is shorthand for the confession that everything in existence owes its existence at every moment of its existence to God.

Everything. Always. Everywhere. At every moment.

Is from God.

Though he didn’t put it into original sin terms as I just did, Ian argued that creatio ex nihilo requires Christians to refrain from regarding anything in creation as nothing or no good or evil. It’s all from God. It’s all sacrament and none of it- no one– is slop or scrap.

If I’m right, then America still has a race problem and a problematic politics, but they’re no longer problems so much as they’re manifestations of original sin. And that’s good news because we (i.e. the Church) have an antidote to that disease: Jesus Christ.

He is the One by whom Adam and Eve and each of us and all that is- all that is- were created.

And through cross and resurrection all of us, good or and evil, are in him. To separate sheep from goats on social media like is to perpetuate a problem for which God has already provided a solution.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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 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.