Charlie Hebdo, NAACP Bombing, SELMA, and…Naked Yoga?

reconcileNew year, new office(s)… The HBCultureCast crew occupy a new recording space, Amy talks about a big change she recently made, yet other things haven’t changed. 2015 is off to a rough start with the massacre of a dozen people at the French satire magazine “Charlie Hebdo” and a bombing at the NAACP office in Colorado Springs. John Stewart recently expressed hope that this year would see an end to the violence that marked 2014, but will it?.

Our interview is with John Paul Lederach about his book Reconcile. Many of our regular listeners will recall that we first aired this piece back in September of 2014, but the content is so timely we felt it deserved another listen. If 2015 is going to be a year of peace, we must actively work for it. Lederach tells us what that work looks like.

In the Echo Chamber, Amy, Christian, and Andy reflect on the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, the lack of press regarding the NAACP bombing in Colorado, and the timeliness of the film SELMA. As they turn to Amy’s Fear of the Week things get a little ragey and a little weird… naked yoga, anyone?

selma-movie-posterFinally, the crew recommends a couple films that you might wanna check out. SELMA promises to be one of the most important films of 2015 and oh so timely. It was just released nationally in theaters. SALINGER offers an in-depth look at the reclusive author’s life, with interviews from people who knew him or were inspired by him. J.D. Salinger was a deeply troubled man and this film explores the events that shaped him. Christian also lets us know that you can sign up now to receive updates on his Jesus Project – just go to myjesusproject.com

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A.J. Jacobs, Sony, Summer Camps, & Semi-Nude Skyping

A. J. JacobsAfter a, um, hiatus of sorts Christian, Amy, and Andy are back to talk about all things important… like summer camp for asthmatics, Beer and Hymns protests, and semi-nude Skype conversations.

This episode’s interview is with A.J. Jacobs – author, journalist, lecturer and human guinea pig. He has written four New York Times bestsellers, including The Year of Living Biblically. He and Christian talk about A.J’s. new global family reunion project, in which he tries to show that we’re all related, quite literally. The project is culminating in a huge gathering in New York on June 6, 2015, and you’re invited! Along the way, they discuss Christian’s new Jesus project – an ambitious year of figuring out what it takes to seriously live like Jesus lived. A.J. has some great advice for Christian as he embarks on this new undertaking. See more of what A.J is up to at his website: http://ajjacobs.com/

In the Echo Chamber, the team weighs in on some important questions: Is the hack on Sony a blessing in disguise? What did the Pope have to do with making Cuba and U.S. kiss and make up? Is there a difference in saying “Black Lives Matter” versus “All Lives Matter”? What should the response of the White Christian Church be?

The crew then talks about UnTappd, Interstellar, Hawking, Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead, Disunity in Christ, God of the Oppressed and The Cross and the Lynching Tree in the Recommendations segment of the show. Finally, Amy’s Fear of the Week Last Three Months is a doozy…

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Beer, Hymns, Protesters and PostChristian in Tulsa? Oh yeah.

Beer and Hymns ProtestersOn Christian’s recent “postChristian” book tour stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he caused quite a stir. No, folks weren’t distressed by his claims of the decline of Christian empire, or his challenges to the religious powers that be…

They were up in arms about serving 3.2 percent beer in (GASP!) church.

The weekend culminated in a Beer and Hymns event at East Side Christian Church (DOC), followed by this live CultureCast recording with Christian, Phillips Theological Seminary’s own Josh Linton, and Amy via Skype. But it also welcomed four local news channels who covered the event, after a local Fox affiliate, and then CNN, took the scandalous story national.

Oh, and aside from the low-point beer, here’s a taste of what we had on tap during the show:

  • A Lesbian universalist minister singing a song on behalf of marriage equality;
  • A discussion about the theological and justice implications of marijuana;
  • A remote “ten in the den,” quiz show, in which Pastor Mark Driscoll features prominently;
  • A handful of Church Sign Epic Fails, and;
  • Amy’s double dose of her Fear of the Week.

We tried to get some of the street protesters picketing outside (no joke) to come join us on the show, but to no avail. So the photo above will have to suffice.

Ahh Tulsa, I love ya, you nut.

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Lederach’s Peace Train…And Coloring with Satan! (CultureCast)

Reconcile CoverThis week on the CultureCast, we welcome special guest John Paul Lederach, international peace activist and negotiator, and author of the popular nonviolence book, “Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians” this book, just reissued with a new foreword from Bill and Lynne Hybels, tells amazing stories, like when rebels groups in central America threatened to kidnap his daughter and how it changed his understanding of scripture forever. He offers some practical advice for how we, too, can live out real reconciliation in our midst, here at home.

Then we get Buddhist on your ass and talk about the Dalai Lama’s recent announcement that, just maybe we don’t need another successor after him. We explore the prospects for the first female NFL commissioner (it’s the consensus in the CultureCast crew that Roger Goodell’s days are numbered), and what happens when you put Rain Man in charge of a wine collection worth six figures.

We also talk about why it is that Florida schools have some new children’s literature circulating about with connect-the-dot pentagrams and goat-head color-by-numbers. Yes, kids, the satanic coloring books are here!

Oh, and of course, Amy has a fear of the week. And guess what…you’re it!

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Ray Rice, Driscoll on Ice and ISIS’ Rise

mark-driscollIt seems this episode is dedicated to all the bad boys out there. Not that we planned it, but between talking about the Ray Rice abuse scandal, Mark Driscoll being on the outs with Mars Hill (and every woman on the planet) and our interview with photojournalist Gregg Brekke, who just got back from Northern Iraq, it seems we’re up to our necks in evildoers.

Thanks George Dubya, for that little gem.

Gregg shares some fascinating stories about his time with the World Council of Churches, preparing a report for the U.N. about displaced Christians – and non-Christians, for that matter – as ISIS plunders their way through one town after another. We get the real scoop on what Iraqi citizens think about U.S. intervention, and we talk about how challenging nonviolence becomes when your family’s life is at risk.

Check out some of Gregg’s incredible photo work from the trip HERE.

Then we move on to the interesting similarities between Ray Rice and Mark Driscoll, or at least between the institutions that have a knack for protecting such destructive behavior when it benefits them. Yeah, Church, I just compared you to the NFL. Suck that bitter medicine down…and like it!

We break out some TV, book and beer recommendations toward the end of the show, bust out a shiny new fear of the week, and Christian shows off his fancy-pants new beer flight sampler trays. His neighbor says he’s now taking orders, so no need to be jealous. Get your own!

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Stupid Quizzes, CCM Missives and Homebrewed Blisses

everydaysunday2013Yeah, the title’s a stretch. So what?

This week’s episode is all Everyday Sunday, all the time. We hung out with Trey and Carter from the uber-popstar band both at Wild Goose (yes, there’s more you haven’t heard yet) and in the garage at Amy and Christian’s place while they were in Oregon for a couple of shows.

First up is a new segment affectionately known as Ten in the Den, where guests are submitted to ten completely subjective questions in Christian’s newly constructed Slacker’s Den (aka, where homebrewers go to die happy), and then scored on their answers based on a system Christian makes up as he feels like it. We learn much about the band in the process though, such as their proclivity for soccer moms, their soft spot for transgender family members and their desire to rename their band the “Rollins Stones.”

Then we just east to Hot Springs North Carolina where Christian reads a post-breakup letter Trey supposedly wrote (you be the judge) to CCM (the Contemporary Christian Music industry) from which he parted about a year ago) to try and patch things up and get back in their good graces. What’s with these commie liberals who love the planet more than penal substitutionary atonement???

Hehe, we said “penal.”

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postChristian, Puberty, and Putin

postChristian - out Aug. 12, 2014This week’s show runs a bit long, but it’s chock full of such good stuff! Like, why do you get sunburned when you go skiing? Amy knows the answer, and it might surprise you… What’s a “keezer” and why are Andy and Christian so geeked out about it? Hear Christian and Amy pile on Andy for bringing his own insulated cup places and putting his pajamas on right after dinner.

Andy and Amy channel their inner Zach Galifianakis and turn the tables on Christian, interviewing him about his forthcoming book postChristian: What’s Left, Can We Fix It, Do We Care? They were, indeed, situated between two ferns. Not to be dissuaded, Christian guides his hapless interviewers through the impetus for the book and how he hopes it adds to the broader conversation regarding what is happening in Christianity right now. Christian talks about the really sweet deal he’s put together for listeners who want him to come talk about the book – he’s going to waive his speaking fee! The book is out August 12, 2014 and can be found through book retailers everywhere. Preorder your copy here.

In the Echo Chamber, the team shares their hopes and fears for their tween kids, slowly coming to grips with the reality that they are on the cusp of having surly, profanity-spewing teenagers sulking around the house. How do Christian parents faithfully guide their children through this time of changes? Things turn even more serious when the team then tries to come up with a Christian answer to Putin and what’s going on in Russia, but their ideas all seem to fall flat. They need your help with some creative, nonviolent responses to the situation there!

 Amy has a “de-recommendation” and Christian has to eat some crow with his recommendation of the week. Amy’s FOTW comes on the end of a really hard week but, as Andy notes, also inspires a bit of hope.

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Jonathan Merritt, Bagel Thins, and Social Media No-Nos

Jonathan MerrittWell, the crew is back together in sunny Oregon after various trips to the east coast. They pick up right where they left off. Christian complains about Bagel Thins (“They’re really just less convenient bread…) and the ridiculous economics of eggs. Andy shares the ethics of his becoming a vegetarian.  Amy brags about her and Zoe’s unmatched ability to come up with names for pets.

Our guest on this week’s show is Jonathan Merritt. Jonathan is an award-winning religion writer who serves as senior columnist for Religion News Service and is a contributor to The Week. He has published more than 1000 articles in respected outlets such as USA Today, The Atlantic, National Journal, Christianity Today, The Washington Post, and CNN.com, and has a new book out, titled Jesus is Better than You Imagined.

In the interview, Christian and Jonathan discuss laws that give businesses permission to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, whether or not evangelical publishers can allow authors to write about particular views that are in conflict with evangelical beliefs (like sexuality) and why Christians seem unwilling or unable to have those conversations. Then they move on to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, corporate personhood, and the mess that results when one tries to apply the term “Christian” to a business. Finally, they discuss Jonathan’s book, which chronicles a period of profound spiritual emptiness that prompts him to go on a journey to find God in unexpected, unpredictable places, and the surprising ways God met him there.

In the Echo Chamber, Christian, Amy, and Andy talk about social media do’s and don’ts, prompted by a recent piece in Wired magazine. What should you do if you have a Google Glass? How many pictures of your kids in your social media stream is acceptable? What in the world is “vaguebooking?”

Finally, there are a couple movie recommendations, one that is currently in theaters, one that’s available on Netflix, and Amy’s creepy, crawly, but sometimes necessary, Fear of the Week.

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