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Snarky Faith


The Downward Ascent of Power EPISODE 264

Power is overrated. Yet, if you look around you, you see a world scrounging for it. We want to be leaders and influencers. We want to be successful and renowned. So we spend our lives seeking power and ultimately, what we see as power becomes our God. When we look at the life of Jesus, we see a different type of leader. He didn't see prestige or care about titles. He lowered himself. He sacrificed himself for others. He was the opposite of Christian leaders today. Today, we'll dive into a discussion on the downward ascent into the ways and power of Jesus where vulnerability, humility, and suffering are part of the journey. We need to rethink power and power structures to live a faithful existence. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.snarkyfaith.com

(May contain occasional profanity)
All Episodes
Episode 116
The Broken Priesthood
Hearing that the American Church is broken isn't a new thing for this show. We've talked about it endlessly over the years. Though I'm becoming more convinced that there's no fix for the problem. Jesus isn't the problem. He never was. We've built up the church as an idol. We've learned to worship pastors. We've forgotten what it means to be servants. We've lost the heart of Christ in the process of becoming successful and powerful. Some things that are broken can never be mended. There is a broken priesthood and a fractured system that's in decline and it's not going to change. The church in America is dead, we just don't want to admit it yet. Yes, this may sound hopeless, but that's not the case at all. In fact, it's actually exciting and we very well may be in the place where God intended. From death comes hope in new beginnings. We are not called to mourn the death of selfish, archaic systems that turned the church into a business and God's people into consumers. The broken priesthood has been a problem for centuries, but there is hope in what lies ahead down the road. Let's delve into the glory and hope of the death of the American Church. Like the Titanic, the church has become a monument to arrogance and hubris. Like the Titanic, the church is sinking. So what does it look like with the decline of the church in America and why we should have hope. Tune in and let's find out. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 178
Recovering Evangelicals
Kirt E. Lewis is ex-military, an ex-pastor, an advocate and an author recovering evangelicalism. Aren't we all? Join us as we talk about his journey in and out of evangelical Christianity. We’ll discuss the problems with toxic and misguided Christianity and Donald Trump's America as well. Krit has background working with Wold Relief in refugee resettlement in California. He has a heart for the immigrant community and we'll talk about the ways to move forward and advocate for the marginalized in our society. So as you could have guessed it, Kirt is right within our Snarky Faith wheelhouse. We shouldn't be discouraged by the state of faith in America, we need to pave a new way forward. You can find out more about Kirt and his writings on his website: https://kirtelewis.com We'll also hit on the death of Billy Graham. And as you can expect, it won't be a reverent eulogy. So before we heap generalized and sentimental praises on the deceased, take a listen. Dr. Graham may not have been the gleaming light of Christianity we all like to think of. He sewed many seeds of toxic faith and led us to where we are today. Did he lay the groundwork for the rise of the Religious Right, End-Times conspiracy theorists, and, yes, even our beloved (sarcasm) Orange Messiah, Donald Trump? So thanks, Dr. Graham? And hey, isn't Franklin Graham basically the Donald Jr. of Christianity? I'll let you be the judge. Maybe I'm a heretic or maybe I'm right. Most likely, I'm somewhere in between. It wouldn't be Snarky Faith without a sarcastic journey into the grey areas of faith. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 179
Christian Movies: An Interview with Critic Brian Skutle
Christian film has gotten a bad rap. Too often do we overlook the quality of faith-based films. I’m just kidding. This isn’t that kind of show. This week we are joined by Brian Skutle, a film critic at Sonic Cinema, and we talk through all of the ways that Christian films suck. These films make the critical mistake of putting the message over the medium as they sermonize their way through the celluloid. It's not about engaging with faith and culture in real, honest and authentic ways. That would actually be refreshing. This industry is more about finding new ways to be as irrelevant as possible within the context of common culture. They're hoping to present Christ-centered messages in the hopes of reaching the lost. But let's be honest, the people this genre is trying to reach has no interest in these films. If that's true, then who are Christian films trying to reach? Their main audiences are the faithful Christians who need to have their worldview constantly massaged and confirmed in unrealistic and cheesy manners. It's all about preaching to the choir, but when does the choir ever learn anything new? It's quite the conundrum that we'll gladfully exploit for laughs. We'll also talk about Kirk Cameron, Kevin Sorbo and other D-list actors that have found renewed success by stumbling into this genre, and before you think they are just trying to do God's work, just remember that it's also about finding new ways to get money from the Christian masses. Join us as we snark our way through why the term "film" should be used lightly when describing Christian cinema. Is there a better way that faith should interact with art? Of course, there is. This just isn't the answer. You can find out more about Brian and read his film reviews here: www.sonic-cinema.com and www.patreon.com/soniccinema. You should also check out my talk on the Sonic Cinema podcast here: http://www.sonic-cinema.com/2018/03/12/sonic-cinema-podcast-episode-29/ Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.
Episode 180
The Cult of Christian Celebrity
There is a toxic culture swirling around American Christianity. No, not that one. No, not that one either. Okay, fine. There’s a myriad of toxic issues with Christianity in America, and today we're going to delve into the cult of Christian celebrity. It’s one of those silent faith-killers that most engage in but never realize it is happening. In the shallow end, it’s simply idolatry, but if we go a bit deeper, we’ll see it’s insidious nature of eroding faith and pushing it miles away from anything that has to do with Jesus. That’s no small problem. From Steven Furtick to Judah Smith, these pop-theologians push their brand of faith to increase their market share and increase their own wealth. They are the boy-band versions of Christianity, all style and no substance. You might as well have Joey Fatone preaching. You also have the Jim Bakker and Joel Osteen types who are more like the Home Shopping Network of Christian values. You can have Jesus all for the low, low price of $49.95. Then, you have the ones like Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress who push their political agendas on their followers like Dick Cheney with a shotgun. They’re taking no prisoners and again, none of this has anything to do with Jesus. It’s easy to blame the shepherds or charlatans (and we will on the show), but on some level, the congregations and followers also share an equal amount of blame as well. Following Jesus was never about safe spaces or comfort. It’s not about insulating yourself from culture. Jesus was about pushing boundaries pride and self-indulgence into a place of grace and humility. Christianity in America is broken. There is a way out, but are we willing to take that path and step out of the cult of Christian celebrity to begin to think for ourselves and do the hard work of following after a wild and loving God? The choice is yours. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 181
The Roots of Racism in American Christianity
America has a history of using faith to justify a whole host of sins. Topping that list is racism. It's our country's original sin. With that being said, how can Conservatives idealize America as a country founded on Christian values? Jesus certainly wasn't a racist, so why do so many of his followers still cling to hatred and bigotry? It just doesn't make sense. A majority of American Christianity definitely has a problem with self-delusion and hypocrisy. So how did all of this come about? This week, we sit down with Rhonda Ragsdale , a social justice educator. Rhonda has a Master's in U.S. History, Southern History, and Sociology. She'll walk us through the historical roots of racism and how, especially in the South, those roots are indelibly intertwined with religion. Don't believe me? Just look to the last election. 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump. 80% of them voted for cosplay cowboy and part-time pedophile, Roy Moore. Then look at the Southern Baptist Convention. It's the largest non-Catholic Christian denomination in the United States. The whole reason they use the moniker "Southern" in their name speaks to how they were founded by splitting from Northern Baptists over the issue of slavery. Christianity has a long history of being used to justify slavery and racism, but it shouldn't be so. In theory, shouldn't the religious be less bigoted? That's just not the case in reality. We see American Christianity continuing to be used to justify right-wing ideologies and push hate against groups it opposes. Faith was never meant to be weaponized. How did we get here? Hint: it's all about God, gold, and glory. Join us as we talk about racism now and racism then and just how we got to where we are at. One thing is clear, none of this has anything to do with Jesus. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. You can find Rhonda Ragsdale on Twitter: @ProfRagsdale Find more Snarky Faith at www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 182
The Gaslighting Church
Gaslighting happens when you don't expect it; that's why it works so well. We've become accustomed to hearing phrases like "alternative facts" from the White House, but this type of manipulation happens every day, even in churches. With the recent scandal at Willow Creek and countless others, we've seen powerful men, systematic coverups, and smear campaigns that seek to quiet the accusers. It doesn't always happen in big public spectacles. It often manifests itself in smaller more insidious ways. Gaslighting is psychological abuse and when it comes to the church, it's also spiritual abuse. False information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own perception. The powerful use tactics like shame and guilt. They twist scripture and feign piety in order to maintain control. None of this is new. Power breeds corruption and the way pastors and clergy wield power over their congregations can be downright twisted and sick. It's all about control. The saddest part is that none of this has anything to do with Jesus. The Kingdom of God that he was ushering in was led by servant leadership. It was about grace and compassion, not coercion. Theology was never meant to be a weapon, and the role of pastor was never meant to be that of an authoritarian. None of this is right. Join us as we delve deeper into this topic and outline the warning signs of gaslighting in the church. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 183
Why I'm Easter Pissed
Easter is now weeks passed. The annual pep rally for Jesus is now a fading memory. It's a sad state of the church when Christianity has become a spectator sport where the faithful are now just really consumers. With most churches in America investing countless hours and funds to put on a self-serving benefit concert in the name of Jesus, what are they actually left with? In the wake of Resurrection Sunday, let's delve into the ancient Christian practice of missing the point. With Easter, we miss the point and here's why I'm Easter pissed... Jesus resurrected means that we are called to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. It’s not a moment to look back on; it’s what pushes us forward. To simply look back and have a pep rally does nothing for what Jesus did and continues to do. We’re supposed to be God’s hands and feet in a hurting world. That means we’re supposed to oppose evil and fight for those who are hurting, oppressed, maligned and forgotten. The resurrection speaks to the fact that unjust and oppressive economic systems and policies are not part of God’s ethics. It also speaks to the fact that misguided and corrupt political systems and churches are also not part of God’s Kingdom. For me to believe in the resurrection means I’m supposed to be pissed at the state of the world and in turn go and try to fix it. Easter's not all about the afterlife, it's firmly rooted in the here and now. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 184
Left Christianity
With all that is crazy and ugly in American Christianity, there is always hope. After all, Jesus didn't come to start a new religion or jumpstart an old one. He wasn't into nationalism or populism. He was never about getting rich or powerful. Jesus came to give us a different way to engage with the world, a new set of Kingdom-minded ethics that will always be in conflict with the prevailing empire of the day. The way of Jesus is still very alive; you just might not find in a church. I’ve recently had various conservative trolls calling me out and trying to find a label that fits my faith, worldview, and ethical system. While that I appreciate their efforts, labels are not what interest me; action is. Labels are effective tools for tribal identity, but they are also effective ways to categorize and wholeheartedly dismiss a person or a group. Labels are what are polarizing our country. We cease to see the individuality of people and only see the broadly painted groups to which they ascribe. For contrast sake and to feed the trolls a bit, we'll seek to find out more about the Christian left. It’s not about answers but pursuing what is happening within progressive Christianity. With our show, it’s never about the point. It’s all about the conversation, and we’re not seeking labels but always seeking how to right the ship of American Christianity and put it back on the path of being like Jesus. We also delve into the alarming fact that 51% of Christians have no idea what the Great Commission is. This is a symptom of why the faith has gone off the rails. If you don’t know what Jesus is about, how could you possibly understand how to move the faith forward? Things like this scream to why the religious right has hijacked Christianity. If we don’t know what it means to follow Jesus, then why do we call ourselves followers of Jesus? Maybe this is part of the problem with American Christianity. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 185
The End is Near?
Christianity’s obsession with the ‘end times’ is nothing new. From Tim LaHaye to Jim Bakker, it's rapture porn at its finest. This eschatological obsession abdicates its followers from actively engaging in the world around them. It’s a spiritual Brexit of sorts, where we look to the heavens and ignore the problems here on Earth. This theological strand makes a faith that brandishes itself with a philosophical, idealized otherworld that doesn’t exist in order to move through this life without getting one’s hands dirty. Simply put, this world doesn't matter because the afterlife is everything. The problem is that we find ourselves in a world that God made that is full of dirt, creatures, and humanity. To scoff at God’s creation scoffs at the nature of God. With all of that being said, why do we obsess on escapist theology? I know it’s easy and following Christ is hard, but is simply that it? The easy road instead of the hard road? That sounds more like materialistic, selfish thinking than the Kingdom of God thinking. Once we deviate from what Christ commanded and move into a place where faith becomes comfortable, do we have a faith at all? Join us as we talk through the crazy obsession of end-times thinking and escapist theology as we skewer through Christianity in America. Have we lost our focus? You bet. Is this blindness a sign of something more devious? Absolutely. We cannot remain complacent in a world that is full of chaos, injustice, and greed, especially if we, in America, elected Chaos into the Oval Office all in the name of Christianity. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 186
A Scattershot of Christianity
This week, we'll hold the mirror up to American Christianity letting its followers have a look at the monster they have created in the name of Jesus. We'll take a scattershot approach delving into the Christian news media and letting their own pressing articles and news to inform us about the most important issues within the faith. We'll skewer through their hypocrisy. When you take a look at Christian media and blogs as an overview of what currently matters most to Christians. The results are pretty sick. We'll talk about Christianity's current obsession with all things, not Jesus, as we assess many of the root problems plaguing faith in America. We'll run through issues of fake persecution harping on the wrong and inconsequential issues, having false historical idols, being self-serving, and a myriad of other offenses as we blaze through Christianity through their pop-culture's own lenses and news outlets. Looking into what's important to them, we'll let their lead stories inform the answers and chart a path to nowhere. The results are along the lines of what one would expect. It's not a snarky takedown. We'll let them do that on their own. Don't worry, there's plenty of holy snark to spread around in the process. I'm sure you'll enjoy the journey through missing the point. Join us as we deconstruct why the faith has gone awry and hopefully, chart a path to right the ship. There's always hope but that only happens when we cling close to the ways and teaching of Jesus and shed the religious bullshit of the times. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 187
Killing Christianity: The Legacy of Evangelicalism
The legacy of Evangelicalism is pretty grim. With the culmination and climax of their pursuits in the man and character of Donald Trump, any amount of spiritual or ethical morality has been long evaporated. Their quest for power has come with many costs, the most paramount being the erosion of congregations across America. Evangelicalism is a cancer to Christianity. When it comes to cancer, it must be removed from the body to survive. We'll delve into many of the causes and cancers of this malignancy of faith. The leaders are consumed with power. The congregants are deluded with self-comfort and the world continues on. Does any of this have to do with Jesus or the movement he started? Nope. Does that matter to the religious pious vying for scraps of political influence? No. The legacy of Evangleicialsm and thirst for status will be its own undoing. The threads are beginning to fray, but thankfully, none of this has to do with Jesus. Jesus abhorred the power structures of his day and today, he would feel much the same. The road to redemption lies in the difficult road of self-reflection and looking deep into the sins of our past and present. It's not an easy road to travel, but it is the necessary road nonetheless. Righting the ship isn't an easy path to take. It's painful especially because it calls us to own up to our own mistakes and sins. The path of forgiveness and redemption was never meant to be an easy path. Though it's a path that Jesus calls us to. American Evangelicalism must repent and own up to its own failings in order to return to the ways and teachings of Jesus. This may sound dire, but it's exactly the servant posture we are called to take on as followers of Jesus. To embrace these humble ways, we must be willing to travel this path. Evangelicalism may die, but the ways of Jesus will continue and that's not such a bad thing. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 188
Tump's Executive Order On Religious Liberty
This week, we'll break down Trump's executive order on religious liberty and why it's a bad idea for America and Christianity. Evangelicals rejoice every time orders or legislation like this are signed. If they actually understood the fundamental issue with proclamations like these, they would realize that they are very un-Jesus-y. They are damaging to the focus of the Christian faith and also sully the compassionate ways of Jesus. Do Christians care? Probably not. These are simply legal proclamations that are more political than they are religious and that's a huge problem. When political power becomes our God, the actual God of the Bible becomes inert and feckless. God in the political sphere doesn't matter if we can find our own political gods. Religiously speaking, this is idolatry and it has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God or its ethics. It's more akin to Jim Bakker's end-of-times food buckets. They're all show, little substance and they play to the conservative base. In the end, they don't accomplish much aside from pushing the fake narrative that Christians are persecuted and need to withdraw and insulate themselves from the prevailing culture. Such a withdrawal is a direct affront to the Kingdom of God and actually has little to do with religious liberty. So what does all of this accomplish? Not much. It just serves to allow the faithful to acquiesce their responsibilities as a follower of Jesus. In effect, they've become spiritual spectators of the faith. Join us as we talk through this smoke screen that only seeks to distract us from what matters most. Will we be snarky? You bet. More importantly, we'll hit on this and the rest of the Christian craziness of the week. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 190
F*ck You Palestinian Christians
With the recent move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, many evangelical leaders are hailing this as a major victory for the Christian faith and President Trump. Before they begin to bask in the afterglow of their own self-congratulations, bigger questions remain. What has this move actually accomplished? What about the Palestinian Christians? Has scripture been fulfilled? Will Jesus return now? I can't wait for Jim Bakker and Kirk Cameron to finally be right about something. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's just hold on for a quick moment. This Zionist want-to-be move has only accomplished creating chaos and bloodshed in an already destabilized region. I guess destabilization is what Trump does best. Destabilize America. Destabilize the church. Got it. What was I thinking? This move has been hailed by evangelicals in their usual tone-deaf manner. It's all about looking at the world from their own holier-than-thou, western, white-privileged goggles. It's just like how evangelicals approach missions (or their faith, in general). The optics are all that really matters to them. If we actually cared for the region, we'd be looking at both sides of the issue... and guess what? There are over 50,000 Palestinian Christians in the region. You know, the bad guys... right? This is just a big f*ck you to the Palestinian Christians. It is absolutely shameful to disregard a part of the Christian family like this. Furthermore, anytime Christians ignore groups of people inside or outside of the faith, it's a disgusting act. None of this has to do with Jesus or the Kingdom of God. This is only about pushing a warped, biblically-shallow narrative forward while people's lives are held in the balance. This isn't a biblical move. For the religious right, it's always a political one. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 190
Best of 2020: Conspiracy Theories
2020's been wild year for all the wrong reasons, but I am thankful to have you along for the ride. This week, here's the most listened to episode of the year. Enjoy and I look forward to more snark in 2021! Cults and conspiracy theories are both founded on lies, but they also play heavily against people's fears and insecurities. You could say that cult leaders use misinformation and paranoia to manipulate others to follow blindly after them. It almost sounds like a lot of pastors too. This isn't a new occurrence, a Ponzi scheme as old as time. There are always swindlers and suckers. And every time, the swindler makes the sucker believe that everyone else is the true idiot. Christianity has a lot of willing idiots who have traded the simple message of the Gospel for complicated conspiracy theories about Satan hiding around every corner waiting to deceive you. The truth of this story is that we are our own Satan's deceiving ourselves. Yes, I said it and stand by it. Christians that believe in conspiracy theories or other nonsense like end times do it because doing the work of the Gospel is too hard and requires too much. If we can delude and deceive ourselves that we're righteous, then we can live our lives unchecked and judge everyone else. It's Jesus that disrupts this lie. Life is better when we don't get our own way. When we learn to live as people called to help and heal, that's a vastly different reality than one lived in fear of sin. One way is the freedom to live and love as Jesus did. The other one is to look at God's creation as dirty, evil, and broken. One way sees glory while the other sees desolation. Conspiracy theories require mental gymnastics to fit into reality. They require us to suspend our disbelief and embrace paranoia and fear. The way of Jesus sees the face of God in others and calls us to love. Which do you want to follow? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 191
Fun with Conspiracy Theories
Yes, we live in the upside-down world right now. That's just a fact. If you're not onboard with me, this show may not be for you. We'll delve into the deep recesses of Christian conspiracy theories in the age of Trump. They are fun to laugh at, but they're also insidious if you actually give them air to breathe. These theories push forward an unhinged and warped narrative of how to view the world through supposed religious eyes. The big problem with this worldview is that it also happens to be very un-Jesus-y. These crackpot theories have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God so we should stop listening to them... right? The only problem is that the conservative base hears these lies as truth, gospel truth. That is a scary thing that should frighten believers and non-believers all the same. Once conspiracies become the lexicon of their culture, then something great has already been lost. The something that has been lost may not be able to be found again. We stand on the precipice of something very evil and scary that just happens to have nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth. I'd be okay with the right being crazy and not attached to reality, but the moment they connect Jesus with their theories, that's when I say, "Game over" for the lot of them. This is beyond nuts but has sadly become the norm in so many religious circles today. Remember there's always hope. Yes, there's always another way, but that's not the point. We need to call out insanity when we see insanity. Christians should be doing the same because their faith requires them to, but that isn't happening. Christian conspiracy theory crackpots are becoming the voice of the movement and that's a huge problem. Jesus has been left behind and the faith has moved into space that no longer occupies any room for Him. These are the moments when drastic action is necessary if we want to save the ways and teaching of Jesus. Either we let this happen or concede the faith. The choice is yours. What will it be? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 192
Why VBS Sucks
If you're in the church world, VBS (Vacation Bible School) is upon us. Our show this week is dedicated to VBS and why it so consistently misses the mark. It's basically just a Christian marketing exercise. Don't be fooled, it has little to do with evangelism and reaching your community; it's more of a Christian pep rally that offers exceptional outreach numbers to make congregations happy. Does it accomplish much in forwarding the Kingdom of God? Oh, hell no but it won't stop us from following traditions off the cliff together. If we've always done it, then we should continue to do it. That's the mantra of VBS. We'll take a deep dive into what churches call the best outreach event of the year and why it is less outreach and more event-driven. It's become an event that's more driven by marketing than evangelism. Potentially, it was originally effective (that's up for debate) but today, it's the last breath of dignity a church has. The Gospel has been forgotten. The Kingdom of God has been lost. It's all about marketing our business to the community. That is not the way and teachings of Jesus. It's more like the Black Friday for churches - all marketing and advertising and not much to do with the faith. Let's talk about how VBS is useless and more about why it misses the mark and mission of Christianity. We'll talk through the majority of voices from within the faith to explain why VBS matters and then tear them all down in a glorious snarky fashion. Unless Christians think about the traditions they uphold, they are doomed to repeat the sins of the past. VBS is a wonderful example of how Christianity consistently misses the point for financial gain. VBS, it's a vacation, just not from the BS. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 193
Romans 13 and the US Southern Border
There's been a lot said about the current atrocities happening at the U.S.-Mexico border. Most of the responses have been along political lines, but recently, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III decided to insert scripture as a justification for separating families from their children. Now, it's not surprising that Conservatives are using religion to justify their own warped worldview, but if you're going to use the Bible, you might as well use it correctly. Join us as we delve into the scripture in question. Let's look into Romans 13 and see what is actually being said in the text. I'll try to make sure I don't mention that this particular scripture has been used to justify a whole host of evil deeds over history from slavery to Nazi occupation, but that's not the main point, though it is a notable side point. Our main thrust is to expose the hypocrisy of using scripture to justify the law of the land. It makes no sense and is completely asinine. You have the rule of law that governs the United States of America and you have the holy scriptures that supposedly govern the Kingdom of God. Even for Christian Conservatives, this should be abundantly clear that there are two very different sets of ethics and two very different sets of worldviews at play here. Spoiler alert; they don't blend well together. It's time for Christians to get their heads out of their asses, blink the shit out of their eyes, and look around and see how horrific and abusive it is to separate families in this manner. It's cruel and evil. Isn't Christianity all about vanquishing evil and doing the morally correct thing? Maybe that was forgotten along the way. This is sick. This is twisted. This is beyond evil. None of this should be done in the name of Jesus or scripture. Let's just call it what it has become: spineless, hateful, evil, self-serving, and blind to compassion... or otherwise known as the mantra of the Conservative Christian. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 194
The Problem with White Jesus
With Christianity in America, we have a white-man problem; more specifically, a white Jesus problem. The problem with white Jesus is that it gives us an excuse to worship a white (or orange) Trump. Christianity was never meant to be tribalistic in nature because, at its core, it's meant to be inclusive. Christianity should not be about dividing people; it should be about uniting them. If we look at the Bible, all of this is more about God's ethics and not our preference. When the faith becomes all about division, we can know for certain that it has been hijacked... for centuries. If Christianity is only seen through the powerbrokers, the white men of power and faith, it becomes an ugly abomination that looks a little like its founder and savior. It's problematic when the faith orientations only see others in terms of how different they are. Things have gone awry. Thinking like this is what sets up the white-savior mentality. When it comes to following Jesus, Christians are called to love, sacrifice, and give to others for no other reason than "Jesus said so." Sorry, white, American church. You've forgotten why you exist. The church of Christ is only supposed to be about people and for the good of people as we mold ourselves closer to God's image. Anything else is just wrong. To preach Jesus and not preach love is not Jesus. To preach Jesus and not preach inclusion is not Jesus. To preach Jesus and not preach grace and compassion is not Jesus. If the American church has too many "not Jesus" moments, I'm pretty sure it's not God's church anymore. It's just cosplay Christianity. There has to be a better way. Come along for the ride as we skewer through, life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 195
Religious Liberty for Some
With the newly established Religious Liberty Task Force, Jeff Sessions is once again rolling back time and progress in an effort to pacify the Evangelical Right. It's a simple knee-jerk reaction to the cries of persecution from Trump's conservative religious base and also Jeff Session's naughty, bigoted wet dream. Privilege is defined as "a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group." Those that have privilege don't want to give it up, and for those that live with privileges, when other people outside the group get equal standing, it may seem like there has been a loss. Equality for all is not the problem. Hate and bigotry are. This is just another symptom of white, privileged evangelicals wanting to keep their protections under the law exclusive to themselves. This isn't about liberty at all. It's about discrimination. When establishing this new task force, Sessions says that, “We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law, where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit, and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a ‘hate group’ on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.” This should be scary enough for the nonbeliever. Those inside the congregation should also be appalled by the hijacking of faith in such an overtly political, power-hungry manner, though, I doubt that they'll think beyond their own comfort and pleasure. As you may know, comfort, preference, and pleasure were all things Jesus highly valued. 🙄(sarcasm implied) What does religious freedom look like in an egalitarian age? If Trump, Sessions, and Conservative Christians have their way, we'll never know. It's too bad that Jesus never gets a say in this or are we just not listening? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 196
WTF Church
When you stand back and look at American Christianity as it stands today, it's not hard to see the cracks. There are fundamental flaws that plague American Christianity. We'll journey through the week's news to see how Christianity is missing the point. Not only are they missing the point, they may not even be on the same page with Jesus anymore. Christendom is broken in America. Can we fix it? Of course, we can fix it. The bigger question is, do we want to fix it? Just because something is broken, it doesn't mean that the owners are willing to do the work to fix it. That's a problem. Who really owns Christianity anymore? Jesus? Oh, hell no. As the faith marches forward, it looks less and less like its founder and God. Again, I'll say it. This is a big problem. WTF church? This week, we look through the lens of faith and culture to point out some of the major cracks. We'll go through the Bill Hybels scandal, Greg Laurie, and the SoCal Harvest Festival. We'll even look into the pedo that founded the Christian "rock festival" Creationfest. A show about why Christian rock is not really rock will possibly happen in the future but not today. That's not the point. We'll talk through our issues with pastor worship and commercialization of the church in general. WTF church? The church is fundamentally broken. The problem is fixable, but those in power are unwilling to right the ship. The ship looks nothing like Jesus and neither do the Christian leaders navigating it, so why is the Church in America messed up? Well, for starters, it looks more like a business model and less like a movement. The church has learned over decades to care more about itself than about those in our communities that are hurting and in need of help, compassion, and grace. Seriously, WTF church?!? If Jesus left the church, would you leave as well? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 197
This A-Hole?
Trump is terrible. I mean he's beyond your wildest dreams terrible. There are times where I am literally impressed with the depths of his awfulness. If you're a listener of this show, none of this should surprise you. So, today, let's talk about Vice President Mike Pence. Is he any better than his boss? He's the so-called adult in the room. He's the stalwart pillar of bland virtue to the Conservatives. He may seem like a mother-loving Buster Bluth, but Mike Pence is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The term 'impeachment' has become commonplace fodder and become the go-to for envisioning a way out of this nightmarish hellscape of American politics. I totally understand the rationale for wanting impeachment, but it's also a cheat. You get rid of one big orange problem and are left with another misogynist, bigoted one except Pence knows the game. He's measured and is far more conservative than Trump. I hate to break it to you, but Mike Pence is just as bad as Donald Trump. How bad is Pence? It's like if the Billy Graham rule was also racist. The evangelicals choose to see Pence as a virtuous altar boy of the faith when he's actually closer to being that predator priest. He's misguided, complicit, and waiting for his shot. Christians may rejoice about this supposed man of God, but the rest of us should be worried. He's the religious right's wet dream and also their plan B. Let's not be fooled by the urgency of the now. We must also keep our eyes open for the evil in waiting. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 198
Hurricane Brett
Last week, Brett Kavanaugh became the new poster boy for white privilege. He raged and cried his way through the Senate hearings and will most likely be confirmed in a week. In America, there's always one axiom that will always ring true: the aristocracy always wins. It's a disgusting display that reminds us that the playing field of justice in America isn't level. While, it's expected to see Republicans fawning over Kavanaugh and turning a blind eye to the accusations, it's a different story watching the response from conservative Christians. It just makes me sick. How can a faith grounded in love consistently ignore justice? How can it continue to ignore the cries from victims of abuse? How can it protect its own interests while ignoring the ways and teaching of Jesus? It's just business as usual for American Christianity. Don't believe me? It was recently found that 48% of white evangelicals say that Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court even if the allegations of sexual assault against him are true. That's 48% support if it's TRUE! Conservatives want power and don't care how they get it. This sounds more Machiavellian and a little less like Jesus. Sorry, let me rephrase that. It looks nothing like Jesus. Join us as we examine the Christian response to Brett Kavanaugh and how it mirrors similar situations inside the church where white men of power are accused of sexual assault and/or predatory behavior. We see the same denials and the same deflections. The men continue on in positions of power while the women and children suffer as accusations are swept under the rug. It's happened before and history will repeat itself again if the church fails to change. It must change for the victims, past and future. It must change for our sons and daughters who are watching us and how we respond. It must change for the sake of Jesus and the ways of love and grace. But that might not matter anymore Christians. Time will tell. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 201
It's Time We Had A Family Talk
It's time we had a family talk because things in this world keep getting crazier. Toxic politics, racism, misogyny, greed, and selfishness are eroding us as a culture. These are a symptom of a greater problem. So, this talk is well overdue. I know that no one really wants to have one, but it is time. Faith as being exercised or imagined as a political party is no faith at all. American Christianity has lost its way. Politics and preference have become the new compass. Is it even about Jesus anymore? Or is it more about winning. I'm just sick of the whole spectacle and I know I'm not alone. So, enough with the conspiracy theories, excuses or theological gymnastics. We need to stop and take a hard look at ourselves. Frankly, it's not Trump. He's certainly a problem, but he's not the problem. He's not the president we wanted, but maybe he's the one we deserve, America. Sound harsh? I know it is, but these are those moments when we need to have a sobering look in the mirror and an honest talk. I've gone from being sick and tried to just being tired of all this. It seems like we've lost common decency and are moving down the road towards losing our humanity. This rot is rotting us. So join us this week, as we have a family talk. It's necessary. Change begins with us. It begins with how we think, respond, love and how we chose to react or not react to the problems we face. This won't be easy, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. We can be better. We must be better. And at the end of the day, Jesus calls us to be better. Anyone with me? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 202
Beauty in the Wreckage: An Interview with Brandon Andress
In a world with so much pain, suffering, hostility, stress, and anxiety, how is it possible to experience life to the fullest? If you read the news headlines or scroll through social media, we're stuck seeing the worst of humanity on a daily basis. The outlook looks pretty grim, but is there another way? Joining the show today, is author, Brandon Andress. In his new book, Beauty in the Wreckage: Finding Peace in the Age of Outrage , Brandon sets out to give us a different way to look at things. If he’s right, his message is just what we need right now. In the book, Brandon makes the surprising discovery that, even in the heartache, the hostility, the division, the violence, and the oppression, experiencing “life to the fullest,” a life of shalom, is not just possible, it can be our present reality. But in order to discover it, we must learn how to see and live differently—moment by moment—for the transformation of our lives, our families, our relationships, and our communities. Most of us are no stranger to suffering, but it's how we respond to that suffering that has the chance to change us for the better. Brandon shares personal stores about the transformative nature of suffering and the necessity of finding shalom. It's a wonderful soulful chat that you won't want to miss. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Brandon Andress is the author of three books: Beauty in the Wreckage- Finding Peace in the Age of Outrage (2018) AND THEN THE END WILL COME! (2013) Unearthed – How Discovering the Kingdom of God Will Transform the Church and Change the World (2010) He podcasts at Outside the Walls (Available on iTunes , Spotify , Google Play , and Stitcher ) and writes for his popular blogs Brandon Andress and A Joyful Procession. Brandon earned his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University and his BA in Psychology from Hanover College. He loves the outdoors, hiking, camping, and traveling.
Episode 203
Surviving Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is upon us in America. This day often fills us with thoughts of delicious food, family and friends. From the Macy's parade to football to the tradition of overindulgence. That's the kind of empty nostalgia best left to Hallmark cards. Thanksgiving's the holiday we just can't quit. The reality of Thanksgiving is much different. Thanksgiving Day is ripe for drama and dysfunction. You've got your mother drinking too much and "getting honest" with everyone and Grandpa telling his racist jokes as a holiday treat from yesteryear that no one asked for. There's that needy aunt that needs to know everything about your life... I mean everything. We've all got that uncle that sees conspiracy theories as an opportunities to broaden his horizons. Don't worry, he'll fill you in on all his 'research' from the past year. Then, there's that one stinking kid. You know the little idiot wiping his snot everywhere and you just know you'll be sick by Monday. He's such a treasure. Ask yourself this. Why else do people flock to Black Friday sales? You thought it was about great deals and savings, right? It's really just an excuse for jailbreak and an escape the family dysfunction that is Thanksgiving Day in America. You've got your dysfunctional tribe and I've got mine, so today, obviously, we'll talk about the dangers of living in echo chambers and toxic tribalism. How does this relate to Thanksgiving? This holiday is an opportunity to see a diverse cross-section of needs, ideas, insecurities, and personalities. It's also a time for you to begin to look at others in different ways, and it's an opportunity for us to look deeper into our own issues and biases. With a country that continues to become more fractured and polarized, we must move towards change. It's easy to call the other side to change, but the real work begins when we start to change ourselves. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for that. If all else fails, we'll also talk through key strategies for surviving Thanksgiving. One way or the other, Snarky Faith has you covered. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 204
My Story
In times of stress and chaos, we can easily lose ourselves in the onslaught of information and misinformation. It hits us like waves. We're told how to think. We're told how to believe. We learn to be reactionary and respond to whatever comes our way. Piece by piece, our humanity slowly strips away. We begin to forget who we are and what we're made of. We lose the plot of our own stories. It's in these times that we must remind ourselves of the truth of our own journeys. Our story matters. The power of our own stories serves to be a memorial of who we are and where we've come from. It's in these places that we gain perspective to remind us of what is important and what drives us. We return to our own story because it is our own. It tells us who we are, what matters to us, and where to go next. I've had the pleasure and honor of hearing people's stories in my own life. Through this radio show, I also receive letters from listeners where I hear tales of hope and courage but also of pain and loss. It takes bravery to tell your story. It takes even more to own your story and live it out with intention and purpose. Today, I'll share my story (or at least part of it) and how that story led me to start this radio show. It's not an epic tale of legend, but it's still mine. There are wonderful parts, but it's also filled with loss and pain. It makes me who I am. I own it and honor it as I continue to journey forward into an uncertain future. Like your story, mine is still evolving. I've personally been on this journey for over forty years. I hope to meet you along the way. Safe travels. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 205
The Gospel of Selfishness
Oh, Christianity, what has become of you? It's been some two-thousand years since your beginnings and you've strayed so far from your roots. You don't even look the same anymore. There's plenty of blame to be had, but where to begin? We could speak of so many issues like capitalism, materialism, greed, misogyny, racism, or bigotry but those would just be the beginning of a long list. There are so many things that have blown you off course, but one sin seems to pervasively rot your roots and taint your message. The gospel of Jesus has been hijacked. It's been usurped. To look at Christianity now, it's become evident that it's all about the gospel of selfishness. Does the church care anymore about being Christlike or is more about winning a culture war? Since when did Jesus' message of love, hope, compassion, and grace become about control, and grasping for power, and influence? Furthermore, how did anything associated with the servant Jesus become so damn selfish? Join us today as we begin to scratch the surface of this insidious cancer that moves forward in plain sight. At first, the church seemed to acquiesce it with little changes here and there, but now, they've practically rolled out the red carpet to welcome it in. You see selfishness in their mission statements and programs. The sanctuaries are decorated in it. Even the Sunday morning service has now become a full-blown show of self-worship. Sure, Jesus is name-checked for good measure, but don't be mistaken, the church is all about you. Don't believe me? Well, then, join us as we embark on this journey of discovery into the maddening reality that the American Church no longer cares for the ways of Jesus. They're much more concerned with self-gratification than the ways of Jesus. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 207
How To Get Involved
The year 2018 will be known as the year of outrage. It's been filled with atrocities at home and abroad, protests, scandals, and mass incompetence. With the Trump administration at the wheel, America's heading off a cliff at full speed. It's easy to get caught up in the cloud of outrage. We rage on social media. We rage as we read the news. We rage as we protest. Sometimes, it makes a difference but most often, it doesn't. It just becomes a cloud of anger. The problem with this is that outrage is easy. Getting involved is hard work and costs something of us. Adam Mclane is someone who couldn't take it anymore, so he took his outrage and thrust it into action. Living in San Diego and reading the reports of the migrant caravan approaching the US Southern border, Adam couldn't stand idly by and do nothing. He decided to get involved and do what he could. What resulted has been an incredible story of what it looks like to turn your outrage into action. We'll talk today about what it takes to make that first step towards making a difference. So, let's get involved! If 2018 was the year of outrage, let's make 2019 the year of action. If you want to help out and donate to Adam's deliveries to Tijuana, you can click here to buy items for aid via Adam's Amazon Wish. By Christmas, about 9,000 people will need shelter at the border. Right now, most people are sleeping on cardboard at a park in a government-run shelter. If you're interested in donating to Praying Pelican Missions and their work with asylum seekers in Tijuana you can click here. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 208
Stretching the Truth
“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.” ― Barry Goldwater Living in an age where we're being told that truth isn't the truth. It's hard to know what's actually going on when the goalposts are constantly changing. How far can you stretch the truth and still get away with it? Well, if you look at American Christianity, you can stretch it pretty far and no one seems to notice. Christianity has a big problem with the truth. It's traded timeless truths for prestige, power, and platform and lost the message of Jesus in the process. We've swapped the mission of God for a terrestrial power grab. When faith becomes obsessed with politics, wealth and influence we've certainly lost the plot. Christians say the word 'love' but when they say it, the meaning of the word is lost. The 'love' they speak of isn't the same 'love' Jesus talked about. To look at Conservative Christianity, do we see love? The word has become empty and inert. American Christianity has become a con where it only seems to care about itself. The mandate to love has been lost. If we've lost that message of sacrificial love, then we've lost Jesus. We've lost his truth. We've lost it all. It's not too late, but we need to stop buying the lies and remaining silent. COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE AS WE SKEWER THROUGH LIFE, CULTURE, AND SPIRITUALITY IN THE FACE OF A CHANGING WORLD. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 239
Christian Copout Music
CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) often acts as a mirror to modern-day Christendom. It sounds pretty and looks good, but it's just lots of empty words and vague phrasing. The truth is, both are all about celebrity and money and not the gospel. In CCM, Jesus is your boyfriend as long he doesn't do anything to rock the boat. The Tomlins and W. Smiths have worked so hard to neuter the faith and Crowns have been cast in order to make Christianity inert and impotent on the Third Day. Mercy Me! Sorry, no more CCM puns. I apologize. Today, we'll use Kanye West's descent into CCM (Crappy Christian Music) to speak to the faith's modern-day problems with money, fame, and politics. In the past, prophets and psalmists would use their voice as a weapon to inspire change, to call out abuses in power, and to remind the faithful about their role in the kingdom of God. Nowadays, in Christian music, the message doesn't matter as long as it sells and keeps the base happy. Politics and greed have made Christianity safe and malignant. It's cancerous and looks nothing like Jesus or his teachings. When commerce has become the driving force behind Christianity we have a problem. The songs we sing, say something about us and contemporary Christians music is a hollow as it is malignant. It's a symptom of a faith that looks nothing like Jesus or his teachings. Grace may be amazing, but the faithful are only singing empty songs of self-worship in a time when the world needs revolutionary voices. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 242
The Church's Problem With Equality
Why are Christians so uncomfortable with the idea of equality? It's laid forth so quickly in the first chapter of Genesis when it says, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." We know this, yet, the tribalistic nature of modern Christianity has morphed it into a judgmental exercise of the pious degree. People want equal rights because they don't have them, but those in positions of privilege feel that giving equal standing erodes their own position in the world. To the pious, others gaining freedom means they will lose an edge. This is merely an exercise of selfishness and pride and has nothing to do with the teachings and ways of Jesus. Religion calls people to obedience. It's a control structure that is obsessed with the self. The faithful calling of Jesus leads to a journey fueled by wonder that focuses us on the needs of others. Christianity needs to return to its roots because our faith shouldn't inhibit our creativity or imagination. Faith should be the trajectory that thrusts us forward in wonder. To freely give equality to all is the heartbeat of Jesus and the way forward. Faith shouldn't constrain, it should always inspire us for more. It should also inspire us to give more freedom and dignity to others because we're all created equal in the eyes of a loving God. We can do better. We must do better. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.Snarkyfaith.com
Episode 243
Beyond Blood
Justin T. Miller was just a regular undergraduate college student when he felt the desire for something bold and extraordinary. In his new book, Beyond Blood: Hope and Humanity in the Forgotten Fight Against AIDS , Justin lays out the story of how he met Duncan Kimani Kamau and Cornel Onyango Nyaywera, two men who had grown up witnessing firsthand the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS in their own communities in Kenya. Though Kamau and Nyaywera grew up in opposite ends of the country and came from opposing tribes, they overcame prejudice and cultural expectations to bring healing to their communities. With Miller's help, their dream of empowering people to live a life beyond AIDS became a reality. Once Kamau, Miller, and Nyaywera realized their common purpose, CARE for AIDS was born. But it was only the beginning of their fight against AIDS, as they quickly discovered the fear and stigma that blanketed the disease. If their fledgling nonprofit was going to empower anyone, they would need help--and they found it, one local church at a time. As they slowly but steadily grew their network of friends and allies, Kamau, Miller, and Nyaywera discovered that the most complex problems can be solved through intentional, redemptive relationships. Join me as I talk with Justin about the intersection between faith and advocacy. We'll also talk about ways that church can look beyond the Sunday service to integrate into the needs of the marginalized it the community. It's a great ride that you're sure to enjoy. You can find Justin T. Miller's book, Beyond Blood: Hope and Humanity in the Forgotten Fight Against AIDS , here. You can also find out more about Justin and Care for AIDS here: Care for Aids and Justin T. Miller. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www. SNARKYFAITH.com
Episode 245
Hanukkah Clusterf*uck
Donald Trump ruins everything he touches and he always seems to know how to make things worse. I just that's just his spiritual gift. He's a King Midas that turns everything into 💩. When he signed an executive order aimed at tackling anti-Semitism on college campuses at a White House Hanukkah reception, he made sure to include Pastor Robert Jeffress who has said on numerous occasions that all Jews are going to hell. This is also the same president that continues to allow Stephen Miller, a known and documented racist, to remain within his administration. So today, let's take a deeper dive into Trump's new executive order and how it's corrosive, manipulative, and really has nothing to do with tackling anti-semitism. So while he's saying that he's a friend of the Jewish community, we've also seen anti-semitic attacks rise by 60% in the first year of his presidency. This is merely political double-talk that's being used to hide a racist president and the white nationalists base. Hanukkah should be a time to remember God's goodness and faithfulness, it shouldn't be sullied in such a way. In the same sense, Christmas is also a time to remember God's presence in the margins with the people that have been forgotten by the empire. The message of both of these holidays is that God is still with us and all of his creation matters. Let us all remember this and continue to do the work of the Lord laid out in Isaiah 61, ""The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 246
Christianity Today Grows a Pair
When Christianity Today's editor, Mark Galli, published his editorial about why Trump should be removed from office it sent shockwaves through the conservative community. While trying to seem even-handed in his assertions about Trump, the editor committed the unpardonable Evangelical sin, trash-talking the Orange Bloated Messiah. While some of the arguments rang true, it was still too careful and calculated. In a moment, it was almost like the grew a par, but they seemed to stop just short. Also, don't let the backlash against Christianity Today fool you. It's an exercise in missing the point too. To speak truth to power is a prophetic act, but Galli was speaking to the wrong persons of power. Trump's immorality and selfishness isn't the point. Trump's spent decades being a disgusting human being. The real issue should be about how Christianity lost its way and why they kowtowed so easily to the Grifter-in-Chief? Oh, Christianity, what have you become? It seems like Evangelical faith has become nothing more than a pro-life, pro-Israel and pro-religious liberty (for a select few) political organization. In its current form, the faith no longer lines up with the teaching of Jesus. Jesus prioritized the faith in simple, yet, comprehensive terms when he called his followers to, ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ and to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ For a faith grounded in love, where is the love now? That's really what Christianity Today should have been calling out. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 255
Gratitude
Living life in the shadow of a pandemic is stressful. There's so much anxiety and unpredictability on the horizon and all we can do is separate and quarantine ourselves from one another. The isolation leads to more fear and becomes a vicious cycle filled with doubt and paranoia. So what is the path forward in the face of uncertainty? It's gratitude. Sounds crazy right? People are dying. Resources are scarce. Jobs hang in the balance. So why gratitude? Well, we can become so obsessed with what's right in front of us and fearful of the unknown, that we forget our own stories. If you've made it this far in life, it hasn't been without struggles and tough times. You've overcome things. You've learned from your mistakes. You've gotten better and wiser along the way. These times when we're forced to slow down and stop can become a great place to regain perspective. Remember where you've come from. Remember what you've survived. Remember that you haven't done this alone and others have helped you along the way. Contemplating all of this can lead to gratitude and that gratitude can fuel us to push through this pandemic and look forward to a hopeful future. So instead of hiding from the outside world with the next Netflix marathon, begin to think about what you're grateful for. With each breath, we are reminded that we're not dead yet and should live like there are better days ahead. Those around you need you awake, aware, and soberly alert of what is needed now and beyond. In the midst of all of this pandemic, we need to become compassionate neighbors, keen observers, ardent contemplators, and hopeful dreamers. Remember what is good. Remember what is next. And if God is moving in the world today, where can we see her moving and how do we join her there? The first step is gratitude. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 259
War on Easter
Without celebrating Easter services in churches, Christianity is basically done. Jesus is still in the grave. There was no resurrection. Nothing matters anymore because we can't have church in a building. It's a travesty and my faith may never recover. I'm only kidding. Easter has become nothing more than a marketing promotion and a show church pageantry. It's like heroin for Christians, they just can't quit Easter. Now with the Coronavirus, everything has become upended. What will the faithful do without their Easter fix? We once had the war on Christmas and in the time of the pandemic, we now have a new war on Easter. With so many Christians framing the stay-at-home orders as a violation of religious freedom, its a reminder that American Christianity had jumped-the-shark long ago. Faith doesn't mean testing positive for stupid. Join us today as we examine Easter from a cultural standpoint and juxtapose it with why resurrection should matters now more than ever. When Easter has become the Super Bowl for Christianity, we have a problem. The spectacle is never fair trade for substance. And when the substance of Jesus is lost in the cries of 'victory' and 'hosannah', we should have just stayed with the crowds cheering on Palm Sunday. Resurrection isn't a celebration. Resurrection is all about the messiness of life where God likes to occupy. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 267
Power and Vulnerability
" Our use of power will always be disoriented and destructive - will result in idolatry and injustice - unless we find a way to a restored relationship with the Giver of power". - Andy Crouch On, June 3, 2020, the President of the United States ordered militarized police to teargas and remove peaceful protesters who were hosting a "Solidarity Prayer Vigil" near St. John's Church in Lafayette Square. He did this as a show of strength to have a photo-op with a Bible in front of the church. It was excessive use of force and brutality that played like a love letter to his religious base. This authoritarian-lite stunt is like a Russian-hooker-threeway of Trump's worst impulses; his hubris, stupidity, and small-dick-energy. It's an interesting snapshot to examine. The President is using the church as a backdrop and Bible as a prop. It's the perfect example of what Christianity in America has become. Hollow images and symbols that should echo the ways of Jesus, but they don't. They've just become tools of a corrupt empire. To look at leadership through the lens of Jesus, we see a very different approach to power and greatness. His selfless death on the cross is a stark contrast to someone who teargasses a peaceful crowd of volunteers and clergy. Where Jesus would say, "Black Lives Matter," but to Trump, only his life matters. It's sad to see how the faithful have been willingly duped. Are we tired of winning yet? It's time to wake up and see the hypocrisy, lies, and empty promises. Christ calls us to engage with the world differently. Through his lens of love, humility, compassion, and vulnerability, leadership and power begin to look very different. Through walking in his example, we can begin to heal the wounds in our nation as we elevate diverse voices to seats at the collective table. We are better together than we are apart. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SNARKYFAITH.com
Episode 269
Cancel Culture
We are living in the glorious time of the cancel culture. Yes, most call it an overreaction to civil, cultural, and political events happening now, but I think it's a beautiful thing. Conservative Evangelicals created a cancel culture against anything deemed counter to the faith, and the tactics of public shaming and boycott are now coming back to haunt them. After Louie Giglio's "white blessing" remarks, Christianity is in a downward spiral seeking to grab on to some semblance of relevancy in a time when so many stalwart institutions, voices, and symbols of faith are falling like Confederate statues. Instead of seeing cancel culture as a problem, we should see it as an opportunity to change, repent, and distance our faith from systems of hatred and intolerance. Jesus calls us to a new way of dealing with power structures, where everyone is valued and has a voice. In the kingdom of God, everyone matters in culture and society. All are made in the image of God and are equal. All matter equally. This is the vision of the kingdom of God. Any other system that devalues humans isn't of Jesus and has nothing to do with the creator of the universe. Good builds up all. Good gives all a voice. God is good. Sin operates on hierarchical systems of inequality. Sin is selfish. Sin oppresses. Sin doesn't care about tomorrow. What system do you want to be part of? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SNARKYFAITH.com
Episode 270
From Me to We
The past few weeks on the show, we've been talking through the book, Tug of War by Wilmer Villacorta. This several-week discussion has centered around leadership in the vein of Jesus. We've talked about what biblical leadership should look like in juxtaposition to the modern church. We've seen how modern leadership is capitalistic, caustic, and antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus. The church today wields power through narrow systems of hierarchy that look more like corporations than communities. These systems narrowly allow certain people in positions of power, while others are overtly left outside. The power of community is the power of Christianity. There is great value in owning our personal selves and stories, but we must also be blended and woven within the stories of others. A family of faith should be diverse. Its beauty is in its uniqueness and diversity. The movement from 'me' to 'we' is not one of losing power, but one much to the contrary. The process opening up to others is a road of vulnerability and humility, but ultimately one of great power as we collectively move together to make a better tomorrow that includes all people. To craft a better tomorrow means that we must work together. We can't do this alone, Jesus calls us to be better together. Our stories will never be complete without others. There is no me without we... and that's a good thing. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.Snarkyfaith.com
Episode 271
Conspiracy Theories
Cults and conspiracy theories are both founded on lies, but they also play heavily against people's fears and insecurities. You could say that cult leaders use misinformation and paranoia to manipulate others to follow blindly after them. It almost sounds like a lot of pastors too. This isn't a new occurrence, a Ponzi scheme as old as time. There are always swindlers and suckers. And every time, the swindler makes the sucker believe that everyone else is the true idiot. Christianity has a lot of willing idiots who have traded the simple message of the Gospel for complicated conspiracy theories about Satan hiding around every corner waiting to deceive you. The truth of this story is that we are our own Satan's deceiving ourselves. Yes, I said it and stand by it. Christians that believe in conspiracy theories or other nonsense like end times do it because doing the work of the Gospel is too hard and requires too much. If we can delude and deceive ourselves that we're righteous, then we can live our lives unchecked and judge everyone else. It's Jesus that disrupts this lie. Life is better when we don't get our own way. When we learn to live as people called to help and heal, that's a vastly different reality than one lived in fear of sin. One way is the freedom to live and love as Jesus did. The other one is to look at God's creation as dirty, evil, and broken. One way sees glory while the other sees desolation. Conspiracy theories require mental gymnastics to fit into reality. They require us to suspend our disbelief and embrace paranoia and fear. The way of Jesus sees the face of God in others and calls us to love. Which do you want to follow? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 272
Normalizing
One of the great sins of the American church has been its ability to normalize a myriad of sins. In a certain way, these sins have become part of an unstated and unwritten theology of practice. For too long has the faith system based on Jesus Christ has been associated with misogyny, ignorance, racism, abuse, and hate. If your remove love from Christianity, you also remove Jesus from Christianity. If that happens, what is left? For the church to rectify itself and return to its roots, we must call out all that is opposed to love. For a faith-centered in the love of God and love of others, it has been perverted and mutated into something vastly different. Following Jesus was never about political power, control, and influence, it was about making a tangible difference in humanity. If we're not loving more, then the Kingdom of God is not being advanced. If we're not loving others, the Kingdom of God is nothing more than a platform and talking points. If we don't see the humanity and image of God in others, we have forgotten who we are. If any or all of this happens, what are we left holding? The power of Jesus is in its ability to give up power. It exists in how it usurps influence from the mighty and gives voice to the lowly. Brokenness and injustice don't have to be normalized. They should be opposed. If you hold up things that are counter to Jesus, they should be castaway. It may sound overly simplistic, but the ways of Jesus aren't that hard. They aren't that complicated. Just don't be shitty to other people and try to make the world a better place for everyone. Is that too much to ask for? It's orthodoxy, but that hasn't been orthopraxy in a long time. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SNARKYFAITH.COM
Episode 273
Messy Faith
“Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God's being present in the mess of our unfixedness. (Messy Spirituality)” ― Michael Yaconelli In Luke 14, Jesus tells a story about a wedding banquet where everyone was invited and welcome. It gives us a glimpse into the heart of the Kingdom of God. Imagine a God that has love and grace at the center of everything. How would that change the church and community if everyone was loved and treated with dignity? What if love and grace were as common as the air that we breathe? Jesus said that there was a big table, big enough for everyone. It is a place where you are loved and accepted where you are. Grace is the currency and love like gravity. If they are constants in the Kingdom of God, why are treated like rare elements here on Earth? Faith is messy because people are messy, but faith is also simple. Love God, love others, and live out grace. That is the Kingdom of God in a nutshell, yet we have made it complicated and perverted it. Though the road back is to where we should be is often seen as too simple and direct, so we stay where we are and remain. Change happens when we embrace who and what we are. If we can accept ourselves, then hopefully we can accept others. If I am messy and you are also messy, then hopefully we can help each other to be less messy. Thus is progress. Thus is life. If we want to change, we can. It requires a willingness to leave safety and journey into something new and unknown. That is the nature of change. It doesn't ask you to embrace it, but it's there waiting to be embraced if you're willing to do it. Change is only a decision away. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 275
Snarky's Book Club
I hear that Oprah something called a "book club," so I figured if it was good enough for Oprah, it's good enough for Snarky Faith. Join us today, as we talk about some interesting gems that you may have missed. We'll talk about books, politics, and the Christian Crazy too. I'll even throw in a chat with author and artist, David Hayward, aka The Naked Pastor about his new book. Buckle up, it's going to be a wild and fun ride. Books featured in this episode: Til Doubt Do Us Part by David Hayward If changing beliefs are changing your marriage, you need to read this book where David Hayward speaks into the strain that deconstruction can cause in a marriage. For those of us who have had huge faith shifts, this is like a roadmap to those tough, but necessary conversations that need to happen. Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints by Daneen Akers "Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints" is an illustrated children's book about people of diverse faiths working for more love and justice in their corners of the world, even when that means rocking the religious boat. With original portraits from more than two dozen artists and engaging profiles of people from different faiths and different eras, these are stories that inspire, educate, challenge, and encourage. Some of the people featured in this book are well known, like the beloved St. Francis of Assisi (a favorite of Hufflepuffs everywhere for his love of animals), who gave up a wealthy inheritance to serve the poor, Rumi, the Sufi poet, and Thich Nhat Hanh the beloved teacher who developed the concept of engaged Buddhism. Some are well known, but the deep faith motivating their work is lesser-known, such as Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, and Mr. Rogers. Others are less known such as Bayard Rustin, an American Quaker whose role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s is often downplayed because he was a gay man; Maryam Molkara, an Iranian Muslim transgender rights advocate; and Regina Jonas, the first female rabbi to be ordained whose story was almost lost to history. The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix A 2018 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Winner! Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party is gaining strength and becoming more menacing every day. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor upset by the complacency of the German church toward the suffering around it, forms a breakaway church to speak out against the established political and religious authorities. When the Nazis outlaw the church, he escapes as a fugitive. Struggling to reconcile his faith and the teachings of the Bible with the Nazi Party’s evil agenda, Bonhoeffer decides that Hitler must be stopped by any means possible! Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. Www.Snarkyfaith.com
Episode 276
Gettin' Saved
"It's far time I talk to ya'll about your relationship with Jesus." - said every good Christian talking about 'vangelism. Yes, it's that time. We need to have that important chat about salvation, but it's not the talk you think I want to have. Today, we're going to discuss salvation. Yes, many have heard it packaged in different ways and tracts, but the result is always the same. It's the processed food version of the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus saves you from hell with Twinkies. The Kingdom of God wasn't meant to be a sales pitch to grow your Ponzi scheme religion. The Kingdom of God exists to free people, NOT enslave them. The story of Jesus tells you that you're loved by God just as you are. God already gives you the grace to live and love in a redemptive way. God's Kingdom says we have worth and are accepted. It tells us the story of freedom. So why does Christianity often make "gettin' saved" sound more like a duty like paying your taxes? Today, we're going to talk about salvation in human terms and not theological ones. We're going to get logical and not spiritual. There won't be scripture quoted, but we're going to look at it as it is and talking about it in plain terms. Join us as we look past the church history and practice into the real call of Jesus for us as humans to live as we are supposed to be. Anything other than that is falsehood. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 277
Denial
“And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceeding well.” ― Julian of Norwich We live in a time where it seems all we have is bad news and fake news. When denial reigns, it's hard to know what to believe and what's real anymore. Too often are we swayed one way or the other by manipulative forces that obscure what is happening. We easily believe half-truths or quick answers in the pursuit of ways to ignore the problems at hand. Religion even makes it worse when it blames the cause of physical problems onto mystical or spiritual ones. We deny reality and try to avoid problems because we don't like the solutions. For all to be well, all of the faithful must be vigilant and ready to serve and help as needed. Politics and religion create distractions that obscure the simple solutions. It's easier to deny a pandemic if you are too emotionally fragile to handle it. If you deny reality, then you can fight silly, little insignificant issues like wearing masks. If you think your faith suffers because you can't sing in a church, your god is impotent and small. This pandemic isn't about people's preferences. It should be about humanity's finest moment of coming together to fix a simple, yet complex issue. Yet, stupidity dominates. But we don't have to like it. There's always hope to push back lazy and inert thinking. Action and vigilance push us forward and inspire movement. Let's deny denial. There are better days ahead if we continue to move towards progress. Keep on keeping on in this profoundly weird time in history. Peace. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 278
Cucks, Cons & Cop-Outs
I'm so tired of God's name being used as an advertising tool by conservatives when their version of love looks like repression. It's false, heretical, and antithetical to the gospel. It's bullshit. For too long, have the grifters of the gospel sold their faith like a telemarketer giving you a buy one get one free deal. "God told me this. God said to do that." It's Santa Clause and Tooth Fairy religion. It's superstition and urban-legend-level meaninglessness sold to the masses every Sunday. Why do we buy the lies and put up with the charlatans? P.T. Barnum's accredited with saying, "there's a sucker born every minute." P.T. only discovered what religious leaders have always known. Sheep want a shepherd regardless if the shepherd eventually eats them. It's not about truth. It's more about blind certainty. People seek certainty; regardless if it's false or not. Oblivion is the goal, and thinking is optional in these circles. Today, we'll delve into lies peddled in the name of God by his emissaries and/or infomercial hosts. They're all the same, hollow and unscrupulous. Nothing could be further from the nature of God. To listen to the liars is to miss out on the gift that you are the beloved of God. The center of Christianity is supposed to be love. God is love. This truth may seem forgotten but is not lost. We need to recover this precious narrative from the Kingdom of God and champion it. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. Www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 279
Masking the Truth
I'm so tired of bullshit sold as truth in Christian conservative circles. An alternative reality is sold to the masses, and the sheep gleefully take the bait every time. I used to think that many of the faithful flocks were just stupid, but I was wrong. Most people aren't stupid, they're just willfully gullible, and that's way worse. For the longest time, Christians have abdicated rational thinking and followed pastors and charlatans over the edge. This is not the way of Jesus, but this is absolutely the way of religion. The ways of Jesus are simple. They are not the ways of the DNC or the RNC. They are the ways of love, compassion, and self-sacrifice. Jesus didn't want power; he wanted people to be transformed and changed by grace. Lies mask the truth. Lies keep us complacent. Lies keep us oblivious. Join us today as we talk about the lies being fed in Jesus' name by the RNC and other sycophants hell-bent on gaslighting the masses. Killers aren't heroes, the pandemic is real, black lives do matter and neither presidential candidate was chosen by God. It's true. Deal with it. All of this is a distraction from the call of Jesus for justice for the poor and marginalized. American Christianity seems like a spoiled brat wanting its own way, where Jesus tells us the only way is love, grace, and humility. Christianity tells us that we are judged not by our accomplishments, but by how the lowest in society are treated and cared for. Are we too lazy to see the truth, or is it easier to follow a hypothetical Jesus made in our own images? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 282
Walking It Out
With the death of Ruth Bater Ginsburg, conservatives are frothing at the mouth with a chance to seat a new Supreme Justice. It's part of their new orthodoxy. Wait, since when did Christianity become all about abortion, seating judges, and filling the Supreme Court in the USA? I don't recall Jesus prophesying about that in the Bible? On that's right. American Christianity doesn't bother itself with the words of Jesus. No, no. That would be too restrictive and cumbersome towards our lifestyle of "Me First," I'm sorry, I mean "American First." The ethics of modern-day Christianity are as selfish as the rest of the culture. What happened to the servant posture of Christians? Jesus called us to serve, give, and love, yet all I see is American Christianity in a tailspin and grabbing for relevance and political power. The gentrified American church wants the neighborhood to change. It wants a gated community of privilege, and the remembrance of Jesus is less of a memory now and more of an empty talking point to the faithful. He's a symbol, but his words and ways have been hijacked. In these divided times, Christ's words still call us to be faithful, loving and caring of humanity, creation, and our world. Though conservatives see the death of RBG as an opportunity for power, I see her life as an opportunity to emulate a person of faith who let their ethics and values govern the way she led the judiciary towards equality. Ginsburg changed the world, and her faith was an instrumental part of it. We need more people of faith and conviction to make a difference in this world hell-bent on vapidity and selfishness. A life well-lived in the pursuit of helping others makes a difference. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 283
Vote Common Good
We are right in the thick of election season, and if you think this is a spectator sport like fantasy football, you are sorely mistaken. As much as religion should have no place in politics, we find ourselves mired in a hypothetical spiritual war of ideologies and Christian bullshit sold as ideologies. If you thought this season was just about voting, you were wrong. The followers of Jesus must stand up for the forgotten and give voice to the voiceless. And there is no better time than now to do that with your vote. In an age in which Conservative Christianity represents oppression, misogyny, and bigotry, we must vote the opposite. When the faithful applaud squashing the environment or taking away the rights of others, we must act out. When Jesus compels his followers to love their neighbors, even if their neighbors are their enemies, this is a radical call for love, compassion, and resistance to the prevailing winds of the time. The future of the Earth and humanity calls us to be faithful people that act and live with an immediacy towards the hurting world and oppressive powers that continue to exude dehumanizing legislation and self-serving laws that benefit the few and rape the Earth and its people of dignity. So make sure to vote! In our show today, we'll talk with author and activist Doug Pagitt About his continuing work with Vote Common Good. Vote Common Good is inspiring, energizing, and mobilizing people of faith to make the common good their voting criteria and to pursue faith, hope, & love for a change on election day 2020 and prevent the re-election of Donald Trump. We'll also reflect on the Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court and her cult People of Praise. "Blessed be the fruit." So before you go out and buy your Handmaid's Tale cloak and bonnet, listen to this talk about the worries of cults and consequences of elections. In these dark times, there is hope, but that hope relies on your ass getting off the couch and making a difference. Let's not let apathy put more innocent people in cages. The future is yours to change if you want to change it. For more information Vote Common Good go here: https://www.votecommongood.com/ Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 284
Prayer for Monsters
When I speak to you, my dear audience, I speak the truth, whether it be popular or not. And as this recording is happening, the president of the United States of America has COVID-19 and is hospitalized. It would be easy to cheer or laugh at this news because it seems like he's been challenging reality for weeks. If Trump ordered COVID on Amazon Prime, it was back-ordered, but it eventually delivered. On today's show, we'll discuss what prayer should look like in the time of autocrats, abusers, and pandemic. As Christians call for the faithful to pray for the health and restoration of the president, I call bullshit! It is absolutely illogical and unethical to pray for the healing of an abuser to be healed and restored so they can live to abuse another day. It's antithetical to the gospel and to common sense. If we've learned anything from Jesus, it's that binary answers are don't make sense in real life. They work in religion, but they don't work in reality. Jesus speaks of nuance and looking deeper at issues. Take prayer for example. Jesus calls us to pray for our enemies. That part is true. But, Jesus doesn't tell us how to pray for our enemies. So I pray for a change of heart, but I do not pray for the healing of the president. My soul is okay with that. In a time when there is so much at stake, we do need to pray focus and focus on the future with prayers that align with the kingdom of God. Pray for justice. Pray for mercy. Pray for compassion. Pray for healing. Pray for a new day. Pray for second chances. Pray for a change of heart. Pray for awakenings. Voting is important. So go and vote on November 3rd, but also remember that prayer is also important. So dream, imagine, and pray for a new tomorrow because as we pray for it, we also walk out. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 286
Everybody Now
This week, Snarky Faith is turning over the microphone for the Earth. Enjoy the show. We’ve caused a turning point in the Earth’s natural history. Everybody Now is a podcast about what it means to be human on the threshold of a global climate emergency, in a time of systemic injustice and runaway pandemics. Scientists, activists, farmers, poets, and theologians talk bravely and frankly about how our biosphere is changing, about grief and hope in an age of social collapse and mass extinction, and about taking action against all the odds. On 19th October 2020, Everybody Now is being released by podcasters all over the world as a collective call for awareness, grief and loving action. With contributions from: Dr. Gail Bradbrook - scientist and co-founder of Extinction Rebellion Prof. Kevin Anderson - Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester Dámaris Albuquerque - works with agricultural communities in Nicaragua Dr. Rowan Williams - theologian and poet, and a former Archbishop of Canterbury Pádraig Ó Tuama - poet, theologian and conflict mediator Rachel Mander - environmental activist with Hope for the Future John Swales - priest and activist, and part of a community for marginalised people Zena Kazeme - Persian-Iraqi poet who draws on her experiences as a former refugee to create poetry that explores themes of exile, home, war and heritage Flo Brady - singer and theatre maker Hannah Malcolm - Anglican ordinand, climate writer and organiser Alastair McIntosh - writer, academic and land rights activist David Benjamin Blower - musician, poet and podcaster Funding and Production: This podcast was crowdfunded by a handful of good souls, and produced by Tim Nash and David Benjamin Blower Permissions: The song Happily by Flo Brady is used with permission. The song The Soil , from We Really Existed and We Really Did This by David Benjamin Blower, used with permission. The Poem The Tree of Knowledge by Pádraig Ó Tuama used with permission. The Poem Atlas by Zena Kazeme used with permission. The Poem What is Man? by Rowan Williams from the book The Other Mountain , used with permission from Carcanet Press. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world WWW.SNARKYFAITH.com
Episode 287
Fool Me Once
In 2016, 80% of white Evangelical Christians went all-in on Donald J. Trump. It's a decision that will impact the future of the American church. In the past, the church has had strange bedfellows, but this was very different. After years in the making, conservative Christianity had finally traded in evangelism for a political power move as a means to change the nation. The church had long been on a war against culture, and this was the final piece; the presidency. It seems as if Jesus couldn't change American, then it might as well be Donald Trump pushing an Evangelical wishlist forward. Their culture war had finally paid off, but it was the devil's bargain. Through their Orange Messiah, they packed the courts with conservative judges, used scripture to defend putting kids in cages, denied science during a pandemic, and were finally able to say again, "Merry Christmas." They got much of what they wanted, but at what cost? With a world watching, those that worship Jesus on Sunday spend the rest of their week being hateful and bigoted. The ways and teachings of Jesus became mere lip service to them that would prefer an angry and vengeful God. Loving neighbors became "owning the libtards." The church was already in a slow decline, but the election of 2016 and Christianity's alignment with Trump kickstarted the mass exodus. They may have felt like they gained the world, but at the expense of their witness. It doesn't have to be that way. There's always another chance to right decisions of the past. It's like they say, "fool me once, and use my faith, arrogance, and selfishness to appeal to my warped perspective of God. Shame on you. Fool me twice..." But who knows? 2020 is a crossroads for the church and the country. I hope that Evangelicals learn to make new mistakes instead of repeating the old ones. I'm sure Jesus would love to be welcome back into your churches someday. But I also think he's fine hanging out with the others outside the building and down the block. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.Snarkyfaith.com
Episode 290
An Idiot's Guide to Prophets
For too long have people given the so-called prophets of modern Christianity a free pass. It's far time that we look at the biblical model of prophets and call a holy bullshit on Christianity today. In the wake of the U.S. presidential election, multitudes of prophets have been proven wrong. They have only spoken nonsense and sold it as orthodoxy. I don't know about you, but selling lies as the words of God sounds like a deep offense to the faith. So let us delve into what the role of a prophet is supposed to be according to the Old and New Testaments. We'll look into how the modern prophet isn't anywhere near anything biblical. These charlatans and faux fortune-tellers have bastardized the faith and made it look foolish and absurd. If God's mouthpiece looks like a circus sideshow, what does that say of God? Is God a fool obsessed with money and private jets. Does God care about riches or influence? Is God the God of Abraham the same god that desires bling? Modern-day prophets denigrate God and make a mockery of the faith. So if they traffic in mockery, they deserve what they receive. But, that would all be too easy to dismiss. Modern-day prophets are only prophets in name alone. In reality, they are clowns who dance and speak for their coins. Biblical prophecy involves truth-telling and sacrifice. It gives God's people a vision for what matters now and where things should be headed. As people of God, it informs our values and gives us a vision of where to go, invest, and mobilize. The Kingdom of God is always moving. If you want to join the movement it only requires time and effort, but all great things in life require those too. Will you tune out the nonsense and noise and listen to what's being asked of you right now? Everything hinges upon that point. So let's hop in and see where it takes us. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 291
Not Thankful
Screw off. Piss off. This is not going to be a show about being thankful. 2020 is not the year for Thanksgiving. And even after the election, the prospect of spending time with reality-denying family members does not seem like holiday cheer. Am I wrong? After the election, I've heard the call to embrace the other side and welcome them back to reality. That's not how redemption works. While the conservative side of America still fantasizes that Trump won, the rest of the world moves on. Trump lost. That is a hard fact, and it's not your job to grapple with someone else's refusal of reality. I am here to give you the grace to not embrace crazy people, especially on Thanksgiving. Just because they're family doesn't mean that you need to open yourself up to abuse from crazy people. You don't want it. God doesn't want it either. So this is a time where I give you the freedom to not be thankful because we are living in a crazy time. Don't worry about being thankful, just worry about being present. That is far more valuable to God and his Kingdom. This season of Thanksgiving may be tainted with insanity, but we are not called to be part of it. Stay grounded. Stay sane. In some seasons and holidays, your best bet is survival. So join us today, as we look at the book of Lamentations to speak to our present reality. With those grappling with loss, they need to realize just how far they have gone from the path. Reality and sobriety are necessary at this moment. We shouldn't sugar-coat life to please the disfunction of a family during the holidays. Just because things seem nuts doesn't mean that you have to be. There are better days ahead, just don't get mired in someone else's denial of reality. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 293
Help Save Muhammad Kamran
This week's episode is a call to action, as we tell the story of Muhammad Kamran. I hope that you will listen and join us to help save him and his family. Muhammad was an interpreter in Afghanistan for U.S. troops and the War on Terror for over ten years, but, now, he's been in hiding for six years in Pakistan after he and his family fled Afghanistan for their lives. They are still trying to find safe passage to America. Yet, the U.S. has denied his case repeatedly, with no reasons given publicly. After the U.S. troops began pulling out of Afghanistan, interpreters became targets for the Taliban. More than 17,000 Afghan interpreters were left behind to face torture and death and, in 2009, the U.S. government passed an act to supposedly help with this issue. "In 2009, Congress passed the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009. The Act provided special immigrant visas (SIVs) to Afghans who had worked for at least one year as translators or interpreters, or who were employed by, or on behalf of, the U.S. government in Afghanistan, and whose lives were threatened because of their work in support of the U.S. mission. The visas allow these wartime allies to resettle in the United States." (https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/afghan-special-immigrant-visa-program) Yet, under the Trump administration, the number of SIVs issued has significantly been reduced. Right now, they deny 90% of Iraqi and Afghani U.S. military interpreters who apply as refugees. This tragedy is an everyday reality for so many interpreters living in fear. Thankfully, Muhammad has had an advocate in Kristy Perano and her family, who have tirelessly have spent the last several years campaigning and petitioning on his behalf to the government. Currently, Muhammad is still waiting but also pursuing immigration through Canada. Let's help get the Kamran family to safety. For that to happen, WE NEED YOU! _____________________________________________ Here is how you can get involved and help: 1) Listen to Muhammad's story and share it on social media. We need to continue to get this message out. 2) Give to Muhammad's GoFundMe Campaign to help his family immigrate to Canada. He needs to raise $30,000. https://www.gofundme.com/f/rescue-afghan-interpreter-and-family-from-taliban 3) Join his prayer team for updates and prayer requests. To be added to the list, please email save.aysha@gmail.com. 4) Helping SIV refugees through Keeping our Promise https://www.keepingourpromise.org/ Help new refugees in your community through organizations like World Relief and We Welcome Refugees. https://worldrelief.org/ https://www.wewelcomerefugees.com/
Episode 294
Keith the Reconstructor
Keith Giles was formerly a pastor who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of the best-selling “Jesus Un” series of books, including "Jesus Unexpected; Ending The End Time to Become the Second Coming" which is available now on Amazon. He’s also a host on the Heretic Happy Hour. Today, Keith is joining us to talk about the process of deconstruction and reconstruction in faith. Too often do we only focus on deconstruction and leave our faith in the rubble. While deconstruction is essential, we must also focus on rebuilding faith as we grow and journey forward. Keith is also hosting a new online conference for pastors deconstructing their faith called Ground Zero: Renew Pastoral Deconstruction. The conference includes the various voices like Alan Smith, Desimber Rose, Richard Jacobson, Lisa Martinez, Spencer Burke, and Jason Elam. If you're not a pastor, don't worry, there will be also more conferences available to everyone in 2021. Keep up to date for future conferences and teachings by going here for more information: https://www.bk2sq1.com/ Sign up here for Ground Zero: Renew Pastoral Deconstruction ~ there are a few free seats available while supplies last. You can find all of Keith's books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Keith-Giles/e/B0076E0UA8 Keith's blog on Patheos: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/keithgiles/ Heretic Happy Hour: https://heretichappyhour.com/
Episode 295
God Can't
Hurting people ask heart-felt questions about God and suffering. Some "answers" they receive appeal to mystery: “God’s ways are not our ways”. Some answers say God allows evil for a greater purpose. Some say evil is God's punishment. The usual answers fail. They don't support the truth God loves everyone all the time. God Can't gives a believable answer to why a good and powerful God doesn't prevent evil. Join us today as we talk with author Thomas Jay Oord about how God’s love is inherently uncontrolling and uncoercive. In his book, God Can't , he asserts that God loves everyone and everything, so God can't control anyone or anything. This would mean that God cannot prevent evil singlehandedly. This opens us up to understand and engage with God's work in the world in new and exciting ways. Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian, philosopher, and scholar of multi-disciplinary studies. He is an award-winning author or editor of twenty-five books and an award-winning professor. Oord directs the Northwind Theological Seminary doctoral program in Open and Relational Theology. He also directs the Center for Open and Relational Theology. Oord is known for his contributions to research on love, open and relational theology, issues in science and religion, and freedom for transformation. Thomas blogs frequently at his website: http://thomasjayoord.com God Can't is available now at Amazon. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 296
Shame
Right now, you'd assume that American Christianity is shameless based upon how much they've bent and contorted their beliefs and morals to encapsulate their love of Donald Trump. For a group that acts shameless, they sure peddle in guilt and shame on a Sunday to Sunday basis. For far too long, has shame been used control structure to keep congregants in the pews complacent and coming back each week. Preaching that there's a loving God that hates sin, juxtaposed with teachings that people are inherently sinful creatures, creates a paradox. It leads people to focus more on sin (or the avoidance of sin) instead of seeking after a loving and graceful God. Distill this down, and you've got a faith that ultimately says that even though humans are made in God's image, we're still garbage. This is where guilt and shame come into play. They both keep us at a distance from a God that doesn't see a distance between us. If we seek to fix our sinfulness first as a remedy to gain traction with God, we're doing everything on our own. Then, we're constantly at a disadvantage and never enough. This, then, warps our world view about ourselves and God. It leads to very messed-up theology. Many times, it leads to mental trauma, delusions, and disorders (look up scrupulosity). To view God from the lens of Jesus, and even more specifically, the parable of the Prodigal Son, we see a very different view of God. In this paradigm, God is graceful, full of compassion and love. He doesn't see us through the lens of sin. God sees us as the beloved. The way of shame leads to oppression. The way of Jesus leads us towards freedom and new life. Which would you rather pick? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 297
Postcards from Babylon Interview
Join me as I sit down with author Brian Zhand and filmmakers David and Kathi Peters about their upcoming documentary, Postcards from Babylon. Postcards From Babylon is a documentary featuring author and pastor Brian Zahnd as he investigates possibly the most important question for the church in North America today, a church often characterized by Christian Nationalism: How does the church stay faithful to the beautiful way of Jesus while situated in one of the most divisive political climates in our nation’s history? The film, based on his popular book of the same name, begins with Brian some 350 miles into his 500-mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. He walks “the Camino” in spiritual pilgrimage as preparation for the mental mayhem of the 2020 US election cycle. It’s against the backdrop of the elections that Brian exposes how the church in America has succumbed to the seduction of empire and has entangled Christianity with the Red, White, and Blue. Prioritizing American Nationalism and partisan political agendas have “Trumped” the way of Jesus.​ The parallel between the modern-day United States of America and Biblical Babylon is one that is rarely drawn. Brian exposes the viewer to the culture war antics of evangelicals who rely on fear and scapegoating rather than the disarming qualities of humility, grace, and inclusion. Evangelical alliance with American politics is distorting the core message of the cross and damaging the witness of Christ both nationally and internationally. The film’s crew journeys to places around the United States of America leading them deep into the heart of the story. John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College, gives his perspective on the history of Christians in America and explains the deep divide in America as Christians take sides in partisan politics. Jon Huckins, director of The Global Immersion Project, takes a team of people to the San Diego/ Tijuana, Mexico border for a three-day immersion experience. Jon shows how immigration policies are creating harsh and dangerous situations for refugees seeking asylum. Brian Zahnd sits with Walter Brueggemann as Walter shares concerns for how the evangelical church has been tainted by its proximity to political power. Mark Galli (former editor of Christianity today) and Napp Nazworth engage in a panel discussion with students at Eastern University on the troubling issues related to journalism and the pursuit of truth for people of faith. Pete Wehner from the Ethics and Public Policy Center makes his way through the streets of Washington DC pondering the effect of the current state of politics on the emerging generation. Worship Pastor Daniel Deitrich sings his original song Hymn to the 81%, a heartfelt cry to his white evangelical friends to “come home” to the way of love and justice. ​Postcards from Babylon premieres online with an exclusive pre-release online ticketed showing streaming live January 21st at 7:00 p.m local time. YOU CAN BUY TICKETS HERE: LIVE.POSTCARDSDOC.COM To find out more information about the film: For more on Brian Zhand and his work: BrianZahnd.com For more on David and Kathi Peters: www.GlobalStoryFilms.com COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE AS WE SKEWER THROUGH LIFE, CULTURE, AND SPIRITUALITY IN THE FACE OF A CHANGING WORLD.
Episode 298
Christian Witness
“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” - Not Saint Francis of Assisi, but still a great quote In a post-Christian post-Trump world, how does one talk about Jesus? It seems impossible, especially when Christianity has become synonymous with nationalism, hate, bigotry, and misogyny. So, I am here to call an audible and declare that Christian witness in America is dead, or maybe it just needs to hibernate for a few decades. Either way, the traditional ideas and ways of evangelism must change dramatically to meet the reality of 2021. I worked for years in Christian ministry, pushing the gospel like it was the latest hot MLM scheme. Those days are gone. Those days are ancient. American Christianity needs to take a time-out to reflect on what it has become and what it has forgotten. The Gospel does not need to be preached. Its message has been used and abused by so-called holy men and women for so long that it is now merely words; hollow words. Christianity has prioritized orthodoxy (right belief) over orthopraxy (right practice). In this season and the next, actions are needed. Join us today as we look to the mighty strength of the Christian witness through action and deed. We'll delve into several saints from the past to see that actions always speak louder than words. Those actions are our witness. In regards to evangelism, actions need to speak again. The church must learn to live out the ways of Jesus. If we don't, we risk making his words meaningless and our faith impotent. To follow Jesus means to emulate his ways, not just spread his words. It's far time we put action and meaning behind his words. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 299
Cults
“A cult is a religion with no political power." - Tom Wolfe In a post-Christian, post-Trump world, how does one talk about Jesus? Living in a society in which a large swath of the population believes in an alternative reality is challenging. It feels like the cults had exited the shadows and entered into the mainstream. With the drumbeats of QAnon muted in the backdrop, America needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and do some soul searching. How do we become less susceptible to coercion and develop a keen sense to sniff out bullshit? Join me today as we look into the warning signs and symptoms of cults. While many churches in America don't fit all the criteria for being a cult, they definitely have cult-like behavior and inclinations in their structures and practices. Ever experienced situations where questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished? Ever had a pastor who was above accountability or church leadership that uses shame and/or guilt to influence members? Ever been in a group that was preoccupied with bringing in new members? Don't be duped by greasy gurus or fall prey to slick-talking pastors. It's best to stay away from any group or organization that even smells like a cult. With cults, it's all fun and games until the Kool-aid comes out. I bet you didn't know that "saying no to cults" was on your list of New Year's resolutions. If it wasn't there, it should be. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 300
No Charity
“What’s translated as ‘charity’ in the Bible is ‘agape,’ which literally means love... We do have a responsibility to help the poor and those in need. That means taking care of them yourself—giving money yourself, giving your time, your efforts, not someone else’s.” - Michael Tanner Welcome to our 300th episode of Snarky Faith! Thanks so much for being a part of this ride! In today's show, I'll respond to a listener's request for an episode on giving to Christian charities and ministries. How does anyone evaluate which ones are worthy of your donations and tithes? With so much grabbing at our attention, money, and time, it is hard to know which investments are worth it. For too long have Christian charities gotten by on just being 'Christian' and a 'charity.' Let dig deeper into some clear-cut and quick metrics to evaluate how well an organization is run financially. We'll also talk about other areas of focus and mission in the effectiveness of a ministry as well. In the end, we're called to love others. That love requires an investment of not just money, but time. Christian charity shouldn't be solely about money, it' should also be about personal responsibility. You'd invest well for your 401K, you should do as much homework for that as you do with your tithes and donations. Just because a ministry seems good, doesn't mean it's run well, effectively, or even morally. So before you drop that cash into an offering plate or send your monthly donations, check out tips on how to be a wholistic investor of yourself and not just an ATM for Christian charities and churches. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 301
What is Love?
“Some of us believe that God is All-Power and can do all, and that God is All-Wisdom and knows how to do all. But that God is All-Love and wants to love all, here we restrain ourselves. And this ignorance hinders most of God's lovers, and I see it...” - Julian of Norwich Too often do we play fast and loose when we talk of love. I love baseball. I love pizza. Or we think about love in an unrealistic manner that feels more like escapist fantasy than reality. The church is guilty of this too. American Christianity speaks of love and wields the word with such frequency that you'd assume they know what it means. Tragically, they don't. They've made love transactional. I've heard statements like, "God loves me if..." and "God loves me when..." If God is love, then there are no qualifiers needed. If the substance of God is love, then how does that love manifest itself? It does so through action. It is only through action that love can be seen and to believe it we have to see it. Digging deeper into scripture we see that love is something more. So what is love? It is showing up. It is caring for another. It is friendship. It is grace and compassion. It is responding to someone's needs. It is fueled by respect. It is hot and heavy and also gentle and kind. It is deepened by time and grows with vulnerability. It is selfless and often looks like sacrifice. Love is active. Love is moving. Join me today as I look into how the substance of love is deeper than words and requires more of you than you know. Are you bold enough to love and see where it takes you? “Dare to love and to be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as those whom God has given you to love.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 302
The 1946 Movie Interview
Join me today as I talk with the director, Rocky Roggio, about her upcoming film 1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted a Culture. 1946 is a new documentary that investigates how the word “homosexual” was incorrectly entered into the Bible, and the grave consequences it had on religion, culture, politics, and the LGBTQIA+ community over the last century. The documentary explores exactly what ignited the anti-gay movement within American conservative Christians. The first time the word “homosexual” ever appeared in any Bible was in 1946, in 1 Corinthians 6:9, Revised Standard Version (RSV). This version used the word “homosexual” in lieu of the greek words “malakoi” and “arsenokoitai.” Researchers agree today these words translate loosely to “effeminacy,” and “pervert,” or “sexual pervert.” The decision to use the word “homosexual” instead of the accurate translations was voted on by the committee. So that begs the question, what if the word “homosexual” was never meant to be in the Bible? In 2020, more than 45,000 churches still preach that the homosexual lifestyle is a sin. But, what would happen to these churches if they knew the truth? For more information about the film: https://www.1946themovie.com/ To join the GoFundMe campaign aimed at finishing the film: https://www.gofundme.com/f/1946themovie Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 303
Let's Talk About Sex
Another week, another public sex scandal for the Christian church. With the posthumous news of Ravi Zacharias being a predatory creep and rapist, we see another pastor with a platform fall. For a group that claims to have the truth, they don't know how to deal with sex. It's easy to blame celebrity culture on the powerful failing publicly, but I believe that's cheating to distract from the real problem. Blaming pastoral celebrities merely sweeps the public symptoms of a deeper cause under the rug. It's just an easy way to get the church back to business as usual and changes nothing. This isn't an issue of having bad apples, it's one of bad theology. From purity culture to repression, misogyny, and guilt, Christianity doesn't have the best historical track record for healthily talking about sex. I think that should change. For too long has sex been used as a tool and a weapon within Evangelicalism used to control and shame. Through this warped lens, women are seen as pure objects of desire and men are the aggressors fueled by lust. Sex is framed in utilitarian terms to serve the head of the household (ie men) and grow the family. Rarely is sex spoken of being as life-giving, deeply intimate, and profoundly spiritual. Through the banner of purity and theology, we have boxed sex into a corner and sought to control and tame it. Though it's not really for the sake of purity or theology, it's driven by fear. Out of fear, we limit how we approach sex and in turn, we limit how we view God. Christianity needs a more healthy and God-affirming way to speak about sex. When you wrap sex in fear and religion, you get systems that create and sustain predatory abuse. This was never what God intended. Here are my questions for you: If humans are created by God and in God's image, what does sex say about God? What do sex and its transcendence nature speak of an Almighty? The answers to these questions won't fit easily into a dogmatic system, but they will lead you on a journey into something much more interesting. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 304
Semler: Preacher's Kid Interview
Preacher's Kid by Semler, whose artist name is Grace Baldridge, hit No. 1 on Tuesday (Feb. 9) in Apple's iTunes store. It marked the first time an LGBTQ+ artist has topped the album sales in Christian music. Preacher's Kid isn't your typical worship album. It carries a parental advisory for explicit lyrics and speaks openly and rawly about Baldridge's evolving faith since her youth. For me, it was like fresh air in an industry that has come to be defined by blandness and homogeny. Semler was the first Christian artist, I've appreciated in years. Her honesty is reminiscent of David' messy, beautiful truth captured in Psalms. For so long has Christian art been whitewashed and tamed. It's been far too long since we've heard something so truthful and it feels even feels dangerous in its truth-telling. The album is, as Baldriged puts it, “a project about coming out as a queer person of faith.” The album was also a personal project produced without a label and industry marketing dollars but became a grassroots movement. This album is a hopeful sign that Christianity is slowly changing, but it's also a reminder that we have far to go before we can be a faith that's affirming and loving of all people. Join me today as I unpack this album with Semler and delve deeper into her work and advocacy. It's a great conversation with someone whose story needs to be heard. For more: Stream Preacher's Kid on Spotify Buy Preacher's Kid on iTunes : Follow Grace's on social media here: https://linktr.ee/gracesemlerbaldridge Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 305
Why H.R. 1 Should Matter to You
While conservatives are having a cancel-culture-fever-dream over Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head, and whatever else they're faking outrage over, insidious things are happening on the state level of government. This is why we need to talk about H.R. 1. and why it's important for all Americans - especially ones that claim to the Christian faith. With all this talk of canceling, there are many GOP-controlled states quickly working to make it harder to vote. Winning elections by getting the most votes is problematic to conservatives who see their power and influence waning. This is where voter-suppression and gerrymandering slip in and people are disenfranchised. You'd think the right for everyone to vote in representative democracy would be something that matters both sides. Now, what does this have to do with the ways of Jesus and why would we be discussing this on a show about faith? Great question. We'll be unpacking that today on the show because love and equality are near and dear to the heart of Christ. Removing someone's right to vote is in effect silencing their voice and removing their ability to be heard and represented. The kingdom of God doesn't see you through the lens of a political party, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, paycheck or even your belief system. Jesus merely engages us as children of God. All deserve dignity, respect, a voice, and a seat at the table. If we're called to love both our neighbors and our enemies, we should also make sure they have the right to vote. H.R. 1 which has passed the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to "expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders." If our neighbors matter to us, then we should make sure all have the right and access to voting. To strip that right is to dehumanize citizens. This isn't simply about politics, it's about the America we want to see moving forward. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 306
Spiritual Blindness
"The very sight of God causes delight. At the sight of God the mind can do nothing but delight." ~ Thomas Aquinas Most days, I'm mired in the push and pull of life and I don't think I know what the sight of God looks like. It's easy to get busy. It's easy to get tired. It's easy to get distracted. Then, before you know it, you're miles down the road but felt like you were asleep at the wheel. When life gets on cruise control, you're headed for something insidious; normalcy. In processing and walking out faith, forward progress is the goal, but the deeper you dive into the ontological nature of being, growing awareness is key. When we fall into routines, it's easy to end up living someone else's life or someone else's faith. For those of us that were raised in the capitalistic church where faith was processed in a cookie-cutter assembly line, it's easy to learn the motions and go through them. That may feel good for a while, but over time, we become spiritually blind and can easily lose the plot of our faith. The routine gets mastered and we think we know all the answers, but for some reason, no one's asking the questions. Then life moves on. Much like freshwater, we must remain in motion to avoid stagnation and complacency. Today, we'll discuss spiritual blindness which usually manifests itself when people double down on missing the point. Following the ways of Christ shouldn't be so hard. They should lead towards freedom, healing, restoration, and new life. If you're not in a process of renewal, growth, or change, you're missing out. Many of us avoid change because we fear it, but that's not what we fear. We fear loss. Just remember that the first step to something new begins with not wanting to stay where you're at. There's more to delight in if we can embrace awareness and acceptance. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 307
Penal Problems with Keith Giles
Prolific author, teacher, podcaster, Keith Giles joins us today to talk about reading scripture correctly, atonement theory, and his new book, Jesus Unforsaken. The book challenges many assumptions was it asks the essential question, "what if Jesus didn't die to save us from God?" Jesus Unforsaken is an essential read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, devouring it over two days. In the book, Giles takes a deep dive into the doctrine of atonement, grabbing the bull by its penal substitutionary horns. Keith has a way of writing that is detailed and methodical, yet very accessible and easy to follow. For too long has Christianity been force-feeding us the image of an angry God whose wrath can only be quenched with a blood sacrifice. It's a pagan idea at its core and thankfully Giles returns us to scripture to show us that atonement theories are not the Gospel. Jesus saves us from our sins, not from God. This book is a terrific read that reminds us of the hopeful and loving God seen through the image of Jesus that becomes incarnated into the world through those that walk out his ways. Join us today for a fun, fascinating, and far-reaching conversation with Keith Giles. He's a terrific voice that needs to be heard and it's always a blast to have him on the show. Enjoy Buy Keith's new book, Jesus Unforsaken on Amazon here! You can find all of Keith's books on Amazon. Here's Keith's blog on Patheos and you can always find him on the Heretic Happy Hour podcast. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 308
How to UNFUCK the Church
This is not the Easter episode you expected, but it may be the episode that you need to hear. Here we are again at Jesus's annual coming-out party and the American church is still clueless as to why Easter should matter. It's not a Sunday morning extravaganza or the Super Bowl of Christianity. It's also isn't merely another High Holy Day on the liturgical calendar either. Christianity has gone through the motions for so long that we forgot what we were doing. The clergy and leadership may have not noticed this, but the congregants have. Gallup polls indicate that church attendance is down below 50% in America, the first time in 8 decades. Some will blame this trend on the pandemic, but many congregants have merely used COVID as an excuse to leave and not come back. This Easter let us be honest. The church is fucked. Harsh? Maybe, but its decline shouldn't be blamed on culture as Christianity tends to do. The blame lays squarely on church leadership for losing the plot and forgetting why the church should exist. Easter is a reminder of what we're called to return to. Easter calls us to a higher ethic of living drenched in service, sacrifice, and love. Jesus's death at the hand of political and religious oppressors is a wake-up call to the church that it has, in many ways, become the oppressor. Join me today as I take wisdom from Jesus, Moses, and Lil Nas X to discuss a potential path of reconciliation for the church and its original mission. How does it all fit together? How can we unfuck the church? Listen to find out. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.
Episode 309
Looking Back
"It’s just death and resurrection, over and over again, day after day, as God reaches down into our deepest graves and with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead wrests us from our pride, our apathy, our fear, our prejudice, our anger, our hurt, and our despair." -Rachel Held Evans Standing in the aftermath of Easter, it's easy to be cynical as we look at what the church has become. Jesus initiated a beautiful, powerful mission fueled by love and grace. In return, we created the church which seems to be more consumed with self-worship than reverence. With Easter Sunday being a spectacle and Christianity being the mechanism that upholds that spectacle, it's easy to see that something went wrong in the process of walking out the mission that Jesus intended. When we have over-spiritualized simple concepts like love and compassion, no wonder we've lost the plot. For me, the best way to get back on track is to remember when God showed up in my life. Instead of turning Jesus into philosophy, theology, or even something transcendent, we miss the simplicity of the Gospel. As Christians, we are called to be "little Christs;" because that's exactly what the word Christian means. We are meant to be small versions of Jesus that inhabits real space and time to make a difference in the lives of others. I know it's easy to lose that, but we can't. Christianity is simple, but our laziness or lack of desire to live a selfless existence has made it complex. So how do we get it back? Easy, we need to remember those times when people showed up and were Jesus to us. Join me today, as I talk about the aftermath of Easter and the places I've seen Jesus tangibly show up in my life via the actions of others. Let's not over-spiritualize Christianity, when our chief call is to love and serve others. Everything beyond that is gravy. We'll also use Easter as a tool to look for other saints that have walked in the ways of Jesus as we take a glimpse into the life of Rachel Held Evans. She was a force to be reckoned with and wrapped with truth and honest questions. Easter doesn't need to be a rerun of the same story every year. The story of Jesus continues to be lived out by others that follow his ways. It's a beautiful reminder that we are still necessary to be the hands and feet of the Kingdom of God. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 310
Political Theology with the Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford
Much breath has been spent on this show talking about the intersection between politics and religion. Typically, when mentioned it's in the negative and is a perversion of the faith for the sake of power. Think the Moral Majority or anything MAGA for perfect examples of that. Too often, as progressives, do we play it conservative in this regard because we don't want to want our faith to trample on others. Though there are ways we can get involved with politics and not lose our souls in the process. There's a balance that can be achieved. Joining me today is The Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford and her passion is political theology. Political Theology involves applying theological concepts and ideas to politics and policy. Marcia has a unique perspective and voice. Her ministry has been in Southwest Detroit’s Latinx population—an international port with an aggressive regional ICE director. Dr. Ledford is a civil rights attorney representing society’s most marginalized. She's also an Episcopal priest that founded Political Theology Matters, LLC, to help the faithful develop public theology mission and broadcast messaging for greater social justice. In our talk, Marcia walks us through the spirituality of resistance and the deep implications of social justice work to the Gospel. It's an essential talk and at an apt time because as the pandemic is slowly ending, our work and advocacy need to ramp up if we are to help secure the rights of all people. This is a time when practicing political theology is key because there are issues with equality, immigration, and voting rights on the horizon. Stay awake and stay engaged. Link Love and Extras: Marcia founded Political Theology Matters: politicaltheologymatters.com You can contact Marcia: marcia@miptm.com Marcia recommends these books for further reading: Forgotten Dead by Carrigan and Webb Spirituality of Resistance by Roger S. Gottlieb Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.
Episode 311
Slow Down
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Buller Slowing down is not easy. It almost seems antithetical to the way life moves. In culture, we're told to do more, be more, and achieve more. When do we find time to rest? It's even worse when it comes to faith. Religion tells us we're not enough and often guilts us into more business and action under the guise of volunteering and serving. Rarely are we told to rest and slow down. It's also not a rhythm that's often taught or encouraged. If our lives seem to be in perpetual motion, burnout may be around the corner. For me, I've had seasons of life when burning the candle at both ends became normalcy. I'd lose myself in the doing, so much that there's nothing left in me to be. These times call stopping to regain perspective and reconnect with ourselves and our souls. Finding balance in ourselves helps us to be balanced when encountering others. It grounds us and reminds us of what is important. So if the rest returns us to ourselves, why do we avoid it. Join me today, as I give you permission to slow down and collect yourself. Grab a moment to breathe and remember who you are and where you're going. We'll talk through the rhythms of Jesus and how they can ground us. We'll also look into the wisdom of other writers and mystics as they call us to be still. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 313
Saying No to God with Matthew Korpman
"God’s word is an instructive guide. If we disobey it for the right reasons, we are faithful saints." -Matthew J. Korpman This week, on the show, I sit down with author, Matthew J. Korpman. Matthew's new book, Saying No to God is a radical approach to reading the Bible faithfully. Scripture is rarely definitive and clear when it comes to things that "God says." Between the books of the Bible, it seems like God's nature and focus change at will and even often contradict themselves. So what's going on here? In his book, Korpman has an interesting answer. There's a different way to read and understand the Bible, one in which begs the readers to push back on what God says because the God of scripture requires it. Taking a closer look at the text reveals something interesting going on, so join us today as we delve into Saying No to God. Matthew has a brilliant way of making complex ideas simple and accessible. It's a fantastic conversation about getting to the heart of what matters. On a personal note: I read through this book with a group of friends and it was a formative experience to some and a deconstructive one for others. Either way, it's a book that begs to be read if you're looking to challenge some of your Sunday School notions of scripture and dig deeper to see a God that is far more loving and inclusive than institutionalized Christianity is comfortable with. For that very reason alone, you should check out this book. Buy Matthew's book, Saying No to God, on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Saying-No-God-Approach-Faithfully/dp/1938480511/ Visit Matthew's website for upcoming books and speaking engagements here: http://www.matthewjkorpman.com/ Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 314
The Slippery Slope
THE FORMATION OF AN ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITY WITH AN ALTERNATIVE CONSCIOUSNESS IS SO THAT THE DOMINANT COMMUNITY MAY BE CRITICIZED AND FINALLY DISMANTLED. BUT MORE THAN DISMANTLING, THE PURPOSE OF THE ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITY IS TO ENABLE A NEW HUMAN BEGINNING TO BE MADE. – WALTER BRUEGGEMANN Bruggeman speaks of this alternative community that dismantles but also gives life. It speaks to the heart and interworkings of movement that Jesus intended. With modern-day American Christendom, power is consolidated, compassion is forgotten, right belief trumps right action, and the road to God is painted as narrow that few find. THIS IS MINDSET IS TOXIC AND ANTITHETICAL TO ANYTHING JESUS TAUGHT. To look at the scriptures, Christ had compassion for those that society deemed a sinner or unclean. Jesus had grace for those who had been maligned and forgotten. He saw true faith in the hearts of those that the faithful will label pagan. Jesus painted a picture of a wide road towards finding God. In religion, we’re taught to fear and that the slippery slope to sinfulness is around every corner waiting for you to fall and fail. That slippery slope is a lie. Modern-day Christianity has excelled at teaching judgment and tribalism to its converts as a control system. You’re taught to never doubt, believe what you’re taught, and avoid the very people that Jesus taught us to embrace. In the first century, Jesus had grace for the outcast, but judgment for those who wielded power for personal gain. He raged against the religious leaders of the time for muddling the truth about God’s out-reaching and over-encompassing love. The pious used scripture as a weapon to burden people, control them and obscure the Kingdom of God. The same people Jesus called out in his time look very similar to the modern-day power brokers of religion who reign from the industrialized halls of a commercialized faith. WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THOSE PEOPLE. I am tired of this warped, weak, greedy, and ineffectual version of the beautiful vision that Christ had for his people. It’s far time to recapture the essential heart of Jesus and throw down the tired baggage of Christendom. Anyone with me? COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE AS WE SKEWER THROUGH LIFE, CULTURE, AND SPIRITUALITY IN THE FACE OF A CHANGING WORLD. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 315
A Bigger Table
" You're going to need a bigger boat... " - Martin Brody ( Roy Scheider), Jaws Christianity has a problem with tribalism. It's become selfish, inbred, and too exclusive. Christianity needs to embrace a bigger table. Think I'm wrong? The institutionalized version of the faith has forgotten why it exists. It focuses on minor details in scripture that divide, demonize, and miss the overwhelming call from the Bible to love others. It's a hate culture so focused on sin that it can no longer see where God is moving in the world today. It's a control system wrapped in an easy to swallow pill, but that's not Christianity. It's just modern-day American Christendom, where power, piety, and comfort reign. Guess what? None of this has anything to do with the teachings and ethics of Jesus. To say we've missed the point would be kind. Someone moved the goalposts and changed the mission statement. Today, we'll talk about the dangers of tribalism and how Jesus preached a much different way to exist founded by service and love. We'll take on Luke 14 where Christ challenges assumptions and gives a glimpse into what matters most to the Kingdom of God. Part of his call includes a large table where all are welcomed, accepted, and equal. The modern church worries more about itself as business and has forgotten the scandalous, upside-down ways of God. Jesus calls those who follow Him to embrace humility, service, grace, compassion, and love. This posture is counter-culture to the world we live in today and may seem audacious - but that's clearly the heartbeat of God. To have a faith with many hurdles and narrow lanes steals the beauty of the Gospel that calls for all to have a home. This kind of love changes lives and transforms communities. It gives dignity back to the forgotten and voice to the marginalized. God's Kingdom has plenty of room and we need to crucify tribalism and exclusivity because Jesus ordained it. There's a different way to live that values others and sees the image of God in all of creation. Let's embrace what God has already done and learn to love without prejudice or barrier. There's a beautiful way forward and I'd love to walk that path with you. Does anyone want to join me? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 318
The Lies They Tell
Within the walls of Christendom, most would tell you that truth holds the greatest currency... if you listen to how much they like to market the word truth and claim to be the bearers of truth (as if it was an object). The funny thing is that if you look across headlines and dip your pinky toe into the shallow end of church history, you'll know that Christians - especially Christian leaders - have a big problem with telling the truth. Sometimes there are outright lies and scandals where truth was obscured until someone found out in the light of day. Other times, lies are trafficked as truth hidden under the layers of Christianeze and hollow, yet holy-sounding, sentiments. Then, there are the instances where the pious claim to know something emphatically, yet require us to trust their word that it's true. More lies. The sad thing is that it almost seems like a game to the pastors and power brokers of the faith. Manipulate people to get what you want. Play with people's fear of the unknown to profit. Stoke the fires of tribalism to make sure there's always an ' us and them' narrative in play. Its winner takes all in their own game of spiritual Monopoly where the name of Jesus is more a marketing tool than the mission. It seems that Christianity has a truth problem, which stems from the fact that It ultimately has a Jesus problem. When love and sacrifice isn't the core driving force and being an ally to others is seen a sinful, we've taken a wrong turn. The words and call of Christ were grounded in reality. The Kingdom of God was declared "here and now." It was present and should be seen as active and present now. The simple ways of Jesus have been forgotten and replaced by the Christian Industrial Complex. It's a machine that chews up and spits out people. There is no love or grace there, only facade and pomp. Jesus has left the building and no one noticed. I did. Maybe you did too. As for me, I choose to live outside of it, with people that aren't always like me. I'd rather get my hands dirty with good trouble and get busy being someone's ally, rather than be seen as holy or respectable. It's in these places where I find Jesus the most. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 320
Jesus and Jelly Donuts
"God works to influence, persuade, and teach people to move away from their misunderstanding to a better concept of who God is… but that can take time." -Gabriel Gordon This week, I sit down with author, Gabriel Gordon. Gabriel's new book, God Speaks, tackles the topic of Biblical inspiration or in laymen's terms, how can the Bible be the word of God if humans wrote it. Gordon's work Thomas Jay Oord's theology of Essential Kenosis and revealing how it provides a better theological basis for developing a doctrine of Biblical Inspiration. Tom Oord was on the show months back - check it out here. In God Speaks , Gordon is trying to Bible away from people, correcting many assumptions, and then wants to give the Bible back to read and experienced. Too often, do Christians assume the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, but they tend to ignore the multitude of human fingerprints all over it. There's this fear that putting humanity back in the Bible will somehow diminish it, but it's quite the opposite. When we cease to hold up the Bible as an idol and see it for what it is, then we can embrace it in a new, healthy, and God-honoring way. In God Speaks, Gordon presses the idea that if God cannot control free creatures, then how did the biblical authors interact with God's revelation to produce the biblical text? Join us today for a lively, theological, and eye-opening look into why we should hold and read scripture in a new way. Though it may seem scary, it's quite freeing to see the difference between God and scripture. There is God. There is scripture. They are not the same and that leads us to embrace the humanity of the Bible as we seek to faithfully wrestle and live out scripture. In the Bible, people experienced God through revelation or inspiration and then wrote it down with human hands, understandings, and biases... and that's okay! It doesn't diminish God. In the end, how we choose to hold and interact with scripture says much more about us and our views of God than it does about God or the Bible. It's far time we engage with scripture in human terms as it was meant to be. Buy Gabriel's book, God Speaks: A Participatory Theology of Biblical Inspiration on Amazon Gabriel Gordon is also one of the co-founders of The Misfits Theology Club and podcast. Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 321
Parenting & LGBTQ+ Kids
As Pride Month comes to a close, I wanted to take a different approach to a conversation that I haven't heard in many happening various faith spheres. Much of June is either filled with celebration and allyship or open condemnation towards the LGBTQ+ community. It's sad, yet not surprising, that Christianity takes such a binary approach. If the American church would learn to love like Jesus, this would all be different. The show is much less about pride and much more about supporting others. More specifically, it's a conversation about parents and caregivers of LGBTQ+ children. Joining me today are Adam and Michelle Palmer, who are both musicians and ministers with a lifetime of ministry work under their belts. They're also the parent of an LGBTQ+ child. So am I. Raising children can be difficult and, even with the best intentions, affirming parents can often feel at a loss on how to support and protect their children. Much of this is similar to the struggles of any parent. Yet when part of the world already prejudges others based upon identity or sexual orientation, it's hard to know how to help your kids. So, today's show is an honest and open conversation about supporting and loving LGBTQ+ children as they find their footing in the world. Hopefully, through our dialogue and stories, there's wisdom here for the taking. We're far from perfect parents, but the hope is to learn from our mistakes to love better and hurt less in the future. Follow the Palmers on Instagram: Adam - @thatAdamPalmer Michelle - @mywildpreciouslife Resources for caregivers and parents of LGBTQ+ children: PFLAG https://pflag.org/ Q Christian Fellowship ( nothing to do with QAnon ) https://www.qchristian.org/resources/family Beloved Arise https://www.belovedarise.org/ Queerfully and Wonderfully Made: A Guide for LGBTQ+ Christian Teens https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084SN481M/ Made, Known, Loved: Developing LGBTQ-Inclusive Youth Ministry https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L9SZVQC/ Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 323
How to Have an Enemy
"To have enemies as a source of liberation—for ourselves and for those who do harm—is to recognize structures of power and their relationship to identity... We have enemies in particular and curious ways, ways that do not make sense within the structures of violent power-keeping around us. Instead, we are people who have set down our lives within the reconciliation of all things." -Melissa Florer Bixler Christianity tells us to love our enemies. Jesus commanded it, but how do we do it, and who are our enemies? In a polarized world, it is easy to pick sides and become tribalized; whether in faith, politics, sports, or most other realms of everyday life. Those divisions make it difficult for us to see one another well, let alone love them. We see them as different from us, and it is nearly impossible to love someone in the abstract sense. Yet, the call to love others still exists. So what do we do? How do we walk out this ethic in such a fractured time in history? To befriend an enemy, we first have to acknowledge their existence, understand who they are, and recognize the ways they are acting in opposition to God’s good news. In How to Have an Enemy: Righteous Anger and the Work of Peace , Melissa Florer-Bixler looks closely at what the Bible says about enemies—who they are, what they do, and how Jesus and his followers responded to them. Melissa is the pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church and a graduate of Duke University and Princeton Theological Seminary. She joins the show today for a lively and timely discussion on her new book and offers ways to do the hard work of building communities, seeking justice, and tearing down systems of oppression. It is an essential conversation for such a time as this. Buy Melissa's book, How to Have an Enemy: Righteous Anger and the Work of Peace on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PQDQM2W/ For more on Melissa: https://www.melissaflorerbixler.com/ Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 324
Odd One Out
“There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.” ― Madeleine L'Engle We are all born unique and never meant to blend in, yet, humans spend a lot of time in life trying to fit in and look the same as others. We fear being different and labeled as weird, odd, or sinful. Then, slowly over time, we continue to strive to be something we are not and lose ourselves in the process. What makes you odd may be sacred, and you need to learn to own it. For those raised in the church, the deck is already stacked against you. Modern-day Christianity has developed a culture of control that uses guilt and shame to conform congregants. Then, lines are drawn as one side is labeled sacred and the other secular. Yet, it is a fake ideal that is more pious than Biblical. It is a lie. The way of Christ was meant to free us to walk differently. Jesus set up a set of Kingdom ethics that called for love, acceptance, and grace. The Kingdom of God did not call for conformity; it called for action. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Serve those in need. Feed the poor. All of those are expressions of a faith that loves deeply and acts lovingly. Christ's ways were audacious because they celebrated the uniqueness of the individual. With Jesus, odd is beautiful, and actions matter. Jesus painted outside the lines and celebrated those the empire had long forgotten. He loved those that religion had cast away. We are called to do the same. We need to work at untangling God from this cacophony of religious bullshit. God created humans to be unique and creative. She did not create drones or cookie-cutter beings. God wants us to be different. God wants us to own our oddity because it is very beautiful. Like Mike Yaconelli said, "You should know the truth, and the truth should make you odd." Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 325
Reconstructing Your Mind
"Reconstruction begins with recognizing these cognitive distortions and discovering new and better ways of thinking. If you have thoroughly deconstructed, then theoretically all that remains are mental, emotional, and spiritual voids which are ready to be refilled with new and better information that serves your happiness and allows you to love and give freely. We are never more like Jesus than when we are giving and serving others. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world, He gave. We should too!." -Todd R. Vick For 30 years, Todd Vick was a Southern Baptist pastor, and in 2016 he left church ministry after a nervous breakdown fueled by severe anxiety, depression, addiction, and a crisis of belief. This led him on a path of intense spiritual deconstruction, where he reimagined his faith and began to research the role of the human brain in creating a belief system. In his new book, The Reconstructing of Your Mind: A Post-Deconstruction Journey, Todd shares the transforming power of the human mind to create better life outcomes. It's a field guide for those seeking a new way to live that balances science and faith. It gives you tools that are handy along the way. Join me as I chat with Todd about his journey and the truths he learned along the way. With people leaving the institutionalized church in droves, it's an essential discussion about rebuilding your faith after deconstructing it. The act of deconstructing gives a liberating sense of freedom after being religiously oppressed, but for those that can't let go of Jesus, reconstruction is necessary. I've done it. Todd's done it. Others have too. I'll probably do it again. Hopefully, we can learn from each other along the way as we harness our faith to grow in ways that may no longer fit in religious systems comfortably. To deconstruct is human, to reconstruct; divine. Buy Todd's book, The Reconstructing of Your Mind: A Post-Deconstruction Journey on Amazon. For more on Todd: https://toddrvick.net/ Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 326
Kick Off the Dust
"Well, it's full speed, baby In the wrong direction There's a few more bruises If that's the way You insist on heading" - Mary Jane ~ Alanis Morissette Sometimes along the journey of life, we need a bit of a course correction. Sometimes we acquiesce. Other times, we find ourselves lost, miles off track in a different direction. With faith, it's much the same way. Some of us end up raised in a system that indoctrinates early, while others have it instilled through a spiritual community along the way. Either way, there comes a time when we must evaluate what teachings and beliefs are worthy of our efforts and which ones are not. It's the way of growth that leads us forward. Some ideas remain while others no longer have a place. Much live the concepts of survival of the fittest, beliefs and theology compete within us, and hopefully, the noble and worth ideas survive. Such is the most of human existence. It's a metaphysical sorting of goods to be kept, recycled, and thrown away. We claim what we need and toss the rest because the journey ahead doesn't need that anymore. Fresh faith constantly evolves into what we need to become, not holding on to what has passed, been, or occurred. To stop growth and evolution in oneself leads one to stagnation and rot. So when it comes to following after Jesus, there is always a new road ahead that requires us to be awake, aware, and ready to engage with what life offers us. We must have a servant's posture, but one that's also on our toes, ready for the movement of God's kingdom. In her book, Into the Grey , Michelle Collins puts it like this, "For years, I was involved in bible reading, communion, religious study, and all the activities that make up the religious experience. Yet, nowhere along the way did I stop to evaluate what I was learning or what I believed. I just functioned without a lot of thought. I called it faith; I am sure others would not identify it that way." In Matthew 10:14, Jesus tells his followers to "shake the dust off [their] feet" if they find themselves in places ill receptive to the movement of the Kingdom of God. So, how many places of worship stifle spiritual growth because they don't like you asking questions that may make them uncomfortable. Churches that don't encourage you to grow are not churches at all. They're just a business, and you're a consumer. Let's kick that dust off of us and find places where we can question, wonder, and grow into who we should be. If you're not growing, it may be time to walk on. Join us as we discuss when it's time to keep going. Show notes Episode Timestamp: In the News: 04:20 Christian Crazy: 10:44 Main Conversation: 20:00 Articles referenced: With This Much Rot, There’s No Choice But To Deconstruct ~ Karen Swallow Prior Can You Choose Your Beliefs ~ John Beckett Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 327
Acceptance or Resignation?
"Acceptance does not mean passive resignation. Resignation means giving up because you've decided that there's nothing you can do about your situation, whereas acceptance simply means that you accept that your situation happened. " - Psychobabble for Ordinary people, blogger As we make our way through life, we all experience our wins and losses. There's heartache mixed with moments of bliss. That's the human existence. Yet, along the way, those ups and downs leave their marks. They create baggage that impacts the way we look forward at the horizon and how we experience life right now in the moment. Seeing clearly and engaging reality with a clear mind requires perspective. To have that type of perspective, we've got to evaluate those times in life when we've given up and resigned ourselves to a particular fate or situation. Too often do we move past those hard times, bury the pain, and try to move forward. We do it to survive, but over time it affects us in ways we can't fathom. Hard times, disappointment, and failure will hit us all at some point in life in different measures. How we respond to those times impacts how we move forward and grow. Will we let disasters and defeat, no matter how big or small, define us? When we respond with resignation, we essentially quit and leave unresolved issues. To respond with acceptance does something very different. It doesn't nullify the pain. It doesn't mean you give up on your dreams. It just means you see things as they are and work to control the only thing you can control; yourself. Don't let disappointment define you. In the wake of loss, you have the choice to do what's next. Otherwise, you've set yourself up for a war with reality that ultimately you can't win. When we stop trying to control the things we can't control, we also stop fighting against reality. Acceptance happens. You see things as they are, warts and all. Then you are able to move on and keep living awake to life. You are able to be present in the world; fully grounded in reality. Do you know who else is fully present in the world? God. It's only by being in the present, being who we are where we'll find God at work. She's not in the past. So we should stop living there. Show notes Episode Timestamp: In the News: 02:50 Christian Crazy: 16:20 Main Conversation: 26:30 Articles referenced: Why Acceptance Is Not The Same as Giving Up ~ Jennifer Mulder The Difference Between Acceptance and Resignation ~ Christy O'Shoney Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 328
Begin Again
“Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland Sometimes in life, we get lost and lose our bearings. We forget where we are going, what we value, and sometimes we even lose who we are. In those times, it is often best to stop and collect ourselves. Here we can take stock of where we have come from and where we want to go. Otherwise, if we don't stop, we'll just keep pushing through while trying to find meaning amongst the chaos. The same thing happens with faith. It seems like Christianity has lost its way. It has become consumed with things that are far from what Jesus taught and modeled. From a movement that began with grace, compassion, and love, it seems like we have lost the plot entirely. So why not begin again? Let's strip down the facade of the faith and look back to Jesus. To follow Jesus means to understand the ethics of Jesus. When He preached about the Kingdom of God he wasn't setting up a new system of belief or dogma, he was giving a glimpse into a new way to live life. With that in mind, we'll be diving in to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus' centerpiece of his teaching and a vision into the ethics of the Kingdom of God. Let us go looking back at the beginning for what we've missed. Perhaps, along the way, we may have lost something in our faith. So we must ask ourselves: What has been lost? What needs to be rediscovered? Let's let these questions push us forwards into something new. Show notes Episode Timestamp: In the News: 01:10 Christian Crazy: 19:00 Main Conversation: 26:00 Book referenced: Taking Jesus at His Word: What Jesus Really Said in the Sermon on the Mount ~ Addison Hodges Hart Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 329
The Beatitudes
"Becoming a child is living the Beatitudes and so finding the narrow gate into the Kingdom" - Henri Nouwen If you're in the game to recapture the Gospels and look at Jesus in a new light, then this is the show for you. For too long has the institutional church hijacked the message of Christ. It's far time we reestablish the "kingdom of Heaven." So how do we do this? It's quite simple. Let us return to the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. It's a way to ground our faith and understand the ethics and aims of the Kingdom of God. Jesus does not hide things; he speaks plainly. We should listen plainly as well. The words of Jesus are as audacious 2,000 years ago as they are today. He speaks of a revolution of power, where the weak matter and the strong don't. It's an upside-down version of the world we live in today. Maybe we should do some work to reimagine reality through the eyes and values of the beatitudes. Even comedian, Groucho Marx got it when he said, "Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light." Let us be people that embrace these timeless truths to let in more light to these dim shadows that have become the modern-day church. The light needs to shine through. It just seems that American Christianity is in the way and that's a huge problem. Join us today as we do a deep dive into the beatitudes of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. We'll look to how they should change us if we're willing to embrace the wild ways of Jesus. Change is at hand. Do you want to grab it? Show notes Episode Timestamp: In the News: 04:40 Christian Crazy: 10:00 Main Conversation: 17:30 Book referenced: Taking Jesus at His Word: What Jesus Really Said in the Sermon on the Mount ~ Addison Hodges Hart Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 330
The Liberty Dumpster Fire
"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions." - Jerry Falwell Sr. - Founder of Liberty university Liberty University was founded in 1971 by Southern Baptist televangelist Jerry Falwell. Liberty is now the second-largest provider of online education in the US. It was also Falwell, that famously claimed that “Aids is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals. It is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.” He was a real sweetheart. Unsurprisingly, Liberty University's honor code, the Liberty Way, is just a graceful as old dead Jerry. It states that “sexual relations outside of a biblically-ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman are not permissible at Liberty University” So join us today on the show is Lucas Wilson. Lucas is a former student from Liberty University and attended from 2008-2012. He is also one of 40 plaintiffs suing the U.S. Department of Education in a class-action lawsuit that centers on the question of whether or not religious colleges and universities (mostly of the evangelical or Mormon varieties) should receive federal funds while actively discriminating against their LGBTQ+ students. In our wide-ranging discussion, Lucas covers everything from Liberty's subpar academics to his experiences of discrimination on campus and conversion therapy. It is an eye-opening conversation about a university that claims to feign Christian values but, in reality, is just an immoral moneymaker more concerned with political power than the Kingdom of God. After all, who can forget Jerry Falwell Jr's cuckolding adventures with the pool boy that made national news? His father would be proud. Follow Lucas Wilson here: Instagram - @lukeslamdunkwilson Twitter - @wilson_fw More on the story - www.advocate.com/commentary/2021/5/13/gay-man-says-he-was-tormented-liberty-university-now-hes-suing Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 331
Spirals
"We live lives of hope in the hint of the promise of what is to come... [and] we live lives of faith in the unforeseeable, in the coming of what we cannot see coming.” - John Caputo Is our faith cyclical and repetitive, or does it change, grow, and spiral in new territory. Too often do we treat our faith as a rinse and repeat cycle instead of an evolving journey. Why do we default to the easy approach? I think it has a lot to do with certainty. Following Jesus was never about certainty, it was always about risk and the unknown. He makes that clear from the start. The way of Christ calls us to embrace mystery without the promise of results. It calls us to live for others as we cast aside our own needs and ambition. The posture of humility and servitude are the hallmarks of the Kingdom of God. When Jesus talks about his followers being the salt and light of the world, it was never about being special or chosen. It was about serving, helping, and loving others. Look at how churches are set up and exist. They are built much like circles. They repeat on a cycle. You just need to show up every week to a building, listen to a sermon, sing a song, and give some money. That is modern-day Christianity - distilled into easy-to-swallow bites. Followers of Jesus are nothing more than spectators watching a performance. The simple way of Jesus calls us to more. It calls us to break these circles and bend them into spirals as we seek to paint outside the lines to embody mercy, justice, grace, and love. Anyone with me? Does anyone want to explore a faith that sends us outside the known - away from the guardrails and streetlights? The air is fresher here, and only new possibilities lie in the trails ahead. Hopefully, I will see you there along the way. Show notes Episode Timestamp: In the News: 02:30 Christian Crazy: 9:00 Main Conversation: 18:30 Book referenced: Taking Jesus at His Word: What Jesus Really Said in the Sermon on the Mount ~ Addison Hodges Hart Finding Our Way Again ~ Brian McLaren Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 332
Squid Church
"We’ve Already Come Too Far To End This Now.” - Sang-Woo, Squid Game Squid Game is a popular Netflix series from Korea. It tells the story of debt-ridden individuals who are out of last chances when they receive a mysterious invitation to compete in the ultimate game of survival for possibility at a big cash payday and a reversal of fortune. The cutthroat game is ultimately for the viewing pleasure of the rich and powerful. It's a farcical, yet deadly look into the corrupt power structures that govern the world today and the lengths to which individuals will go to get ahead. If Squid Game is a polemic tale about the moral corruption of society, why does it also seem so similar to the avarice, values, and aims of modern-day Christendom? On today's show, we continue through Jesus' teaching from the Sermon on the Mount. Delving into topics like murder, adultery, and divorce should seem simple enough for the church, yet that's not what Jesus is doing in this scripture. He's pushing something new. Christ is reframing scripture in radically new ways to the contemporary culture. He's not talking about murdering, but about our aversion to love others. Christ is flipping religious norms as he presses his disciples and listeners to dig deeper. Talk of adultery and divorce seem salacious and made of scandal, yet, Jesus makes them all about the value of the other in society. Here, Christ frames adultery as wrong because love is not predatory. Kingdom of God ethics are never about mere sin or feigning holiness; it's a press for a deeper understanding of what grace, love, equality, and compassion look like manifested in reality. In a time when much of Christendom seems to be drunk on seeking power, prestige, and perceived rightness, Jesus removes all of the bullshit. If we don't love, we don't know Him. Christianity was never about praying a prayer or solidifying your eternal destination; it's always rooted in sacrificial love and restoring dignity to those the world has forgotten. Our modern-day Squid Church fueled by selfishness, judgment, piousness, and greed won't disappear anytime soon, but that's not the point. Christ called his disciples to a different way, and sometimes the pursuit of that way means walking away from unhealthy institutions, denominations, and churches for the glory of God - not despite it. Sometimes the best way to win is to walk away from the game. Show notes Episode Timestamp: Notes on the show hiatus: 02:00 In the News: 10:00 Christian Crazy: 16:50 Main Conversation: 31:30 Book referenced: Taking Jesus at His Word: What Jesus Really Said in the Sermon on the Mount ~ Addison Hodges Hart Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 333
Dirty Love
"If a house is burning, and a bucket of water is thrown on the blaze and doesn't extinguish the fire, this doesn't mean that water won't put out fire. It means we need more water. And so with nonviolence." - Dorothy Cotton As we continue to work through the Sermon on the Mount, today we tackle oaths, revenge, and enemy love in Matthew 5:33-48. Christ continues his teaching here reframing known scriptures and laws and thrusting them into new ethical directions. Being around Christianity for a while can blunt the impact of some scriptures due to over-familiarity and denominational bias. Digging into Jesus's aim here, I'm reminded how audacious and shocking Christ's take on the Law would have been to listeners. Through all of this, Jesus is setting up an ethic on a different way to exist and live. The Kingdom of God was counter to the power structures of the time and downright revolutionary. His calls are for love and justice through peaceful means. Through the model of his life, Christ embraced his own words as he walked them out towards his death. Love and nonviolence are at the centerpiece of Christ's mission and aim. To see anything otherwise is to see a Christless Christianity. His call for his disciples rings true for us today as we seek justice, love others, and work to heal brokenness. It's a rebellious and defiant act of servitude in the face of power. Maybe it's time to get our hands dirty. We'll talk about all that and more snark! Plus, this week's Christian Crazy features: Greg Locke, Shane Vaughn, Joshua Feuerstein, and Jim Bakker Show notes Episode Timestamp: In the News: 03:40 Christian Crazy: 12:00 Main Conversation: 26:00 Book referenced: Taking Jesus at His Word: What Jesus Really Said in the Sermon on the Mount ~ Addison Hodges Hart Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 334
Righteousness on the DL
"The first and basic act of theological work is prayer." - Karl Barth We've all met religious assholes. Some days it's hard to avoid them. You know who I'm talking about, don't you? The ones that act pious and flaunt their faith publicly as if they're scoring points with almighty. Or maybe they're the ones that constantly post pictures of inspiring landscapes with out-of-context scriptures, so you know they're more holy. They come in many shapes and forms, but those who play in piety cosplay are the worst. You've felt their disapproving looks or heard their backhanded compliments. Heck, you may end up sitting next to one on Thanksgiving. I can't stand those people. Jesus couldn't stand those people either. No, I'm not joking. Christ was downright snarky to them. This week, we continue our discussion about the ethics of the Kingdom of God found in the Sermon on the Mount. Taking up the teachings in Matthew 6, we see Jesus move on from issues of the heart towards issues of spiritual practice in public life. Namely, he's discussing giving to the poor, public prayer, and fasting. In a very pointed fashion, Christ calls out the religious tryhards and posers. The Kingdom of God has no room for their drama and bullshit. That's not how it rolls. The religious are often too consumed with far-off spirituality, fantasies of a hereafter that may not even be. For the Kingdom of God to be manifested in the future, something has to happen now. With an ever present immediacy, the Kingdom of God, as Christ puts it, is always concerned with the here and now. Issues of justice, equality, humility, and compassion are the hallmarks of this new way of being. Jesus was radical to the religious establishment of the time. His worlds still cut sharply today too. Let us be part of making a better tomorrow by starting to walk out grace and compassion today. We'll talk about all that and more snark! Plus, this week's Christian Crazy features: Greg Locke, Mario Murillo, Rick Wiles, Bishop Larry Gaiters and Mark Taylor. Show notes Episode Timestamp: In the News: 06:55 Christian Crazy: 16:20 Main Conversation: 26:50 Book referenced: Taking Jesus at His Word: What Jesus Really Said in the Sermon on the Mount ~ Addison Hodges Hart Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 335
Focused Living
"In our world, there are far more practical atheists who think they are religious than there are theoretically doctrinaire atheists." -Addison Hodges Hart Our lives are full of deadlines, commitments, and responsibilities. Pulled in so many directions - there never seems to be enough time. It's a never ending cycle of busyness. If we don't watch out, that cycle will consume our lives and steal our purpose. Continuing our conversation journeying through the Sermon on the Mount, we see Jesus addressing these concerns and anxieties of life. Human nature being a constant over the centuries, a hurried and unfocused life plagued those in the first century as much as it does us today. With so many things vying to consume our time and attention, how can we focus on what matters? For Jesus, ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven mattered more than anything. It wasn't a physical kingdom or institution; it was a simple movement fueled by love and compassion. It sounds simple. It should be simple. Yet, we make excuses and pretend it's complex because we don't want to change. There is a lighter way to live - one with more focus and direction. No, I'm not talking about asking for Jesus as your personal savior. I'm not telling you to go to church. All of that mess is still part of the busyness. The Kingdom of God was never about the church. It was about loving others and healing the world. There's nothing overtly spiritual about helping people in need, but it does change you. Interested in trying life differently? If change happens one step at a time - let's go for a walk. ;) We'll talk about all that and more snark! Plus, this week's Christian Crazy features: Kenneth Copeland, Greg Locke, Hank Kunneman, Anna Kahit, and Sharon Gilberton. Show notes Episode Timestamp: In the News: 04:40 Christian Crazy: 12:20 Main Conversation: 23:00 Books referenced: Taking Jesus at His Word: What Jesus Really Said in the Sermon on the Mount ~ Addison Hodges Hart Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 336
Wiping It Clean
"If 'church' is a place you go, you'll never get there..." ~Chris Kratzer Author, Chris Kratzer is no stranger to Snarky Faith. He's been on several times in the past, and it's always a wild ride. Today, we're discussing his new book: Stupid Sh t Heard in Church. It's an audacious book that lives up to its shocking title. In the book, Chris does his best Miley Cyrus' impression as he takes a wrecking ball to conservative evangelical Christianity. He's an ex-pastor that was tired of a faith that steamrolled people instead of loving them. This book takes no prisoners, but is also refreshing and affirming to those that need to hear it. It's also a wakeup call to stop putting up with church sh t and return to the ways of Jesus that seem to be forgotten. Grace is Brave. Be brave. Buy Chris Kratzer's book, Stupid Shit Heard in Church: and the truth that will wipe you clean on Amazon. For more on Chris: http://chriskratzer.com/ We'll talk about all that and more snark! Plus, this week's Christian Crazy features Robin Bullock, Greg Locke, Hank Kunneman, Rick Wiles, and Johnny Enlow. Show notes Episode Timestamp: Chris Kratzer Interview: 01:30 Christian Crazy: 24:30 Main Conversation/Sermon on the Mount: 34:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 337
The Last Show*
"It's time we reclaimed this wise saying. Our post-Christian culture may very well give us the opportunity to relearn the wisdom of doing so. Communities of followers of Jesus may grow smaller, commitment to his teaching more radical and real, and in time we may look like those with something valuable that others want and will seek to have." ~ Addison Hodges Hart For the past few weeks, we've been journeying through the Sermon on the Mount following the ethics of Jesus and the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven. In this week's episode, our discussion delves into a bit of scripture that's often misunderstood. It involves valuing what is sacred. "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." Matthew 7:6 Modern-day American Christendom uses the name of Jesus but has forgotten his teachings. The scared nature of wisdom has been dumbed down as we've tamed a faith that was never meant to be subdued. Softening the edges of Jesus to fit the palatability of church culture is never the way to go. You lose everything in the process. Then, after a while, you've got a religion that's more about selfishness and exclusion than it is about love and compassion. Sacrifice has been traded for comfort. The scared beauty has been lost. That doesn't mean that all hope is gone. It can be regained easily. We just need to let go of franchised and institutionalized versions of the church. It's flawed and deceitful. The real ways of Jesus lead us far away from that and it's definitely a path worthy of taking that looks nothing like Christendom. We'll talk about all that and more snark! Plus, this week's Christian Crazy features Hank Kunneman, Kat Kerr, Johnny Enlow, and more! Show notes Episode Timestamp: In the News: 5:00 Christian Crazy: 12:40 Christian Cringe: 20:30 Main Conversation/Sermon on the Mount: 25:20 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com *Last show of 2021.
Episode 338
Knockers
"I have abandoned all particular forms of devotion, all prayer techniques. My only prayer practice is attention. I carry on a habitual, silent, and secret conversation with God that fills me with overwhelming joy." -Brother Lawrence Too often do we only see prayer as something that connects us to the divine. Like a suggestion box to the hereafter or a letter to Santa, it's a one-way laundry list of needs. Furthermore, religion has taught us that prayer is a stationary and inert practice where we bend our knees, fold our hands, and close our eyes. Yet, when Jesus speaks of prayer, it takes on a very different posture. Through Christ, prayer is an active pursuit. Prayer isn't a sedentary or solitary act when it connects us to God and grounds us in reality. Prayer allows us to gain perspective and see the world with clear and compassionate eyes. Jesus shows us that prayer is more about the change happening in ourselves as we connect more and more with God's work in the world at large. In today's show, we continue journeying through the Sermon on the Mount, the centerpiece of Christ's ethics and teachings. We'll talk about prayer and why it's needed for us to engage in the world during these polarizing times. We'll talk about all that and more snark! Plus, this week's Christian Crazy features Kat Kerr, Robin Bullock, Tony Suarez, and more! Show notes Episode Timestamp: January 6th in Prayers: 2:00 Christian Crazy: 13:00 Main Conversation/Sermon on the Mount: 25:00 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 339
False Prophets
In modern-day Christianity it seems that there's no shortage of self-proclaimed prophets. They make bold claims about the future. They'll insist that God measures your faithfulness by how much you give to their ministries. They preach of an angry God who seems to hate the same people they do. It's all a crock of shit. Don't believe me? Jesus even said so. He laid out simple and practical ways to judge the merit of a prophet. Are they false prophets and manipulative teachers? You bet. For several weeks, we've been journeying through the Sermon on the Mount. It's the centerpiece of Christ's teachings and the ethics of the Kingdom of God. This week, we'll talk about false prophets and religious grifters. Charlatans were as commonplace in the first century as they are today. Today's false prophets and pastors seem to embody the humility, wisdom, and grace of a middle school bully as they lie, boast, and manipulate to get what they want. They are not servant leaders; they are narcissists and frauds peddling a false gospel that misleads and deceives. Jesus doesn't mince words when he speaks of them, either. They have no role in God's work of reconciling and healing humanity. The kingdom of God will never be about marketing and salesmanship. Nor was it meant to be a tool to build the celebrity and wealth of pastors. The kingdom of God is unfolding here and now through acts of service, compassion, grace, and love. If the core of Christ's message is about serving and loving others, anything else is the anthesis to the faith. Join us today as we unpack the simple yet, practical way of Jesus. It looks nothing like modern-day Christendom, and that's a good thing. We'll talk about all that and more snark! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Critical Race Theory / CRT: 2:30 Main Conversation/Sermon on the Mount: 25:00 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 340
Faithful Mindfulness
This week on the show, we'll pause our series on the Sermon on the Mount to do something a bit different. Yet, it's still very much in the same vein of the ethics of the Kingdom of God, where health and mindfulness matter. Mental health matters. It's an area that the church has long ignored or mishandled. You can't pray away mental health issues; that's just bad theology. Self-work is necessary on the road towards health. For too long has therapy a negative stigma within Christianity. Today, we're talking with Dr. Justin Meier, a pastor, and a trauma-informed board-certified therapist. He's also the host of the Daily Faithful Mindfulness podcast - a resource to help people use Christian mindfulness and meditation to overcome trauma and help people become everything God has created them to be. We'll discuss the importance of mindfulness in healing trauma and how it can open us to experiencing God and life in new ways. This conversation isn't happening enough in religious circles. Join us today as we journey into new ways to live resiliently, as Christ called us to live. We'll talk about all that and more snark! You can find more about Dr. Justin Meier and his work here: Listen to Daily Faithful Mindfulness Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/bt/podcast/faithful-mindfulness/id1592159857 The Journey Church: https://www.rethinkfaith.org/ Show notes Episode Timestamp: Christian Crazy: 2:50 Main Conversation/ Interview: 7:55 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 341
Call Me A Leper
"It all has to do with love of others, which is the purest expression of our love of God. If Jesus has a theology, it is a "theology of humanism' - we love God through love of the humanity made in his image." -Addison Hodges Hart For the past few weeks on the show, we have been working our way through the Sermon on the Mount. It's the centerpiece of Jesus' teachings and lays the groundwork for the ethics that embody the kingdom of Heaven. At its core, this teaching is a call to self-examination in order to see if our personal ethics are congruent with God's kingdom. As we recap the Sermon this week, we'll also lay it next to modern-day Christendom to see how they are antithetical to one another. The ways of Jesus change our posture in how we engage with the world. We are called to be driven by love, compassion, and grace. We are called to love those cast out by religion and those that exist in the shadows of empire. With modern-day Christianity looking more and more like a country club, the historical Jesus sends us to the margins to live, love, and have community. In his time, Christ aligned himself with those that were cast out: the lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners. Many of them made up his community. Today, the church shames those in the shadows and margins. It's taught Christians to think being an asshole is also is akin to being holy. Christianity has lost the plot while running off on various culture-wars fueled by misogyny, racism, and bigotry. At its core, the faithful have become selfish, comfortable, and self-righteous. These are the very traits and aims that Christ calls out in the Sermon on the Mount. I'd rather follow in the ways of Jesus and find myself in the company of the forgotten, the kicked-out, the shamed, the unloved, and the unwanted. It's here in these places that the seeds for the Kingdom of Heaven grow. So call me a sinner. Call me a heretic. Call me a pagan. Call me a leper. Those are the people that Jesus called friends. We'll talk about all that and more snark! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Being You: 2:00 Christian Crazy: 10:00 Main Conversation 17:00 Bonus: 56:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 342
Abstract Faith
"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ, we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God." 2 Corinthians 2:15-17 I've been lately contemplating this idea of Christianity and the idea of embodying a "pleasing aroma." Nowadays, it seems like the modern-day church needs some Febreze , like, a lot of it. Over the past few weeks on the show, we journeyed together through the Sermon on the Mount, learning the ethics of Jesus. In that similar vein, let's pivot towards the brass tacks of faith as we explore spiritual formation and practice. This seems to be the lost art of Christianity. To recapture the pleasant aroma of Christ, we must look back to the basics of what it looks like to walk in the ways of the Kingdom of God. When our faith has become about doctrine, dogma, theology, and philosophy, it's safe to say that you have an abstract faith not grounded in reality. It's more theory than practice. Furthermore, that's not how Jesus discipled and taught his followers. Christ's way was grounded in the here and now yet pointed toward a hopeful future of potential. The path towards that future involves us becoming who we are supposed to be. The journey of faith was never about stagnation. It's about being deeply rooted in your humanity and seeing where God is at work in the world around us, and joining Her there. The path of knowing ourselves is the same path that leads to knowing God, but you won't find it in organized religion. It's a journey into the wild. Want to come with me? There's no telling where the path will lead, and that's the beauty and mystery of it. We'll talk about all that and more snarky! This week's Christian Crazy features Hank Kunneman, Greg Lock (and his witches), Perry Stone, and Kat Kerr! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Housekeeping: 01:43 In the News: 05:00 Christian Crazy: 14:00 Main Conversation: 32:00 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Books Referenced: Spiritual Theology - Diogenes Allen Gifts of the Dark Wood - Eric Elnes Articles: https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/14/us/pastor-invalid-baptisms-resignation https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/15/opinions/tennessee-adoption-struggle-religious-freedom-graves-fitzsimmons-siddiqi/index.html https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2022/02/2500-christian-ministers-sign-letter-demanding-right-practice-conversion-therapy/ https://religionnews.com/2022/02/15/tennessee-preacher-greg-locke-says-demons-told-him-names-of-witches-in-his-church/ Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 343
Uncertainty
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12 Uncertainty is something that usually makes us feel uncomfortable. We like to be in control and have a hand in the outcome of things in life. It's a natural inclination, but it's also counter-productive when we seek to change and grow. In regards to religion, certainty is typically a recipe for disaster. Or, as Eric Elnes puts it, "have you ever noticed how the more certainty a religion claims to deliver, the more frenzied and hysterical are its adherents?" When Christianity pushes to make the unknowable knowable, it diminishes the mystery of God and reduces the teachings of Jesus to sets of rules and dogma. Once this happens, faith becomes more about adherence than exploration and growth. Jesus' teachings change us from the inside out. They're not about being right or righteous, holy or pious. Christ's ways teach us to live fueled by kindness, grace, compassion, humility, and empathy. To embrace his ways leads us down a mysterious path that tosses certainty to the wayside. That journey changes us as we move out in love into a world filled with uncertainty. Stick with religion, and you know what you'll get. For me, I'd rather follow the ways of Jesus into the unknown. Want to join me? We'll talk about all that, the Ukraine and lots more snark! This week's Christian Crazy features Lance Wallnau, Franklin Graham, Curt Landry, and more! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Ukraine: 02:45 Christian Crazy: 15:00 Main Conversation: 26:35 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Books Referenced: Spiritual Theology - Diogenes Allen Gifts of the Dark Wood - Eric Elnes Articles: https://religionnews.com/2022/02/25/a-religious-politician-head-of-ukrainian-orthodox-church-of-the-usa-slams-patriarch-kirill-putin/ https://dianabutlerbass.substack.com/p/next-year-in-kyiv?
Episode 344
My Gay Church Days
“How many of us are strangers to ourselves in order to please the church.” ~ George Azar On this week's show, we sit down with author and ex-pastor George Azar to discuss his new book, My Gay Church Days. The book is a profoundly raw, honest, and open memoir about his experiences within Christianity and ministry as a gay man. It's a journey of self-discovery from someone who's just like all of us - in search of love, acceptance, belonging, and community. From an early age, George knew he was different, but he longed to fit in and feel at home in this world. Evangelical Christianity provided a space to belong and find fellowship, but that all came at a price. Within religious circles, you're always welcome as long as you fit into a certain mold. It's a conditional community that speaks often of grace and love but actually requires conformity and control. It's in these places that the life-giving words of Jesus are drowned out by pious judgment, cultural fears, and systemic misogyny and bigotry. George's memoir chronicles the struggles of processing and embracing a faith that taught him that his homosexual feelings were sinful and that being part of the LGBTQ+ community made him an abomination fit for the wrath of an angry God. Undoubtedly, teachings like this taught him (and others) to hate himself and hide who he was from everyone around him - even himself. It's a powerful story of the ways religion can be soul-crushing and dangerous to those who don't fall in line, but it's also a hopeful tale of resilience, self-acceptance, and learning to love yourself. We'll talk about all that and more snark. Buy George Azar's book, My Gay Church Days: Memoir of a closeted Evangelical pastor who eventually had enough , on Amazon. For more on George: www.mygaychurchdays.com Twitter/Instagram: @mygaychurchdays Note: A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to The Trevor Project - The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 345
Emptiness
"The courage to be is rooted in the God who appears when God has disappeared in the anxiety of doubt." -Paul Tillich Religious conversion is a peculiar thing. The very mention of "getting saved" most likely triggers lots of ideas, experiences, feelings, and bad memes in your head. The funny thing is that conversion is not intended to be a spiritual, rapturous, or transcendent experience. It's likewise not about praying a prayer or getting a magic get-out-of-hell-free card. That would be an exercise in missing the point. Conversion literally means turning around and embarking on a different path. Yup, that's it. Nothing more or less, yet we have mucked up the entire thing with marketing, spectacle, and scare tactics. Taking up that different path of Jesus is filled with fear, doubt, and ambiguity. Yet, with conversion, we sell assurance and certainty, which is an utter disservice to the spiritual process and growth. Sorry, but there are no cookie cutters for faith, and those that sell that message of assurance are only parrots, puppets, and posers. There is a deep mystery in following the ways of Jesus and seeking God in the world around us. There's no way around it. Churches push that aside as they give us dependable crutches that tickle our spiritual longings with things such as preaching, worship, and dogma. It's almost as if they're trying to prove Karl Marx correct when he said, "religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." Jesus did want his followers to be cosplaying Christians. He promised a hard road ahead for his followers filled with sacrifice, trials, trouble, and emptiness. While the ethics of Christ give us a firm lens to see the world, the praxis of those teachings is anything but certain. We embark into the world armed with ideals, knowing not how they will be contextualized and animated when faced with reality. There is a gift to that emptiness borne out of not knowing. It forces us to be open and awake in every moment as we continue in our process of becoming. It keeps us searching, changing, and growing. It's fear that keeps us in place. It's fear that keeps us in church. It's fear that keeps us from change. Experiencing God is always about the journey to know the unknown, both inwardly and outwardly. It's meant to help us become more of ourselves as we cast off the baggage from the past while bravely learning to humbly love others without stipulation or qualification. It's not easy, but it is the way of Jesus. There will be times of emptiness because your path every day is new and being charted by you. There's only one you and no specific guide to your life (sorry, Bible). Sounds scary, but there are others out there embracing new ways of love, growth, kindness, and justice as they seek God. That process of becoming helps us to view ourselves, others, and God in new ways. So if we were honest about conversion into faith, we'd stop the marketing and lean into the mystery. This process creates a reliance upon God that is essential to the ways of Christ. Without it, we're just smug, pious assholes that dream of heaven as we ignore life in this present reality. Ambiguity and the vacancy of certitude force us to embrace life and others with an open hand and a sense of expectancy. We'll talk about all that and lots more snark! This week's Christian Crazy features Robin Bollocks, Hank Kunneman, Kent Christmas, and more! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Ukraine: 02:10 Christian Crazy: 14:40 Main Conversation: 30:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Books Referenced: Spiritual Theology - Diogenes Allen Gifts of the Dark Wood - Eric Elnes Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 346
Touching the Stove
"I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglect to do it to me." -Jesus The pursuit of experiencing the divine is the age-old goal of religious and spiritual seekers. For those that believe or want to believe, such an encounter can be transformative and confirming to one's faith. Yet, organized religion has manipulated this desire and used it to control the masses through fear, guilt, and shame masked as theology, dogma, and practice. They've taught us to ignore our humanity because they see it as flawed and sinful. Then, they tell us to deny our senses, past experiences, and logic if we want to experience the Almighty. That way isn't a way towards a transcendent encounter. It only leads us into a circular path of submission and sameness. Seeking God doesn't require us to ignore our humanity or check our brains at the door. Though that's what is often taught and preached. We are an amalgamation of our experiences in life, both good and bad. To ignore this is to neglect ourselves. As children, we're told not to touch the stove but sometimes do it anyway. We learn from the pain. We grow from the encounter. These happenings and our responses to them make us into who we are. Events like these help frame our perspective and make us who we are. We need to learn to be and accept ourselves. If God is real and at work in the world around us, we need to realize that seeking the divine requires us to engage with reality and help others. It's not as sexy as a vision, miracle, or transcendent moment, but God lives in the spaces where the forgotten and marginalized dwell. So, if we want to experience God, these are the places we go. It's just that simple. We'll talk about that along with the Hillsong scandal, Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, and plenty more in this episode. This will be part one of a two-part discussion on experiencing the divine. Show notes Episode Timestamp: News/Hillsong/Don't Say Gay: 03:00 Christian Crazy: 30:00 Main Conversation: 37:00 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Books Referenced: Spiritual Theology - Diogenes Allen Gifts of the Dark Wood - Eric Elnes Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 347
Nitty Gritty Faith
"We must realize that leaps of faith are the junk food of the spiritual realm... An authentic leap of faith may become the first step of a new beginning, but taking that step feels more like the culmination of a long and engaging journey." Eric Elnes ~ Gifts of the Dark Wood Continuing on our series about the tangible ways of faith, today we'll discuss different motivations for seeking after God. Thus far, we'd discussed conversion and moments of experiencing the divine. Too often, we assume that the journey of faith is all about mystical and mysterious happenings and experiences. While, in some regard, these do instances may occur, they are not the norm. Yet, we usually use these supernatural events as a gauge for spirituality and depth. Religion has groomed us to believe that one of the key ingredients for experiencing God is a leap of faith or some grand gesture. This ideology of risk is often a recipe for abuse, pain, and trauma. I'm not trying to negate the impact of a spiritual experience, per se, but we must realize that these are often only the beginning point of a journey. These moments are not the goal or a place to camp and make a home. When we seek God, we must ask ourselves, "what or why are we seeking Her?" Many seek God for purpose, significance, or affirmation. Others may seek Her out of selfish ambition or pride. Either way, it's missing the point, but humans often excel at that virtue. The road toward experiencing the divine should lead us to a greater understanding of ourselves. This requires introspection, healing, and dealing with our biases and baggage as we begin to embrace seeing the world through the lens of Jesus. This journey also grants us something unexpected. As Peter Rollins puts it, "For while we do not grasp God, faith is born amidst the feeling that God grasps us." Understanding and embracing this fact will lead to deeper personal transformation. It also arms us with a robust amount of humility and grace. These are the necessary tools for the road ahead. Without them, we'll never understand the Kingdom of God. We'll talk about all that and more snark! This week's Christian Crazy also features Greg Lock, Shane Vaughn, and Kat Kerr! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Snarky start: 01:43 In the News: 06:00 Christian Crazy: 23:40 Main Conversation: 30:00 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Books Referenced: Spiritual Theology - Diogenes Allen Gifts of the Dark Wood - Eric Elnes Articles: https://julieroys.com/macarthur-shamed-excommunicated-mother-take-back-child-abuser/ https://www.patheos.com/blogs/allsetfree/2022/04/some-reflections-on-hillsong-mars-hill-and-church-culture/ https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/russia-ukraine-invasion-military-predictions/629418/ Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 348
The Art of Being Lost
"As you start to walk on the way, the way appears." ~ Rumi No one likes to be lost. It strikes us with fear and disorientation because we like to be in control. When we're lost, things feel out of control. Yet being lost is part of the spiritual journey. In many ways, it is an essential ingredient for change and growth. As humans, we're creatures of habit and depend on certain things for stability as we make our way in the world every day. Remove some of the familiar, and we experience loss. It happens as a result of our own choices, those of others, or through circumstances outside of our control. It may be painful, but it is inevitable. I've known some people so scared to make a decision they would avoid it at all costs. They feared change. Though it should be noted, that not making a decision is actually a decision. It's a choice to remain foolish in the hope that life will go back to the way it used to be. It's a nostalgic fantasy that leads to delusion. Embracing reality and ourselves is key to spiritual growth. My journey towards knowing God more has led me to know myself more. I've learned to heal, turn baggage into wisdom, and reclaim awe and wonder in my life. It's also been painful, stretching, and even ugly at times. This process is ongoing. I'm constantly growing and learning more about myself and the divine. Yet, all of that would be impossible unless I'm willing to be lost. Moving away from certainty can be terrifying and make us long for the shallower waters of the familiar. So we must remember that life moves forward at a brisk pace. The world changes constantly, and so do you. You and your faith were never meant to be stagnant. There's more out there to be experienced and more life to live. Don't worry. You won't be alone. There are plenty of us out there. Let's get lost together. We'll talk about all that and more snark! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Hedge of Protection: 01:43 In the News: 02:20 UFOs and Jesus: 13:00 Main Conversation: 18:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Books Referenced: Spiritual Theology - Diogenes Allen Gifts of the Dark Wood - Eric Elnes Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 349
Leaving Well
To go somewhere, you have to leave. There will be times in our journeys in faith when we're called to leave, either by choice or circumstance. Sometimes we pull away for a moment; other times, maybe forever. The keys to navigating these times are discernment, detachment, and humility. We encounter moments where leaving is healthy and gives us perspective. Other times, we just need to get the hell out of bad or toxic situations. Regardless of the reason, what we learn in these times of separation can be formative if we lean into the process with open eyes and humble hearts. Engaging in change can be difficult, but we must remember that we don't fear change - we fear loss. That fear can keep us in places where we won't progress or grow. It can leave us in places we're not supposed to be. In Irish folklore, there was a mythical race called the Tuatha De Danann. They were peaceful people who loved beauty and art. When confronted and driven to war by a hostile tribe, it is said that they just "turned sideways into the light and disappeared." They knew that war would make them into something they were not and didn't dare to engage. Sometimes, leaving is a decision to prevent yourself from becoming something you don't want to become. So, remember that healthy detachment can help you see more clearly. I believe that the future will be written by those that choose to leave and create something better. Those who dare to tread on uncharted grounds are also those that discover what is new and next. Faith was never meant to be a stagnant or complacent process. To learn and grow, we must step into new territory with a brave face and a humble posture. Let us cast away the inert stability of past institutions and mindsets while we look to better and more hopeful days forward. It is not easy to cast off our baggage, but it is a lighter load for the road ahead. Travel well. We'll talk about all that and more snark! Show notes Episode Timestamp: COVID: 02:05 Christian Crazy: 06:25 Main Conversation: 25:35 Bonus: 56:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Books Referenced: Spiritual Theology - Diogenes Allen Gifts of the Dark Wood - Eric Elnes Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 350
Road Trip
"Based on this historical example, if our passion is to end abortion in our nation, the best way to do so is to circumvent political processes (which, to date, have not proven very effective), and to love our neighbor as Jesus commanded." Keith Giles ~ Jesus Untangled Today's show is a mixed bag of talk about reproductive rights, and I'll also take you on a road trip discussion of our continuing series on spiritual formation. Note: I apologize in advance for the poor sound quality of the road trip portion of the recording. The right for a woman to choose medical decisions about her own body is a political lightning rod issue in both American politics and religion. On the surface, this issue is presented as if it's binary. You are either pro-life or pro-choice. Both sides have their narratives and talking points. Yet in the discourse, everyone seems to be vehemently yelling past one another. At the end of the day, it seems all we're left with is the yelling, and that's never helpful. We see pro-life Christians using the Bible as justification for their stance, but proof-texting scripture is never very fruitful in seeing the heart of God. The logical way to engage the Bible on a topic like this would be to see how God views personal choice. In the Bible, humanity is depicted as a complex, multi-faceted creature with the ability and responsibility to make decisions and choices. The concept of free will is kind of a big deal in the Bible. So join us today as we discuss the changing views about abortion and how those views have changed in the minds of Christian over decades. We'll also dig into the political influences behind the Religious Right and how it has used this issue for years to shape politics and fuel the flames of culture wars. What does any of this have to do with Jesus? How are we missing the point in this issue? How do we move forward? Tune in and find out. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Show notes Episode Timestamp: In The News/Roe v Wade: 03:40 Main Conversation: 40:00 Bonus Crazy: 56:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Books Referenced: Spiritual Theology - Diogenes Allen Gifts of the Dark Wood - Eric Elnes Articles: The Real Origins of the Christian Right As a Christian, I Want to Reduce Abortions, Not Overturn Roe Why Post Roe Abortion Bans Must Exempt Religious Jews Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 351
Out Into The Desert
"People are finding acceptance, love, and healing outside of the organizational church. They feel like they were supporting the organization of the church and the church was not supporting them." Karl Forehand ~ Out Into The Desert Karl J. Forehand was a bi-vocational pastor for 20 years and has training in spiritual leadership coaching, plant-based nutrition, and spiritual direction. He’s the author of The Tea Shop, The Hotel, Apparent Faith and Being. Soon, Karl is releasing his new book, Out into the Desert, which he co-wrote with his wife. Karl has long had a penchant for bringing light to the forgotten postures of faith. This time, he's joined by Laura, his wife, and their voices together speak truth to different sides of the same coin, from surviving church ministry to wandering and embracing the vulnerable ways of Christ. This book spoke deeply to my soul, as it will yours. Join me, as I talk with Karl about his book, enduring ministry trauma, and finding another path towards being. It's an insightful conversation that you'll enjoy. We'll talk about all that and more snark! Find Karl's books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Karl-Forehand/e/B07VGKNC23 For more on Karl: https://karlforehand.com/ Leaning Forward Conference: https://karlforehand.com/leaning-forward-2022 Show notes Episode Timestamp: Christian Crazy: 02:03 Conversation with Karl Forehand: 34:30 Bonus: 56:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 352
Learning from Experience
"When you say to yourself. ' I don't care what happens, ' it just gives you a broader perspective." - George Carlin There are times when we must wrestle with baggage from the road traveled as we progress in our faith. Questions begin to arise, and easy spiritual answers no longer soothe as a salve to the itching reality of balancing the trauma of living with the vastness of the divine. Either we give in to the itch, or we learn to ignore it. One path results in transformation, whereas the other leads to resignation. Choosing to move into the uncharted requires embracing and exploring new realities, whether they exist within ourselves or in the larger world. For some, this invitation is a welcome opportunity, while for others, leaving their perceived realms of safety is terrifying. Neither position is more virtuous than the other. Moving forward is all that matters in the end. However, it would be a mistake to set out on your journey too quickly. Before setting out, one must be prepared to wrestle with what they have gained, learned, and lost in the past. This act calls for us to reflect on our experiences, times when we have failed, and the lessons we have learned. It teaches us what matters and ultimately informs us what we should and shouldn't care about. Experience-based learning is a sacred, yet forgotten, spiritual practice. Pastors and prophets of today see mystery as a barrier to preaching certainty. It challenges their authority and ability control others. Their brand of spiritual certainty is full of mental gymnastics and theologically tinged gobbledygook. The end result is meaningless spiritual platitudes that may sound nice but never amount to anything. Jesus encourages us to travel both inwardly and outwardly with clear eyes. This path demands that we evaluate our experiences as if they were divine instruments for instruction, understanding, and development. Experience-based learning is infused with the divine and empowers us to advance as audacious lovers, fearless truth-tellers, and compassionate envoys of God's shalom. The future is waiting patiently for those who are willing to go where others fear to tread. Also, don't worry, t here won't ever be any traffic jams on the road ahead. Join us today as we wrap up our series on spiritual growth through the lens of Christ. May you travel well. Always remember that you are never truly alone and that taking a risk is an act of bravery. Journey well, friends. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Show notes Episode Timestamp: In The News/Gun Violence: 02:15 Main Conversation: 25:20 Bonus Crazy: 56:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Books Referenced: Spiritual Theology - Diogenes Allen Gifts of the Dark Wood - Eric Elnes Articles: Shootings expose divisions on gun issue in faith communities For many evangelical Christians, God and guns are inextricably linked Guns do more than kill What are Evangelicals and how did they become so hypocritical? Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 353
Sola Mysterium with Keith Giles
"Will we ever arrive at our destination? Who can say? But, God is not far away. God is alive within; living and breathing along with us in every moment. How do we know this? We can stop, be still, listen, and experience God’s presence anytime we need to. We can trust, by faith, that God will never leave us or forsake us. We can believe that Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in us, and we are in Christ." Keith Giles ~ Sola Mysterium If life is a mystery and if God is at the center of everything, then seeking to know God requires embracing mystery. In his new book, Sola Mysterium: Celebrating the Beautiful Uncertainty of Everything , Keith Giles takes a dive and invites us into the unknown. He asserts that there is more to God than any of us will ever fully comprehend in this life. The book knits together the elements of science, scripture, quantium physics, and psychology to push us towards a journey of sacred unlearning. It is in these spaces we encounter the divine. Join us today for a lively, enlightening, and far-reaching discussion with Keith Giles. He is a fantastic author and his work demands to be heard, and having him on the show is always enlightening. So, let us begin by embracing Christ's mystery in order to uncover the eternally expanding beauty of uncertainty. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Buy Keith's new book, Sola Mysterium on Amazon here! You can find all of Keith's books on Amazon. Here's Keith's blog on Patheos , and you can always find him on the Heretic Happy Hour podcast. Show notes Episode Timestamp: Christian Crazy: 02:14 Keith Giles Interview: 10:00 Christian Cringe: 56:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 354
Honeysuckle with Meagan Ruby Wagner
"It should come as no surprise when So-called Christian powerhouses fall Corporate greed dressed in Sunday best od has always been in the business Of toppling empires" Meagan Ruby Wagner ~ Jericho Presently, language is purposefully abused and exploited, often for evil ends, to benefit those in positions of power. How can we combat this? There are many ways to push back. Yet, one of those is frequently brushed aside as being unimportant in culture and society. Today, we will talk about poetry as a tool of protest and expression. Poetry can evoke powerful images that inspire. It also breaks our hearts, cuts us to the core, and longs for better days. Much like political rhetoric and speech, poetry is seldom delivered carelessly. It is poignant and often timeless. Joining us today is a poet and counselor Meagan Ruby Wagner. We'll discuss her debut poetry anthology, Honeysuckle. The book is a fantastic read that touches on topics like parenting, changing faith, and mental health during turbulent times. Meagan can take ordinary circumstances and pinpoint the sensations we have all experienced intimately. She does this in an understated yet exquisite way. In a time where prattle and rhetoric surround us like white noise, poetry may be the spark or the salve we all need the most. Enjoy! We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Buy Meagan's new book, Honeysuckle, on Amazon here! Follow Meagan on Instagram or Facebook. Show notes Episode Timestamp: Christian Crazy: 02:05 Power of Poetry: 13:55 Meagan Ruby Wagner Interview: 18:20 Christian Cringe: 56:30 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 355
The Church Can Go To Hell with Desimber Rose Wattleton
"If we aren’t careful, we can become so bitter about the journey that we aren’t able to see how much we’ve grown along the way." Desimber Rose Wattleton ~ The Church Can Go to Hell Rarely do we hear honest and raw confessions and testimony from pastors and clergy. Usually, the Lords of the Pulpit carefully craft a public, pious persona and live it out - cosplay style. The rules of this game do not include being honest and authentic. Those are not part of the playbook. With many pastors, the game is solely about projecting the ideal example of a fully formed Christian. Breaking character is very rare for these preformers. Thankfully, Desimber Rose Wattleton is not one of those pastors. She's a truth teller who pulls no punches. Her new book, The Church Can Go To Hell: Overcoming the Brokenness, Bitterness, and Bondage of Church Hurt, is an authentic journey detailing her transition from suffering to purpose. Join me today as I discuss poisonous church culture with Desimber Rose. This enduring toxicity has alienated and wounded so many who are really seeking God but finding nothing in the Church. Desimber Rose's book is startlingly frank, and so is our interview. Today, we talk about her experiences and how scripture can give us a manual for overcoming the spiritual scars caused by church trauma. In order to really deliver and heal the Body of Christ from the brokenness, bitterness, and bondage of toxicity, it is necessary to reveal the ugly underbelly of the institution frequently hides behind titles, rituals, and tradition. Enjoy! We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Buy Desimber Rose's new book, The Church Can Go to Hell on Amazon here! Follow Desimber Rose on Instagram or Facebook. Show notes Episode Timestamp: Christian Crazy: 03:00 Desimber Rose Interview: 10:00 Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 356
Christian Nationalism
"I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian nationalists." Marjorie Taylor Green ~ Politician and Conspiracy Theorist You may have heard about Christian nationalism... It's the hip (not) new trend all your Bible-beating relatives, and red-hat-wearing neighbors are talking about. Christian nationalism is a casserole of the worst parts of both the 4th of July and Christmas paired scrumptiously with a fine assortment of hatred, guns, and an unquenchable thirst for power. That's bigotry delicious - just like your grandma used to make. Yum! Join me today as we embark on a dive into different facets and mouthpieces of Christian nationalism. It is a movement that seeks to reform culture and control government; theocracy-style. None of this has anything to do with Jesus, but that has never stopped Christians before. Christian nationalism is a frightening and violent distortion of the faith. It twists the teachings of Jesus and scripture into tools of acrimony wielded against others under the guise of supposed righteousness. This toxic ideology is on the rise in religious circles. What was once a term of scorn has now become a badge of honor. This ideology and movement is a growing problem that gleefully plants the seeds of fascism and theocracy in America and beyond. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Summer Recap 2:00 Christian Cringe: 10:00 Christian Nationalism: 13:50 Another Way: 44:00 Articles Referenced or Useful for Further Reading: https://sas.rutgers.edu/news-a-events/news/newsroom/faculty/3406-religious-nationalism https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/february-web-only/what-is-christian-nationalism.html https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/08/christian-nationalist-identity-marjorie-taylor-greene.html https://www.huffpost.com/entry/marjorie-taylor-greene-christian-nationalism-republican-party_n_62dd70bde4b081f3a9007344 https://time.com/6201483/christian-nationalism-threat-democracy/ https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/christian-right-fbi-raid-trump https://politicalresearch.org/2005/12/05/the-rise-of-dominionismremaking-america-as-a-christian-nation https://www.thedailybeast.com/reverend-nathan-empsall-says-rejecting-christian-nationalism-is-what-jesus-would-do https://religionnews.com/2022/08/19/when-will-their-churches-condemn-the-christian-nationalism-rhetoric-of-maga-politicians/ https://theoutline.com/post/8856/seven-mountain-mandate-trump-paula-white https://youtu.be/qQbGnJd9poc Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: Shane Vaughn, Marjorie Taylor Green, Kent Christmas, Dutch Sheets, and Lance Wallnau. Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 357
Theology of Consent
"We could be the people who risk with God in the face of apocalypse rather than the people who trust in a god who authors apocalypse." Jonathan J. Foster ~ Theology of Consent: Mimetic Theory in an Open and Relational Universe Coincidences happen and paradoxes occur. In life, there are rare occurrences where cosmically divergent concepts combine, almost as if naturally intended - like peanut butter and jelly. In his new book, Theology of Consent: Mimetic Theory in an Open and Relational Universe, Jonathan J. Foster finds such a paring by blending René Girard’s scapegoating theory with Tomas J. Oord's Open and Relational Theology. The book is a fantastic read that blends anthropology, psychology, theology, and the nature of love. Foster uses Girardian thinking to enhance his understanding of open and relational theology even as he allows open and relational ideas to challenge mimetic theory’s tendency to be regressive. The book is scholarly - yet accessible - grounded in humor and humility. Join me as I sit down with Jonathan to talk through the theopoetic story of love and its fundamental characteristic: consent. Like the book, our talk together is educational, insightful, and playful. It's a great conversation that you don't want to miss. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Links Find Jonathan here: https://www.jonathanfosteronline.com/ Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Theology-Consent-Mimetic-Relational-Universe/dp/1737664941 Show notes Episode Timestamp: Witches: 1:45 Christian Crazy 5:00 Interview 10:30 Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: Guillermo Maldonado Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com
Episode 358
The Catch-Up
In this episode of Snarky Faith, we delve into the discussion of our collective struggles with the state of the world and the overwhelming noise surrounding everything. Drawing from Brene Brown's idea that faith minus vulnerability equals extremism, let's talk about the questions around why Americans seem to be doubling down on religious culture issues as religion declines in the country. The faith seems to be obsessed with things that no longer encapsulate faith or the teachings of Jesus but rather fear, selfishness, and pride. To counter this, we must realize that vulnerability is the key because faith plus vulnerability results in extravagant love. This is our mission and calls to push ourselves pushing onward toward what is good, loving, and kind is the path. It's what Jesus taught and it's what's required of us if we want to walk in the ways of Christ. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Links https://www.vox.com/23351293/whale-movie-review-fraser-aronofsky-oscars-best-makeup-hairstyling-best-actor Show notes Episode Timestamp: I'm Back: 2:20 Christian Crazy: 5:00 Vulnerability: 27:20 Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: Robert Jeffress, Hank Kunneman, Robin Bullock, and more... Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Check out the other fantastic Quoircast partners: The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast , Apostates Anonymous , The Messy Spirituality Podcast , Ideas Digest , The New Evangelicals , This is Not Church , and Wild Olive.
Episode 359
Canceling Easter
On today's show, we'll reflect on how Easter has become a religious shit-show and we're also joined by Keith Giles and Matthew Distefano to talk about Quior Publishing's new venture into class literature - and why books matter and shouldn't be banned. Let's just be honest for a moment. Easter has lost the plot within modern Christendom and reveals the rot within the faith. Easter is supposed to be a high holy day that is supposed to symbolize hope and renewal, yet it's turned out to be more about consumerism and empty displays of religiosity. While Jesus Christ, who Christians believe died and rose from the dead, was all about love, compassion, and empathy for the marginalized and oppressed, many modern-day Christians seemed to have missed the memo. Instead of practicing these values, they used the holiday to justify hateful rhetoric and discriminatory policies towards those who are different from them. It's no wonder that Easter has lost its meaning. The commercialization of the holiday has reduced it to nothing more than a chance to buy chocolate bunnies and attend an over-the-top church extravaganza. The true significance of the resurrection of Jesus has been overshadowed by superficial displays of religiosity that do little to forward and embody the ways and teachings of Jesus. It's time to use Easter as a wake-up call and realize how off-course Christianity has gone. It's about embodying the principles of love, compassion, and empathy that Jesus taught. So, as we reflect on this past Easter, let's recenter our faith in these values and work towards creating a world that is more inclusive, empathetic, and compassionate. Let's challenge ourselves to live up to the principles of Jesus, rather than using them as an excuse to promote hate and division. Only then can we truly honor the message of hope and renewal that Easter should represent. We can do better. We must do better. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Links Quoir Publishing https://quoir.com/ Keith Giles https://www.patheos.com/blogs/keithgiles/ Matthew Distefano https://www.patheos.com/blogs/allsetfree/author/mdistefano/ Heretic Happy Hour https://heretichappyhour.com/ Apostates Anonymous https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/apostates-anonymous/id1529134426 Quoir Classics: The Kingdom of God is Within You https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-God-Within-You-Annotated-ebook/dp/B0BVJGSFHT A Spring Harvest https://www.amazon.com/Spring-Harvest-Annotated-Geoffrey-Bache/dp/B0BVCTWD9Y Call of the Wild https://www.amazon.com/Call-Wild-Annotated-Jack-London-ebook/dp/B0C2J34QMP Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Wonderland-Through-Looking-Glass-Annotated Show notes Episode Timestamp: Canceling Easter/Christian Crazy: 2:00 Quoir Classics Interview with Keith Giles and Matthew Distefano: 22:30 Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: Kent Christmas, John Zmirak, MTG, and Johnny Enlow. Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Check out the other fantastic Quoircast partners: The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast , Apostates Anonymous , The Messy Spirituality Podcast , Ideas Digest , The New Evangelicals , This is Not Church , and Wild Olive.
Episode 360
Just Be Kind
Join me for another episode of "Snarky Faith" as we wade through the stormy intersection of faith and politics, exploring the emotional landscape marked by anxiety and depression. In these tumultuous times following the downfall of Roe v Wade and the erosion of LGBTQ rights, we're on a mission to make sense of it all and find our footing. In this episode, I'll share candid insights about these challenging times, refusing to gloss over the raw reality of our emotional struggles. We're going to peel back the layers, examining my faith, unpacking grief, and seeking understanding in our shared human experiences. Our focus will be on kindness, that universal language that transcends political and religious divides. Remembering Christ's call to love both our neighbors and enemies – a call that means everyone. This is more than just a cerebral exercise. It's about finding hope and the courage to take the next right step. "Snarky Faith" is a haven where we can challenge our perspectives, learn, and find comfort amidst chaos. So come with me on this journey. Let's brave the storm together, find hope in these discouraging times, and work towards a kinder world. We're not just here to talk about change – we're here to embody it. We can do better. We must do better. Brace yourself for all this and a healthy dose of snark on the side! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Anxiety & Kindness: 1:50 Christian Crazy: 23:20 Christian Cringe: 34:20 Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: Kat Kerr, Ron DeSantis, Robin Bullock, Mike Huckabee, and Hank Kunneman. Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Check out the other fantastic Quoircast partners: The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast , Apostates Anonymous , The Messy Spirituality Podcast , Ideas Digest , The New Evangelicals , This is Not Church , and Wild Olive.
Episode 361
Breaking Bad Faith
Join me again on Snarky Faith. Our guest is none other than Michael Camp, the author of "Breaking Bad Faith," a book that's as much a mental workout as it is a spiritual journey. Join us for our conversation - it's a fun ride. In this episode, we dive headfirst into the turbulent waters of religious and social issues, with Camp serving as our fearless guide. His new book, "Breaking Bad Faith," is not your typical Sunday school lesson. It's a deep exploration of Christianity and its intersection with societal norms. It's the kind of book that makes you question everything you thought you knew about religion, society, and the role of faith in our lives. During our chat, we'll navigate through the intricacies of scriptural texts, societal norms, and the often-misunderstood facets of faith. It's like going on a road trip with a theologian, but the fun kind. Camp doesn't shy away from controversial topics. He delves into the interpretation of scripture, history, and the role of religion in shaping these norms. His unfiltered exploration of faith and society will undoubtedly provoke thought, stimulate discussion, and perhaps even incite a healthy debate or two. This episode is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys a good intellectual workout. It's not light listening, but then again, who needs light listening when you can have your mind expanded and your preconceptions challenged? So, if you're up for a challenge and ready to see the world in a new light, tune in to our chat with Michael Camp. Your brain and faith will thank you. Eventually. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Show notes Episode Timestamp: Christian Crazy: 2:00 Michael Camp Interview: 21:54 Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: Lauren Boebert, Hank Kunneman, Joshua Mills, and Lucas Miles. Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Check out the other fantastic Quoircast partners: The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast , Apostates Anonymous , The Messy Spirituality Podcast , Ideas Digest , The New Evangelicals , This is Not Church , and Wild Olive.
Episode 362
Seeds of De(con)struction
We've got a special treat for you today. We're diving deep into the murky waters of faith, spirituality, and the church with none other than Nat Turney, the author of the provocative book "Seeds of De(con)struction." Trust us, this is one episode you don't want to miss. The Book That's Shaking the Foundations "Seeds of De(con)struction" is not your typical faith book. It's a raw, unfiltered look at the complexities of spirituality, the church, and the human experience. Nat Turney takes us on a journey that's as unsettling as it is enlightening. He challenges us to question the status quo, to deconstruct our long-held beliefs, and to embrace the transformative power of faith. The Scandalous Church One of the most gripping parts of the book is Nat's critique of church leadership. He doesn't hold back, folks. From church scandals to the misuse of power, Nat exposes the underbelly of religious institutions. But don't get it twisted; this isn't a takedown. It's an invitation to dialogue, to question, and to reform. It's about recognizing that the church, like any other institution, is flawed but also capable of growth and transformation. The Drips of Wisdom Nat uses the metaphor of "drips" to symbolize the gradual accumulation of wisdom and enlightenment. It's a beautiful concept that resonates deeply. Enlightenment isn't a one-time event; it's a lifelong journey. It's about the small, consistent insights that accumulate over time, leading us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and the Divine. The Fear Factor Another compelling aspect of the book is its exploration of violence and fear as tools for control within religious institutions. It's a critical view that many of us can relate to, especially those who have felt marginalized or oppressed by the church. Nat encourages us to challenge these fear-based tactics and to seek a faith that is rooted in love, compassion, and inclusivity. The Power of Deconstruction The book also delves into the concept of deconstruction, a term that's become somewhat of a buzzword in faith circles. But Nat gives it new life. He suggests that deconstruction isn't about tearing down; it's about breaking open. It's about dismantling the walls that confine us so that we can experience a more authentic, personal spirituality. The Interview In today's episode, we'll be sitting down with Nat to discuss all of this and more. We'll talk about his inspiration for writing the book, the challenges he faced along the way, and what he hopes readers will take away from it. Plus, we'll get into some of the more controversial topics he tackles, like the church's approach to violence and control. It's going to be a candid, thought-provoking conversation that you won't want to miss.  So grab your favorite beverage, get comfy, and let's get snarky. This is one conversation that's sure to challenge, inspire, and maybe even ruffle a few feathers. But hey, that's what Snarky Faith is all about, right? Tune in, and let's get this conversation started. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Show notes Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: JD Greer, Hank Kunneman, Jack Hibbs, and Robin Bullock. Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Check out the other fantastic Quoircast partners: The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast , Apostates Anonymous , The Messy Spirituality Podcast , Ideas Digest , The New Evangelicals , This is Not Church , and Wild Olive.
Episode 363
Leaning Forward with Karl and Laura Forehand
The Forehands: Not Your Typical Spiritual Guides Let's get one thing straight: Karl and Laura Forehand aren't here to sell you the same old, tired spiritual clichés. Nope, they're here to wrestle—wrestle with beliefs, wrestle with trauma, and maybe even wrestle with you a bit. So, buckle up, because this episode of Snarky Faith is about to get real. Deconstruction: More Than Just a Buzzword Ah, deconstruction—the buzzword that's been making the rounds in spiritual circles faster than you can say "heretic." But what does it really mean? And more importantly, what comes after? Karl and Laura are here to break it down, and trust us, they're not pulling any punches. Pathways Forward: Because Stagnation is Overrated We've all been there—stuck in the muck of outdated beliefs, toxic religious practices, and spiritual stagnation. But how do you move forward? Or should we say, how do you Lean Forward ? Karl and Laura share their insights, and let's just say, it's not your grandma's spiritual advice. Snarky Takeaways Look, if you're here for a feel-good, Kumbaya moment, you're in the wrong place. But if you're looking for a raw, unfiltered, and yes, snarky take on spirituality, deconstruction, and the journey ahead, then this episode is a must. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Leaning Forward is available now on Amazon Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: Greg Locke, Kat Kerr, Jim Bakker, and more. Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Check out the other fantastic Quoircast partners: The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast , Apostates Anonymous , The Messy Spirituality Podcast , Ideas Digest , The New Evangelicals , This is Not Church , and Wild Olive.
Episode 364
Theological Musings from a Tattooed Theologian
Brace Yourselves, This is Theology Unfiltered Hey Snarky Faith listeners, brace yourselves! We've got a treat for you—a theological espresso shot that'll jolt you awake, whether you're ready for it or not. I sat down with Dillon Naber Cruz, the mind behind Theological Musings: Collected Essays of a Tattooed Theologian, Vol. 1 , and let me tell you, this isn't your run-of-the-mill theology talk. This is more like a high-speed chase through a maze of moral and existential dilemmas. What We Cover: Complex PTSD and Theology : You thought those terms couldn't be in the same sentence? Think again. Cruz explains how personal trauma shapes and complicates our theological landscapes. Spoiler alert: It's not pretty, but it's damn insightful. Faith's Dark Corners : Cruz isn't here to spoon-feed you doctrine; he's here to tear down your theological house of cards and dare you to rebuild it. We delve into the questions most theologians prefer to ignore. You've been warned. The Gritty Kind of Hope : Forget about that pie-in-the-sky optimism; Cruz talks about the hope that you earn, the kind that's been through the wringer and still stands. Can such hope exist in a world of chaos? Tune in to find out. Why You Can't Miss This: Look, if you're content with your sanitized, bubble-wrapped faith, this episode might not be for you. But if you're tired of simplistic answers to complex questions, if you're itching for a faith that engages with the real world, this is an episode you can't afford to miss. Cruz doesn't just push the envelope; he sets it on fire. So grab your beverage of choice, and settle in for a ride. You'll walk away from this episode with more questions than answers, but trust me, you'll be better for it. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Check out Dilllon's new book here. Show notes Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: Benny Hinn, Greg Locke, and Greg Laurie Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Check out the other fantastic Quoircast partners: The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast , Apostates Anonymous , The Messy Spirituality Podcast , Ideas Digest , The New Evangelicals , This is Not Church , and Wild Olive.
Episode 365
The Symphony of Listening: Embracing Wisdom Across Faith Lines
In today's episode of Snarky Faith, we're venturing into a space that's often skirted around with discomfort or outright hostility. That's right—we're digging into the delightful mess that is religious diversity, but not in the way you might expect. We're not here to throw shade or to spotlight the foibles of faith; instead, we're talking about the rich gifts that diversity brings us, especially when we shut up and listen. Our guidebook for this journey is none other than the recent release "Sitting in the Shade of Another Tree: What We Learn by Listening to Other Faiths." This isn't just your run-of-the-mill, kumbaya plea for peace. This is about tuning in to a symphony of voices from different faiths and belief systems that dare to speak to the transformative power of listening. It's about cracking open the door to perspectives that have long been shut out by the rigid gates of doctrinal fortresses. We're joined by a panel of guests who are nothing short of pilgrims on this journey of cross-faith dialogue. Keith Giles, Duncan Pile, Caleb Gilleland, and Safi Kaskas—each an author and a story-weaver sharing tales of wisdom, transformation, and perspective shifts. Their narratives aren't just feel-good anecdotes; they're testaments to what happens when we learn from those who tread paths different from our own. Forget the tired old trope of who's got it wrong in the world of religion. Our guests have set out to uncover where others get it right, engaging in the radical act of listening rather than preaching. The result? Insights that lead to understanding, connections that spawn friendships, and exchanges that birth peace. Join us as we delve into the wisdom shared in "Sitting in the Shade of Another Tree," courtesy of Quoir Publishing and Patheos. Let's take this opportunity to step outside our comfort zones and into the possibility that the truth and beauty we seek might just be found in the faith community next door—or even one we've never heard of. It's not about compromising your beliefs or losing your faith; it's about enriching it through the stories of others. So, let's drop the debate and pick up the dialogue. Tune in, listen up, and let's get ready to be transformed. This is Snarky Faith, and the conversation starts now. We'll talk about all that and plenty more snark! Links Sitting in the Shade of Another Tree: What We Learn by Listening to Other Faith https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CHZCBX7V Author Links and Books: Caleb Gilleland: https://bahaiteachings.org/author/caleb-gilleland/ https://www.ed.ac.uk/profile/caleb-gilleland Safi Kaskas: https://www.amazon.com/Quran-References-Bible-Contemporary-Understanding/dp/099659244X/ Duncan Pile: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/duncanedwardpile/about/ https://www.amazon.com/Nature-Mage-Book-ebook/dp/B00CLOYOKA/ https://www.amazon.com/Who-Am-Judge-James-Bewley-ebook/dp/B086N27QWQ/ Keith Giles: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/keithgiles/ https://www.amazon.com/stores/Keith-Giles/author/B0076E0UA8 Featured Crackpots, Grifters, and Prophets: Kent Christmas, Shane Vaughn, Greg Locke, Mike Johnson, and Mario Murillo. Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Check out the other fantastic Quoircast partners: The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast , Apostates Anonymous , The Messy Spirituality Podcast , Ideas Digest , The New Evangelicals , This is Not Church , and Wild Olive.
Episode 366
Indigo - The Color of Grief
In this episode of Snarky Faith, we sit down with Dr. Jonathan Foster, a theologian and author, to discuss his latest work, "Indigo - the Color of Grief." This book is more than just words on a page; it's an immersive journey through the depths of sorrow and the resilience of the human spirit. Dr. Foster shares his personal experience with the tragic loss of his daughter and how it shaped his perspective on grief. Our discussion is a tapestry of introspection and revelation, examining the dual themes of processing grief in real-time and the decision to share these experiences through writing. Dr. Foster, with his unique blend of mimetic theory and open and relational theology, offers insights into the 'theo-poetic' nature of his book and shares an excerpt to give listeners a glimpse into his narrative style. We delve into the broader aspects of grief, challenging conventional approaches and discussing how to healthily embrace this complex emotion. The conversation also touches upon 'mourning well' and the power of memory in the grieving process. Join us on Snarky Faith as we navigate these intricate emotional landscapes with Dr. Foster, uncovering the beauty and pain inherent in the human condition. Get Indigo - the Color of Grief on Amazon https://amzn.to/475nPfv For more on Jonathan Foster: https://www.jonathanfosteronline.com/ Big thanks to these outlets that make the Christian Crazy possible: Right Wing Watch Christian Nightmares Friendly Atheist Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world. www.SnarkyFaith.com Check out the other fantastic Quoircast partners: The Heretic Happy Hour Podcast , Apostates Anonymous , The Messy Spirituality Podcast , Ideas Digest , The New Evangelicals , This is Not Church , and Wild Olive.