Anne Rice on Quitting Christianity: Homebrewed Christianity 83

This week, we’re privileged to have Anne Rice come on, interviewed by Mike Morrell. Rice is one of the most read authors in modern history … her books have sold over 130 million copies. She is best known for the gothic genre, but in recent years, after coming out publicly as a person of faith, has begun a series chronicling the life of Jesus. Recently, Anne made waves by posting an update on Facebook to announce that she was no longer going to be part of organized Christianity … ‘in the name of Christ.’

For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.

(via Anne’s Facebook Page, July 28)

It was surprising to hear that she tries to read every comment on her page! The above post alone has over 1500 comments and she posts several times a day. It certainly is an important hub online where people are hashing out what it means to be a follower of Jesus when there’s so much within Christianity to be embarrassed about. This is a great conversation … enjoy.

Recent volumes from Anne Rice:

Preorder:  Of Love and Evil (Songs of the Seraphim)
Angel Time
Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana
Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt

And thanks to Mike Morrell for doing the interview. Normally we bestow the title ‘friend of the podcast’ for contributing an interview. It’s a little more relational than ‘correspondent.’ But I think it’s getting more serious with Mike. We might be getting close to ‘boyfriend of the podcast’ status. Here’s another great interview Mike did with Kevin Prosch.

In the intro, Ryan Parker joins me to talk about what’s going on over at PopTheology.com, and he has a sweet offer for you. The 25th person to DM PopTheology on Twitter with their mailing address gets a free copy of AD: New Orleans After the Deluge. Ryan promises not to send you junk mail and will not keep the addresses.

Saving a Genre
Ryan’s review of the Christian film, To Save a Life, from New Song Community Church in Oceanside, CA

Being (Really) Human
Pop Theology contributor Richard Lindsay’s review of the BBC America series Being Human

Tripp could not be with us this time. He's busy fishing in the heartland. Check out this monster.

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John D. Caputo Returns: Homebrewed Christianity 82

John Caputo stops by for a sweet second coming on the podcast, interviewed by our friend Callid Keefe-Perry from TheImageofFish.com. And while I was touring the Midwest and rocking it out at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (hence AC/DC music) in Cleveland, Tripp and Callid caught up with each other for the intro.

Dr. Caputo is a professor at Syracuse University, ‘a hybrid philosopher/theologian intent on producing impure thoughts, thoughts which circulate between philosophy and theology, short-circuits which deny fixed and rigorous boundaries between philosophy and theology.’ The first time he stopped by, the focus was on The Weakness of God. This time, the topic is what he’s working on now, a follow up volume … The Fate of All Flesh: A Theology of the Event II.

Just for fun, Callid asks some of our nerdier listeners to give us a word count before and after he gets fired up, because Dr. Caputo’s responses get progressively more intense throughout.

If you haven’t heard his first visit on Homebrewed, you can find it here.

Works by Caputo:

The Weakness of God
Against Ethics
The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida
What Would Jesus Deconstruct?

Bonus:

You’ll find a nice excursus download … the final 17 mins. of Callid’s interview … on Baudrillard’s versus Caputo’s hyperrealism, among other great tidbits, and more awesome Caputo links, over at TheImageofFish.com.

If you dig the podcast and Caputo, here are all of the mp3 downloads of his lectures.

And here’s a related promotion from Callid:

Caputo asked that I try to promote the Call for Papers for an upcoming conference he is co-hosting around the future of philosophical thought. He is particularly interested in younger voices being present, so lets send him a whole host of interesting things to read!

As always if you have any comments about this episode, or any ideas for future episodes, give us a call at 678-590-BREW. Leave a message and you might hear yourself on the next Homebrewed Christianity.

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Andrew Root on the Promise of Despair: Homebrewed Christianity 81

The Promise of DespairThis week our guest is Andrew Root, who is Associate Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He joins us to talk about his new book, ‘The Promise of Despair: The Way of the Cross as the Way of the Church.

As Tripp puts it in the interview, Andrew Root makes death sexy again. They talk about the ‘deaths’ that our culture is currently experiencing: of meaning, authority, belonging, and identity. Through coming to terms with these cultural deaths, the Church can find how God is active in the world and better embody the ministry of Christ.  Using Luther’s theology of the cross, he challenges the church to identify with suffering in the world, because God is made known in despair.

Order a copy of ‘The Promise of Despair.’

Also, check out Tony Jones’ and Jake Bouma’s posts on the book.

More from Andrew Root:

Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry
Relationships Unfiltered: Help for Youth Workers, Volunteers, and Parents on Creating Authentic Relationships
Children of Divorce, The: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being (Youth, Family, and Culture)

Also check out Baptimergent: Baptist Stories from the Emergent Frontier

Coming up next time we’ll have a guest interviewer, Callid Keefe-Perry interviewing John Caputo!

If you have any comments about this episode or the podcast in general, or just want to give a shout out, call our new phone number at 678-590-BREW! Leave a message and we might play your call on a future episode.

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Stuff Liberal Christians Like: #2 Coexist Stickers

Very few would argue that Liberal Christians have the upper hand when it comes to religious merchandise. Those other Christians have the most sales in bumper stickers and T-shirts. There’s a lot of money in “putting a God-spin on popular secular ideas.”

The formula is fairly simple for youth ministers in this group … take a hit TV show like LOST, make it the theme for X-treme Summer Camp 2010, throw an evangelistic Bible verse like Acts 4:12 after it, and there it is … a T-shirt is printed that’s all the rage. This approach might look cheesy to some, but it’s key for maintaining that crucial relevant-but-not-worldly balance.

God is not a Republican

Cut off the red part.

For the most part, Liberal Christians are content with letting the other Christians have the corner on the cheesy merchandise market. But a few notable exceptions exist. One is the ‘God is not a Republican…or a Democrat’ sticker … although Liberal Christians often think they’re supposed to circle one or cut part of it off prior to application.

Then, there are the ‘Coexist’ stickers, which are very popular among Liberal Christians and their spiritual-but-not-religious friends. Liberal Christians like these stickers because they like the idea of diversity, and really like counting how many friends they can possess from the other religions represented (possible future posts).

You might find yourself looking to play a good joke on a Liberal Christian. Your desire is not surprising, because they make good targets. They … along with their conservative counterparts … like being offended (possible future post).

You already know how to identify one. All you need to do now is obtain an evangelistic version of the sticker, which puts a God-spin on the popular ‘Coexist’ decal. The evangelistic version says, ‘Convert,’ rather than, ‘Coexist,’ and comes complete with ‘Acts 4:12′ across the top.

  1. Approach the Liberal Christian’s car when he’s not around.
  2. Carefully apply the sticker over the original.
  3. Then, just wait days … or sometimes weeks … for him to notice.

You might even get to be there to see the look of horror when someone asks him about it.

Thanks to Pastor Mack for suggesting this post. Leave any suggestions you have for future SLCL posts in the comments. What’s your favorite Liberal Christian merchandise?

If you like this kind of stuff, grab a copy of the book, Stuff Christians Like, by Jon Acuff.

…And speaking of stickers…Get a free Homebrewed Christianity sticker!

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Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove on the Wisdom of Stability: Homebrewed Christianity 80

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a voice in the new monastic movement. He’s an author, speaker, North Carolinian, and Duke Divinity grad, who visits us to talk about his new book The Wisdom of Stability.

In The Wisdom of Stability, Wilson-Hartgrove illuminates the biblical and monastic understanding of why staying in one place is both a virtue, and good for you. “For the Christian tradition,” he writes, “the heart’s true home is a life rooted in the love of God.” When we cultivate an inner stability of heart, by rooting ourselves in the places where we live, engaging the people we are with, and by the simple rhythms of tending to body and soul, true growth can happen. The Wisdom of Stability is a must-read for pastors, leaders, and anyone seeking an authentic path of Christian transformation.

Check out Jana Riess’ Q&A with Jonathan.

Pick up a copy of The Wisdom of Stability at your local bookstore or here.

Also check out Baptimergent. Thanks Amy for calling in and talking about your chapter!

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Stuff Liberal Christians Like: #1 Saying, “I’m Not One of Those Christians.”

A Dinner Party

Liberal Christians get nervous when outing themselves as Christians. They choose their words carefully, since often it occurs at a dinner party with their spiritual-but-not-religious friends.

With this crowd, the conversation can accelerate from sushi to spirituality in 5 seconds. That’s fast for a Liberal Christian. If you ask her whether she practices Buddhism or Kabbalism, you’ll catch her off-guard, and she’ll answer, “Christianity.” But then, apologetically, she’ll add, “But…I’m not one of those Christians.”

By “those Christians,” she means that she’s not about to tell you, ‘If you died tonight, and you’ve ever broken one of The Ten, you’ll go to hell for eternity, unless you say some magic words.’

In order to make the situation less awkward and the Liberal Christian feel comfortable, you should say, “Yeah, Jesus was a liberal…”

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Coming This Summer: Stuff Liberal Christians Like

Apple LogoFirst, there was ‘Stuff White People Like.’

Then, ‘Stuff Christians Like.’

Soon, we at Homebrewed Christianity will bring you ‘Stuff Liberal Christians Like.’

I was just pitching the idea to Tripp about this new series and we thought of a ton of ideas for titles: from ‘Having token friends from other religions’ to ‘Reading Daily Kos on an iPad.’

Drop your ideas for ‘Stuff Liberal Christians Like’ in the comments section and we’ll make it happen.

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The Search for Meaning and Why to Believe in Others

I saw this video on TED and thought it was an ‘idea worth spreading’ … it’s from a 1972 talk by holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl.

My dad's plane

Having flown in a kit aircraft my dad built, I’m familiar with what it’s like to be a passsenger landing in crosswind. So here’s a video of some gnarly crosswind landings just for fun:

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Jeremiah and the Oilpocalypse

Jeremiah 2

The word of the Lord came to me, saying: 2Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord:
I remember the devotion of your youth,
your love as a bride,
how you followed me in the wilderness,
in a land not sown.

Activist steps through oil on a beach along the Gulf of Mexico on May 20, 2010 near Venice, Louisiana. (John Moore/Getty Images)

3Israel was holy to the Lord,
the first fruits of his harvest.
All who ate of it were held guilty;
disaster came upon them,

says the Lord.

Natural gas from the damaged Deepwater Horizon wellhead is burned off by the drillship Discoverer Enterprise May 16, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast Louisiana. (Patrick Kelley/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

4 Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5Thus says the Lord:
What wrong did your ancestors find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
6They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that no one passes through,
where no one lives?’

Heron

A young heron sits dying amidst oil splattering underneath mangrove on an island impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Barataria Bay, along the the coast of Louisiana on Sunday, May 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

7I brought you into a plentiful land
to eat its fruits and its good things.
But when you entered you defiled my land,
and made my heritage an abomination.
8The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who handle the law did not know me;
the rulers transgressed against me;
the prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after things that do not profit.

Oil is seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico about six miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana May 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Sean Gardner)

9Therefore once more I accuse you,

says the Lord,
and I accuse your children’s children.

Kid

Bridget Hargrove of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, her four-year-old son Ayden and one-year-old daughter, Emma, wade in baby pools away from the oil contaminated Gulf of Mexico on Grand Isle beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana on May 21, 2010. Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle said the town has closed its beach effective from noon Friday due to the presence of oil on the beach. (REUTERS/Sean Gardner)

10Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
send to Kedar and examine with care;
see if there has ever been such a thing.
11Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for something that does not profit.
12Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
be shocked, be utterly desolate,

says the Lord,
13for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living water,
and dug out cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns

that can hold no water.

A ship's wake cuts through a pattern of oil near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico Monday, May 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

14Is Israel a slave? Is he a home-born servant?
Why then has he become plunder?
15The lions have roared against him,
they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.
16Moreover, the people of Memphis and Tahpanhes
have broken the crown of your head.
17Have you not brought this upon yourself
by forsaking the Lord your God,
while he led you in the way?
18What then do you gain by going to Egypt,
to drink the waters of the Nile?
Or what do you gain by going to Assyria,
to drink the waters of the Euphrates?
19Your wickedness will punish you,
and your apostasies will convict you.
Know and see that it is evil and bitter
for you to forsake the Lord your God;
the fear of me is not in you,

says the Lord God of hosts.

Surface Oil

A helicopter flies over surface oil in this aerial view over the Gulf of Mexico, May 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace) #

20For long ago you broke your yoke
and burst your bonds,
and you said, ‘I will not serve!’
On every high hill
and under every green tree
you sprawled and played the whore.
21Yet I planted you as a choice vine,
from the purest stock.
How then did you turn degenerate
and become a wild vine?
22Though you wash yourself with lye
and use much soap,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,

says the Lord God.

hands

Boat captain Preston Morris shows the oil on his hands while collecting surface samples from the marsh of Pass a Loutre, Louisiana on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

23How can you say, ‘I am not defiled,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way in the valley;
know what you have done…
a restive young camel interlacing her tracks,
24 a wild ass at home in the wilderness,
in her heat sniffing the wind!
Who can restrain her lust?
None who seek her need weary themselves;
in her month they will find her.
25Keep your feet from going unshod
and your throat from thirst.
But you said, ‘It is hopeless,
for I have loved strangers,
and after them I will go.’

Feet

Specks of oil stick onto the foot of Maggie Grace Hurdle, 8, of Rosedale, Louisiana, as she walks along a beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana May 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Sean Gardner)

26As a thief is shamed when caught,
so the house of Israel shall be shamed…
they, their kings, their officials,
their priests, and their prophets,
27who say to a tree, ‘You are my father’,
and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their backs to me,
and not their faces.
But in the time of their trouble they say,
‘Come and save us!’
28But where are your gods
that you made for yourself?
Let them come, if they can save you,
in your time of trouble;
for you have as many gods
as you have towns, O Judah.

Oil

Oil is scooped out of a marsh impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Redfish Bay along the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, May 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

29Why do you complain against me?
You have all rebelled against me,

says the Lord.
30In vain I have struck down your children;
they accepted no correction.
Your own sword devoured your prophets
like a ravening lion.
31And you, O generation, behold the word of the Lord!
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
or a land of thick darkness?
Why then do my people say, ‘We are free,
we will come to you no more’?
32Can a girl forget her ornaments,
or a bride her attire?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
days without number.

Sunrise

The sun rises over an oil-soaked beach on May 23, 2010 on Grand Isle, Louisiana. (John Moore/Getty Images)


Sources:
Oil reaches Louisiana shores
Jeremiah 2 (NRSV)

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Dear, dear, dear Texas. Are you serious!?

Dear Texas Board of Education,

I’m a Christian first, and a Texan a close second. I know I live in California now, but I’m still a Texan at heart. I might have posted a snarky thing or two about Gov. Perry, but I love my home state.

I’ve been following the stories about the Board of Education’s concern over the liberal bias in our history textbooks. As a Baptist, I was a little, OK a lot, upset that you want to rewrite our nation’s history to exclude Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum because of his championing of the separation of church and state. Baptists historically have fought for religious liberty for all, because we believe that coerced faith does not equal true faith in Jesus.

But now I read that you are changing the words ‘slave trade’ to ‘Atlantic triangular trade.’

And this doesn’t just affect Texas … a big portion of the country will be studying this curriculum.

Human history is filled with Texas-sized epic fails. Pretending they don’t exist only makes it more likely to repeat these terrible acts.

Texas is known for two things: it’s independence and enormity. Let’s be independent of this kind of pride and enormous in humility, love, and our willingness to learn, giving us true reason to be proud Texans.

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