Amanda Bast on Appreciating the Present, the Fear of Terrorism vs. Spiders, and Two Books You Should Read Immediately

This episode has been in the hopper for a bit, so don’t be mad at us for talking about 9/11 and flooding in Colorado.

We start things off strong with a discussion of which gender and sexual orientation is best to get compliments from, an appearance from the famous Mattias Piatt, who provides some advice on breaking arms.

Our guest this week is Amanda Bast, an extremely funny writer who’s article “26, Unmarried, and Childless” blew up Converge Magazine, garnering over a million views in four days. Amanda discusses the article, which questions our culture’s approach to constant concern over what’s next, what it’s like to have a blog post go extremely viral, and what it’s like to be a young teacher in Ontario, Canada.

In the Echo Chamber, we reflect on 9/11, and specifically the overreaction and fear the attacks engender in Americans 13 years later. Then I ranted about how Americans should be brave.

In a change of pace, Christian takes this week’s Fear o’ the Week, and he’s scared of spider season. Especially the succulent ones. Then, the gang recommends some books, particularly Nadia Bolz-Weber’s bestselling Pastrix, and 1491, a book about the Americas before Columbus landed that will blow your mind and change everything you know about the people who lived here before white folks showed up and accidentally killed nearly all of them.

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The NSA, the End of DOMA, Filibusters, and Don Draper

Protesters In Texas Statehouse Block Texas Lawmakers From Passing Abortion BillWe have all sorts of stuff to discuss this week, and with Amy sidelined due to carousing, Christian and I tackled it all alone.

Okay, not entirely alone. We bring back Mike Collins, the hacker extraordinaire who explained Bitcoin a few months ago, to discuss Edward Snowden, the intelligence analyst who’s currently hiding out from the feds in Moscow. Mike gives us insight into why Snowden is viewed as a heroic whistleblower by so many Americans, and why the whole government monitoring program wasn’t particularly surprising.

Later, on a long Echo Chamber sequence, we discuss the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act, and why everyone loves filibusters (assuming you side with certain politics). We also discuss abortion, which is obviously a thorny subject. After that, I was really excited to discuss the bizarre Mad Men‘s Season 6 finale. If you don’t want to hear spoilers, skip everything from the 48 minute mark to around 59:15.

And finally Amy emerges from the shadows to discuss the utter horror of sending her son on a trip alone.

Jay Bakker, Exodus International, and Twitter Wars Between Patton Oswalt and a Youth Pastor

We don’t usually drink while recording the podcast since it’s usually morning. But this was late afternoon this time, so we all sipped some Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti and some Fire Mountain Summer IPA. Things…get a little sloppy. I won’t give too much away, but some violence ensued, and it’s all captured on tape. You will not be disappointed.

Christian also had to interview Jay Bakker alone, which maybe he should do more often, because it was awesome. Jay opens up about his new book, Faith/Doubt, and Other Lines I’ve Crossed, his life and evolving theology, and why Exodus International once brought him in to speak without knowing his stance on homosexuality. Jay weighs in on their recent apology before we discuss it further in the Echo Chamber.

So, yeah, we talk about about Exodus International. And then, the violence occur in all its terrible, terrible glory.

Then, in a conversation where I get a little rambly, I try and explain the bizarre Twitter war waged on @ProdigalSam, a South Carolina youth pastor who drew fire from the likes of Patton Oswalt for plagiarizing tweets. I won’t get into it here, because I talked about it far too long in the podcast.

Then, to close things out, Christian and Amy talk about seeing Patty Griffin the night before, and two super-secret surprise guests stop in! (SPOILER ALERT: It’s my wife and daughter.)

(DISCLAIMER: At the end of the episode, I make some remarks about my daughter, Lana, talking like a baby. I just want to be clear that I’m not being nearly as mean to my three year-old as it seems. She sometimes talks like a baby to tease me. Just wanted to make that clear.)

Frank Schaeffer, Arrested Development, and the Red Wedding

This week we welcome the great Frank Schaeffer to discuss modern art, the fight against human trafficking, and why we aren’t outraged about tech companies Frank compares to “modern day slave ships”. It’s an illuminating discussion, and it goes long because everything Frank was saying was awesome.

Later, Amy is afraid of drowning, so none of us should ever go underwater again.

In the Echo Chamber, we’re discussing Game of Thrones and the 9th episode, which rocked everyone’s world. (If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones, skip the show from about the 47:50 mark to the 54:00 minute mark). Then it’s on to the resurrected Arrested Development, and the gang is decidedly split so far.


Stephanie Drury, Overly Religious Bakers, Portland is Evil, and Cheerleaders

After a two week recording hiatus, the gang is back together, and Amy starts everything off with a harrowing story of survival and triumph of the human spirit at a female pastor’s retreat.

Our guest this week is the very funny Stephanie Drury who blogs at Stuff Christian Culture Likes¬†and also runs @FakeDriscoll on Twitter. We had a number of things to discuss, from Christian men who want women to dress more modestly to why Mark Driscoll is legitimately dangerous to the documentary Holy Rollers, which features Stephanie’s husband and a Christian blackjack crew.

We’re pleased to introduce a new feature: Amy’s Fear o’ the Week. (Spoiler alert: it’s bees.) In the Echo Chamber, we run through a host of topics: the similarities between narrative in pornography and Christian art; Portland’s role as the least Christian city in the United States; more wedding cake makers who refuse to provide cakes for gay couples; and whether or not high school cheerleaders should be able to plaster Bible verses all over those really elaborate banners cheerleaders always make. The last point turns into a discussion of free speech and the separation of church and state.

In the final act, I talk a bit about my new blog, The Burnsider, and Amy has a story about seeing Stevie Wonder on her plane.



Bitcoin, Doritos Locos Tacos, and the Best Strip Club Review You’ll Ever Hear

Is Bitcoin the one-world currency mentioned in the Book of Revelation? Are vegan strip clubs as good as advertised? Are Doritos Locos Tacos delicious? Is Amy Piatt having a bad week?

Find out, on this week’s episode of the CultureCast!

This is a different show than we’ve ever done. For one, we recorded outside. For two, I mostly edited the episode, which is why this show took so damn long to get out. It was a learning process.

Our guest is Christian’s grade school friend, professional hacker Mike Collins, who’s here to tell us about BitCoin, an entirely online currency that was just made up by a bunch of dudes. We also discuss a bunch of other stuff, including where progressive Christian thought is headed and if it’s at all relevant in a world where the center of Christianity is shifting toward the Eastern and Southern Hemispheres. This somehow devolved into me imagining a sci-fi scenario where there’s a statue of Christian Piatt in Tiananmen Square 140 years into the future.

Oh, and we talk about Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, which we are all fans of.