Flipped LIVE w/ Doug Pagitt & Heatherlyn

Doug Pagitt has FLIPPED his view of God and thinks that you should too!FlippedDoug

In this episode, Doug and Heatherlyn join Tripp and Bo at the Loft LA for conversation and presentation about turning our notion of God on its head.

Check out Heatherlyn’s FaceBook page and Website for more of her music. Around the 40′ mark Chris Spearman chats with her about artistry and church music.

You can catch their traveling book tour in these upcoming cities:

  • Phoenix
  • Albuquerque
  • Colorado Springs
  • Denver
  • Boulder
  • Omaha
  • Portland
  • Seattle
  • Philadelphia
  • Carolina Beach
  • Grand Rapids

We are thrilled to have the Wesley Theological Seminary’s DMin program sponsoring the podcast. Head on over to this Washington DC institution of theological learning to hear more about getting your learn on.

bWN5CthuMake sure you check out our sponsor Deidox Films. They create short films take show how different disciples in different walks of life embody their faith. If you like using films in your teaching, preaching or learning then get wise and click on over.


Carrie Newcomer – A Permeable Life

carrie1Referred to as a “prairie mystic” by the Boston Globe and characterized by Rolling Stone as someone who “asks all the right questions,” Carrie Newcomer is a singer-songwriter that brings her spirituality to the same table as her songwriting. Callid got a chance to talk to Carrie about her new book and album, both called A Permeable Life. The book is full of great pieces of prose and poetry that she wrote while developing the album.A_Permeable_Life_book_cover

The interview is addresses her writing practices, the ways in which questioning can be a form of faithfulness, and how sometimes the best we can do is to just keep going on. She also shares two songs and does a great reading about an amazing moment of clarity.

Thank you to THE WORK OF THE PEOPLE for sponsoring the podcast.  They are an independent ecumenical platform that produces and publishes multimedia to stir imagination, spark discussion and move people toward discovery and transformation. Go HERE and get a free 30 day trial of this most awesome digital service.




Frank Schaeffer on Art, Music, Irony, and Satire


The HBCC crew is back down to three as Jess the Intern and Philip the Page are movin’ on up. Christian, Amy, and Andy hold down the fort, though. Today’s show features an interview with artist, author, film director, theologian, and all-around badass, Frank Schaeffer. He has a new book out, Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God, and joins the show to talk a whole range of topics, from art to music to fundamentalism and more.

Christian and Frank explore the difference between irony and satire, finding it difficult to come up with any hard and fast rules. They explore the work of glass sculptor Dave Chihuly and contrast that with Marcel Duchamp’s absurdist sculptures. Frank talks about his new book and why he’s never met an atheist or an evangelical.

Check out Frank Schaeffer’s art at FrankSchaefferArt.com and look for the Homebrewed Crew at Wild Goose Festival at the end of this month where we will be recording a live episode with Tripp and Bo!

Thanks to Philips Theological Seminary and Wild Goose Festival for their continued sponsorships. Interested in setting captives free? Come check them both PTS and WGF out at the Wild Goose Festival June 26-29 in Hot Springs, North Carolina and find out how you can learn and live liberation.

This week’s show also brought to you by, CrowdScribedCrowdScribed publishes better books by bringing readers and authors together early in the creative process. Beyond traditional publishing, beyond self publishing, there’s Crowd Publishing. Leverage the power of the crowd to publish your book the way it was meant to be published. Enter the current Author Challenge to win a $5,000 publishing deal and get mentored by Frank Schaeffer. For more information, visit www.crowdscribed.com.


TNT: Doing Spiritual Stuff In The Real World w/ Barry Taylor

The title says it all: Doing Spiritual Stuff In The Real World w/ Barry Taylor.TNT

Barry Taylor.  On doing stuff.  Stuff we call ‘spiritual’.  In the real world.


This is a really interesting conversation with one of our favorite conversation partners. It was also the warm-up for our evening with Reza Aslan.


We want to thank the Loft LA for hosting us and The Young Romans for providing great music for the evening.

Come to the homepage of HomeBrewedChristianity.com to leave us your comments and questions on the Speakpipe (click on the little microphone).

A video will soon be available for those who want to take in all of the 3-D goodness!


*** 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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It’s Not Miley That I Am Worried About

If you saw the VMA award’s show on Sunday night you will know what I am writing about. Miley Cyrus stages her best impression of Madonna  – who (by the way) was the top earning female performer last year over Gaga and Katy Perry – for the broadcast. Miley VMA

But that is not the point … at least not initially.

My concern is about my pre-teen and teenaged girls who watch her and imitate what she does.


There is plenty of conversation out there about the effect that her antics might have on emerging generations. I get that.

My concern is not generated from a holiness, pietistic or modesty-oriented perspective. I am under the impression that we need to address female sexuality with a 21st century ethic that is free from the bonds of “who gives this women to married this day” morality standards of patriarchal repressive ‘Leave It To Beaver’ era domesticity.

My concern is much deeper. I am concerned with young women – who I know by name – and what they picture when they think of ‘female’ and ‘sexuality’. 

Unfortunately, none of them have read Baudrillard. More telling, none of them probably know who Andy Warhol is. Which is a shame because even more than ‘Reviving Ophelia’ (of which they also have no awareness) they are impacted so deeply by the issues that Baudrillard addresses.

In Baudrillard’s view “identity is increasingly dependant upon images” and this leads to replication, imitation and simulation.  This is marked off in four stages:

  1. the first is faithful copies
  2. the second is a perversion of reality
  3. the third is an absence of profound reality (but where there is a pretension to a faithful copy)
  4. and the final stage is pure simulation.

This is the concept of simulacra - which is composed of all “references with no referents, a hyperreality.”

Simulacra and Simulation explains:

Simulation, Baudrillard claims, is the current stage of the simulacrum: All is composed of references with no referents, a hyperreality. Progressing historically from the Renaissance, in which the dominant simulacrum was in the form of the counterfeit—mostly people or objects appearing to stand for a real referent (for instance, royalty, nobility, holiness, etc.) that does not exist, in other words, in the spirit of pretense, in dissimulating others that a person or a thing does not really “have it”—to the industrial revolution, in which the dominant simulacrum is the product, the series, which can be propagated on an endless production line; and finally to current times, in which the dominant simulacrum is the model, which by its nature already stands for endless reproducibility, and is itself already reproduced.

In other words – the original has been reproduced so many times (simulation) that the concept itself has been corrupted and the reproductions are increasingly corrupted to the point that the original is almost unrecognizable.

And the further this continues, the less reality is contained in the imitations. They become references to references and, at some point, become copies of copies which have no intrinsic value within themselves.

Miley Cyrus’ performance is, therefore, not the end of the line.

It is the penultimate in a long line of reproductions. 


I am not concerned with Miley’s performance Sunday night. It was simply a poor imitation of a real mold. What I am concerned with is those who might imitate her poor impression. This is the clear cross-over from simulation to Simulacra and hyper-reality.

I’m not concerned with Miley’s performance or her fame (even a simulation of  a Madonna-like performance in order to access her level of fame).  I am concerned with those pre-teen and teenage girls who want to be famous (first and foremost) and who think they need to be imitate that behavior (simulate) in order to do so (stimulate).

I am not concerned with Miley’s or Madonna’s sexuality. That is what it is.  I will even say that the latter is specimen and the former is a simulation. What I am concerned with the Simulacra that is to follow.


2 quick notes:  

1) I know that some people hate Wikipedia links but for the audience I am most concerned with, it is the accessible.
2) I know that there is a whole conversation to be had about reproduction in art. We will do that some other time. 



Diversity, The Synthesizer, and Popular Culture

This is a guest post by Jonnie Russell.

All the talk of diversity in the past few weeks got me thinking about it in the context of popular culture and our consumption of the arts.

Whether it’s the hunger for relevance or the honest desire to deconstruct the secular/ sacred divide, ‘religion in popular culture’ and ‘popular culture in religion’ are sexy topics in Christian institutions and the hipper pulpits.

In my experience the way Christians often engage here is by looking for value similarity: we look for points of value or moral agreement between what we find (or find profoundly lacking) in a given cultural artifact and some ‘Christian’ value. We find things we can get behind, that scratch Christian itches, that we can cohabitate with, that image the divine, or that can be transformed (big time buzz word).  Apart from the (for some dubious) theological commitments these perspectives betray, why does this model seem to fall flat when it comes to our consumptive lives?  Even worse, why is the ‘transformational model’ so often just plain cheesy and trite?popular culture

Just like the economic and social context more generally, I think it is the failure to think systemically.  I think the value-similarity approach needs to be subverted and replaced by more systemic approach. What we need is not transformation but deformation.   Let me sketch what I mean by way of looking at the music industry, the corner of popular culture I’ve spent some time in.

While popular culture is notoriously hard to define, it is invariably a post industrial revolution phenomenon. It developed as mass culture was enabled via urbanization and industrialization. It is essentially hegemonic (the output of a dominant group) and homogenizing (a force that creates uniformity).

In the context of the music industry, it’s a system that’s constantly reading the pulse of folk culture (relatively grassroots cultural movements), taking burgeoning sounds that begin to garner more appeal, distilling and smoothing out their rough edges, and serving them to a broader audience.  It’s a dialectical dance of monitoring, co-opting, and repackaging.  In this way, it actually gets easier for the industry to maintain control the more its outputs (what’s been ‘made mass’) monopolize the creative sources the ever continuing burgeoning movements at the folk level are drawing on.  It’s kind of like Monsanto corn, if you’re familiar with the horrible atrocities its seed monopolizing causes. 

The synthesizer as an artifact of music history provides an interesting example of the process of homogenization.  Originally engineered in the mid 1960’s, the music synthesizer modulates voltage to produce unique synthetic, quite un-acoustic, sounds.  Through oscillation and manipulation, sound waves change shape and produce terrifically unique electronic sounds. Add melodic structures, and electronic music is born.  In the hands of pop music producers, what was (and is) an extremely unique and wildly polymorphous instrument is being used in a much more homogenized way in both tone and melody.  The current surge in popularity of electronic music on pop radio shows this plainly.  The whole genre is passed through a funnel or filter, so to speak, creating a top 40 version—synth music by numbers.

Now the Christian music industry (is there still one?) simply went about mirroring the modes and systems of popular culture music with a Christian veneer.  It built it’s own (less successful) hegemony. The value- similarity approach assumes the system as it stands and goes looking for artists or ideas to get along with and praise in sermon or lecture illustrations. But perhaps what we need is not transformation of values, but a deformation of the hegemonic system itself.

No doubt, the danger of simply repackaging the hipster/indie argument is looming here right? Lord knows we don’t simply need to say, “Buy indie music and support local bands in the same way you go to the farmers market.” By all means do it, but can we say more?

Can we perhaps use Jesus’ radically inclusive table ministry as a model for our consumptive lives, in this case regarding what we purchase and support? Many have shown just how radical Jesus’ table fellowship with marginalized peoples was, and how he embodied a prophetic and inclusive social ethic that disrupted the fundamental social fabric of his context. This is particularly potent in Luke 7 wherein he receives the sinful woman in and among the elites, in a Pharisee’s home.  Here he is not simply forsaking the elites, opting for a different structure of engagement by choosing a different community, but de-centering the elites exclusivity by foisting the presence of the woman in and among them.

He is rupturing the strictures around how a well-run dinner party happens among the elites of his day.  His social economy is shown to be wildly astructural and uncompromising in its inclusion; it is the dissolution of hegemony.

In the context of the hegemonic structure of the music industry, a Christian ethic centered on creating social space for the marginalized, advocating for asystematic diversity, and wild (un-homogenized) aesthetic inclusion should be foundational. Just as a dinner party of only elites will not do, so a docile hegemonic popular culture environment will not do. It needs to be winsomely deformed. (I know I risk sounding manifesto-ish here)

Can advocacy for artistic diversity in and of itself be considered fundamentally Christian even when the value symbiosis doesn’t obtain? Can we think beyond moralizing? Presumably Jesus hadn’t sorted out whether his values perfectly cohered with the woman’s in Luke 7 before he became her advocate.

At the very least the shift from a value-similarity to a system-deforming conception of our consumptive lives might make room for exciting new artistic developments to flourish a bit—the aesthetic analog to biodiversity.  Wild cross pollination makes for good music and Christians should advocate for that.


Jonnie Russell was a founding member & guitar player in the band Cold War Kids from 2005-2011 & has a Masters in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary where he focused on philosophical theology. Stephen Keating recently got him to start a twitter account @JBoRussell


It’s Not Mumford, It’s the Music Industry: Whiteness

I think a lot about issues of race, gender and class. I read about it and talk it over with people every week. I am working my way through an expensive program in order to write my dissertation about it.  I care about matters of diversity and justice a great deal. mumford_and_sons

Ever since talking to my mentor, Randy Woodley at Wild Goose West last fall I have been thinking about this a little differently. Then with the happenings of the Emergent Christianity thing in Memphis … I thought I would bring out what I have been whittling away at in my workshop.
This is something I am working on and I would love your constructive feedback. 

The problem isn’t Brian McLaren speaking at a conference.
The problem is if everyone speaking at the conference looks like McLaren.

The problem isn’t reading a book by a white guy.
The problem is only reading books by white guys.*

The problem isn’t having a man speak up front at church.
The problem is if we only hear men speak from up front at church.

You don’t even listen to podcasts! 

Here is what I want to avoid. There was some grumbling on facebook when The Culture Cast was released and it turned out that both Jordan and Christian were white guys. Ironically, almost all the grumbling came from white guys – but that is a different issue.

One female friend said “where are the women podcasters?”

I suggested that since it was a concern of hers … why didn’t she tell us some recommendations.  Why is she asking a question?

She responded that she didn’t listen to podcasts.

I was stunned.

I asked “then why do you care? What difference would it make to you?”

It would be like me complaining their aren’t enough black NACSAR drivers. I don’t watch NASCAR. I don’t even know how many black drivers there are. That reality is irrelevant to my existence.

I think that we need to care deeply about things that we are invested in. There are too many issues that matter for too much for us to get tangled in controversies vicariously.


We don’t except tokens.

We need to be careful of tokenism. Let me be clear on this: if you are group of white people who have organized a conference, already have 10 white speakers lined up and then think ‘we need some color – let’s see if we can get Randy Woodley’ … that is token.  Randy got no say in the direction and organization nor had any power or influence. You just want to put a microphone in his face and have him do his schtick.

Token is an afterthought that serves primarily to help one feel good about being able to check off a box. If Randy was on the organizing committee – trust me the no conference would look the same.

In contrast to ‘token’ let me offer 3 examples:

  • Anthony Smith is an emergent voice and influence. He was in the movement before me and helped bring me in. That is not token. That is influence. Anthony Smith is influential.
  • When Tripp and I organized the Emergent Village Theological Conversation we said “Monica Coleman is our marquee speaker, our cornerstone, our prima donna.” And we did not do anything until she agreed to be our first round draft pick. She got session 1 to start the conference to set the tone and she got session 5 to end the conference so that she had the final word. We built the conference around that structure. We then invited others to come in around her.
  • When we inherited the Phoenix Big-Tent Christianity event many of the speakers were already in place. It was great to have Richard Rohr, Marcus Borg and Brian McLaren to boost ticket sales. But we wanted to highlight some voices that people had not heard a lot before. So, for instance, we structured the actual sessions that one of the ‘marquee’ voices was asking questions of one of the ‘emerging’ voices. For many people, that was the first time they had heard of Rachel Held-Evans. I will never forget watching her debate Marcus Borg about church folks understanding of creation!


I’m with the band. 

Here is my big point:
The problem isn’t that Mumford and Sons are all white guys. We have to look at the way that bands form. It makes sense that the guys of Mumford connect and play.

The problem is if every band on the radio is white guys.

The problem isn’t that Bono is a white guy or that U2 are all white guys.

The problem is if every band on a record label is a bunch of white guys.

We have to learn to distinguish between how a band come together and how the music industry functions.

We also need to do this for church … and for christian conferences.

No conference or podcast is or can be the full expression of the kingdom on earth. It is not nor can it be heaven. It is not supposed to be. Like no band can play every type of music …

I understand our desire for diversity – I just want us to manage our expectations. Our problem isn’t with Mumford and Sons, it’s with the music industry.

The answer isn’t “add a black guy”.  That is not how bands work.
Can you imagine somebody saying “why doesn’t Boys 2 Men have a women in it?” or “why doesn’t Destiny’s Child get Ricky Martin to join?”


The problem then isn’t with any church, podcast, organization, conference or person. Our concern is with how that all comes together in a less-diverse way than we would hope for and desperately need. 

The answer then is not to ‘add a women and stir’ or to ‘get some color’. That is what we call token – and it is insulting to everyone involved.

The need is to examine the bigger picture. This includes how things are planned, who makes decisions, and in what ways can people access resources.

Here is a timely example: Tripp and I are singers and songwriters. Our friends Callid Keefe-Perry and Steve Knight are as concerned about the impact of technology on the church as we are. We have talking about  it whenever we are together. We started this when we lived in 4 different parts of the country. Tomorrow, Steve Night is in town and we are going to record a podcast about the subject.

That is not a problem. We are Mumford, or U2, or The Stones, or the Beatles … we are just a band.
It is not a problem that we sing together – or in this case talk together. The problem comes if we are the only ones you hear.



*If you find yourself in this situation, here are some books suggestions

Quest for the Living God by Elizabeth Johnson

Christ the Key by Catherine Tanner

Teaching Community by bell hooks

Shalom and the Community of Creation by Randy Woodley

Many Colors or The Next Evangelicalism by Soong Chan-Rah

Triune Atonement: Christ’s Healing for Sinners, Victims, and the Whole Creation by Andrew Sung Park



The Crowd the Critic and the Muse with Michael Gungor

Musical artist Michael Gungor joins us for a conversation about creativity, spirituality and the deeper things of life.Gungor-7500final1500_bigger

His new book is called The Crowd, The Critic, and the Muse along with all of the band’s amazing collection of music.

The songs you hear in this episode are from the live Creation Liturgy album.

Amazon says ” An award-winning, globetrotting musician, Gungor also reveals his personal journey as an artist and creator, a tale of moving from innocence to wisdom, from simplicity to complexity and back again, a tale of leaving home and returning in a new, better, and more creative way.”  Plus they have made the Kindle edition SUPER affordable.

This is a really fun conversation with only one downside … the final minutes of the recording dissolved into unusable audio. We are left wanting for more. When Michael gets back in the country, maybe we can finish what we started!


Remember: Easter comes early this year so Lent starts on February 13. Bo will be blogging through the book Neighbors and Wisemen every weekday through the Lenten Journey.  Come and join the conversation!

This episode is sponsored by the Subverting the Norm Conference 2 in Springfield Missouri April 5th and 6th. Thanks to both Drury University and Phillips Theological Seminary for sponsoring the conference and making it the most affordable two-day event of the year.

*** 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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List-o-Mania in the Key of Culture-Casting, and the Antichrist and Sandwich of the Week

No guest this week! It’s just Christian and Jordan and their wits against SILENCE.

This week is all about end-of-the-year lists. Jordan runs down his ten favorite songs from 2012, and gets over his embarrassment at including OneRepublic’s “Feel Again”. Christian then breaks down the top quotes of the year, most of which include Mitt Romney’s verbal miscues. Then they run through their favorite films, television shows, and books, and there are plenty of controversial picks and bickering and, if you’re into sensationalism, they talk about strip clubs, sending people photos of your junk, and Charles Barkley’s exploits in downtown Scottsdale.

And on that note, we’re introducing a couple new segments to the show: the Antichrist of the Week and Sandwich of the Week. We have fun.

*** 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!***

Subscribe on iTunes Here!

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Issues of Race in Politics, Music, TV and Sports

by Bo Sanders 

[I initially wrote this for Ethnic Space & Faith
but thought it would be fun to cross pollinate.]  

Despite what the caller said on this week’s ‘Take Them to Task’ segment from the Smiley & West show said, race is still an issue in North America – not everyone is color blind. In fact, here are four stories that caught my attention in the past couple of days in the areas of politics, music, TV, and sport:

 Politics:  Much analysis is being done – and will continue to be done – about the U.S. Presidential election.  I had heard leading up to November 6 that if Gov. Romney was to win, he would have to do it with the largest percentage of white voters in recent history.

While he did not win yesterday, the ethnic breakdown was stark and is causing much consternation in conservative circles. Whites, and especially Evangelicals, reports say, voted over 80% for Romney. It is almost exactly the opposite (some reports say as high as 93%) of Latino voters went for Obama.

My only point is that if you think that the election of a Black president makes this a post-racial country, you have another thing coming. Race is still an issue and will continue to be an issue as we move to 2048 when Whites will not be a majority in America.

How will we lead? How will we transition? How will we hear new voices? 

Music: You may have seen the uproar over the music group No Doubt’s new video “Looking Hot”. Rolling Stone describes it this way:

The clip for the second single off their long-awaited new album, Push and Shove, featured a Wild-West theme, replete with tee-pees, feather headdresses and smoke signals. After releasing the video on Friday, No Doubt quickly drew complaints for using the stereotypical imagery, with threads such as “Appropriating Native American culture” appearing

The band did apologize and did remove the video.  [Read more…]