Theology for the People: Publishing, Emergent and God

Tripp sits down with Tony Jones to chat about the new series with Fortress Press: ‘Theology for the People”. 10653370_807752369288009_1575330671555985864_n

HBC-1024x1024They chat about everything from the publishing industry to the emergent church – from theological education to the death of God.

If you have not heard part 1 of the AAR live event featuring Catherine Keller and John Cobb, make sure to subscribe to the HBC stream on iTunes or Stitcher.

Enjoy listening to two friends chat about some current and future issue that have grabbed their attention. 



Micky’s Bookshelf

Micky’s Bookshelf

So, since Bo and now Callid have decided to give you a peak into the wild and zesty bookshelf of a Homebrewed Christianity podcaster, I thought I would join in the fun. I am actually inspired by a conversation I had with a deacon after this year’s Wild Goose 3D Event. A young, religious studies student asked me, “How do I read all the “other stuff” that I find interesting and voices I want to listen to (aka women, people of color, etc), when I have to read the “canon” of theological literature?

My answer….Make a new canon! You decide what is the basis of your theological journey.

So here are mine….so far…they have changed and will change as I continue through life and seminary. Not exactly standard fare and I’m totally okay with that. I probably have hundreds of books and this is just a sampling of important reads within the past few years. As we change, our books change, as they also change us in the process.

These are in no particular order.

What are some of your new favorite or most loved books?


Matthew Sleeth is HomeGrown episode 2

Dr. Matthew Sleeth is the author of Serve God Save the Planet, The Gospel According to the Earth, and 24/6 about sabbath.  Matthew

He is also the executive director of Blessed Earth and the newly formed Seminary Stewardship Alliance. George Fox Seminary is our sponsor this month and they are in the Alliance.

HomegrownLogo_green_rev1This is episode 2 of the HomeGrown Christianity Series. Leah Kostamo was episode 1 “Planted”.

We hope that you will use the Speak-Pipe to let us know your thoughts and feedback on the episodes in this series.
*** 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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TNT: Letters Edition

A cast of two halves! In the first half Bo and Tripp respond to 3 letters from listeners.

Then we get a call with Micky Jones about choosing a seminary (43rd minute) – and when we come back for the 4th and final letter things get a little rowdy.  It turns out the resurrection is a topic that brings some important distinctions between the nerds.

Here are some resources that are mentioned on this episode.  tntpcsubad

How to read the Bible by Kugel

Chalice BIble Commentary series

How to take the Bible seriously but not literally by Borg

The Everyone series by N.T. Wright

Exodus by Fretheim

a mother’s lament

Evangelical defense of same sex

Elizabeth Johnson Barrel Aged

Triune Atonement by Sung-Park

Saved from Sacrifice by Heim

The Non-violent Atonement by Weaver

Contemporary Christologies by Schweitzer

Cross & Covenant by Larry shelton

*** 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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Grace Ji-Sun Kim and the Transformative Spirit

Grace Ji-Sun Kim is the author of  “Colonialism, Han, and the Transformative Spirit“, “The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology”  and “The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology“.800px-Dr_Grace_Ji-Sun_Kim_1

She is also the Professor of Doctrinal Theology and the Director of the Master of Arts in Theological Studies program at Moravian Theological Seminary. 

More information can be found on her website

If you are feeling inspired and wanting to follow up with this interview, you may wish to revisit the conversation that we had with Andrew Sung-Park way back in episode 94.

*** 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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What On Earth Is The Church Doing? a response to Fitch

In response to the post from earlier this week “Leaving Behind the Liberal Label’ I got a fantastic follow-up question from the master of the question mark himself: David Fitch 

It was so good that I have made my response its own post.  I would love your feedback on this one. 


Just FYI, when I was at Garrett 20 years ago, virtually every “liberal” I knew referred to themselves as within the liberal tradition, but embraced the aggressive critique of all five things you bullet point, including the embrace of continental philosophy. They called themselves “revised liberals” and I worked among them wonderfully. They all categorically rejected Hauerwas/Yoder (as well as Milbank etc.) to whom I had become attached to as the means of working through these many issues. It seems that the issues of

1.) divinity of Christ and any exclusive claims attached to that,

2.) the central role of the church in God’s work in the world, were problems for them.

So, just a thought, aren’t you really a “revised liberal”- not that there’s anything wrong with that ;) -. And could you clarify where you’re at in terms of at least these 2 categories. Love you man!! (please forgive unabashed expression of affection).

@David Fitch THIS is the perfect follow-up question for this post! So I will attempt to answer it as clearly as possible (break out the bullet points)

  • I am so happy to learn that there is such thing as ‘revised liberals’. They sound fantastic.
  • I love that revised liberals engage the 5 areas of concern that I highlighted.
  • If I were a revised liberal I would wear it like a badge of honor!  But alas I am not one.

SEE – this is my point!   You outline 2 distinctives here that are a fascinating delineation – and neither results in a classification of liberal concern for me!

  1.  divinity of Christ and any exclusive claims attached to that,
  2.  the central role of the church in God’s work in the world,

Both were problems for them as you say. Neither is a problem for me!  

  • With the help of John Cobb’s christological approach I have worked my way through the Creedal constructs as historic snapshots of theological expression in given periods and have come – in a narrative sense – so see how vital it is that we attempt to articulate for our time what they were attempting to articulate for theirs!

That is part of being faithful to tradition – not to simply parrot (repetition without difference) antiquated formulations based in former understandings of cosmology and metaphysics … But to actively engage in an incarnation-enbodiment of those convictions in our contemporary context.

We are attempting to be faithful to the historic trajectory … but trajectory is mission-al. It goes somewhere. It has a journey motif. Yes, it is incarnation-al but it also has univers-al implications.

  • Which brings us to the second point: The central role of the church in God’s work in the world.Poppy

I use this kind of language all the time! While you and I might differ from here on how this happens … we are in agreement here. Now, for clarity I will (and have) openly stated my disdain for the approach of Radical Orthodoxy and any similar attempt at counter-modern or anti-modern expressions of church as somewhere between fictional  at best and fantastical at worst. But as to the role of the church in God’s activity in world?  Christ has no body but us – to quote Teresa of Avila.

Nerdy SideNote: I recognize Lindbeck’s Cultural-Linguistic framework as a descriptive – not a prescriptive – diagnostic of what role scripture plays in the contemporary church.

Therefor - when you ask “aren’t you really a “revised liberal”? – not that there’s anything wrong with that”,  the resounding answer is ‘No!‘  It sounds like a completely valid way to participate in the christian tradition – and if I were one, I would be so proudly … but alas I am not.

I am a christo-centric hyperTheist.  See what I mean?  Neither ‘revised Liberalism’ nor ‘post-Liberal’ go far enough for me. 



Living Out Faith Loud (Day 15)

I’m blogging my way through Neighbors and Wisemen for Lent. Today we read chpt. 15 where the author tells us a story about Dr. John Perkins’ visit to a packed Reed College auditorium.Neighbors & Wisemen

For those of you who don’t have the book, here are some selections from the chapter to get you up to speed.

With his simple Southern accent, he set the stage of racial and economic injustice in America. He began with his childhood and walked the room through the essential and painful drama of the 1960s. He unapologetically insisted that the disparities of race and class remain today.

From there Dr. Perkins moved to his own thoughts on the very real plight of America’s disenfranchised and marginalized communities. He expressed how these populations have been systematically removed from the national consciousness, and affirmed the absolute need for a new generation, one fueled by compassion and a sacrificial life.

Tony was shocked at the amazing reception Dr. Perkins got from a student body that allegedly not only had no interest in Christianity but a real and serious dislike of all things Christian. Then he says:

“Reedies want the same thing that Jesus wants. They want authenticity, not hypocrisy. They want faith that leads to activism, not institutionalism. They want to believe in something not because it is redundantly preached but because it is sacrificially lived.”

Yesterday I mentioned Christianity’s territorial participation in the Culture Wars that developed in the 20th century. Whether you think I was too partisan or pessimistic in my assessment of the situation, what you can not get around is that there is a problem.

We have a problem. 

More specifically, we have a problem with how we frame the cultural conflicts. When we use the militaristic language of “combat” we miss what may be really going on. As I said earlier this week, our language about combat not only  influences how we interpret our experiences, it is actually creating those experiences at some level.

I’m going to say this again: while I do not like drawing lines and attempt to be generously orthodox, it seems to me that there is a kind of christianity that the world is fine to let us hold and actually finds quite intriguing.  Dr. Perkins has that kind of faith. He even gets to use Jesus’ name without folks getting offended or upset.


There is however another type of Christianity that is not as well received. This other kind of Christianity, in many ways, is seen to make the world a worse place. I think that I know at least part of why that is the case.

Modern Enlightenment Christianity – an inheritance from Christendom and the Inquisitions – seeks to categorize, compartmentalize, then control the categories. It is forceful, muscular Christianity. Much more like the Romans in power than the type of power we see Jesus utilizing.

Think that I am over stating it? Look at Dr. Perkins. What if it came out that he did not have perfect theology? What if he held some views about social issues that did not meet the litmus test contemporary clashes? Would he be discounted? Marginalized? Attacked and discredited? I don’t think that there is any doubt.

Part of this comes from our categorization of ortho-doxy and ortho-praxy. We live in a climate when the former (right-belief) is far more scrutinized than the latter (right-action). Ortho explanation

The seminary that Tony and I went to tries to correct this by adding another overlapping area called ortho-pathy (right feeling). This is a spiritual formation-discipleship emphasis.

That is a move in the right direction. What I fear is that we have become so ingrained with this rabid obsession with our form of orthodoxy that we not only neglect the other two but would discount someone like Dr. Perkins who’s life speaks so loudly about Jesus that his words do not have to.

Our contemporary spiritual climate is so inflamed with animosity, conscientiousness, adversarial approaches, combative critiques, and dismissive polemics that we become gun-shy about adopting the kind of faith that makes the world a better place and shines a welcome light in dark situations.

If you think that this world is full of spiritual poo and it is only a matter of time before Jesus steps back in with vengeance and flushes this world down the eternal drain … then any good we do now is no more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

In that case the only thing that really matters is right belief (orthodoxy) for which we will be judged …

Well, you know the rest. The us-them mentality becomes completely acceptable. The neglect of right-living (orthopraxy) and right-being (orthopathy) becomes justifiable.

I would simply say that Jesus’ story of the sheep and the goats seems to put far more concern on being judged by our right actions than any theological litmus test. So not only does God seemed more concerned about it, but the world what God loves seems more attracted by it. 

I loved this story about John Perkins’ visit to the college. I am inspired at one level and completely discouraged at another.

Is it just me?
Am I overstating the scope of the problem? 



That Sentence about Seminaries

Once in a while you run into a sentence that hits you like a ton of bricks.  You can read thousands of sentences in order to get to it.

Only rarely do you see it coming. Once in a while you are in a chapter that is so rich and nourishing that the sentence is just the Pièce de résistance.

Over the past 21 years, I have 5 sentences that have hit me like this. I can tell you exactly where I was when I first read them and why they hit me so hard. I say 21 years ago because that is essentially when I started reading. I was captain of the football and basketball teams in High School and didn’t so much … how do they say? … read.

It was after High School when I was no longer at my parents house – and I couldn’t make sense of my faith – that I picked up a copy of Josh McDowell’s apologetic classic: Evidence that Demands a Verdict.  On that first page was sentence that stabbed my in the heart. That was the first of the 5 sentences.


Yesterday in the spirited exchange of comments on my blog post “You have to believe in Hell, Predestination, Election and the Book of Revelation”  Nate Gilmore (you can hear his Georgia via Iowa drawl on last week’s TNT) was responding to a little bit of a fun rabbit trail we had going about seminaries and said:

 At least in online encounters, I’ve seen far more appeals to authority, citing “Biblical scholarship” as if it were a monolith, from liberals than from right-wingers.  In my own experience, the conservatives are much more interested in seeing the argument worked out than in “experts say that…” claims.

This is one of my favorite topics of discussion!  I love this topic! Not because I agree with the binary between Conservative and Liberal (I don’t – I can’t after reading The Argument Culture by Deborah Tannen, which contains 1 of my 5 sentences) but because I have a story about it  – a story that holds the last of my 5 sentences.

The Story:

I was writing my Master’s Thesis on Contextual Theology and I was utilizing a lot of material from a specific author – a real authority on the subject.  In the midst of completing the Thesis I was accepted into the PhD program at a large Evangelical shool where he teaches and I was even appointed to study with him!  It was an amazing honor.

After the Thesis was over, I was reading as much of his work as I could and I ran into a sentence from which I never recovered. He was talking about the need for innovation in the way we do Seminary – something that I am very passionate about – and he made a quick point about the difference between Liberal and more Evangelical seminaries in Africa.

He said that in Africa, Evangelical seminaries are much bigger, grow faster and produce more pastors because they are very method focused. They teach future pastors what to do.
Liberal seminaries, however, while being much smaller, are where almost all the innovation happens. His observation was that the difference came down to permission. His caution was that innovation can not become syncretism. 

Its not that his point was especially earth-shattering or unique. There was just something in the way he said it … or perhaps it was the gravity he carried as my future PhD Advisor … but I put down the book, went for a walk, and decided that I needed to go a different direction. I turned down my appointment to the school and enrolled in a totally different program at a Liberal institution (Claremont School of Theology). 

It was odd that someone I respected said something I agreed with, and the end result is that I knew I had to go a different direction than them.

This is the reason that I went into Practical Theology. It bridges the gap between these Liberal and Conservative approaches. It also attempts to bridge that gap between the Church and the Academy. It also addresses the false gap between theological theory and practice.

I’m so happy with my decision. Every time seminary education comes up, that sentence rushes to the front of my mind. My father (who was recently on the podcast) now runs the D.Min at his Evangelical seminary – so the topic of seminary education comes up a lot.

I don’t normally subscribe to the Conservative/Liberal binary, but in this case I concede the framing of the discussion because the institutions themselves identify this way and teach this way in a sort of self-reinforcing manner. 

You may not like the split, but if those on the inside are telling you that there is a significant difference … you may just have to go with it for a while and see where the road takes you.


 I just wanted to share my little story and see if anyone had any thoughts on the subject. 



Global Leadership and Local Ministry with Martin Sanders

Martin Sanders is the head of Global Leadership, runs the D.Min for Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, NY … and most importantly, he is Bo’s Dad.  That’s right! Its the BoDaddy’s Daddy (as Tripp says).

Among Dr. Sanders’ works are The Power of Mentoring and The Family You’ve Always Wanted. The Power of Mentoring has been reworked and released in French. Global Leadership is in 37 countries and has been involved in leadership development on every continent.

He recently finished a DVD on life change.  The small group booklet that goes with it will be done by the end of the month.  Here is the  link to the YouTube promo video. years in ministry, including 25 as a Seminary Professor, provided Bo and Tripp with plenty of material to ask questions:  Leadership, Mega-Churches, International, Regional, Generational, Denominational and Historical.



Coming to Jesus with Daniel Kirk & Philip Clayton: Homebrewed Christianity 3-D

 What does coming to Jesus look like today?  We may not have the answer but we do have a seriously fun and enlightening conversation.

During the American Academy of Religion a herd of theology nerds gathered in the home of Mark ScandretteJesus Dojo extraordinaire – for some live Homebrewed Christianity podcast fun.  Daniel Kirk (New Testament Prof at Fuller Theological Seminary) and Philip Clayton (Philosophical Theologian and Dean of Claremont School of Theology) were our featured contributors but the crowd Deacons who gathered made the entire experience a blast. On top of the podcast we all enjoyed the wonderful food provided by the Scandrette family, the huge bottle of Bullet Bourbon from Rebekah, 3 amazing homebrews from Kirk, and some great questions at the end. 

We hope you enjoy the live brew.  If you dig it you should make plans to join us February 12 at Claremont for John Caputo going 3-D or holla about hosting a show in your own home\bar\church.

If you are wise….and of course you are…you should get Kirk’s new book Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul? and Phil’s freshest The Predicament of Belief.