This week on the Strangely Warmed podcast I speak with Teer Hardy about the readings for the 12th Sunday After Pentecost [C] (Jeremiah 2.4-13, Psalm 81.1, 10-16, Hebrews 13.1-8, 15-16, Luke 14.1, 7-14). Teer is one of the pastors serving Mt. Olivet UMC in Arlington, VA. Our conversation covers a range of topics including cafeteria tables, podcast listeners, satisfaction, the matter of words, the intersection between art and theology, daily psalms, strange hospitality, marriage, books on the parables, and the Supper of the Lamb. If you would like to listen to the episode or subscribe to the podcast you can do so here: The Doom Won’t Last Forever
What, exactly, is the Bible? Why do/should Christians read it? Is there a proper way to read it?
The Virginia Annual Conference for the UMC has an annual challenge of reading through the entirety of the Bible and Rev. Matthew Smith and I were recently invited to record a podcast for the conference about Bible basics. You can check out the episode here:
This week on the Strangely Warmed podcast I speak with Alan Combs about the readings for the 5th Sunday After Pentecost [B] (2 Samuel 1.1, 17-27, Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 8.7-15, Mark 5.21-43). Alan is the lead pastor of First UMC in Salem, VA. Our conversation covers a range of topics including Flannery O’Connor, special songs, memory, twitter dunking, theological deconstruction, pivotal prayers, wading vs. waiting, rhetorical flourishes, desperation, and diachronic stories. If you would like to listen to the episode or subscribe to the podcast you can do so here: From Riches To Rags
Is it important for Christians to have proof of God’s existence? What happens when we read verses out of context from the Bible? What, exactly, is pastoral care?
I was recently invited to participate in a recording for the 1000 Question Christian podcast in which we wrestled with answering the questions above. The whole conceit of the podcast is putting two clergy together to answer questions that people might be too afraid to ask their actual pastors. And, in a twist of fate (or the providence of God!), I was paired up with Seungsoo “RJ” Jun who, until recently, served the church that I will begin serving in July! If you would like to listen to the podcast you can check it out here: Proof, Poop, & Pastoral Care
The Crackers & Grape Juice crew got together (online) a few weeks ago to talk about James McClendon’s essay “The God of Theologians and the God of Jesus Christ” for our podcast titled You Are Not Accepted.
Typically, the pod looks at a sermon/essay written by Stanley Hauerwas, and though this one was put forth by someone else, the Hauerwasian themes are all there.
Central to McClendon’s argument is the fact that whoever the “God of the Theologians” is, that God is most certainly White, Male, and Racist. Whereas the God of Jesus Christ, that is the God of Scripture, is not. McClendon can make a claim like that because no matter how much we go looking for Jesus, most of the time its just like looking at the bottom of a well – we think we see Him down there but all we’re really seeing is a faint reflection of ourselves. God, on the other hand, doesn’t wait for us to come looking; God finds us.
If you’d like to listen to the episode, or subscribe to the podcast, you can do so here: The God of the Theologians and the God of Jesus Christ
A few years back my friends started a podcast (Crackers & Grape Juice) and it quickly took off faster than they imagined. So much so, they needed help keeping up with interviews and episodes.
I offered my support, if it would be helpful, and before I knew it I was staring at GarageBand with a handful of audio files.
Editing that first episode wasn’t too difficult (other than removing an ungodly number of “ummms” cough cough Jason Micheli). But then I realized that it would need an introduction.
I had consumed enough episodes of This American Life at that point to know the intro need to be catchy and brief, while also pointing the listener to the theme therein plus the greater scope of the podcast.
But I just stared at GarageBand hoping for a little manna from heaven.
A week passed and I was no closer to having an introduction when the episode was needed in the feed and I decided to just go with what I say on Sunday mornings for worship: “Grace and peace and welcome”
Though this time I added “… to Crackers & Grape Juice, where we talk about faith without using stained glass language.”
Thanks to the incredible design (and modeling) work of Tommie Marshell, you can pick up a shirt here: Swag
The proceeds help the podcast keep going so that we, as always, can bring you more theological content without stained glass language.
Thanks for the support.
“The church has become so fully identified with the ‘American Project’ that our writers have had little cause to heed any unique and distinctively Christians witness in the churches.”
So wrote Stanley Hauerwas in response to his perceived lack of a (decent) Christian corpus of fiction. And, frankly, I agree with him. Take a look at the “Christian” section in a bookstore and you’re likely to find a various assortment of pseudo-romance-theological novellas, a selection of “How To Get Closer To God” self-help books, and a handful of leftover seminary textbooks.
All of which don’t tell us much about faith, let alone the object of our faith: God.
An exception to this rule is/was Flannery O’Connor.
O’Connor’s fictive tales are some of the most “Christian” pieces of fiction I’ve ever read because they don’t hold any punches. They are, to put it in theological terms, decisively Pauline in that they affirm the depravity of humanity while also pointing to the unrelenting grace of God.
Hauerwas puts it this way: “Just as baptism resembles nothing so much as drowning and eucharist appears as a kind of cannibalism – while both events are the very means of life temporal and everlasting – so will Christian fiction be characterized by a necessary alterity, since the central Christian premise is that the world made and redeemed by God is constantly interrupted and transfigured by revelation.”
The team from Crackers & Grape Juice got together (online) last week to talk through some of these things and if you would like to listen to the episode, or subscribe to the podcast, you can do so here: A Christian Reading of American Literature
“Sing lustily and with good courage.” John Wesley wrote those words in the Hymnbook for Methodists in 1761. We at Crackers and Grape Juice take those words seriously!
Therefore we decided to bring you some of our current “Quarantunes” for our latest podcast. They are the songs that have inspired, enlightened, and even enraged us as of recent. Here’s the playlist:
1. Thoughts And Prayers – Drive-By Truckers (Jason Micheli)
2. Sea of Love – Langhorne Slim & Jill Andrews (Teer Hardy)
3. What If I Never Get Over You – Lady A (Johanna Hartelius)
4. Cowboy Take Me Away – The Chicks (Tommie Marshell)
5. Moon River – Jacob Collier (David King)
6. Beautiful Strangers – Kevin Morby (Taylor Mertins)
If you would like to listen to the episode, or subscribe to the podcast, you can do so here: Quarantunes
The church has gone digital.
Frankly, it started a long time ago.
However, the recent wave of the COVID19 pandemic has forced churches across the world to adapt to the situation whether they wanted to or not.
When I first felt a call to ministry as a teenager in the early aughts, I told my pastor and he responded by telling me I would be preaching at the end of the month. He then gave me a few instructions (here’s the text, write 2,000 words, practice in front of a mirror, etc.) and the rest is history. One of the unanticipated benefits of being launched into ministry the way I was means that every sermon I’ve ever preached can be read online.
Literally through this blog.
As the years progressed I started making digital audio recordings of said sermons and now it’s not just a matter of reading the sermons online, but anyone anywhere can listen to them as well.
Therefore, to add the videocamera a few weeks ago to the typical Sunday morning experience wasn’t too much of a stretch.
It would seem, then, that going forward every sermon can be read, listened to, or watched online.
But, is it still church?
A good friend of mine, Alan Combs, recently started a new podcast called “Shelter In Place.” The idea behind the podcast is to reach out to a variety of people to discover how they are finding comfort in an inherently uncomfortable situation. I love the premise of it all and was thrilled to be invited on for a recent episode.
In it Alan, his friend Joey, and I talked about the challenges of doing ministry in the midst of the pandemic from live-streaming on Sunday mornings, to staying connected with church folk, to what kind of music we’ve been listening to.
If you would like to listen to the episode, or subscribe to the Shelter In Place podcast, you can do so here: Faith In The Time Of COVID
“If we ask the elderly to commit suicide in order to shore up the economy for their grandchildren, then their grandchildren won’t have lives worth living.”
That’s what Stanley Hauerwas said to Jason Micheli and myself yesterday over the phone. We had a brief conversation about what it means to be the church in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and how to make sense of it theologically. Additionally, we addressed the lack of analogies for the current situation, what it means to be really connected, and the pulpit of America. If you would like to listen to the conversation, you can do so here: Don’t Use God As An Explanation