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57 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
Dave and Joel discuss the doubt that can creep up on (or consume) a Christian. Dave considers how doubt can mean the unravelling of a person’s entire world. What are the sources of the Christian’s doubt? They discuss epistemic individualism, hyperstimulation and the loss of the sublime, and ego-driven clergy. Each of these point to the failure to cultivate a culture – and character – that gives Christianity its intelligibility. It’s fun-times easy-summer listening from the Eucatastrophe.
42 minutes | Dec 30, 2020
Joel and Dave discuss Pope Francis’s encyclical, ‘Fratelli Tutti’. Francis turns over a bunch of tables – selfish egoistic consumption, financial speculation, nationalism, war, the death penalty, ‘parallel monologues’ of digital culture, despotism that robs traditions, mockery of the good, and the privileging of property. In their place, Francis argues for fraternity amongst all people. It’s Christian populism, for social ends. Needless to say, Joel and Dave quite like it and thank the Pope for listening to the Eucatastrophe.
40 minutes | Dec 23, 2020
Dave and Joel ponder 2020. Increasing consumption, watering-down industrial relations protections, rising poverty, and diminishing concern for the most vulnerable. What does it really mean to ‘build back better’ (shudder)? Doing so may mean infusing politics with a religious sense of personhood, love, or fraternity. But the pandemic has also pointed to another question: whether the paramount good of religious community, or the Church, is incomprehensible in an economy-driven society. Part dramatic-sigh, part-unwarranted hopefulness.
42 minutes | Oct 21, 2020
The Needs of the Soul
Dave and Joel discuss Simone Weil’s brilliant work of political philosophy, ‘The Need for Roots’. They look at the first chapter, ‘The Needs of the Soul’, where Weil paints a picture of the ways in which a just political order provides spiritual nourishment for its subjects. How is beauty related to justice? What is the relationship between rights and obligations? Should authors be sent to the gulag for factual errors? It’s a pedant’s paradise in Simone’s republic!
50 minutes | Oct 14, 2020
Post-Liberal Religious Liberty: Part 2
Dave poses the hard questions in part 2 on Joel’s book, ‘Post-Liberal Religious Liberty: Forming Communities of Charity’. What does the ‘spiritualising of subjectivity’ mean? What is ‘the ecclesiological account’ of religious liberty? What’s with this Augustine love-fest? Joel contrasts his account and liberal pluralist arguments offered by other Christian authors. He argues that religious liberty must be grounded not in secular neutrality, but in the political community’s commitment to religion, integral to the common good. Dave wonders whether this involves swimming pools.
39 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
Post-Liberal Religious Liberty: Part 1
Dave interrogates Joel about his recent book, ‘Post-Liberal Religious Liberty: Forming Communities of Charity’ (Cambridge University Press, 2020), which offers an answer to the question: why does religious liberty matter? In part 1 of a two-part descent into Joel’s brain, the claim that religious liberty protects the quest for true religion is discussed, along with the (perhaps dominant) liberal egalitarian account of religious liberty, which sees political authority as supporting ethical individualism or individual authenticity. Joel suggests that this account while purporting to be secular, is in fact shaped by theological claims. Dave finally gets to talk about the Supreme Court of the United States.
48 minutes | Sep 30, 2020
Narcissism in the Church
Dave and Joel discuss narcissism as a dominant force within the Church and wider society. Narcissism is characterised by an obsession with one’s public persona, coupled with a radical lack of empathy. Within the narcissist lies, not an intense love of self, but an emptiness that demands constant recognition from others in order to be filled. How might current Church practices be fertile ground for the image-obsessed? How might liberal forms of community rob individuals of space necessary for the cultivation of genuine interiority? Are we living in a culture of narcissism?
31 minutes | Aug 12, 2020
The Church and the Student’s Vocation
Dave and Joel discuss life as a student and how the church can fail to support it. In the Australian context, where theology and the pursuits of the university have largely been separated, universities have become easy for Christians to instrumentalise. They are places unrelated to the church’s ends, and so simply places where bodies happen to be. Against this, Dave and Joel consider what it means to take seriously the student's vocation. It may involve swords.
35 minutes | Aug 5, 2020
Theology and the University
Joel and Dave discuss why theology is central to the purpose of the university. John Henry Newman argues pursuing knowledge demands theology – it ‘enters into every order’, he writes. Spit-balling on this theme, Joel and Dave consider how theological claims are always present in the university, even when theology is consciously excluded. Why then is Jerusalem integral to Athens? And why is Athens integral to Jerusalem? Will Dave ever be absolved of his Calvinist sins? Short answer: no.
35 minutes | Jul 29, 2020
The Idea of a University
Dave and Joel mull over what the university is for. The Australian Government has insisted funding for universities should be aligned with ‘job ready graduates’. In the nineteenth century, John Henry Newman railed against such ‘utility’. For him, the university exists to cultivate knowledge. Dave and Joel discuss the problems with subordinating the university to the demands of state and market, but also whether knowledge as Newman discussed it is too narrow or even solipsistic. It’s the usual defence of cultural Marxism that has become Dave’s gift to the world.
46 minutes | Jun 3, 2020
Star Wars: A Lament
Joel and Dave lament the decline of Star Wars into the mess that was ‘The Rise of Skywalker’. Why has Star Wars been a fixture in our lives? How did JJ Abrams crush our hopes and dreams? After discussing the power of enchantment and mythic story-telling, Joel and Dave rant about the film’s failings. They then raise two fundamental (metaphysical!) concerns. First, how we desire a narrator behind stories and life. Second, how we look for endings to give meaning to the story, our actions, and our experiences. It’s just two stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking, nerf herders … who now cry in the shower.
46 minutes | May 27, 2020
C.S. Lewis and The Inner Ring
Dave and Joel discuss C.S. Lewis’ famous paper, ‘The Inner Ring’. Lewis warns against the desire to be part of the invisible clique. In itself, this ‘inner ring’ may not be evil, but Lewis argues that its allure can easily lead to a sense of purposelessness. All relationships and work become merely instrumental to climbing the social hierarchy; hypocrisy and the absence of conviction become the norm. How can Lewis’ insights shed light on our current workplace cultures, economic structures, and church life? Is meaningful work possible in a society that has no sense of teleology? Is Dave trying to tell Joel something with his choice of topic this week?
49 minutes | May 20, 2020
William Cavanaugh and the State
Joel and Dave discuss William Cavanaugh’s article, ‘“Killing for the Telephone Company”: Why the Nation-State is Not the Keeper of the Common Good’. Cavanaugh is critical of attempts to baptise the State as the site of Christian politics. The State, he argues, is birthed in violence, self-interest, and the accumulation of power. In its pretension to unity and in its killing power, it is a parody of the body of Christ. It cannot guard or guarantee the common good, which requires creating alternative spaces. Dave is enamoured with this argument. Joel is too, but he raises some critical questions. Is political authority inevitably concerned with a vision of the common good? Can political authority, even now, be understood differently and more complexly? Can law be a means of turning away from vice, towards a life of virtue? Should America just return to the Queen?
38 minutes | May 6, 2020
COVID-19 and Resurrection
For this, the last in the COVID-19 Trilogy ™, Joel and Dave think out loud about how the Easter narrative can shape and challenge our political response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. What does it mean to worship a crucified and resurrected Messiah at a time when some claim sacrificing the vulnerable few is needed so that the economy might live? How do we declare the primacy of peace, abundance, and life in an age that elevates survival of the fittest and resource scarcity? What unexpected signs of grace might spring from this dark time? Prepare to get eucatastrophised!
39 minutes | Apr 29, 2020
Online Church and Covid-19
Dave and Joel discuss doing church in a pandemic. Churches can, in their very physical presence, resist the drift towards non-places – places that cultivate weak ties and treat persons as fungible. Buildings and bodies matter. But now we are all forced online. Church has become a Zoom meeting. Ministers are online personalities. Frenetic activity is the norm. What problems does this pose? What pathologies of church life does this potentially heighten? Dramatic sighs abound in this episode. We really just want some Eucharistic.
35 minutes | Apr 22, 2020
Covid-19 and Total Depravity?
Joel and Dave consider the question on everyone’s minds during this pandemic: is toilet paper hoarding evidence for total depravity? The Australian Prime Minister called such hoarding ‘unAustralian’. Joel and Dave discuss how our understanding of the person may be connected to our understanding of society, and consequently the role of political authority. Market economies have been naturalised as the clash or coordination of selfish individuals fearful of scarcity. This at least echoes the pessimism of viewing human nature as un-graced and entirely consumed by the fall. Put simply, hoarding toilet paper as a rational consumer might be something we’ve been taught is very natural to do. You do you, Australia.
34 minutes | Mar 11, 2020
A Hidden Life
Dave and Joel discuss Terrance Malick's A Hidden Life, a film recounting Franz Jägerstätter's journey towards martyrdom as he refuses to swear loyalty to Hitler. What can this film teach us about the nature of Christian witness during a time of dehumanising and demonic oppression? How can nature itself provide the spiritual resources necessary to resist a wicked juridical order? Join us as Dave gets all German Romantic on us and Joel yearns for the next Marvel movie.
37 minutes | Mar 4, 2020
The Not-So-Good Place
Dave and Joel rant about the television show ‘The Good Place’. What does this show say about our culture? In a word: decadent. Gripped by a desire for meaning and transcendence, we (like ‘The Good Place’ characters) settle instead for a life of perpetual consumption followed by boredom and then annihilation. Dave and Joel discuss how the show reflects a failure of moral imagination, and how it consequently reinforces a society in which persons are trapped by what Max Weber called ‘new gods’ – capitalism and bureaucracy – while convincing themselves this is freedom. Madness. It's a real maranatha-moment. Spoilers aplenty, plus men shouting at clouds.
33 minutes | Feb 26, 2020
Joel and Dave discuss the paradigm of ‘culture wars’. Left v right, conservative v progressive – are these the battlelines of our times? In the 1990s, James Davison Hunter thought that these groups were locked in an interminable conflict, appealing to fundamentally different claims and sources of moral authority. However, Joel and Dave consider how culture warriors may present a unity-ticket. Legalistic, using rights as the shared discourse, and understanding politics as advocacy, culture warriors often seem like liberalism’s diabolical twins. It’s the first episode of Season 2! Smugness for life!
41 minutes | Dec 18, 2019
Getting to Know Dave & Joel
Dave and Joel cap off the year by getting uncomfortably confessional. Answers are given to penetrating questions like, ‘Is there a correct way to pack a dishwasher and how does this relate to pursuing a career in legal scholarship?’ ‘What’s Dave’s favourite flavour of self-sabotage?’ ‘How easy would it be to find out exactly what Joel’s salary is?’ ‘Could this be even less popular than the Avengers episode?’ Join us for the episode that absolutely no one asked for … it’s the Eucatastrophe holiday extravaganza!
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