Nerd Out! Leaving Church, Packing Heat, and Metaphysical Violence

 This is the LAST TNT episode in the Homebrewed Podcast Feed!  Subscribe HERE to the Theology Nerd Throwdown podcast so you will continue to get the goodness like next week’s episode with John Caputo!  The iTunes subscription is below.

Why are people leaving Church?  Rachel Held Evans blogged it, Bo shared it, and now we discuss it.  Andrew Sullivan’s post that got the conversation started ‘Christianity in Crisis.’  In this conversation Tripp discusses three good reasons people are leaving the church

  1. Majoring in the Minors
  2. Lack of Intellectual Integrity
  3. Lack of Ethical Integrity

and then questions the impact of age programed ministry through college on the decline of the church.  Why does Tripp have gay friends at Acts 29 churches?

Then we move on to discussing Jesus and his disciples packing heat.  Bo previously blogged all the verses where Jesus mentions swords and then he ‘Walter Wink’s it’ by discussing turn the other cheek. Tripp then wonders about metaphysical violence and Process philosophy.  We concluded by getting a little sermonic about the Biblical logic for universalism!

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17 comments
iNFLiKT
iNFLiKT

Wow!!!!!!!!!! This is amazing!!!!!!!! I wish I could take some time to respond to this, but I'm at work...but I had to write something because this is just theologically off-the-chains (ghetto terminology for 'REALLY good')!!!!

trippfuller
trippfuller moderator

Thanks Russ for the podcast love!

Russ Jennings
Russ Jennings

This is an outstanding podcast!  I'm always appalled at how many people in supposedly liberal (even fierce justice oriented) congregations, hold on to these views. I think the reason (or at least one of the reasons) is that the clergy don't actually preach the theology they study in seminary. They so easily laps into the "Jesus will make you feel good" message. They never actually engage the parishioners in theological  discussions  and never actually confront some of these crazy notions. You guys have a great way of explaining these things and I appreciate it very much. I'm probably going to have to steal some of your lines.  Thanks.

Brother Fuller
Brother Fuller

I agree that the "intermission theology" where Jesus is more loving and forgiving than God (OT and eschatologically) doesn't make sense, but what do you do with Jesus' parables that contain a "switch", such as the vineyard owner or all the wedding party throwers/bridegrooms, in which an event takes place (most likely reflecting apocalyptic eschatology) and BAM! the Kingdom of God is governed differently. The vineyard grower doesn't try to play nice anymore; the wedding party thrower doesn't take well to being underdressed; the bridegroom is NOT okay with empty lanterns...Are those simply taken rhetorically as devices to show God's call to disciples to be hospitable/faithful/etc? I mean, I guess for me the most difficult part of making Jesus a real pacifist and God consistently love is b/c so many of his stories include a God/Father/Vineyardowner/Bridegroom who brings the firepower after trying the "Be nice" tactic

Cameron
Cameron

Wow, great ep. I'm going to be looking at some of the more obvious teachings of Jesus at church in weeks to come. If you come across any stories in the Bible that look like the ones you were talking about, be sure to let me know.

dmf
dmf

it's good to remember cultural/historical context to try and get the gist of what is being said and to avoid presentism, but one shouldn't get too carried away with assuming much in the way of certainty with these kinds of assertions, at best they can tell you what some people in the vicinity may have meant but we hardly have good sociological reporting from these times, as with all things bibical big grains of salt are needed with such "scientific" interpretations, most modern takes have at least some quality of being as a much about the contemporary author as they were about the figures represented in the stories. We need a Rorschach guide to bible interpretations...

Noel Pendley
Noel Pendley

Trip and Bo. Short time listener-first time post-er. I am listening to this podcast as I mow the lawn today and came inside to comment on your thoughts, "never get tired of people saying they have never heard that before - commitment to making these kind of conversations normal for the everyman". Preach it man, preach it. I learned the contextual/cultural truth about "turn the other cheek" and "walk a mile" from Bruxy at themeetinghouse.com and it turned me up-side down.

Jeremy
Jeremy

There are just certain Christian beliefs and concepts that either I’m misinterpreting or I just can’t believe anymore. For example, to me “love your neighbor” means “invite toxic people into your life that will eventually hurt you,” “emptying the self” means “be a doormat and let people walk all over you,” and original sin means “there is no difference between me and Adolf Hitler.” Travis, I think what might be helpful is for you to read some womanist theology (e.g. Delores Williams' Black Woman's Surrogacy Experience and the Christian Notion of Redemption). They address the relationship between suffering and violence in ways that most theologies do not. For instance, suffering is stupid and useless. It's not divine. The cross is not divine because God suffered, in fact the cross is a testimony to our own violence and stupidity as humans. The cross is divine because it's resistance to suffering. Moreover, you mentioned how masochism is often Christianized. It should not be, although sometimes people act like it is. Masochism is stupid. Christ didn't build his own cross. The cross is a consequence of challenging the powers. I think Christians sometimes stretch pacifism so far that it ends up being paradoxical (e.g. Claiborne claiming that Bonhoeffer was wrong to try to kill Hitler). Bonhoeffer once said in his Ethics that the Christian life does not permit us the luxury to know beforehand whether or not we are doing is in accordance with the will of God, but we have to take responsibility for our choices and decide. For example., when the US killed Bin Laden some Christians acted horrified that other Americans were satisfied. I think there's a certain naivete and self-congratulatory self-righteousness in operation when people act as if violence is totally unthinkable and unfathomable.

Orthodox
Orthodox

So, so good. I always end up listening to these TNT podcasts twice because my mind gets blown at some point listening the first time. Please keep it up!

Tripp Fuller
Tripp Fuller

thanks for all the feedback. Don't forget to get the TNT feed in your iTunes since it will be separate next week. @dmf you should call in to the podcast and leave us a rant or question!

shawn
shawn

I always love the TNTs. This week I love the way you both went pastoral. I know leaving a church is different from leaving THE church, but I think doing the former increases the likelihood of doing the latter. I have to wonder if it's a bit like getting a divorce...might make it hard to marry again, especially if you were married a long time and it was really painful. But talk of looking at God through the lens of Jesus might make a person want to give it another try. Really great episode this week.

Travis Mamone
Travis Mamone

Loved this episode! I never thought of seeing "That's enough swords" in that way before. And I'm not saying that just to stroke your ego either, Bo. I'm currently having a mini-faith crisis, and debating whether or not I should stay in the Church. It's such a long story that I don't know where to begin. There are just certain Christian beliefs and concepts that either I'm misinterpreting or I just can't believe anymore. For example, to me "love your neighbor" means "invite toxic people into your life that will eventually hurt you," "emptying the self" means "be a doormat and let people walk all over you," and original sin means "there is no difference between me and Adolf Hitler." Or maybe I'm just projecting my own lack of self esteem onto God. I have a hard time telling the difference between the two.

dmf
dmf

churches haven't yet come to grips with how deeply dependent they have been on there being fixed populations/communities, people tend to be much more isolated (fewer extended families and or families that do much together) and much more mobile. Mix this in with a consumerist/adolescent popular culture where identity is a question of what you "like" and theologies of direct/personal access to G-d and prosperity and you end up with the Oprah effect.

iNFLiKT
iNFLiKT

 @trippfuller If you guys ever need some new music for the beginning/end of the podcasts, let me know! I've got tons of original instrumentals...love what you guys do on here!

 

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