[NOTE #1] ~ So I’m thinking about making a premium course for you, if you’re potentially interested in an intense online learning experience that requires thinking, sharing, and growing. It’s going to take some significant time to put together, but before I go crazy making this thing, I want to make sure you actually want it (so I don’t feel like an idiot). More details near the bottom of the article.
[NOTE #2] ~ In case you’re wondering, this post is a follow up to this survey which received over 425 submissions!
How this whole “Homebrewed Christianity” thing started
I started a theology pub group back in 2007 as I was finishing up Divinity School.
Because the church is packed full of creative, intelligent, and critical thinkers who didn’t go into six figures of debt learning about it. I loved reading the books and sharing the ideas, but even more I loved learning from the beer-sipping theologians I met outside the academy.
What I found in that first group was special, but not an anomaly. If you give thinking Christians the best resources and take the time to empower their own reflection, they can develop their own theological voice.
In March of 2008 the Homebrewed Christianity Podcast was launched to deliver those audiological ingredients to the people!
The moment when it all began
Honestly, the early days of the podcast were great. I was constantly surprised that theological legends I knew from the books were agreeing to talk with me on the phone! It was a true nerd’s dream.
I remember the moment when I realized just how powerful a theological homebrewer can be. It was during an event with Jürgen Moltmann and an audience member asked the good Doctor a question: “how would you differentiate your understanding of the futurity of God from Wolfhart Pannenberg’s account of the ontological priority of the future?” He said, “ahhh that’s a question fit for a dissertation.” The homebrewer said, “I’m an electrician and listen to podcasts, so hook me up.”
I am pretty sure Moltmann has not been asked to hook anyone since.
I wasn’t crazy! The people wanted to nerd out.
I had lunch with my new theological friend and electrician. There, I heard about how the podcast format turned drive-time into learn-time and the questions he had been carrying for years were seriously treated.
A few weeks later a guest on the podcast sent me an email saying her daughter called thrilled that her theological momma was on the podcast. That was nuts.
The most powerful experiences for me have been stories of people coming to love the fullness of their identity before God, parents coming to understand the questions their kids carry, friends reconciling while keeping their debates, and ministers letting me know they no longer feel alone with their honest thoughts.
OK, when I found out some listeners use headphones in the choir during the sermon that was double zesty.
In the end, and after a lot of work, my passion and drive has worked in a big way
If you asked me 10 years ago where I would be, my future would not have included so much of what I love about my life now…including a third kid.
- I would not be releasing the 1,000 episode through HBC this week
- No chance I could have imagined a 10 book series of Homebrewed Christianity Guides with Fortress Press
- Crossing 3 million downloads of hour long chats with theologians this year? nope.
- Doing live podcasts, theology nerd bootcamps, and creating live events across the country and Canada (…where you at Euro & Aussie Deacons?)
- Getting to run a theology reading group with over a 100 members and read Plato’s Republic? Kind of, but there were 98 more people than I imagined.
- Hearing Morgan Freeman say, “I’ve never met a Homebrewed Christian before.”
- Becoming friends with hundreds of fellow theology nerds figuring out faith, doubt, and their place in the world (perhaps the church).
Between the podcast, finishing my PhD, and 15 years serving local congregations I have had the experience of working with individuals and groups of all sorts to move from stubborn questions and insightful intuitions to more confident and precise theological reflection. Finding words and giving voice to one’s faith is powerful. It is inspiring for speaker and hearer alike.
So here’s the deal, what’s in the fermentation tank, so to speak.
Through the podcast I have met thousands of people who take their questions more seriously than the answers they inherited and know their doubts as a part of faith, not its enemy. So many listeners dig getting new audiological resources for their theological imagination and learning about why more vibrant reflection is necessary and what all is going on in the academy.
Here’s what’s missing: the “how.”
The single biggest question I get from all corners is ‘how do I talk with clarity, honesty, and confidence after all the shifting, turning, and change I’ve been through? In other words, how do discover my own theological voice again?
It’s time for the theologian to be more than a job in the academy. It’s time for theologizing to return to the people and for us to trust the inquisitive minds within the church to speak.
I have always wanted Homebrewed Christianity to be a resource for grassroots theologians and now is the time for me to take the training and interactive learning to the next level.
We need more than a podcast
My experience speaking and hosting events showed me that the podcast has facilitated building a bunch of relationships. In person and through private consultations/coaching I have discovered just how many hesitations and lingering questions there are on the journey of the theological nomad.
Nothing fertilizes the imagination and empowers confidence like a community of fellow nerdy seekers, periods of intentional personal reflection, and one-on-one conversation.
So here’s the zesty zinger packed with intrigue
Next Tuesday, the 35k+ wonderful people on my email list will get info about what I’m working on.
I will tell you about the hybrid mixture of lecture, live work-shopping, group interaction, weekly reflections, and more…
Watch your inbox for the info – I promise it’ll be ZESTY!
If you are reading this on the blog and haven’t signed up for our email newsletter do so HERE so you won’t miss anything!