Dr. Ben McFarland | Science and Faith, Conflict or Harmony

December 5, 2017

Episode 35 of the podcast features an interview with Ben McFarland. Ben teaches biochemistry and chemistry at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington. He is also connected with BioLogos, an organization that invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • How can there be a harmony between science and faith
  • Where does the perceived conflict between faith and science come from?
  • The philosophy of scientism
  • How interpretation is present in both science and theology
  • Understanding the "book of God" and the "book of nature.”
  • What to say to people who believe that science is all there is
  • What to say to Christians who reject certain scientific ideas (e.g. Big Bang theory, evolution)
  • How is it that we read Genesis 1-3
  • J.R.R. Tolkien leading C.S. Lewis to Christ
  • Listening to various theological voices
  • The importance of order, sabbath, being part of your community
  • Reminding yourself to pray, and how God brings you back from a “default deism"
  • The origins of the title for Ben's book, "A World from Dust"

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Let God Be Present Part 3: After the Storm

November 28, 2017

Episode 34 of the podcast is the third part of a 3 part series where I read from my book, Let God Be Present.

Part two is called "After the Storm: A Reflection On Mark 4:36-41 And What Follows"

You can buy a copy of Let God Be Present on Amazon or get a paperback copy sent to you when you support the podcast on Patreon at the $4 per month level.

A little more about Let God Be Present...

What does it really mean to connect with God? We search for meaning, connection, or guidance, but rarely let go of our pre-conceived notions of what we want to hear. This book asks you to trust God to be present and speak on His terms, rather than insisting that God fit in with your own idea of what He should be doing in your life. 

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Bonus Episode | Christian Response to People from Other Countries - A Message on Ruth 1-2

November 23, 2017

This bonus episode features a sermon preached by Matthew Brough at Prairie Presbyterian Church on November 19, 2017. It walks through the first two chapters of the Book of Ruth, and discovers that it has a lot to say about how we treat "foreigners." Ruth was a Moabite who came to live in Bethlehem as an outsider. How was she treated and how was it different than the usual way she might have been treated? 

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Let God Be Present Part 2: Tuning in a Trusting God

November 21, 2017

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Episode 33 of the podcast is the second part of a 3 part series where I read from my book, Let God Be Present

Part two is called "Tuning in and Trusting God: A Reflection on 1 Samuel 3"

You can buy a copy of Let God Be Present on Amazon or get a paperback copy sent to you when you support the podcast on Patreon at the $4 per month level.

A little more about Let God Be Present...

What does it really mean to connect with God? We search for meaning, connection, or guidance, but rarely let go of our pre-conceived notions of what we want to hear. This book asks you to trust God to be present and speak on His terms, rather than insisting that God fit in with your own idea of what He should be doing in your life. 

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Let God Be Present Part 1: God’s Presence Even When You Might Not Want It

November 14, 2017

Episode 31 of the podcast is the first part of a 3 part series where I read from my book, Let God Be Present. In this first part, I do a brief introduction about how I have always struggled with the word "spirituality" and why this particular book fits with the idea of this podcast. After the intro, I read the introduction to the book itself and then move into the longer section, which is Part 1 of the book, titled "God's Presence Even When You Might Not Want It: A Reflection on Exodus 31-33."

You can buy a copy of Let God Be Present on Amazon or get a paperback copy sent to you when you support the podcast on Patreon at the $4 per month level.

A little more about Let God Be Present...

What does it really mean to connect with God? We search for meaning, connection, or guidance, but rarely let go of our pre-conceived notions of what we want to hear. This book asks you to trust God to be present and speak on His terms, rather than insisting that God fit in with your own idea of what He should be doing in your life. 

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Bruce Gordon | Spirituality and the Reformation at 500

October 31, 2017

Happy Reformation Day! 500 years ago today (this episode is coming out on October 31st, 2017), Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Church in Wittenberg and started the Protestant Reformation.  I thought it would be a ton of fun to talk to a "Reformation expert," and I did. What a great conversation!!!

Episode 31 of the podcast features an interview with Bruce Gordon. Bruce is Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale Divinity School and is an expert on late-medieval and early modern periods, with a particular interest in the Reformation and its reception.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • The meaning and importance of piety
  • The centrality of prayer for the reformers
  • Praying the hours of the day was common for the reformers, patterned on the monastic life
  • The doing of charitable works was part of spiritual practice for the reformers
  • What changed in terms of spirituality with the onset of the Reformation
  • How a sense of the mystical, sacredness, and wonder may have been lost with the onset of Protestantism
  • Why art was removed from Churches in the Reformation period
  • How the Reformation raises relevant questions for today regarding worship and spiritual practice
  • The people themselves were empowered to engage with the Scriptures, and each person was empowered to take responsibility for their own spiritual lives.
  • The importance of the Priesthood of All Believers
  • Spirituality as grounded in tradition and history
  • Constantly seek to become more Christ-like at the heart of Christian Spirituality
  • The richness and wisdom of Christian history
  • Reclaiming the heritage and understanding the meaning of your liturgical tradition
  • Why John Calvin is vilified and also revered depending who you talk to.
  • John Calvin as pastor to refugees and how that shaped his message.
  • John Calvin’s insistence on God being with you.
  • Why do we call it the Reformed Tradition

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Kaitlyn Curtice | Finding the Divine in Everyday Places

October 24, 2017

Episode 30 of the podcast features an interview with Kaitlyn Curtice. Kaitlyn is a Native American writer, teacher and worship leader. Her writing is beautiful, observant, and gracious. Her book, Glory Happening: Finding the Diving in Everyday Places is a book of stories and prayers that remind you to take a closer look at your everyday circumstances, to find the magical beauty in everyday experiences. It is an invitation to live deeply into every moment with the expectation that something good will find you at the end of the day.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Staying still and taking in the beauty around you
  • What is the glory of God?
  • The difficulty of slowing down
  • Rhythms of seasons, days, and weeks
  • The first way we learn about God is through nature
  • Reading the Bible as an Indigenous person
  • The temptation of Jesus as wilderness / "learning who you" are story
  • Understanding Jesus as non-white
  • The silence of the Church with respect to Indigenous history
  • The importance of hearing the story of North America’s indigenous peoples
  • What it means to honor the earth or the land
  • Observing glory while doing the dishes or other everyday tasks
  • What it means to stand on holy ground and call yourself blessed
  • Being rooted in gratitude / counting your blessings
  • How to practice silence / why it is difficult
  • Burning sage and sweetgrass as part of prayer
  • Facing the truth in times of silence

Quotes from the Book

"What we choose to see is holy ground for our feet, solace for our tired and often-wandering souls, no matter how everyday. We choose to stop and take in glory; we choose a different reality.”

“God shows up in the whirlwinds,” Barbara (Brown Taylor) would whisper, “in the starry skies, burning bushes, and perfect strangers. When people want to know more about God, the son of God tells them to pay attention to the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, to women kneading bread and workers lining up for their pay.” And the more I read Barbara’s words, the more they became the soft-spoken words of my own heart—the journey I’d started in 2014 when we moved to sunny Georgia, and the journey I began in order to learn more about my Native American heritage.

"I recall why exactly I get to stand on holy ground and call myself blessed in a tiny space with a busy schedule and two toddlers running around me day and night.”

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Laura Alary | Hands-On Spirituality, Kids, and the Church Year

October 17, 2017

Episode 29 of the podcast features an interview with Children's author Laura Alary. Laura has written several books, including the new Look! A Child’s Guide to Advent and Christmas and Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter - both written and illustrated for children ages 7-10.

Toward the end of the interview, we talk about an awesome new Children's Bible that Laura has written. You can get Read, Wonder, Listen: Stories from the Bible for Young Readers today!

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Teresa McDonald-Lee’s interview - talking about spirituality for children

  • Exploring the liturgical year with children

  • Themes present in Look! A Child’s Guide to Advent and Christmas

  • Prompting wonder in children

  • Tactile experiences for children in worship - Prayer flags and Fruit juice of the spirit

  • Walking a labyrinth - Robin McGauley’s interview

  • Seasonal table - advent wreaths, figurines of biblical people, Jesse Tree (some info on a Jesse tree)

  • Observing the season of Advent

  • A daily walk as meditation

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Brian Zahnd | In the Hands of a Loving God

October 10, 2017

Episode 28 of the podcast features an interview with Brian Zahnd. Brian is the pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri and author of several books, including Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God and A Farewell to Mars.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Experiencing dramatic conversion to Christ and the impact moving forward
  • Being honest in our approach to the scriptures and centering our understanding of Christ by reading the gospels
  • How the Crucifixion of Jesus provides a lens for understanding the violence of humanity
  • How God’s "response" to the crucifixion is forgiveness and the sending out of the apostles
  • How we mistake violent retribution for justice but God’s justice is restorative
  • The place of the Book of Revelation - prophetic critique of the Roman Empire - laden with symbol
  • Mystical encounters in prayer - God as love and light
  • Spiritual practice - Brian has a regular morning liturgy that he follows. He learned to sit silently acknowledging the presence of Jesus / occasionally something would happen - a mystical direct experience of God / an overwhelming sense of the love of God would be felt
  • Trusting a well-crafted liturgy to guide us through our prayer life
  • Brian summed up his book Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by saying, "The good news is that God is like Jesus"

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Bethany Jett | Trusting God in Trying Times

October 6, 2017

Episode 27 of the podcast features an interview with Bethany Jett. Bethany is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She has worked on all kinds of projects, including the moving book, Through the Eyes of Hope. She is also one of the founders of the new Serious Writer Academy.

It was truly wonderful to talk to Bethany. She and I met about 18 months ago at the only writers' conference I have ever attended. Since then, we've continued a friendship, mostly talking about writing, and connecting regularly on an online Writers' Chat that she has helped organize.

Bethany is very open about her life and some of the struggles she faces, particularly with having a military spouse that can be posted overseas. In this interview, she really shows both her strength and vulnerability.

Some of What We Talk About:

  • Living the life God has made for you
  • The importance of Youth groups for teens.
  • Talking to God throughout the day as a Spiritual Practice
  • Finding God in the midst of the day to day moments
  • How finding time for God becomes more challenging in adulthood.
  • The pressures of parenting
  • Teaching our children by modeling spiritual practices
  • providing a foundation for children so they can connect with God
  • Trusting that God will seek a relationship with your children.
  • The Benefits of having a mentor in your Church
  • Trusting that God will take care of you when tragedy strikes.
  • Relying on God when you need strength to get through the day.

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