We’re BAAAAaaaack (Homebrewed CultureCast)

heres johnnyIt’s been a while, but the CultureCast crew is back in action. Jordan, Christian, Amy and Jess the Intern set up and knock down all the stuff that’s been going down in our lives and in the cultural landscape in our absence. Or at least a few things we found compelling enough to distract us from the pretty, shiny things that otherwise occupy us.

Jordan catches us up on what life is life after the passing away of his wife, Mindy. He’s coming to terms with being a single dad, picking up the financial slack and figuring out who he is as an unmarried guy for the first time in a decade or so. And so of course, we respond by giving him big bottles of alcohol.

Thanks to the generosity of the Homebrewed Listeners, we raised enough money to buy Jordan one of the rarest bourbons on the market: a ten-year-old Rip Van Winkle. Thanks to Tripp for gathering the funds, and to Timothy Burnette for providing the bottle, along with a little bonus bottle of Dissident Noel Belgian Ale. Nom nom nom.

We chat up a woman’s article from Mars Hill (the Driscoll one, not the Rob Bell one) about what it means to be a woman today (hint: we don’t agree with her), and Christian is the lone dissenting voice in the debate about geographically-exclusive NFL Playoff ticket sales. No justice, no peace!!!

Finally, we lay out all the best TV and movies you should be checking out right now, as well as some mad props for a new George Jones tribute album you need to get your groove on with.

Oh, and thanks to the Slow Church Conference for being one of our first sponsors on the show! Check out their conference coming up in Indy in early April, and tell ‘em the CultureCast sent you. And if you have something you want to promote on the show, hit up Christian with an email to find out how it’s done.

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The 2013 Homebrewed Christianity Podcast Awards!

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3 Books for the Price of 1!

6 week online class w/ Peter Rollins

6 week online class w/ Peter Rollins

2013 was an amazing year on the Homebrewed Christianity Podcast network.  So Bo and I decided that we would do a little year-end review show.  You will get to hear some of our favorite clips, hear what was going through our heads during some of the online scuffles, and find out just who won the coveted Homebrewed Christianity Deacon of the Year!

In the episode we give out awards for Elder of the Year, Episode of the Year, Live Event of Awesomeness, Online Scuffle Spectacular, and Deacon of the Year.

The Theology Nerd Throwdown is excited to welcome Chalice Press.  They are the offical publishing sponsor with lots of great books and resources for theology nerds, preachers, and church planters. They just might become your #1 favorite progressive Christian publisher. So check them out.

Come Join Tripp & Jonnie for the Conference, Live Podcast and Craft Brewery Fun.

Come Join Tripp & Jonnie for the Conference and Craft Brewery 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!***


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Rob Bell HiJacks the Podcast #zesty

60444_488654401197809_202553842_nRob Bell is back on the podcast but this time he is hijacking it!

With a packed brewery full of local LA Homebrewed Deacons Rob decided to hijack the podcast and turn things around.  This time Tripp had to answer the questions.  What ensued was quite the conversation.  I am sure no one expected what happened.  So get yourself ready for some podcast excitement and don’t forget to come back next week for some more ingredients to brew your own #zesty faith.
If you like these convos then check out the best snippets in the video curriculum developed that night titled ‘The Revelation of Darkness.’

Special thanks to our 3 sponsors for the evening: The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, Fuller Seminary and Claremont School of Theology

Seattle

Check Out These Most Awesome Sponsors

 

 

We are sooooo grateful to our sponsors, Monkish Brewing Company, & Spencer Burke at Missionsoulutions for their help in putting this together. You can get the videos HERE.

Claremont

This place will turn Bo into Dr. BoDaddy

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*** 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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God Is Not Like Me

I grew up in a tradition that said I should be, as much as possible, like Jesus.  I get that – and I try to do so.

Yesterday at the Loft LA I had the privilege to say 3 things (among many others) about God:

  1. God is Black (from James Cone)
  2. She Who Is (from Elizabeth Johnson)
  3. God is a Fag ( from Bernard Brandon Scott)

It is interesting because I am none of these three things! I am not black, a women, or homosexual. It is interesting then to present these images of a God who is very much different than I am – even as we, as a community, are being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).  money_and_god

It is important that we acknowledge that God is not on the side of ‘the powers’ but of those in need of liberation – that it is equally as accurate and as inaccurate to call God ‘She’ and it is to call God ‘He’ – and that according to 2 Corinthians 5:21

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

This is a topsy-turvey business.

Over the last 20 years of ministry I have noticed a somewhat unsettling trend that in order to be like God, I have had to move away from many of the natural strengths that ‘God gave me’.

  •  While I love to be at center stage in the spot light with a microphone – I am fascinated with the cell group, house church, and small group model of church. As a pentecostal, I am obsessed with how the Spirit of God is at work in the People of God.
  • While I am a big, hairy, muscular man – I am convinced that feminist theologian are right and that Christian history does not accurately reflect the will and mind of God for the world that God loves so much (John 3:16).
  • While I am white guy – I am writing my dissertation on ‘White Privilege’ and hoping to confront some of the systemic racism that will not do as we move into the 21st Century.

So while I attempt to be more like God, I am very aware that God is not all that much like me. 

This is an important distinction. As C.S. Lewis said in his poem “A footnote to all prayers”  (it references Pheidias who was  a legendary statue maker in the ancient world):

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshipping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskilfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolators, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.

Take not, O Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in thy great
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

When we pray, we by nature blaspheme – all of us. The reality is that language , by its nature, means that words are provisional. When the Hebrew Testament speaks of God as a ‘King’ or Martin Luther writes a hymn declaring “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” … these are analogies. They are metaphors. They are temporary place holders.

Anything that we say about God is (in the apophatic sense) both illustrative and, at the same time, not exactly all that accurate. We would do well to get used to saying :

“God is like X … and that, of course, is not exactly true.”

Philippians 2 is helpful at this point. The ‘Kenotic’ Move of Christ self-emptying and descending for the purpose of service, exhorts us to not hold onto anything too tightly (clinging/grasping) but to empty our certainty and expose all of our assumptions to that which is not natural to us. Not an easy task!

If we acknowledge, then, that all language is provisional… that it is just a accurate and as inaccurate to call God she or he… that any prayer is at some level blaspheming … and that I am called to be like God – though I know that God is not exactly like me … then I can begin a kenotic journey of recognizing God while releasing God from my pre-conceived notions.

This is the dynamic journey of faith: to recognize  the full moon and the new moon, the high tide and low tide, the Fall and the Spring, the ebb and the flow, the fall and the rise of all that I am familiar with and and all that I am ignorant about. That is what we talk about when we talk about God.

Rob Bell puts it this way:

When we talk about God, then, we’re talking about something very real and yet beyond our conventional means of analysis and description.

The Germans, interestingly enough, have a word for this: they call it grenzbegrifflich. Grenzbegrifflich describes that which is very real but is beyond analysis and description.

When I’m talking about God, I’m talking about your intuitive sense that reality at its deepest flows from the God who is grenzbegriff.

Bell, Rob (2013-03-12). What We Talk About When We Talk About God (Kindle Locations 767-772). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

I would love your feedback and reflections.  

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Revelation of Darkness LIVE Event: Taylor’s F-it Theology, Rollins reaches behind the curtain

PeterThis is the first half of the LIVE event featuring Rob Bell that was held at the Monkish Brewing Company.

Barry Taylor takes us on a whirlwind tour – and even though you can’t see the slides – the message comes through loud and clear! Warning: explicit language.  Then Tripp sits down to talk it through with him.

Peter Rollins does his magic and Bo gets to ask him some practical questions.

If you like these convos then check out the best snippets in the video curriculum developed that night titled ‘The Revelation of Darkness.’

Special thanks to our 3 sponsors for the evening: The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, Fuller Seminary and Claremont School of Theology 

 

 

 

Seattle

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We are sooooo grateful to our sponsors, Monkish Brewing Company, & Spencer Burke at Missionsoulutions for their help in putting this together. You can get the videos HERE.

Claremont

This place will turn Bo into Dr. BoDaddy

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*** 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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TNT: Same Sex Marriage, Rob Bell and His Detractors

Happy Birthday!  HomeBrewed is celebrating its 5th and BoDaddy is celebrating his 40th!

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On this episode of the Theology Nerd Throw-down,  Tripp and Bo talk about same-sex marriage, Rob Bell and his detractors.

This all started when Tripp posted about big platforms coming out in support.

Then Bo posted about Rob and his detractors.

It came to a head when Bo responded to an odd post about how this paints Jesus in a weird light.

You will have to listen to the hour long conversation to put all the pieces together.

 

At the end – we talk about this Summer’s book series called “High Gravity” with Peter Rollins.

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Christian Marketing, Emergent Knowledge of the Bible, and Whether Rob Bell Deserves Kudos

This week’s guest is Dave Palmer, a marketing expert at Dunk Tank Marketing, to talk about The Great American Bible Challenge (which is entering it’s second season on the Game Show Network), and why progressives are reluctant to appear on a show requiring Bible knowledge. He also discusses the challenge of marketing to Christians overall.

In the Echo Chamber, Christian and I discuss Rob Bell’s announcement that he’s okay with gay marriage, which should come as no surprise. Later, they talk about the sordid Steubenville rape case, which turns into a debate over the definition of rape.

Later, I recommend Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods, and Christian is digging the Netflix original series, House of Cards. This turns into a discussion about the Golden Age of Television, which is one of my favorite topics.

*** 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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Jesus was a Cowboy without a Community

I love community.  I was the pastor of a ‘cell church’ for 11 years and simply delighted in so many aspects of the model.

I love being in community. In every phase of my spiritual journey, I have been encouraged to engage, being accountable to and submit to the authority of the groups I was a part of. I have done this with denominational pastor groups, Wild at Heart men’s groups, my PhD cohort, and many others.

I love the idea of community. As a young evangelical I romanticized the model of the early church that I read about in scripture and set my internal compass to always point north to community.

I talk about community. Even though I am now at a Mainline liturgical church that is almost entirely different from my days of ‘cell church’, we still encourage and facilitate and encourage community at every opportunity.

I study community. As a practical theologian my entire project – the whole discipline – is an interdisciplinary approach to engage how faith is lived out in real life communities.

I have a philosophy of community. Even the philosophical elements that I focus on the most are centered in community. The whole reason that I am intrigued by the thoughts of Ricoeur, Gadamer and Lindbeck revolves around their hermeneutic and how it impacts community.

My community credentials are not in question. Whether it is denominational, regional pastor peers, fellow theology students, or the people who minister within the congregation … I believe in communal discernment, accountability, and authority.

That is all going to be important to know with what I am about to say. 

 

I read the oddest thing this morning. Geoff Holsclaw, co-author of the new book Prodigal Christianity with David Fitch, was attempting to stick up for Fitch in the backlash of Fitch’s comments regarding Rob Bell’s lack of accountability – and thus authority when he speaks – now that Bell is not a pastor.  (Sr. Deacon Tony Jones had taken Fitch to the mat for it).

Holsclaw’s post was entitled Discernment: a lamb among wolves and it was really good stuff … until the end.

In the final sections Holsclaw says:

“Really, you want me to die to myself to discern God’s Kingdom in this situation?”

Yes, that is exactly it. And we do this because Jesus showed us how, and makes it possible through the giving of his Spirit.

Then, like a needle scratching across an old-school record player … it came to a screeching halt.

I started wracking my brain trying to think of single time Jesus model community discernment.

  • When he was 12 at the temple? No. He chided his mom and dad for being worried.
  • When his mom and brothers wanted to take him home? No. He distanced himself from them and said that whoever was with him was his new family.
  • When the disciples wanted him to change plans on his way to Jerusalem? No. He called them satan and told them to get behind him.
  • With the Pharisees? No. He was in constant conflict with the teachers of law.

Actually – I can’t think of a single example of Jesus discerning communally.  and then it hit me:192px-CowboyJesusPortrait

Jesus is an unaccountable Cowboy without a community. 

He never listened to anyone else – he always knew the right answer and was unwavering in his confident conviction.
He never went and humbly sought advice.
He never had someone change his mind in the midst of a conversation.
He is the consummate winner – the rogue hero – the wild-man philosopher bucking the system – forging his own way on the frontier of faith..

This is a terrible development! 

Not only does Holsclaw’s thesis not hold water … Jesus is actually the example of the exact thing that Holsclaw is trying to move away from!

If somebody came into our town and starting acting like Jesus, we would say that was hurting the church community, causing conflict and division. He would hide behind ‘being a prophet’ and not respond to Matthew 18 church discipline and submit to any authority.

Jesus, seen in this way, is a maverick and a macho man who doesn’t need to listen to anyone except his internal dialogue. God talks directly to him and he knows the way.

Jesus doesn’t listen to his elders, his family, his religious community or his friends! 

Look, I love what Holsclaw is calling us to … but to say that Jesus modeled this for us is just the wrong way to go!

Say he called us to it. Say that he envisioned it. Say that he opens the way. Say that this is the whole point of Pentecost and the gift of the Spirit.  … but don’t say that this is what see in Jesus.

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Rob Bell is Gay Affirming but not everyone is happy about it

Rob Bell, among others, has come out as open to Same Sex Marriage (SSM) - but not everyone is on-board with it. SquareDesign_ver1

David Fitch (with a Canadian connection) posted this:

Who is Rob Bell speaking for/to in affirming gay marriage? His (former) church? Christians at large? The press? Culture observers? Gay Christians (in Grace Church SF)? Why or who should be paying attention to him? and Why?

More and more I’m seeing Christian leaders who have no congregation/people they’re accountable to (who yet carry media/publishing driven leadership) create division with pronouncements. This results in damage to the church’s wherewithal for witness in a world that sees all this. I don’t know if Rob Bell is to blame (for the media) but I do think we Christians should not encourage this nonsense. (On the other hand, I can listen to the Pope differently because he stands within 2000 years of a tradition so that he cannot make statements without being accountable to it).

When we listen to a Christian leader we should first and foremost look at place of ministry/accountability from which he/she speaks. What say you? agree?

Jason Postma (another Canadian connection)  added this:

Newsflash: Neither is Rob Bell is not the first Christian to “come out” in support of marriage equality nor is he single-handedly destroying the Church in sharing his opinion.
I would go as so far as to say that the culture-warrior saber rattling in response to Bell is more divisive than anything else precisely because it serves to marshal support and draw lines in the sand, none of which is helpful for unity or for opening the possibility for a charitable discussion.

I should point out that Postma added many bold posts including:

Question: when did support for marriage equality become a theology boundary that could not be crossed when there remains a robust theological pluralism on things that are central to the faith, like, I don’t know, the atonement, justification, ecclesiology, etc.?

Here is my thought on the issue: 

It can be difficult as a local church pastor to speak out on a very controversial issues.

  • You feel the weight of your congregation’s expectations.
  • You feel a responsibility to your denomination/ ordaining body.
  • You feel the pastoral/shepherding responsibility to your community.

Those 3 things weigh heavily on you. SO when you are in the pulpit/in the employment of a local congregation – you might not feel all that free to share where you are on any given issue.

Rob Bell, then, being independent of his official responsibilities and obligations, is free to say what he really thinks – and by doing so – to further the cultural conversation in a way that helps those of us who are currently employed at churches within denominations that may not allow us (at the current time) to say such things.

I, for one, am glad that Rob Bell came out as affirming.

No – he is not employed at local congregation any more.  But that should not disqualify him from weighing in on the matter.

In fact, his willingness to do so may be the exact opportunity that some of us who have:
A) a smaller spotlight and
B) responsibilities at a local church
to speak up for something that we have deep convictions about but don’t want to assume our entire congregations are with us is.

What do you think? 
Is Rob out-of-line as a out-of-work minister?
How do we give voice to issues that our congregations may not be 100% with us? 

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Is anyone else nervous about Rob Bell’s new book? I am

So my friends, Tweeter-verse, and church office have seen the arrival of Rob Bell’s new book “What We Talk About When We Talk About God” today. I think we are all mostly excited, if not a little apprehensive. bell book

I want to get something on the table and then ask a question. 

This will not be Love Wins. It can’t possibly be. I was explaining to a friend the other day why this is the case. Love Wins had three things that came together to create the perfect storm:

  1. Rob had a huge pulpit in the spotlight and a massive swath of pod-rishoners. We heard his voice every week. He had a platform and he used it so well.
  2. We did not not know where he was theologically on so many things. Part of Love Wins’ electric charge was simply that so many of us liked what knew of Bell with his Nooma videos, tour events, and weekly podcasts – but there was just some stuff we didn’t know.
  3. The final ingredient for the storm was that he happen to come out of the theological shadows on a topic (hell-salvation) that is SO incredibly central to the very tribe that many assumed he was a part of. Evangelicals care about salvation.

If he had written a book on any other topic, I doubt it would have caused even a minor stir. I think this because his previous book Jesus Wants To Save Christians was far more interesting and confrontational – but barely a cricket of controversy was heard.

It was the merging of these 3 forces that provided the storm its energy. Bell was in the bright spot-light, he was a popular mystery, and he tackled a subject at the center of his tribe’s value set.

None of those are present for the release of this book.

  • He is no longer in the pulpit (or the pod).
  • He is slightly less mysterious – especially after being in Newsweek, Time and the New Yorker.
  • He is not shooting for a subject at the center.

That last one is actually one of the reasons that I am excited about this book. He is addressing a more peripheral, abstract, elusive or ‘out there’ topic. It will be nice to be in conversation with him outside the inflamed intensity of Love Wins and his Mars Hill departure.

I am nervous about something however. Admittedly, I might be the only one.  I even asked Peter Rollins this question at our live show with Pete & Rob two weeks ago.

What if the book is mis-titled? What if it turns out in the end that it should have called “What we think about when we think about God?” and is more of a conceptual address?  What if Rob doesn’t talk about talking?

I know that I might be the only one thinking this – but as someone who takes Ricoeur, Gadamer, Wittgenstein, Lindbeck  - and in general the whole linguistic turn – seriously, I want to talk about the role that religious talk plays.
I want to talk about how God-talk functions. 

Thoughts on any of this? 
Different concerns?

Let me know. I’m interested. Just do me one favor: don’t be dismissive. 

 

 

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