Search Results for: wallis

TNT: Jim Wallis, the Church and the World

In this episode: Tripp talks with Jim Wallis about the Common Good and being on God’s side, then Bo and Callid chat about the church and the world.Wallis

The four books that come up in this episode are:

On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good by Jim Wallis

The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words by Deborah Tannen

The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer In Christian Ethics by Stanley Hauerwas

Rethinking Christ and Culture: A Post-Christendom Perspective by Craig A. Carter

 

 Let your voice be heard! Go to the ‘speak-pipe’ on the home page and let us know what you think about ‘the church and the world’ – we will use it on the TNT in 2 weeks.

 

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The Resources of Fuller Theological Seminary for Pastors & the Local Church

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Jim Wallis Returns and the Worst Week in America

Not to get all braggy here, but this episode is pretty great.

First, we have our first return guest, and it’s one of our best: Jim Wallis. Christian moderated a discussion with Jim at Powell’s Books last week. I swear, Jim Wallis is incapable of saying uninteresting things. What an honor to have him back (even if I didn’t get to be there).

Obviously, it was a crazy week here in the US, so we spend the second half of the show talking about bombings and explosions and ricin. I promise, it’s not as depressing as it sounds. Namely, we wanted to talk about racial profiling when it comes to terror suspects, the shifting tectonics of how we get news in America, how to talk about tragedy with children, and how much faith is to blame in religious extremism.

Seriously, even with horribly serious subject matter, this was a really fun show to do and talk about, and we use our senses of humor to cope. We hope you enjoy.

P.S. Amy has a great poop story at the beginning.
*** If you enjoy all the Homebrewed Christianity Podcasts then consider sending us a donation via paypal. We got bandwidth to buy & audiological goodness to dispense. We will also get a percentage of your Amazon purchase through this link OR you can send us a few and get us a pint!***


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Jim Wallis Post-Election CultureCast Special

We were stoked to sit down with Jim Wallis, Sojourners guru, political activist and all-around change agent for the common good to chat up what happened during the most recent elections. We talk about what comes next, how the parties will respond to the electorate and where both sides can come together for real change.

And although Jim Wallis does sound a little bit like Darth Vader in this episode, it’s not his fault. We had an audio glitch in the recording in our haste to get this to you quickly.

Christian Piatt and Jordan Green also break down some of their own political theories in the Echo Chamber, drop some family-friendly recommendations on your face and give a shout out to yet another special guest, coming soon on a future CultureCast.

*** If you enjoy all the Homebrewed Christianity Podcasts then consider sending us a donation via paypal. We got bandwidth to buy & audiological goodness to dispense. We will also get a percentage of your Amazon purchase through this link OR you can send us a few and get us a pint!***




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Trying Not To Be Cynical About Another Post-Something Christianity

Guest post by Micky Jones

Jim Wallis, recent Homebrewed Culture Cast guest and author of the new book, The Common Good, wrote a blog post (link ) titled The Post-Cynical Christian. He described the “debilitating cynicism” he witnessed as he traveled the country on his latest book tour. At each stop, people were interested in the his take on the “common good” concept and how people, no matter the religious affiliation, could engage it, but also, many were expressing doubt that they could actually make a difference.

As someone at the beginning of formalized theological higher education, this feels like a very relevant discussion. Can I be post-cynical in my Christianity as Wallis describes it? Coming from an Evangelical background, I’ve heard all the jokes, which are really just thinly veiled warnings (cynicism?), of how seminary is really the cemetery of faith. The message is – those who are questioning and skeptical end up being so cynical that they no longer have faith in God any more. Some denominations even pride themselves in having a pastorate that avoids seminary therefore avoiding the accompanying questions and doubts.

I jokingly tell my friends that sarcasm is my love language. And I can bring the heat. Like many others in my generation, I’ve been through parental divorce, bullying, high pressure-guilt laden spiritual teaching, “fallen” church leadership, and just the plain realities of becoming a grown up. Cynicism feels natural and right – even authentic for me. My cynical self says – I don’t trust ANY of this – all I have left to trust is my familiar feelings of contempt, hopelessness, can’t-be-botheredness. Sarcasm, an expression of my deeply held cynicism is my shield. It lets me say all of this as if I don’t care but I can’t stop caring (which can be really annoying honestly). I’ve tried.

In some ways, stepping into a deeper exploration of my faith, daring to ask questions, leaving the pre-packaged Americanized-Evangelical-Conservative trivium is itself moving into a post-cynical Christianity. Cynicism is mocking, expects the worst of others and overall negative, which feels a lot like much of the Christianity I have been a part of for the past 20 years. Acting from a base of cynicism, it is very tempting to throw everything out with the holy water. I did that for too many years – stayed away from so many ideas and things that I thought would corrupt my faith if I came anywhere near them. I wasn’t even skeptical- that might mean I was willing to examine ideas and concepts. I was cynical – I had to keep them off limits, dismissing them as corrupt and worthless.

 

Skepticism has become a bad word in Christian circles. You know, it means you don’t believe. But I like how Wallis describes it – asking the tough questions – not just our modern definition of distrust and disbelief. The greek meaning from which our modern word derives was closer to the idea of “one who reflects or considers”. The post-cynical (and still skeptical) Christian is one who reflects on/considers (which involves questioning, right?) everything – even “established” truths and those reflections show up in their words and actions. If those reflections and questions only paralyze you, they are worthless. If they move you, really move you to action, then they are spiritual food and powerful fuel for your journey.

Are post-cynical Christians willing to say,

I may not always know what I can trust, I may not always have every belief on every subject related to faith nailed down in a perfect doctrine , but I  won’t give up hope, I won’t stop learning, seeking, loving?

Are they willing to lower their shields from time to time? Maybe even lay them down?  I believe I’ve found a seminary where I can lower, and maybe, just maybe sit down on my shield and peel away my cynicism to reveal a well-developed sense of reflection.

Post-cynical Christianity might be another interpretation of Jesus’ teaching to his disciples to be wise and simultaneously gentle. Could that be interpreted as be skeptical – willing to ask the hard questions, face the harsh realities of the world we live in and yet be willing, even deeply committed to being loving and faithful anyway?

 I would love to hear your thoughts! 

 Do you think there is a distinction between skepticism and cynicism?

Does that distinction play out in real life or only in the dictionary?

What is your experience of the intersection of faith, skepticism & cynicism?

 

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TNT: a Homebrewed Stew of Topics

This edition of the Theology Nerd Throwdown is a smorgasbord of subjects – a cornucopia of concepts – a torrent of topics… you get the idea. 

First up is the 30 second definition blind challenge when Bo has to define 3 terms or concepts. This week’s words are:  anointing, perichoresis and glossolalia.

Then we chat with Micky Jones about the concept of post-cynical christianity suggested by Jim Wallis.

We take a little break for the High-Gravity broadcast and then pick up with the Bible &  Tillich, Hegel, and Process.

Our guest this week was Jonnie Russell who guest blogged last week. He was visiting for the High Gravity conversation.

One production note: Bo forgot to bring the Mp3 call with Micky for Tripp to hear – so he is commenting blindly. THEN something went wonky with the sound and Bo’s audio on the call to Micky was muted so all of Micky’s comments were edited together to sound like a unified piece.

Blogs that will be tied into this episode will be:

  1. Micky’s post on post-cynical christianity
  2. Bo’s pentecost’s initial aim and historic drift
  3. a Radical Theology cliffs-note

 

*** If you enjoy all the Homebrewed Christianity Podcasts then consider sending us a donation via paypal. We got bandwidth to buy & audiological goodness to dispense. We will also get a percentage of your Amazon purchase through this link OR you can send us a few and get us a pint!***


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TNT: Call-In Special for Church & World Challenge

TNT Version1Last month Bo & Callid discussed it on TNT, then Bo put out the Church and World Call-In Challenge and hot diggity we got some great calls! This episode is a selection of those calls and the Nerd’s responses.

We want to thank those who donated to the show and sponsored the episodes this month. Thank you to Jay Bakker, John Pohl, as well as Susan Rogers St Laurent and Marc St Laurent.

*** If you enjoy all the Homebrewed Christianity Podcasts then consider sending us a donation via paypal. We got bandwidth to buy & audiological goodness to dispense. We will also get a percentage of your Amazon purchase through this link OR you can send us a few and get us a pint!***


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Christian Social Justice and “the Common Good”?

I’m a big admirer and supporter of Sojourners Magazine and its editor-in-chief Jim Wallis, who was just interviewed on the Homebrewed Christianity Culture Cast again, and just released a new book entitled On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good.  Jim gets this phrase from a famous Abraham Lincoln statement.  It’s been around since antiquity and perhaps finds its roots in Greek political philosophy, but does this idea of “the common good” invoke an adequate Christian social ethic?

Last week the question was raised by several Missio Alliance folks about whether Jim Wallis and Jerry Falwell are two sides of the same coin.  At first I had a hard time not finding the mere suggestion of this to be ridiculous, but then I thought it nonetheless might be a good segue into a related discussion.  If for further argument’s sake one grants that this is true, then I would submit that Gustavo Gutierrez and John Howard Yoder are two sides of the same coin as well (see the diagram below).

One concern is that “common good” language might just be repackaged utilitarianism or Christian realism, in the modern tradition of doing the greatest good for the greatest number.  I’ve benefited significantly in recent years from the work of Hauerwasian-leaning political theologians who might say this, like William Cavanaugh or Daniel Bell Jr, whose latest book, Economy of Desire, I recommend.  Here is an interview with him.

The question that always arises for folks like this seems to be something like, whose good?  On whose terms?  This question is one of the main reasons post-liberals and Anabaptists are reluctant to engage in politics in a formal, and what they would call, coercive manner.  Their epistemological issues are varying and complex, but without getting into a discussion of the limits of language, perhaps a pithy summary of this position might be that Christians should only enter into dialogue and commerce in a Christian way and for Christian reasons.  Does this preclude interreligious justice efforts or any kind of public collaboration on legislation in the public square?

In keeping with the spirit of last week’s exchanges regarding Subverting the Norm and Missio Alliance and Geoff Holsclaw’s suggestion that we talk more about differences, I’d like to try out a way of “mapping” some of those differences.  In seminary I took a class with Roger Olson (Homebrewed interview here) entitled “Christian Social Justice” at the same time that I was enrolled in Marc Ellis’ (Homebrewed interview here) seminar on Liberation Theology.  While Olson’s class framed the discussion generally in terms of different views on capitalism and the morality of violence, Ellis seemed to me to be more intent on organizing the class around the themes of justice and religious identity and building community vs. empire.  I’ve tried to include these dimensions in the following graph: Christian Social Justice

For a brief summary of my understanding of what each quadrant represents, go here.

Kathryn Tanner is another political theologian who has influenced me.  She was interviewed on Homebrewed Christianity by Philip Clayton in 2011.  Her latest research deals with what Christianity can say about the global economy in light of the hyper-financialization of international markets and the recent Great Recession.  Here is something she said a few years ago in an article in the Christian Century about Christian theological and ethical responsibility today that has really stuck with me:

Enlightenment challenges to the intellectual credibility of religious ideas can no longer be taken for granted as the starting point for theological work now that theologians facing far more pressing worries than academic respectability have gained their voices here at home and around the globe.

Theologians are now primarily called to provide, not a theoretical argument for Christianity’s plausibility, but an account of how Christianity can be part of the solution, rather than simply part of the problem, on matters of great human moment that make a life-and-death difference to people, especially the poor and the oppressed.

I interpret Tanner to be saying here that, in the context and age of globalization, the proper Christian response is one that seeks to make a difference and be good news for the world and those living in it.  The criteria for this “good”, and what makes it “common” appears to be something like life instead of death, and addressing the needs of our shared material existence and limitations despite other differences — be they religious, cultural, geopolitical, etc.  Can this be done without sacrificing Christian character and identity?  In other words, do we have to speak the same language to work toward a common ethic? Is this materiality the best “public” or “common” ground?  I tend to think so.

At AAR this past November in Chicago, I got to interact with Christine Hinze and others in the ecclesiological investiations group who have attempted to offer Christian theological and ethical critiques of and responses to the financial crisis of 2008.  In my paper I tried to argue that North American emergent church ecclesiology provides a good model for Christian resistance to the financialization of capital that is always threatening to privatize profits and socialize losses. After thinking about this more lately, I wondered if the above diagram couldn’t be transposed ecclesiologically (note the change from “government” on the left to “culture”):

Untitled

Like the previous one, this graph is not sufficient to capture the diversity of ecclesial forms and perspectives in the North American landscape, as it doesn’t include many others such as Catholics, Pentecostals, the Eastern Orthodox Church and so on.  It also fails to consider the ethnic diversity of our ecclesial context.  Moreover, as we’ve seen, the labels of “emergent”, “missional”, and even “evangelical” are often more confusing than clarifying.  In light of the conversation last week though, I do think this layout can be helpful.

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Sojourners, Identity Politics, & Justice: RATT 3

Sojourners caused a stir when they wouldn’t publish a “Believe Out Loud” ad. Jim Wallis attempted to explain the decision but it didn’t ease the tension for everyone.  When I saw Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, First Things, Christianity Today, Peter, David Henson, Chad Holtz, & (my favorite post) Nadia Bolz-Weber all in my RSS feed talking about it I started to blog about it and then I went on a trip with my youth over the weekend.  When I got back one of my awesome youth had changed my mind on the issue (she is uber-brilliant….a junior in High School who loves Kierkegaard!). So here is Rachel Held Evans and I talking about Sojourners, identity politics, the sexuality conversation in the church, justice, and other such stuff in the third episode of RATT!  Enjoy!!

Sojourners, Identity Politics, & Justice: RATT 3 from tripp fuller on Vimeo.

* To be clear I am Welcoming and Embracing of all people and Rachel has NOT said the same thing as me.

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