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28 minutes | Jul 1, 2022
Re-Run: God Bless America
We’ve been in the heat of drama talking about Kngs and the King of Kings on this second season of Church Historia, but today's episode is a re-run from Season 1. In this episode we talk about civil religion and how it expresses itself in the United States. This conversation is important because American civil religion uses a lot of language that sounds similar to Christianity (e.g. God, Almighty, called to a specific purpose), but it is its own thing, with its own stories, symbols, rituals, and heroes. We believe that talking about civil religion and learning how it relates to Christianity and patriotism is important for us to have greater clarity about each of those things and to help us, as individuals, better understand our motivations and beliefs.
42 minutes | Jun 24, 2022
Crowned by God: Charlemagne and the Middle Ages
While the Roman empire continued on in the East, in the Byzantine empire, Late Antiquity was a time of tremendous change for the western Roman Empire and Europe. Germanic tribes, Roman culture, and Christianity blended, clashed, and intertwined, creating the medieval period and the foundation of the Europe we know today. In this episode, we’ll use Charlemagne’s story to explore this time of change, reinvention, and creation, where the church and political sphere mutually reinforce each other, while also simultaneously struggling to be the one really in charge.
39 minutes | Jun 17, 2022
Reverse, Reverse: The Byzantine Debate Over Icons
The path to orthodoxy was never a clear one for Christianity and one of the great debates, especially in the Byzantine Empire, was over the use of icons in worship. Depending on who you talked to and when, icons were either tools for devotion or idols of the most vile kind. In the 8th and 9th centuries, the Byzantine empire changed its stance on iconography several times, and each time, the new position was declared orthodox by church leadership and the imperial throne. The story of iconoclasm, and its reversal, makes us ask ourselves how much majority rule plays in establishing the norms of the church. It challenges us to think critically about the “why” behind what we believe and to contemplate the diversity of church and its many threads.
43 minutes | Jun 10, 2022
Divinely Blessed: Justinian, Theodora, and Divinely Appointed Royalty
Learn more about this podcast at churchhistoria.com Among the Christian emperors of Late Antiquity, Justinian stands out along with Constantine as one of the greats. In this episode, we’ll explore the story of Justinian and his wife Theodora and and Divinely Appointed Royalty. Justinian wanted nothing more than to restore the Roman empire to its glory, and creating a unified Christian empire was critical to that vision. Unfortunately for Justinian, his people were deeply split over their understandings of Christ’s nature and how his God-ness and human-ness related. The division didn’t deter the theologically-inclined emperor, however. In his attempt to restore the glory of his empire and unify it in a single Christian expression, Justinian spent a good amount of his reign navigating this debate both religiously and politically. This vision of a unified Christian empire, ruled by the divinely blessed royal couple, would live on past Justinian and Theodora and would shape politics in the forthcoming centuries.
42 minutes | Jun 10, 2022
True God from True God: Constantine & the Council of Nicea
Learn more about this podcast at churchhistoria.com Constantine marks an important turning point for Christianity. Under his reign, Christianity was no longer a small, grass-roots, mystery cult. It moved into the spotlight, and with that, its questions, debates, and internal squabbles became matters of imperial concern. In this episode we’ll explore Constantine's relationship with Christianity, specifically his involvement in calling the first of seven ecumenical councils that would come to define Christian orthodoxy as we know it today, the Council of Nicea. In calling this council, Constantine set the precedent that “Christian issues” were issues of the empire, and Christianity itself was important even if you weren’t Christian yourself, and in doing so, set the stage for relationship between the church and emperor for the next several hundred years.
2 minutes | Jun 3, 2022
Season 2 Trailer
Season 2: Kings and the King of Kings This is Season 2 of Church Historia! In this season, we’re going to go back in time to the early days of Christianity and look at how Christianity grew into what we recognize today. In particular, we’ll do a deep dive into what happens when Christianity becomes connected with (secular) power. Starting with Constantine and going through the early Medieval period, Steph will share several of the major controversies of early Christianity (Arianism, Monophysitism, and iconoclasm) as well as its spread through Europe. As we look at each area together, we’ll explore how emperors, kings, nobles, popes, and patriarchs shaped the discussions around doctrine and orthodoxy. Along the way we’ll encounter the variety of the older threads of Christianity and be prompted by their stories to look at our own in new ways.
12 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
Holiness in the Ordinary
As we recorded Season 1, our conversations took us in many directions and not all of them made sense as part of an episode. Today, we’re excited to bring you one of those “extra” conversations, recorded in the context of our episode about the Mar Thoma church and our conversation with Jissie and Rainu. In this case, our extra conversational meandering was it’s about food, culture, faith, and finding sacredness in the ordinary.
19 minutes | Mar 3, 2021
Iditarod, Tornados, and the Church
29 minutes | Feb 5, 2021
God Bless America
41 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
Called To Preach: Southern Evangelicalism
Evangelical and evangelicalism are common labels used in talking about modern Christianities, but they are fairly nebulous terms with non-codified definitions. Unlike a lot of other terms used to describe Christians it is not a denominational label (e.g. Baptist, Lutheran, etc.) or an umbrella term for several denominations (e.g. charismatic, high-church, etc.). And to further complicate things, denominations can even have evangelical and non-evangelical threads within them.
26 minutes | Jan 22, 2021
One bread, One body: The Methodists and the LGBTQIA+ community in the South
45 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
Gather, Pray, & Feast: The Mar Thoma church
28 minutes | Dec 21, 2020
Christmas Episode 2: Santa & Christmas Wonder
Our last episode of 2020 features the big man himself: Jolly Old St. Nick. Santa Claus. Kris Kringle. The big man. The guy who’s coming to visit us all soon! How did Santa evolve from St. Nicolas to a jolly portly guy in a red suit? There’s some history to be considered here, and it ends with us ultimately basking in the warm glow of the wonder of Christmas - when a little baby came to fix a broken world.
35 minutes | Dec 18, 2020
Christmas Episode 1: The Christmas That Wasn't & Gifting
Celebrate the Christmas season through a historical lens with us for a couple of episodes before we take a break for the Christmas season. The first of our two Christmas episodes looks at the season from a historical lens as we remember a time when Christmas was banned, and explores the tradition of gift-giving.
23 minutes | Dec 11, 2020
"The path that is my duty now" - Thomas Merton
This week we join Thomas Merton in his hermitage at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey, in Kentucky. (Our Lady of Gethsemani happens to be about an hour’s drive from the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill from episode 2, and two hours from Cane Ridge which we talked about in episode 1.)
32 minutes | Dec 4, 2020
Sisters of the Holy Family and Henriette Delille
Join us as we head to New Orleans to visit Venerable Henriette Delille and the Sisters of the Holy Family. Henriette wanted to join the Catholic church as a nun, but was the granddaughter of an enslaved person and there wasn’t an order that would welcome her. Instead of leaving the faith altogether, Henriette founded her own order, the Sisters of the Holy Family. Through the powerful life and legacy of Henriette and the order she founded, we have a window into the experiences of the Black Catholic tradition in the South and the church’s complicated history with racism and racial justice. Henriette’s story requires us to address selected moments when the church has failed its call to support racial justice and the full personhood of all people. We discuss the mixed history of the catholic church in the South, and offer some ways to learn from the story of Henriette as we continue to work for equality and justice in the church.
27 minutes | Nov 27, 2020
Hands to Work and Hearts to God
What does it mean to live a life fully devoted to God, where hands and hearts are united in a single purpose? What does it mean to love everyone equally, without giving primacy to our familial relationships? Continuing last week’s discussion of Christianity in the South in the Early Republic, we spend this week with the Shakers, exploring their history and beliefs and the challenging questions they raise. Originally founded in the late 18th century in England, the Shakers came to the United States via New York. In 1804, Shaker missionaries brought Shakerism to the South and started a community at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, which would last over 100 years.
41 minutes | Nov 20, 2020
Lord, Make it like Cane Ridge
In 1801, a gathering to celebrate communion in Cane Ridge, Kentucky started a movement that would go on to indelibly shape Christianity in the South and throughout the world. As this group of Scots Presbyterians gathered to share in the bread and the cup, they couldn’t have imagined they would soon be accompanied by thousands of others, caught up in exuberant manifestations of the Spirit. Unanticipated and unplanned, the Cane Ridge revival was both a product of its time and something brand new. In this episode, we explore how ideas of charismatic emotive worship shaped our personal understandings of Southern Christianity. We then discuss the context around Cane Ridge and what led to this ecstatic expression of the Spirit. Finally, we’ll use Cane Ridge as an opportunity to think about questions around legitimacy and leadership within the church. Production Note: In the spirit of the unity and non-sectarianism of Cane Ridge, Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell began an ecumenical movement that led to the development of the Disciples of Christ, the Christian Church, and the Churches of Christ. For more information on the Stone-Campbell tradition and the denominations related to them, check out this link
8 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
"Who Are Your People?"
Church Historia celebrates the tapestry of the Christian tradition through the lens of history. Hosted by church historian Stephanie Fulbright and church history enthusiast Leslie Eiler Thompson, this new podcast identifies people and places in the Christian tradition and uses their stories to discover new threads in the tapestry of Christianity. For Christians and non-Christians alike, this journey through the past will help us see ourselves, our neighbors, and our present realities more vibrantly. Season 1, “Who Are Your People?” explores Southern Christian traditions and the history that frames them. Sign up for the email list to get updates on Church Historia, and additional information when episodes release.
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