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The Church Hoppers Podcast
61 minutes | Jun 9, 2017
Seven Reasons the United Methodist Church Will Remain Divided
The Church Hoppers break down a statement by Ken Carter, the bishop of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, in which he gives 7 reasons "Why I believe The United Methodist Church will remain united." We, frankly, found the reasons unconvincing at best, and offensive at worst. So, we decided to do YET ANOTHER podcast about the Methodists and their sex problem...but hey, why not? They've been having "holy conversations" about it for decades. The first step, church, is admitting you have a problem. You can check out Bishop Carter's video on the Florida Conference website.
77 minutes | May 8, 2017
051 Methodists, Lesbians, and Bishops, Oh My!
The Church Hoppers return to weigh in on the recent decision by the highest church court of the United Methodist Church that a jurisdiction of the church cannot appoint bishops in violation of the Discipline of the UMC. Sound complicated? It isn't...just a new headline for what has become an increasingly exasperating topic within the UMC. We discuss why many "Progressives" in the UMC aren't, and what a real, substantive response would be for affirming clergy in any denomination, but specifically within the Methodist structure.
87 minutes | Mar 26, 2016
050 Atonement: Did Jesus Have to Die?
This week we talk theories of the atonement of Jesus. We discuss some major models of atonement, many of them substitutionary and most of them blood atonement in some fashion. We talk about the illustrations we use to teach these theories and how they all get conflated. By no means do we address all theories of the atonement of Christ. But we do ask the question again and again...did Jesus really HAVE to die? Why? For whom? To what end?
25 minutes | Jan 30, 2016
049 HOME: No forwarding address (Leaving the Southern Baptist pastorate for home with the "Dones")
HOME is our new "sermon series" where we break down what the phrase "spiritual home" or "church home" means to various people. In the series, we will hear the experiences of a lot of people who are at home today in a very different place than what they called "home" before. Join us and find yourself in their stories.This week, we talk with Scott. After 20 years in ministry as a Baptist pastor, Scott left the church altogether. He explains why he could no longer be at home, not just in a Southern Baptist church, but in any local church at all. He speaks to the church about priorities and loving neighbor, and he speaks words of encouragement to those who just can't go to church anymore. Ultimately, home is right where it's always been--where the heart is. Check out Scott's blog entry about his leaving http://scottwelch.blogspot.com/2015/12/why-do-you-care-so-much-about-my-choices.html
69 minutes | Jan 25, 2016
048: Anglican Primates Meeting; The ECUSA, drawing conclusions, and drawing the circle wide
We interrupt our "sermon series" on HOME to sound off on the recent meeting of the Primates of the Anglican communion. In light of episode 047, we felt it a good supplemental episode. We feebly try to explain for the non-anglican layperson how the polity of the Communion works, and what exactly did and didn't happen at the Primates 2016 meeting in Canterbury, England. We discuss homophobia, unity, provincial churches, sanctions and censure, and options that we as outsiders see that were available to the Primates but rejected in favor of their move to censure the Episcopal Church U.S.A. We end by calling to the church to what the Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA, Michael Curry, called "the high calling" of drawing the circle wide...at least as wide as the women and men and children that are already a part of us...but hopefully even wider than that. Amen.
27 minutes | Jan 20, 2016
047 HOME: Change of Address (leaving evangelicalism & finding home in The Episcopal Church)
HOME is our new "sermon series" where we break down what the phrase "spiritual home" or "church home" means to various people. In the series, we will hear the experiences of a lot of people who are at home today in a very different place than what they called "home" before. Join us and find yourself in their stories.This week, we talk with Lissa. She shares her own story of home and why the evangelical church of her youth was no longer a place she could call home. Lissa embarks on a journey that leads her to where she is today: in an Episcopal church, transformed on social issues that weren't even the reason she left to begin with, and finding hope and life even beyond just the walls of her own church.
29 minutes | Jan 3, 2016
046 A Church Hoppers Watch Night Service
So on New Years Eve, Joshua and Wendy sat down to have ye old fashioned "Watch Night Service." Not clear on the details of all that? Don't worry, neither was Wendy. Not sure if it involves games and drinking? Don't worry, neither was Joshua. So we sat down together and talked about all the different religious ways that Christians can ring in the New Year. Well, some Christians. And we begin this year the best way we know how, by podcasting as Church Hoppers...
80 minutes | Nov 23, 2015
045 Slanderous! Churchsplaining, Sucky Churches, & Prophetic Solutions
This week, the Church Hoppers get a little preachy. To help wind up the church year, we thought we might share some sage wisdom with churches of all stripes about how to get rid of those pesky "wow, this church stuff really sucks" critiques. No, the sage wisdom doesn't come from us...although we are pretty sage and wise and stuff...but from a surprising source--The Bible. I suppose it is a bit counter-intuitive. We find three bits of advice for a church struggling with being generally sucky or a bit a-holeish. Three points and a poem later, and you'll be on your way to improving your own church's reputation. And, believe us, there are people who are paying attention to whether or not the church sucks.
77 minutes | Nov 17, 2015
044: Pagans, They're Just Like Us!
This week we went to visit a Pagan worship service celebrating the Pagan new year, "Samhain" (sounds like "Sah-oo-in" in two syllables). Rather than becoming apostate heretics, we find ourselves at home in the Pagan rituals, as we draw the connections between what we've always done as Christians and the rituals based on those of older cultures, especially in medieval Europe. We are joined by Jake, who gives us the low-down on Paganism/Wicca and helps dispel some misconceptions. We talk about the history of neo-paganism, and Wicca. We define terms like "coven" "magick" "spell" and we talk about how we have all of these things in Christianity, just under different names. It turns out that Pagans are just like us! Finally, we tell about our experience in the circle, what we saw and felt, and how we interpreted it from our faith perspective. For a more OFFICIAL view of Paganism or to find a meeting of Pagans/Wiccans near you, visit witchvox.com
77 minutes | Nov 8, 2015
043 Community of Christ, the "other Mormons," revelation, and the gay agenda
This week we visit the second largest group to come from Joseph Smith's movement. Formerly they were known as "The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" or RLDS, but since 2001 they have been known as "Community of Christ." We discuss the strange and intriguing history of this "not the Utah Mormons!" sect that, today, ordains women, is ok with gay marriage in many places, and no longer believes it is the "One True Church" (TM, all rights reserved). We talk about their temple in Independence, Missouri (in the place where Joseph Smith said it would be) that is open to the public and dedicated to peace. We talk about how a sect with such an unusual history has a pretty normal church service and we converse about our experience in one small congregation. Finally (about the last 15 minutes of the episode, in fact), Joshua asks some members how they feel about marrying gay people and that's when it got interesting... For a more OFFICIAL view of the Community of Christ, visit their website at cofchrist.org
57 minutes | Oct 30, 2015
042: Silence of the Lambs--scary church stories
This week we stop to look back at one year of church hopping. We gather round while Wendy delivers a scary children's sermon, just in time for Halloween, and then we get closer to the campfire to tell the real horror stories of church life (in a fun way, of course) : 1. "The Day They Passed Me Over for Communion" 2. "The Day the KKK Came to Church" 3. "The Season of Silence" 4. "The Devil Wears a Stole" Wendy reads an open letter to the Church that she wrote almost exactly a year ago today. The message is as poignant today as it was then. And we celebrate together the day we said goodbye to church horror stories. We celebrate the death of the way we've always done church, so that we can welcome the life that is springing up beyond the walls of the autumn and winter of church.
61 minutes | Oct 25, 2015
041: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), women preachers, and gays, oh my!
This week we return to worship with our Presbyterian friends; This time, a congregation of the PCUSA. We explore their history, with a musical journey through the high points of their 20th century milestones. We discuss some of the recent developments that led this denomination from being a fundamentalist affirming group in the early 1900s (during the moernist/fundamentalist debates) to embracing a much more broad theology, with a bent toward social justice. We also discuss the schisms that this has produced both in the denomination and in local churches. (We visited one such schismatic denomination that broke with the PCUSA early on, in episode 31). Finally, we discuss the worship experience we had, the organ music, the liturgy, and why the whole church didn't say the creed this Sunday. And we do it in exactly 1 hour and 57 seconds...very Presbyterian of us, we think. For an OFFICIAL view of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), visit their website at pcusa.org.
10 minutes | Oct 19, 2015
040 Insiders: Primitive Baptists
This minisode is a letter from an insider in one of the sects that we visited. This letter was from a listener who is a Primitive Baptist Pastor. First, he tells us, YES, there ARE Primitive Baptists listening! We're always surprised to find out just who enjoys listening. Then, he goes on to tell us all the stuff we got wrong (Joshua still can't believe he was wrong about the mourner's benches) and helps to clarify some of the issues where our discussion lacked nuance. Finally, he tells us why he is a Primitive Baptist, why he stays, what he believes and why. It's a true insider's look at a sect we visited, and an invitation for even us "outsiders" to listen. And really, as far as we Church Hoppers are concerned, everyone's an "insider" in the commonwealth of God.
62 minutes | Oct 11, 2015
039 Primitive Baptists, Hardshell Anti-Missions, and what a dying church might teach us
This week we visited an old-school Primitive Baptist church. We talk about the anti-missions Calvinist history of the Primitive Baptist sect and the reason you don't hear about them much nowadays. We finally break down TULIP so you can understand it, sort of (and you'll either hate TULIP or hate our explanation of it...sorry Presbyterian friends). We take you through the idiosyncrasies of Primitive Old-School worship, a capella singing, sing-song preaching, footwashing, and handshaking. Finally, we talk about what churches of all stripes fear--death and/or irrelevance...and we discuss how the physical picture we saw in just one little church full of faithful people might be a prophetic call for the rest of us to ask if what we are doing as religious people is really mattering. After all, the church has always needed a little fresh wind now and again. For a more OFFICIAL view of Primitive Baptists, visit one local congregation's website, complete with doctrinal and practical information at www.pb.org/
64 minutes | Oct 4, 2015
038 Church of the Nazarene and the carnival of God
This week we visited with our neighbors at the Church of the Nazarene. We explore their Weslyan holiness roots and talk about some of the surprising details of their church. We worship very slowly and "worshipfully" with their praise team and take a look at a different way of doing "prayers of the people." Finally, we listen to a 20 year veteran of ministry share a sermon on what the church ought to be. He lets some of his own hurts and disappointments bleed through the cracks and we listen to him painfully over-correct in the sermon. But then we explore with him the topic of the carnival of God--the kingdom of God that looks like a carnival in church on Sunday mornings. And it's a beautiful sight. For an OFFICIAL view of the Church of the Nazarene, visit nazarene.org/
67 minutes | Sep 28, 2015
037 The Great Debaters meet the Church Hoppers in Chapel
This week we traveled to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) called Wiley College, behind the Pine Curtain of East Texas. There we found a United Methodist affiliated institution built on the hotbed of the civil rights movement, stretching even back to its very founding. You may have heard about part of the struggle in Marshall, Texas for civil rights from the movie "We Are Marshall." And you probably know about the courage of Black students and leaders in the 60s at Wiley College from the movie "The Great Debaters." We discuss this history and hop over to a student-led voluntary chapel service. We discuss the service, the music, the styles of worship encountered, and the sermon (delivered by the United Methodist chaplain at Wiley). CORRECTION: Despite Joshua's confident ramblings about movies (even though he rarely watches them), "We Are Marshall" has absolutely nothing to do with Marshall, Texas, a high school football team (it's a University team) or the civil rights movement, really. Joshua regrets the complete and utter BS about "We are Marshall" that he spouted, but is considering watching the movie for the first time as penance and encourages others to see it...Joshua doesn't understand football so it's no surprise to anyone that he totally f**ked up a reference to a football movie. Sorry! Links to some of the clips used in this episode: Wiley College Gospel Choir https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GojKFBBv0bM Wiley college A Capella Choir (To be young, gifted and black) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEfbBCBSnSE "The Real Great Debaters" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQDJZVO-f3g “Old Time Religion” from “A day in the life of Wiley College” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tllK2w-qtJs I Thank You Jesus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M3FvIt5qh4 There is a Balm in Gilead https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-NjWPFooM0
76 minutes | Sep 21, 2015
036 Evangelical Culture, fundamentalism, Billy Graham, and why thepro-life movement was about racism
This week we are joined by Verdell, a United Church of Christ minister and doctoral candidate in communications at Howard University. He joined us for a podcast about creating more worship spaces for LGBTQ African Americans on Episode 015. We discuss an area he has studied and experienced, evangelical culture. We discuss what the historical roots of evangelicalism are, define evangelical characteristics and how it isn't its country cousin, fundamentalism. Joshua argues with Verdell contending that Billy Graham is totally a fundamentalist (he isn't, and now Joshua knows why) and we talk about the pro-life phenomenon of the 60s. We discuss how the pro-life movement was actually just a smoke-screen for white-supremacist Christians...and continues to be a smoke screen. For more from Verdell, visit his blog at reboot4life.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter @mr_wrightaway
79 minutes | Sep 14, 2015
035 The Disciples of Christ, Jim Jones, and infant baptism
This week we visited a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We talk about the recent history of this denomination since its beginnings in the Stone-Campbell movement. In this episode we'll answer these questions about the CCDOC: Are the Disciples conservative or liberal? Was Jim Jones REALLY a Disciples minister? Will they baptize babies? What was their position on slavery? What does slavery have to do with human sexuality issues today? Let's just say, this ain't your grandad's Disciples of Christ podcast episode. For an OFFICIAL view of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), visit their website at Disciples.org
66 minutes | Sep 7, 2015
034 Cowboy Church, Confederate flags, and Niche Market Churches
This week we travel deeper into Texas culture and further and further away from our comfort zones to visit a Cowboy Church. We talk about the origins of the cowboy church movement and how they are often undercover denominational churches. We talk about why there is a big lack of racial diversity in said churches, and why niche marketing might be beneficial and detrimental. We talk about how all churches run the risk of narrowing the gospel to reach their particular market. So saddle up your horse and hit the happy trail with the Church Hoppers for another adventure (which, evidently, won't be the last one of its kind). For an OFFICIAL view of Cowboy Churches, visit the website of the American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches at americanfcc.org/ CORRECTION: On the podcast, Joshua gave the URL of the AFCC as AFCC.org. This was in error and the actual website is americanfcc.org . Our apologies to the AFCC for any confusion.
68 minutes | Sep 1, 2015
033 The Church of God (Restoration), Weird Dress Codes, and the One True Church
This week we packed our bags and hit the road in search of God's ONLY true church upon the Earth. Let me tell you, it isn't where I would've put it if I were God. But as our brethren and sisteren in the Church of God (Restored) will probably tell you, I'm definitely not God...so what would I know? We discuss this unique sect, their holiness code that keeps them distinct from both the world AND other churches (and even other "churches of God"). We talk about some of the surprising things about this sect that you wouldn't expect from a group of people who choose to dress and believe so very conservatively. We also discuss our long road trip that ended in a little disappointment when we finally arrived at God's one true church upon the Earth (Texas congregation). For an OFFICIAL view of The Church of God (Restoration), visit their website at churchofgod.net
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