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Holy Heretics: Losing Religion and Finding Jesus
50 minutes | Jan 24, 2023
Ep. 60 (Part Two): Transgender and Christian? w/ Natalie Drew
Episode Summary In the second installment of our conversation with Natalie Drew, we move deeper into her gender transition and how it impacted her marriage, career, and spiritual journey. If you haven’t checked out Part One, go back and listen now before moving forward into this episode! We answer several questions including, can you be Christian and transgender and what might it look like to transcend the false gender binary that pervades our social and spiritual spaces? I know you will appreciate the intimacy, honesty, and bravery Natalie continues to show to her online trolls and the theobros who wish her ill. May her grace provide a way forward in your own dealings with individuals who doubt you, question, you, and try to thwart your personal and spiritual path. Bio Despite what many within conservative Christian circles may claim, “Christian” and “transgender” are not mutually exclusive. Natalie is living proof of this, as she navigates life post-transition within conservative Christian circles. She, her wife Heather, and their two teenagers are recent transplants to the heart of Reformed country…west Michigan. Natalie has spent the past 13 years as an HR professional, and currently serves as an HR Manager for a Fortune 500 company in the Grand Rapids area. After 6 years as an infantry soldier in the Army, Natalie has committed her life to advancing an ethic of Christian nonviolence and fighting for the rights of trans people. She is dedicated to elbowing her way in Christian spaces to help make room for her LGBTQIA+ siblings who have historically been rejected and despised by the church. Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.) If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/transgender-and-christian-part-two Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. and written by Gary Alan Taylor. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
43 minutes | Jan 9, 2023
Ep. 60: Transgender and Christian? w/ Natalie Drew
CW: We discuss trauma, addiction, suicidal ideation, abuse, and other topics that may be triggering. Please listen at your own discretion. A lot of times on our show, we discuss theological matters that mostly reside in your head, but this episode is altogether very different. This conversation is personal, it’s raw, it’s painful, it’s the deeply transformative work of an individual who fought to save her own life by becoming who she always knew she was. It’s not only an episode about gender dysphoria and transition, it’s a conversation about what it means to live peacefully with yourself and the violent world around us. In many ways, Natalie Drew is one of our heroes. Here’s why. Despite what many within conservative Christian circles may claim, “Christian” and “transgender” are not mutually exclusive. Natalie is living proof of this, as she navigates life post-transition within conservative Christian circles. She, her wife Heather, and their two teenagers are recent transplants to the heart of Reformed country…west Michigan. Natalie has spent the past 13 years as an HR professional, and currently serves as an HR Manager for a Fortune 500 company in the Grand Rapids area. After 6 years as an infantry soldier in the Army, Natalie has committed her life to advancing an ethic of Christian nonviolence and fighting for the rights of trans people. She is dedicated to elbowing her way in Christian spaces to help make room for her LGBTQIA+ siblings who have historically been rejected and despised by the church. I hope her personal story of religious trauma, addiction, recovery, and transition will inspire you to live into who God fully made you to be. Especially in a day and age when transgender individuals are thrown into the culture war to chum the water of hatred and bigotry by evangelical Christians and their Republican Party goons, leading to a rise in dehumanizing tactics and strategies aimed at eliminating transgender people from society. Recent laws passed in Bible-belt states like Texas, Alabama, and Florida are making it almost impossible for transgender people to get healthcare, participate in sports, be themselves at school, and even be in an affirming relationship with their parents. And it is Christian organizations helping to write bigotry into the laws of our land. May we, like Natalie, find ways to resist such evil nonviolently, protecting our souls as we fight each day to make the world a better place for everyone. Quotables “Let me wake up a girl…let me be me! Or God, if you are not going to do that, then please kill me.” “I grew up in that world where it was King James version only where women and children were to be seen and not heard…It was a very spiritually, emotionally, and physically abusive world I grew up in both in the Church and at home.” “I didn’t have the vocabulary for it, I just knew I wasn’t like the boys in class.” “I had no safe place…My parents, I could have never taken this to them.” “I did what a lot of young trans girls do. I retreated into myself and became very violent.” “Like any good cult, you go to their schools. You plan to go to their colleges, you marry the person you meet at college and move back and repeat the cycle with your kids.” “I found the perfect job. It’s a job that let’s me be violent without the condemnation of society. And I would be held up as a hero in society. So, I joined the Army.” “There is a higher percentage of former Special Forces soldiers that are transgender than there is in the general population. It’s called the flight to hyper-masculinity.” If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/transgender-and-christian Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Gary Alan Taylor. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
56 minutes | Dec 27, 2022
Ep. 59: Queer Jesus w/ Maki Ashe Van Steenwyk
CW: Adult Language. Christians were never meant to be normal, we've always been "holy troublemakers" who do not accept the world as it is but who insist on the world becoming the way God wants it to be. In the words of our friends at The Center for Prophetic Imagination, “A world where all walls of alienation are torn down as we live justly with one another.” From the very beginning, Jesus called us to be a beloved community of resistance to the brutal normalcy of a world dominated by the powers and principalities of darkness. Often, that darkness comes to us cloaked in the status quo, in the normative ideology of white, cis gender, patriarchal ideology. But racism, transphobia, homophobia, economic injustice, violence, patriarchy, and white supremacy are only normal in a world dominated by oppression. In this prophetic episode, we talk with Ashe Van Steenwyk about what it might look like for you and I to "confront not only the institutions and systems and structures that control and constrain our material lives, but also the myths, beliefs, and ideas that shape and bind our imaginations." And what better way to do that than to embody the radical, subversive way of Jesus who came to upend life as we know it. Some of the questions we seek to answer in this episode include: What do we mean when we say Jesus was queer? How do we discern what is real? How do we push back against injustice without losing our souls? How do we not only resist evil, but redeem evil? What does it look like to carve out new possibilities in a world of forced conformity? What if everything we call 'normal' is really just evil in disguise? What if what we believe to be profane is actually holy and what we have been told is orthodoxy is just a set of lies created to keep us in line? How do we resist dominance and power? And where have even liberal and progressive Christians been captivated by oppressive systems and structures? Bio M. Ashe (she/they) is the co-founder of the Center for Prophetic Imagination. She is a writer, teacher, organizer, and spiritual director. For nearly 15 years, she has sown seeds of subversive spirituality throughout North America. Ashe is the author of That Holy Anarchist, unKingdom, and A Wolf at the Gate. You can find out more about Ashe here. The Center for Prophetic Imagination works to subvert the existing social order through deep discernment culminating with creative action. Check out their online resources and online classes to learn more about what it means to be a holy troublemaker in our world. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/queer-jesus Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Gary Alan Taylor. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
49 minutes | Dec 13, 2022
Ep. 58: Becoming Fully Human w/ Barbara Brown Taylor
Episode Summary Barbara Brown Taylor is who you want to be when you grow up. Her life is a legacy of wisdom and wonder, walking the long road toward becoming fully human. In this intimate conversation that is more memoir than interview, she looks back on a long pilgrimage of faith while sharing some of the secrets she’s found along the way. As she reminds us, “This is not the life I planned or the life I recommend to others. But it is the life that has turned out to be mind, and the central revelation in it for me—that the call to serve God is first and last the call to be fully human.” Along the way she shares what suffering and pain has taught her, and how life isn’t so much about eliminating the bad but finding a balance between light and darkness, despair and hope. Together, we explore what it means to slow down and listen to your life, to embrace your humanity as you strive for the Divine. As favorite poet Mary Oliver wrote, “To live in this world you must be able to do three things. To love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” I hope you will take the time to listen to your life, to see if for all the beauty and agony it brings as you too walk this long pilgrimage toward becoming fully human, fully divine. Bio Barbara Brown Taylor is An American Episcopal priest, professor, and New York Times bestselling author who has dedicated her life to the pursuit of becoming fully human. Her most beloved works include An Altar in the World, Learning to Walk in the Dark, and Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others. She completed her undergraduate work at Emory University and went on to study at Yale Divinity School where she graduated in 1976. In 1996, she was named one of the twelve "most effective" preachers in the English-speaking world by Baylor University. She was awarded the 1998 Emory Medal by the Emory Alumni Association of Emory University for her distinguished achievement in education. She has been an Avon lady, a cocktail waitress, a horseback riding instructor, and a parish minister, but her favorite job was teaching world religions at Piedmont College for twenty years before putting the chalk down in 2017. She now divides her time between writing, speaking, and caring for the land on which she lives. Barbara and her husband Ed tend a small farm in the foothills of the Appalachians. Quotables “I was raised by parents who took me to libraries instead of churches.” “It took teaching world religions to realize Christianity was probably the most diverse, global tradition. And there are hundreds if not thousands of ways of being Christian.” “It’s a wide, wide Christian world and I still identify that way…I’m the kind of Christian who will never be fully cooked.” “I’m clearly a person who believes what we most have in common is our humanity, not our religion.” “Jesus never told me to love my religion…If given the choice between loving my religion and loving my neighbor, I choose the neighbor.” “If we are made just a little lower than the Angels and made in the image of the Divine, it is quite something to be human.” “Both in Christian life and life universally, I keep meeting people who don’t feel fully equipped yet to live their lives.” “If I’m going to love my neighbor, it is extremely important to ditch my stereotypes.” “We do a lot of judging one another by our yard signs, and I am so weary of that dichotomy.” “There was a time when my writing about Nature earned me a kind of outsider status of being pagan or pantheist.” “For the first time I began to see all the people my beloved tradition left out.” “Outsider status really ended up being like pilgrim status.” “As a mainline Episcopalian, what could be further from where most evangelicals started.” “I don’t speak of the Christ, but I’m happy to talk about Jesus.” “I do believe the spirit of God lives in ALL that God has made.” “Darkness is the way of unknowing…It’s the way you set your feet on when you don’t know where you are going.” “You shed a lot of beliefs along the way as you acquire wisdom and experience and new friends.” “What darkness has taught me is that it is fine to slow down enough in the dark to feel my way instead of thinking my way forward.” “Suffering is not a spiritual practice I would choose, but it seems unavoidable.” “I think the hardest thing about suffering is the idea that we are alone in it.” “It’s really helpful for people to look in their folders marked darkness and see what is in there and interrogate what is in there.” “There are a lot of things we wrestle with out of the public eye that we acquire the wisdom to speak about it IN the public eye.” “I think you just unearthed my primary faith statement which is, ‘I choose to believe the universe is for me and not against me.’” “I do wake up curious every day of my life, and I wake up attentive and with wonder.” “The time ahead is so much shorter than the time behind, so it’s time to get serious about things.” “I think the Benedictines said every day keep your death before you. Not to make you a grim reaper but to make you aware of the preciousness of what you have.” If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/barbara-brown-taylor-becoming-human Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Gary Alan Taylor. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
58 minutes | Nov 29, 2022
Ep. 57: Meeting Jewish Jesus For the First Time w/ Dr. Amy Jill Levine
One of the great ironies of the Christian religion is that the person Christians worship isn’t a Christian. Jesus was born, raised, and died a Jew. He might even find it odd that an entire new religion grew up out of his short life and painful death. He is without question, the most popular person to have ever walked the earth. But what do we really know about this first century Galilean? If we are honest, not much. He was born to humble parents under sketchy circumstances, he grew to become an itinerant preacher and wisdom teacher. The poor loved him, drunks drank with him, and sex workers called him friend. Some believed him a prophet, others thought he was the Messiah. The religious elite saw him as a threat and the Roman Empire eventually murdered him as a political revolutionary. But what cannot be questioned about the historic Jesus is his Jewish identity. He was rooted in first century Judaism. He celebrated the Jewish festivals. He went on pilgrimage to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, he taught in the Synagogue. He was a miracle worker and mystic. If you grew up in the church, Jesus was presented as the first Christian, a man who dedicated his life to dismantling Judaism in route to founding a new religion. But this view is not only historically inaccurate, it fails to account for Jesus’ Jewish identity. In this erudite episode, scholar Amy-Jill Levine helps Christians and Jews understand the "Jewishness" of Jesus so that our appreciation of him deepens and a greater interfaith dialogue can take place. Levine's humor and informed truth-telling provokes honest conversation and debate about how Christians and Jews should understand Jesus in the modern world. How have we gotten him right? How have we gotten him wrong? What might we learn about him by remembering and studying his Jewish identity? What would Jesus have believed about hell, sexuality, women, and the Bible in his first century Jewish context? We’ve all met Jesus before. Or, have we? Meeting Jesus as a first century Jew just might change not only how you see yourself, but your faith tradition as well. Bio Amy Jill Levine (“AJ”) is Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace and University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies Emerita and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies Emerita, at Vanderbilt. Her publications include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi; six children’s books (with Sandy Sasso); The Gospel of Luke (with Ben Witherington III, the first biblical commentary by a Jew and an Evangelical); The Jewish Annotated New Testament (co-edited with Marc Brettler), The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently (with Marc Brettler), The Pharisees (co-edited with Joseph Sievers), and thirteen edited volumes of the Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Literature. Along with Introduction to the Old Testament for the Teaching Company, her Beginner’s Guide series for Abingdon Press includes Sermon on the Mount, Light of the World, Entering the Passion of Jesus, The Difficult Words of Jesus, Witness at the Cross, and Signs and Wonders. The first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute, an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the first winner of the Seelisberg Prize for Jewish-Christian Relations, AJ describes herself as an unorthodox member of an Orthodox synagogue and a Yankee Jewish feminist who works to counter biblical interpretations that exclude and oppress. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/meeting-jewish-jesus-for-the-first-time Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
40 minutes | Nov 15, 2022
Ep. 56: Being Transgender in a Binary World w/ Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza
Episode Summary "In the Beginning, God created male and female." Evangelicals have used this one verse as a weapon in their war on transgender individuals. But a closer look offers a far more inclusive interpretation. It is true that God made both male and female. God also made light and dark, the land and sea, skies and earth, and guess what? God also made EVERYTHING in between like rivers, lakes, valleys, hills, and mountains. The diversity of life that lies in these in-between spaces is what makes the world rich, beautiful, and complex. Otherwise, the world would be a pretty boring place if it was neatly divided into dualistic choices. The same is true for gender and sexuality. As Father Richard Rohr reminds us, "It seems that everything we put in a neat and tidy package must eventually be allowed to come undone, including our understanding of our bodies, gender, and attraction." Even if you do not identify as transgender, all of us have these shards of identity in us, whether it’s our sexuality, our gender, our faith, our age, our cultural identity, our personal trauma histories—all of those things that are part of who we are combine to create our whole identity. The more complex the identity, the more beautiful our lived experience. In this deeply personal episode, we talk with Dr. Roberto Henderson-Espinoza about what it means to live on the borderlands of gender, sexuality, and race and how that place on the periphery of culture has given them a unique lens through which to see themselves and the world. Being transgender isn't a problem to overcome, but an opportunity to embrace and we come to realize it too is an original part of God's very good Creation. Bio Dr. Roberto is passionate about the politics of radical difference and the ways that our collective differences might shed light on how we become a better body together. Dr. Roberto Che Espinoza has been described in a myriad of ways: a scholar-activist, scholar-leader, thought-leader, teacher, public theologian, ethicist, poet of moral reason, and word artist. Among these ways of describing Dr. Roberto, they are also a visionary thinker who has spent two decades working in the borderlands of church, academy, & movements seeking to not only disrupt but dismantle supremacy culture and help steward the logic of liberation as a non binary Trans Queer Latinx. He enfleshes a deep hope of collaborating in these borderland spaces where their work seeks to contribute to the ongoing work of collective liberation. Dr. Roberto is the Founder of the Activist Theology Project, a Nashville based collaborative project that is dedicated to social healing. He is also on faculty at Duke Divinity School teaching at the intersections of queer theory & theology/ethics. Dr. Roberto was named 1 of 10 Faith Leaders to watch by the Center for American Progress in 2018. He has been featured in fashion magazines and appeared on many different podcasts, including Pete Holmes’ You Made it Weird. As a scholar-activist, he is committed to translating theory to action, so that our work in the borderlands reflect the deep spiritual work of transforming self to transforming the world. As the Founder of the Activist Theology Project, Dr. Roberto is committed to the work of social healing through the politicizing of public theology initiatives, and writes & creates both academic & other valuable resources, including digital resources. He is a non-binary Transman; Latinx; and, adult on the Autism spectrum who calls Nashville, TN home. They are the author of Activist Theology and Body Becoming: A Path to Our Liberation. Dr. Roberto's next book-length project focuses on Belonging & Freedom. Quotables “I wake up every morning and there is something new for me to discover, and yet, I feel like I”ve spent a lifetime ignoring my body.” “Here in the United States, gender and sexuality has been so politicized in negative ways.” “In the past six months, I’ve been targeted three times, this most recent time by Matt Walsh and company.” “I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, and I saw up close the vitriol and hate of ‘difference.’” “Gender is a category that was created during the Enlightenment, and if you look at pre-modern history, you can see a variation of gender and a fluidity of gender.” “Biology exists in a social world.” “There is a thread of anti-intellectualism throughout the Right.” “If we are going to be faithful in the small things, we have to begin to listen to stories of people.” “We know that something other than male and female exists, and we can point to it in real time.” “Figuring out how to move in the world as a mixed race person…how do I live my story faithfully?” “As a transman, as a non-binary man, is part of my work to actually plant seeds for a different kind of masculinity.” “How do we build bridges together to create pathways for ethical futures, because it’s not just me who needs freedom, you also need freedom.” “The center, those in dominant spaces, they also need freedom>.” “We need to recognize that their are people who believe that this country should be distinctly Christian. There is a move, globally, to create theocracies.” “How do we unhinge religion from politics, and can we do that?” “The thing is that is so frustrating, is that the Right is so organized.” If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/being-transgender-in-a-binary-world http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/being-transgender-in-a-binary-world Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
55 minutes | Nov 1, 2022
Ep. 55: God is a Black Woman w/ Dr. Christena Cleveland
“The Spirit of God, She has made me, and the breath of the nursing God, She gives me life.” - Job 33:4 When you close your eyes and envision God, who do you see? Like me, you probably envision God as an old, white male sitting on a throne looking down from on high with an air of judgment and anger toward the world. This is the god of authoritarianism, patriarchy, domination, and purity culture and he’s been entrenched in our hearts and minds for years. But what if we’ve gotten God wrong all along? What if instead of a Divine dictator, God is Creator and Mother, the Sacred sustainer of life? The Divine Feminine is the spiritual concept that there exists a feminine counterpart to the patriarchal and masculine worship structures that have long dominated organized religions. The Divine Feminine extends well beyond one belief system, and instead can be used as a spiritual lens to balance our perspective on what it means to envision the Sacred. She shows up in all of the world’s great religions including the Black Madonna, the Black Kali, and the Black Tara. It is high time we recovered God in female form for the sake of everyone. Bio Christena Cleveland, Ph.D. is a social psychologist, public theologian, author, and activist. She is the founder and director of the Center for Justice + Renewal as well as its sister organization, Sacred Folk, which creates resources to stimulate people’s spiritual imaginations and support their journeys toward liberation. An award-winning researcher and former professor at Duke University’s Divinity School, Christena lives in Boston, Massachusetts. A weaver of Black liberation and the sacred feminine, Dr. Cleveland integrates psychology, theology, storytelling, and art to stimulate our spiritual imaginations. She recently completed her third full-length book, God is a Black Woman, which details her 400-mile walking pilgrimage across central France in search of ancient Black Madonna statues, and examines the relationship among race, gender, and cultural perceptions of the Divine. Dr. Cleveland holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara as well as an honorary doctorate from the Virginia Theological Seminary. An award-winning researcher and author, Christena is a Ford Foundation Fellow who has held faculty positions at several institutions of higher education — most recently at Duke University’s Divinity School. A bona fide tea snob, lover of Black art, and Ólafur Arnalds superfan — Christena makes her home in Boston. Quotables “It’s not just white Jesus that I hate, it’s male Jesus too.” “What does God do all day? God Gives birth.” “Whitemalegod is the spiritual or religious organizing principle behind this white patriarchy that flows in our land.” “It’s scary to see how whitemalegod has poisoned so much of global Christianity.” “As a Black woman, I couldn’t even show up (in church) as both Black and female.” “No one person has broken my heart like the Church has.” “I had no idea Saints across history have seen Jesus as female and feminine.” “I trust Black women to get the job done.” “I can relinquish a lot of the need to control others because God is a Black Woman, and She has it handled.” “I’m passionate about people finding themselves in the Divine.” “Gosh, wouldn’t it be amazing if white men actually knew they were Sacred? That would solve pretty much all the problems in the world.” “The idea of God as a Black woman is the only thing that can only heal white patriarchy.” If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/God-is-a-black-woman Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
26 minutes | Oct 18, 2022
Ep. 54: Finding God in the Margins w/ Gary Alan Taylor
We're excited to drop the first episode of Season Three of Holy Heretics with host Gary Alan Taylor! We are dedicating this year to marginalized voices who have either been muzzled by conventional Christianity or who have been pushed to the periphery of faith. People whose voices, bodies, race, gender, or sexuality make them dangerous to the status quo. In this introductory episode, we invite you to go on an adventure into the borderlands of faith, where we seek the real meaning of the spiritual quest, and where we dare to meet the God who stands in solidarity with the marginalized. Along the way, we will be lead by wise guides who know the way through the spiritual wilderness. Following Joseph Campbell’s archetypal “Hero’s Journey,” we’ll wander ancient spiritual pathways toward our final destination with the Divine. What we find is that the God we serve lives on the margins, in the outlandish periphery where She has been banished for being too inclusive, too compassionate, too kind. If God became flesh as the least of these living on the edges of society, then in order to find God now, we need to move to the margins. In the end, we pause long enough in our quest to ask a few simple but profound questions. What is the end goal of spirituality? Why have humans for thousands of years sought union with the Divine, and what happens when we come face to face with God? What is “Theosis,” and is it possible to obtain intimate union with God in the here and now? Thanks for joining us on the quest to uncover the heart of faith! We are glad to offer you early access to Season Three! Bio Gary Alan Taylor is Co-Founder of The Sophia Society and host of Holy Heretics Podcast. He has an undergraduate degree from Milligan University and a Master of Arts in European History and Holocaust Studies from East Tennessee State University before pursuing doctoral work at the University of Tennessee. He served in non-profit organizations and higher educational institutions before starting The Sophia Society with his friend and co-worker Melanie Mudge. Gary Alan began deconstructing white evangelicalism after leaving Focus on the Family in 2010. An “evangelicals evangelical,” Gary Alan began leaving white evangelicalism during his time on staff at Milligan University when he was introduced to pacifism and nonviolence. He credits his time as an undergraduate at Milligan for helping to instill the joy of lifelong learning, and his favorite authors and mentors in the progressive Christian space include Marcus Borg, Joan Chittister, Matthew Fox, Derrick Jensen, Richard Rohr, and Thomas Merton. In 2014, he and his wife joined the Episcopal Church. Through the leading of his wife Jennifer, he is pursuing a more contemplative, mystical Christianity. Gary Alan isn’t an expert, but rather a fellow traveler on the quest to uncover the heart of faith. He has taught more than 15 courses at the university level and along with his role in the deconstruction space, he works at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs as a Development Officer. Gary Alan is married to Jennifer, and they are raising their three children in Monument, Colorado. He loves to travel, and his favorite places to visit include London, Singapore, South Africa, Scotland, Prague, and Hong Kong. He continues to be inspired by novelist and poet Thomas Hardy, and enjoys British literature. Follow Gary Alan on Instagram @garyalantaylor48. Follow Holy Heretics @holyhereticspodcast on Instagram, and the web: www.sophiasociety.org. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/finding-god-in-the-margins http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/finding-god-in-the-margins Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. and written by Gary Alan Taylor. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
46 minutes | Jun 28, 2022
Ep. 53 Do I Stay Christian? w/Brian McLaren
At some point in your deconstruction journey, you are probably going to be faced with the question, "Do I stay Christian or do I walk away from this movement altogether?" If that is where you are today, this episode is for you. It's been a minute since Western Christianity has looked anything like Jesus. For the last 1,700 years Christianity has been known more its violence, patriarchy, domination, nationalism, and racism, instead of love and compassion. Christianity jumped the religious tracks a millennia ago. American Christianity is experiencing a rebirth in Christian nationalism, a movement seeking to force its will on the world. It’s so bad that many of us no longer even want to be associated with the term Christian. So what's next? Is this movement even worth saving and if so, how do we do it? In this critical episode, Brian McLaren helps us discern the reasons why you should stay Christian as well as a myriad of reasons why you should not stay Christian. But even more important, he ponders what Christianity might look like in the future if those of us in the deconstruction community decide to participate in the recreation and resurrection of a more mystical, ancient form of faith. If you are seriously considering throwing in the spiritual towel, join us for this timely conversation. I think you'll find that Brian offers a way forward through the difficulty and dissonance many of us feel as we navigate this critical question along our faith-seeking journey. Bio Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is a faculty member of The Living School and podcaster with Learning How to See, which are part of the Center for Action and Contemplation. He is also an Auburn Senior Fellow and is a co-host of Southern Lights. His newest book is Faith After Doubt (January 2021), and his next release, Do I Stay Christian? (May 2022) can be preordered now. His recent projects include an illustrated children’s book (for all ages) called Cory and the Seventh Story and The Galapagos Islands: A Spiritual Journey. Born in 1956, he graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in English (BA, 1978, and MA, 1981). His academic interests included Medieval drama, Romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr. Walker Percy. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree (honoris causa) from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and in 2010, he received a second honorary doctorate from Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal). From 1978 to 1986, McLaren taught college English in the DC area, and in 1982, he helped form Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, nondenominational church (crcc.org). He left higher education in 1986 to serve as the church’s founding pastor and served in that capacity until 2006. Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors since the mid 1980’s, and has assisted in the development of several new churches. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings – across the US and Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. His public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, church leadership and spiritual formation, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, and global crises. Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.) If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://sophiasociety.org/podcast/do-i-stay-christian-brian-mclaren Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
56 minutes | May 31, 2022
Ep. 52 White God, Brown Jesus: Decolonizing Christianity w/ Dr. Miguel De La Torre
The vast majority of Americans worship the white god—the god of Christian nationalism, white supremacy, domination, patriarchy, wealth, power, and colonization. The god of guns and empire, the god that exists to make white men great again. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that powerful white people created a god in their own image, in the image of white men has this god been created. As Dr. Miguel De La Torre responds, “What we say is Christianity today is really an ideology of white supremacy and nationalism…This is what evangelical Christianity is today.” And in service of this false evangelical god, white westerners are blind to the victims of their philosophical and theological fabrication. Our deep-rooted blind spots are so common in white evangelicalism and are further engrained by wealth, history, race, and social standing to a point where the vast majority of Christians in the west are living a version of Christianity that is completely anathema to the historical Jesus. However, if you grew up in non-white spaces, in colonized countries, or in economically challenging environments, odds are your faith looks radically different. Odds are you serve the brown God of the oppressed instead of the white god of MAGA Christianity. Which is just one reason why those of us deconstructing evangelicalism are in such dire need of liberation, liberation from the white god that continues to colonize our hearts and minds. One of the paths toward freedom can be found in the liberation and post-liberation theology movements from Latin America. Liberation theology is a social and political movement attempting to interpret the gospel of Jesus Christ through the lived experiences of oppressed people. Liberation theology has its origins in Latin America in the mid-1950s as socio-economic development created by peasant workers and farming populations who had been driven into desperate poverty. With the economic unrest came political unrest, and military dictators took over many governments in the name of national security, only further marginalizing the poor. But from these oppressive experiences came a theology that drives its legitimacy from the perspective of the poor and oppressed. Liberation theology gave us queer Jesus, black Jesus, immigrant Jesus, and Marxist revolutionary Jesus. It is a version of faith that identifies exclusively with the oppressed.It is ironic then that Latin American liberation theology just might save white people from ourselves, but only if we have the humility to come face to face with our colonial past and present drive for power and domination. This episode deconstructs the white god and dives into other forms of evangelical oppression including gender oppression, LGBTQIA+ marginalization, white supremacy, and nationalistic Christianity. Dr. De La Torre offers a practical way forward in our attempt to free ourselves from the white man’s god. BioRev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre is Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. He has served as the elected 2012 President of the Society of Christian Ethics and served as the Executive Officer for the Society of Race, Ethnicity and Religion (2012-17). In 2020 the American Academy of Religion bestowed upon the the Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. De La Torre is a recognized international Fulbright scholar who has taught courses at the Cuernavaca Center for Intercultural Dialogue on Development (Mexico), Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (Indonesia), University of Johannesburg (South Africa), Johannes Gutenberg University (Germany). Additionally, he has lectured at Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana (Costa Rica), The Association for Theological Education in South East Asia (Thailand) and the Council of World Mission (Mexico and Taiwan). Advocating for an ethics of place, De La Torre has taken students on immersion classes to Cuba and the Mexico/U.S. border to walk the migrant trails. Among multiple yearly speaking engagements, he has also been a week-long speaker at the Chautauqua Institute, and the plenary address at the Parliament of World Religions De La Torre has received several national book awards and is a frequent speaker at national and international scholarly religious events and meetings. He also speaks at churches and nonprofit organizations on topics concerning the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality with religion. In 2020, the American Academy of Religion bestowed on him the Excellence in Teaching Award. The following year, 2021, the American Academy also conferred upon him the Martin E. Marty Public Understanding of Religion Award. De La Torre is the first scholar to receive the two most prestigious awards presented by his guild and the first Latinx to receive either one of them.Quotes:“For white people to get saved, they have to learn how to worship the black Jesus.”“For our economy to function, men of color have to mostly be unemployed.”“I have to constantly be suspicious of my worldview.”“White evangelicalism must be crucified. It has to die.”“Evangelical Christianity has become an apologist and supporter of the rise of U.S. empire.”“The death of Christianity is because of evangelicalism.”“What does the Gospel have to say to the oppressed?”When I worship the white god, I am worshipping a philosophical and theological position that justifies oppression.” “Badass Christianity is a radical implementation of the Gospel message.”“I believe in whatever the poor believe in.”“All forms of oppression really begins with gender oppression.”Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.)If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏Show notes: http://sophiasociety.org/podcast/white-god-brown-jesus-decolonizing-christianityFollow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyhereticsAdvertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.orgSupport our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyhereticsThis episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
58 minutes | May 17, 2022
Ep. 51 Abortion: Beyond Pro-Life or Pro-Choice w/ Gary Alan Taylor
CW: We discuss abortion and other topics that may be triggering. Please listen at your own discretion. The majority of Americans have consistently held nuanced views about abortion. However, in the early 1980’s white evangelicals suddenly discovered that the abortion debate could unify their movement and thereby secure political power for decades to come. Thus, the birth of the “pro-life” movement. Since then, the debate around abortion has centered around saving babies or killing babies, but is it really that simple? And why did white evangelicals suddenly become so avid in their support of the unborn, and what does segregation have to do with it? More importantly as Christians, what does the Bible really say about abortion? The binary pro-life vs. pro-choice debate may seem like two clear-cut opposing sides, and many people find themselves agreeing firmly on one stance. However, these terms seek to implicitly portray the other stance unfavorably. Pro-life seems to imply that opponents are anti-life, or even “pro-death” and pro-choice insinuates that the opposition is “anti-choice” or favors coercion. The debate marginalizes women of color, poor women, and women from other marginalized communities because it does not take into account pre-existing conditions, such as financial incapability, harmful environmental factors and lack of social support, that restrict them from real choice to decide whether to have a child or have an abortion. In this controversial episode, we attempt to reframe the abortion debate beyond the false dualism of pro-life and pro-choice. We listen to female pastors, politicians, and priests share their personal experiences as well as their concerns for what comes next in the Christian onslaught on culture. We look at the history of the abortion debate, uncover what the Bible actually says about abortion, reveal the hypocrisy of the Christian right, and discuss the implications of overturning Roe v Wade on the future of women’s rights, same-sex rights, and transgender rights. As post-evangelicals, how are we to approach this complex conversation? Is it possible to be both pro-choice and pro-life? This debate isn't going away. I hope you will join us as we attempt to have an honest, practical, and Christ-centered conversation about abortion, the unborn, and female bodily integrity. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/abortion-beyond-pro-life-pro-choice Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
54 minutes | May 3, 2022
Ep. 50: The Making of a Mystic with Kevin Sweeney
In the 1960's, Jesuit priest Karl Rahner made a bold claim about the future of faith. "The Christian of the future will either be a mystic, or nothing at all." Who could have guessed that sixty years later the deconstruction community would turn his statement into reality through the modern pursuit of mysticism. Apologetic, rational, belief-based Christianity can only get you so far. In fact, in many ways it's gotten us into the mess we are in today. It could very well be true that the most necessary step you make during your deconstruction journey is to move from thinking the 'right' things about God to knowing God through intimate experiences. Modern mystic Thomas Keating describes this process as going inside yourself to find what is true. It is a way of knowing that begins with unknowing, a way of understanding that involves not just your mind, but your whole self. In this, our 50th episode, we talk with author and mystic Kevin Sweeney about his path out of rational, apologetic faith and into the ancient tradition of Christian mysticism. Through formative practices like meditation, mindfulness, and centering prayer, Kevin charts a path for many of us to follow as we take the necessary step out of evangelicalism into a more freer, experiential faith. Father Richard Rohr describes a mystic as someone who has moved from mere belief to actual inner experience with God. This introductory conversation about Christian mysticism invites all of us into a deeper stream of spirituality. Plus, we discuss the formative practices you will need to facilitate inner transformation, a transformation from someone who thinks about God to someone who finds their entire being already in God. Bio Mystics are not just a thing of the past. We all can embrace the mystery of God and the way of Christ in the world today. Kevin Sweeney, a pastor in Honolulu with his wife Christine, is here to share his journey within mysticism. He shares his journey of releasing ego, surrendering into God’s love, and embracing the wild journey life truly is. Kevin also shares about his new, forthcoming book, “The Making of a Mystic: My Journey with Mushrooms, My Life as a Pastor, and Why It’s Okay For Everyone to Relax,” which comes out on May 31st. Kevin Sweeney is co-founder and lead pastor of Imagine Church—an urban church in Honolulu that is welcoming of all people, sees imagination as the key to the future, chooses authenticity over performance, substance over hype, and quality over quantity. He is the host of podcast “The Church Needs Therapy” and is the author of the forthcoming books, “The Making of a Mystic: My Journey with Mushrooms, My Life as a Pastor, and Why It’s Okay For Everyone to Relax,” out on May 31st, and “The Joy of Letting Go” which will be out in January 2023. Both on Quoir Publishing. He lives In Honolulu with his wife and co-founder of Imagine, Christine, and their two kids, True and Mikayla. Quotables “There is a difference between spiritual intelligence and spiritual experience.” “Spiritual intelligence is what you believe about God, but spiritual experience is direct, first-person experience of God.” “Spiritual experience is the connection and the union with God.” “Spiritual experience is about waking up…For me a transformative faith is not primarily about believing what is right it is about tasting what is good.” “You can be less certain and more free.”If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/the-making-of-a-mystic Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was written by Gary Alan Taylor and Kelly Lamb and produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
61 minutes | Apr 19, 2022
Ep. 49: ReWilding And Refugia: Healing Our Sacred Earth w/ Dr. Debra Rienstra
People have been sounding the alarm for climate change for generations. The earth is permanently altered by human hands. But if we have the power to hurt the earth, we share the power to heal her. Drawing on our spiritual tradition, Dr. Debra Rienstra encourages us to adapt our spiritual practices and faith to life on an altered planet. From consuming to healing, stewarding to co-creation, our task is to no longer objectify the earth but to care for her as living members of this sacred body. Dr. Rienstra encourages the idea of refugia. Refugia (reh-FU-jee-ah) is a biological term describing places of shelter where life endures in times of crisis, such as a volcanic eruption, fire, or stressed climate. Ideally, these refugia endure, expand, and connect so that new life emerges. Debra Rienstra applies this concept to human culture and faith, asking, In this era of ecological devastation, how can Christians become people of refugia? How can we find and nurture these refugia, not only in the biomes of the earth, but in our human cultural systems and in our spiritual lives? How can we apply all our love and creativity to this task as never before? Rienstra recounts her own process of reeducation--beginning not as a scientist or an outdoors enthusiast but by examining the wisdom of theologians and philosophers, farmers and nature writers, scientists and activists, and especially people on the margins. Bio Debra Rienstra is professor of English at Calvin University, where she has taught since 1996, specializing in early British literature and creative writing. She is the author of four books—on motherhood, spirituality, worship, and ecotheology/climate change—as well as numerous essays and poems. Her literary essays have appeared in Rock & Sling, The Examined Life Journal, and Aethlon, among other places. She writes bi-weekly for The Twelve, an online magazine connected with The Reformed Journal, writing about spirituality, pop culture, the church, the arts, higher ed, and more. Rienstra was raised in Michigan and holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a PhD from Rutgers University. She and her husband, Ron Rienstra, have three grown children. Please read more from Dr. Rienstra as well as find our additional resources on climate care at her website. And grab her book Refugia Faith today! It’s fantastic. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/rewilding-refugia-healing-our-sacred-earth http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/rewilding-refugia-healing-our-sacred-earth Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was written by Gary Alan Taylor and Kelly Lamb and produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
54 minutes | Apr 5, 2022
Ep. 48: Why I Deconstructed Evangelicalism w/ Dr. David Gushee
Those of us in the deconstruction community have been accused of many things over the last few years by individuals and institutions in the evangelical establishment. We've been accused of deconstructing our faith because we want to sin more, or that we have a rebellious nature, or we just want to have sex with anything and anyone, or that we've been corrupted by a liberal agenda. None of these claims are true. In fact, from all the countless conversations we've had with fellow deconstructionists over the years, most of us left evangelicalism because evangelicalism left Jesus. This movement is toxic, harmful, and frankly it needs to die. In this episode, Dr. David Gushee of Mercer University describes his own journey out of evangelicalism and provides language for the myriad of faithful reasons to leave this toxic movement behind. From Trumpism, white supremacy, LGBTQIA+ exclusion, and biblical literalism, Gushee gives language for why millions of us have left the church building. Plus, he provides not only one of the most succinct and beautiful apologetics for full LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the church, but he also provides a "biblical" justification for same sex marriage. Bio Rev. Dr. David P. Gushee (PhD, Union Theological Seminary, New York) is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University, Chair in Christian Social Ethics, Vrije Universiteit, and Senior Research Fellow, International Baptist Theological Study Centre. Dr. Gushee is the elected Past-President of both the American Academy of Religion and Society of Christian Ethics, signaling his role as one of the world’s leading Christian ethicists. He is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 25 books and approximately 175 book chapters, journal articles, and reviews. His most recognized works include Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, Kingdom Ethics, The Sacredness of Human Life, and Changing Our Mind. His book, After Evangelicalism, charts a theological and ethical course for post-evangelical Christians, a course he more personally relates in his memoir, Still Christian. Over a full 28-year career, he’s been a devoted teacher and mentor as Professor Gushee to college students, seminarians, and PhD students. He’s also led significant activist efforts on climate, torture, and LGBTQ inclusion, and is a keynote speaker at churches, forums, and universities. Quotables “One of the reasons why I have left evangelicalism is that I believe that at least U.S. white evangelicalism has jumped the tracks in terms of being a faithful path for following Jesus…Something has gone pretty wrong with this branch of the Christian community.” “Evangelicalism has some problems, and the LGBTQIA+ issue was only one of the problems.” “U.S. white evangelicalism has become toxic and I don’t belong in that community.” “America is a white Anglo-Saxon protestant nation. Everyone else is here by sufferance.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt “The idea that this country belongs to white Christian people, notable of course white Christian men, white straight Christian men, is the founding power structure of our country.” “Trump embodies disgust that someone like Barack Obama could become President of the United States.” “Trump has embodied and advanced a reactionary narrative, but what could not have been anticipated was that 85% of white evangelicals went over the cliff with him.” “Once Trump solidified his grip on the heart of the people, it has been unbreakable.” “Trump has been both unveiled problems that were already there, and made them immeasurably worse.” “Europeans began to think of themselves as not only as Christian, not only as superior, but as white. And spreading all over the world to colonize, Christianize, and enslave all over the world without any problem.” “Evangelicalism and structured racism grew up together in America, and they intertwined to where you can’t tell where one leaves off and one begins.” “White supremacism has not been repented and continues to resurface.” “We don’t want our kids to go to school with black people.” “All of this is pretty obviously adrift away from the Jesus we meet in the Gospels. Jesus is not the problem.” “The reason why there is inclusion of LGBTQIA+ individuals is that we are following the radical inclusion of Christ.” Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.) If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/why-I-deconstructed-evangelicalism http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/why-I-deconstructed-evangelicalism Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Gary Alan Taylor. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
56 minutes | Mar 22, 2022
Ep. 47: Saving Jesus From Evangelicals w/ Dr. Robin Meyers
It's really hard to call yourself a Christian these days. But when you are a minister in conservative Oklahoma and call yourself a kind of “atheist,” well that’s a whole other issue! Reverend Dr. Robin Meyers is one of many progressive voices that laid the groundwork for the deconstruction movement. And for him, it all started by asking one question: “The question isn’t what is a Christian, but rather how is one Christian?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question has changed dramatically over the years, especially in the West. Modern Christianity looks almost nothing like the original version of faith professed by the Early Church. Once the church was a clear threat to the status quo, now the church is largely a defender of the status quo, blessing both a warrior worshiping militarism and a death-dealing and predatory capitalism. For the Early Church, Christianity had almost nothing to do with believing the 'right' things; it had everything to do with living the right way. Which begs the real question: what is faith anyway? In this episode, Reverend Dr. Robin Meyers (The God Seminar) shares his story of doubt, deconstruction, and reconstruction as a liberal minister in Trump country. For him, Christianity isn't an orthodox set of beliefs but rather a very unorthodox way of being in the world. Dr. Meyers reintroduces us to not only the radical nature of the Gospels, but to the Jesus we've never known. As he says, "Jesus is the most misunderstood figure in human history." If you are done with the Church but can't quite quit Jesus, this is the episode for you! BIO In addition to being Distinguished Professor of Social Justice, Rev. Dr. Meyers has served as senior minister of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church of Oklahoma City since 1985. He is the author of seven books, and lectures extensively on the merits of Progressive Christianity. His books call the church to be a beloved community of resistance to injustice in our time. Dr. Meyers earned a PhD from the Communication Department at the University of Oklahoma for his work in the area ofpersuasion and preaching. Dr. Meyers has published six additional books in his 25-year tenure including The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus (Jossey Bass, 2012); and Spiritual Defiance: Building a Beloved Community of Resistance (Yale University Press, 2015). His most recent book, Saving God From Religion is out now. Dr. Meyers is a frequent speaker at church workshops, academic conferences, and political events around the country. He is an award-winning commentator for NPR and a columnist for The Oklahoma Gazette. He has appeared on Dateline NBC, The McNeil-Lehrer Hour, and ABC World News Tonight, among others. His lecture at Yale University, Faith as Resistance to Empire, continues to be one of the most transformative talks for any Jesus follower who longs to push back against the brutal realities of American common life. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/saving-jesus-from-evangelicals Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
54 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
Ep. 46 God is Not in Control: Open Theism w/ Dr. Thomas Jay Oord
When bad things happen, I often hear people say "Well, God's still on the throne," as if that is some kind of balm or solution for the pain, evil, and uncertainty the world is facing. But here's the problem: God was on the throne during the Holocaust. God was on the throne during segregation and Jim Crow. God is on the throne as thousands of innocent Ukrainian citizens are currently dying from Russian invasion. If God really is in control, then God is doing a terrible job keeping us all safe and healthy. Classical Christianity has for years stated that God is omnipotent and all-powerful, controlling every outcome and action on earth to bring about God's future. However, this has all kinds of theological and practical problems. If God is really in control, then why do we suffer? Can't God stop our suffering? Open and Relational Theology points us to a different view of God. Instead of a all-controlling God, the God of Open Theism believes that God is experiencing time in the same way we are. This God isn't forcing His will on the world but rather working with us to bring about goodness, beauty, and flourishing. This God doesn't know what is going to happen tomorrow anymore than we do, and in a strange way, that is incredibly comforting. Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian, philosopher, and scholar of multi-disciplinary studies. Oord is a best-selling and award-winning author, having written or edited more than twenty-five books. He directs a doctoral program at Northwind Theological Seminary and the Center for Open and Relational Theology. A twelve-time Faculty Award-winning professor, he teaches around the globe. Oord is known for his contributions to research on love, open and relational theology, science and religion, and the implications of freedom and relationships for transformation. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/god-is-not-in-control-open-theism http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/God-is-not-in-control-open-theism Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
59 minutes | Feb 22, 2022
Ep. 45: Rethinking Biblical Womanhood w/ Dr. Beth Allison Barr
Episode Summary Men are in charge and women submit. Men lead and women follow. Men have a biblical mandate from God to lead the Church and the home while women are ordained by God to be silent and submissive not only to their husbands, but every other male leader they encounter in the Church. These are the lies many of us grew up believing. These are the lies keeping so many women in abusive relationships the world over. These are the lies "theobros" want you to believe. Well, thank God for Dr. Beth Allison Barr and her historical and theological understanding of the New Testament world. Author of The Making of Biblical Womanhood, Dr. Barr joins us today to discuss a more accurate and historical look at some of the “texts of terror” that have been used against women for almost 1,700 years. Instead of Scripture supporting patriarchy and misogyny, the New Testament actually proves that from the very beginning, women had equal footing in the Church. However, due to dominator theology and the men who created it, we’ve all but lost the sort of revolutionary gender equality espoused by the Early Church. If you've always wanted an apologetic for female equality in the church and home, this episode is for you! Bio Beth Allison Barr received her B.A. in History (with a minor in Classics) from Baylor University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of The Pastoral Care of Women in Late Medieval England, co-editor of The Acts of the Apostles: Four Centuries of Baptist Interpretation, co-editor of Faith and History: A Devotional, and—most recently—the author of the best selling The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth. Dr. Barr writes regularly on The Anxious Bench, a religious history blog on Patheos, and has contributed to Religion News Service, The Washington Post, Christianity Today, The Dallas Morning News, Sojourners, Baptist News Global, etc. Her work has been featured by NPR and The New Yorker, and she is actively sought as an academic speaker. You can find more about her public writings, interviews, and podcasts on her website http://bethallisonbarr.com. Since receiving tenure in the History department in 2014, Dr. Barr has served as Graduate Program Director in History (2016-2019), received a Centennial Professor Award (2018), received appointment as a Faculty-in-Residence for the LEAD Living and Learning Community in Allen/Dawson Residential Hall (where she has lived and served since 2018), and served as an Associate Dean in the Baylor Graduate School (2019-2022). She is also a Baptist pastor’s wife and mom of two great kids. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/rethinking-biblical-womanhood-beth-allison-barr http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/rethinking-biblical-womanhood-beth-allison-barr Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Kelly Rose Lamb. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
61 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
Ep. 44: Black Liberation: My Journey out of White Evangelicalism w/ Dante Stewart
Leaving white evangelicalism is one thing. Leaving white spaces and white theology is quite another. Writer and activist Dante Stewart joins us today to discuss his new book Shoutin In the Fire: An American Epistle. and how he escaped slaveholder religion in his quest to uncover the heart of Christianity. His journey as a black, Christian, American out of predominantly white spaces offers a path forward for all of us who are longing for liberation from the oppressive subculture that is American evangelicalism. Drawing on the stories of his youth, black literature, and black theology, Dante invites us to do the necessary work of deconstructing and even decentering white voices, white spaces, white theology, and white exceptionalism. He shares his own struggles with the trauma and loss of identity when he fled evangelicalism in search of a freer faith. Stewart draws from the black voices like Toni Morrison, James Cone, James Baldwin, and Maya Angelou to show us a better future, one free from oppression, domination, and the dehumanizing aspects of white supremacy. There is another way of being Christian that has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with white evangelicalism and Stewart shows us the Way. He also gives us a glimpse into his writing style and process, as he continues to find his voice and hone his craft as an artist. He asks us to reclaim and reimagine spiritual virtues like rage, resilience, and remembrance—and explores how these virtues might function as a work of love against an unjust, unloving world. Bio Danté Stewart is author of Shoutin’ In The Fire: An American Epistle. Named by Religion News Service as one of “Ten Up-And-Coming Faith Influencers”, he is a writer and speaker whose voice has been featured on The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN’s The Undefeated, Sojourners, and more. As an up and coming voice, he writes and speaks into the areas of race, religion, and politics. He received his B.A. in Sociology from Clemson University. He is currently studying at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: https://www.sophiasociety.org/black-liberation Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Kelly Lamb and Gary Alan Taylor. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
57 minutes | Jan 25, 2022
Ep. 43: Inventing Whiteness: How Race Broke My Family & The World w/ Lisa Sharon Harper
Throughout this country’s history, the hallmarks of American democracy – opportunity, freedom, and prosperity – have been largely reserved for white people through the intentional exclusion and oppression of people of color. America’s original sin is white supremacy, born and bred into the first laws of our land and fully endorsed by the church. Am I right Southern Baptist Convention? Yesterday’s segregationists are today’s Christian Nationalists. But what is “whiteness?” If you are deconstructing your faith, odds are you are going to have to untangle yourself from white privilege and white supremacy, two hallmarks of American evangelicalism. In this intensely personal episode, Lisa Sharon Harper shares the story of her family and their battle to escape chattel slavery and what it means to her to be a descendant of slaves. She also offers practical ways you can join the work for restoration and racial equality. Bio From Ferguson to New York, and from Germany and South Africa to Australia and Brazil, Lisa Sharon Harper leads trainings that increase clergy and community leaders’ capacity to organize people of faith toward a just world. A prolific speaker, writer and activist, Ms. Harper is the founder and president of FreedomRoad.us, a consulting group dedicated to shrinking the narrative gap in our nation by designing forums and experiences that bring common understanding, common commitment and common action. Ms. Harper is the author of several books, including Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican…or Democrat (The New Press, 2008); Left Right and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics (Elevate, 2011); Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Zondervan, 2014); and the critically acclaimed, The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong can be Made Right (Waterbrook, a division of Penguin Random House, 2016). The Very Good Gospel, recognized as the “2016 Book of the Year” by Englewood Review of Books, explores God’s intent for the wholeness of all relationships in light of today’s headlines. A columnist at Sojourners Magazine and an Auburn Theological Seminary Senior Fellow, Ms. Harper has appeared on TVOne, FoxNews Online, NPR, and Al Jazeera America. Her writing has been featured in CNN Belief Blog, The National Civic Review, Sojourners, The Huffington Post, Relevant Magazine, and Essence Magazine. She writes extensively on shalom and governance, immigration reform, health care reform, poverty, racial and gender justice, climate change, and transformational civic engagement. Ms. Harper earned her Masters degree in Human Rights from Columbia University in New York City, and served as Sojourners Chief Church Engagement Officer. In this capacity, she fasted for 22 days as a core faster in 2013 with the immigration reform Fast for Families. She trained and catalyzed evangelicals in St. Louis and Baltimore to engage the 2014 push for justice in Ferguson and the 2015 healing process in Baltimore, and she educated faith leaders in South Africa to pull the levers of their new democracy toward racial equity and economic inclusion. Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/inventing-whiteness-lisa-sharon-harper Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: email@example.com Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
46 minutes | Jan 11, 2022
Ep. 42: The Enneagram: Your Number, Your Needs w/ Suzanne Stabile
“Few people can teach you the Enneagram with the genuine insight, humor, and potential for real growth and change better than Suzanne Stabile, writes Father Richard Rohr. And after this incredible episode, we agree! Stabile is one of the world’s most sought-after gurus when it comes to all things Enneagram. Today, she joins us to discuss what it means to know your number, to live a balanced life within your number, as well as to recognize when you are either in excess or unhealthy in your number. She explores in detail each of the nine individual types and how each type can be manipulated and abused in unhealthy church communities. Regardless your number, everyone of us longs to be known, to be valued, and to offer our gifts and talents to the world. Suzanne helps you recognize what those gifts are by drilling down into the motivations behind each Enneagram type. She even helps you, based on your number, choose a spiritual practice to grow your soul. Even if you don’t know your Enneagram number yet, this episode will help you recognize those areas in your life where you are out of balance and teetering on pathological behavior. In this episode we discuss the reality that the Enneagram is not just a personality typing system, but is rather a tool to help you over a life-long journey of self-discovery by uncovering the traps that keep you from living fully and freely as your True Self. Bio Suzanne Stabile is a speaker, teacher, and internationally recognized Enneagram master teacher who has taught thousands of people over the last thirty years. She is the author of The Path Between Us, and coauthor, with Ian Morgan Cron, of The Road Back to You. She is also the creator and host of The Enneagram Journey podcast. Along with her husband, Rev. Joseph Stabile, she is cofounder of Life in the Trinity Ministry, a nonprofit, nondenominational ministry committed to the spiritual growth and formation of adults. Their ministry home, the Micah Center, is located in Dallas, Texas. They have many audio resources available, including The Enneagram Journey curriculum. Suzanne has spoken at hundreds of colleges, churches, and conferences across America, and also teaches in the Baylor Health Care System. She has taught at Richard Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation and has taught with Father Rohr to an international audience in Assisi, Italy. You can find Suzanne at her website Life in the Trinity Ministry as well her podcast The Enneagram Journey. Her new book The Journey Toward Wholeness is now available. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏 Show notes: http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/the-enneagram-suzanne-stabile Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics Advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Support our work on Patreon and get early access to episodes! https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics This episode was produced by The Sophia Society. Music is by Faith in Foxholes.
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