Category: christianity

Beauty in the Wreckage: An Interview with Brandon Andress

A snarky take on suffering and shalom

In a world with so much pain, suffering, hostility, stress, and anxiety, how is it possible to experience life to the fullest?

If you read the news headlines or scroll through social media, we’re stuck seeing the worst of humanity on a daily basis. The outlook looks pretty grim, but is there another way?

Joining the show today, is author, Brandon Andress. In his new book, Beauty in the Wreckage: Finding Peace in the Age of Outrage, Brandon sets out to give us a different way to look at things. If he’s right, his message is just what we need right now.

In the book, Brandon makes the surprising discovery that, even in the heartache, the hostility, the division, the violence, and the oppression, experiencing “life to the fullest,” a life of shalom, is not just possible, it can be our present reality. But in order to discover it, we must learn how to see and live differently—moment by moment—for the transformation of our lives, our families, our relationships, and our communities.

Most of us are no stranger to suffering, but it’s how we respond to that suffering that has the chance to change us for the better. Brandon shares personal stores about the transformative nature of suffering and the necessity of finding shalom. It’s a wonderful soulful chat that you won’t want to miss.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Brandon Andress is the author of three books:

Beauty in the Wreckage- Finding Peace in the Age of Outrage (2018)

AND THEN THE END WILL COME! (2013)

UnearthedHow Discovering the Kingdom of God Will Transform the Church and Change the World (2010)

He podcasts at Outside the Walls (Available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher) and writes for his popular blogs Brandon Andress and A Joyful Procession. Brandon earned his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University and his BA in Psychology from Hanover College. He loves the outdoors, hiking, camping, and traveling.


It’s Time We Had a Family Talk

A snarky take on what to do now

It’s time we had a family talk because things in this world keep getting crazier.

Toxic politics, racism, misogyny, greed, and selfishness are eroding us as a culture. These are a symptom of a greater problem. So, this talk is well overdue. I know that no one really wants to have one, but it is time.

Faith as being exercised or imagined as a political party is no faith at all. American Christianity has lost its way. Politics and preference have become the new compass. Is it even about Jesus anymore? Or is it more about winning. I’m just sick of the whole spectacle and I know I’m not alone.

So, enough with the conspiracy theories, excuses or theological gymnastics. We need to stop and take a hard look at ourselves. Frankly, it’s not Trump. He’s certainly a problem, but he’s not the problem. He’s not the president we wanted, but maybe he’s the one we deserve, America.

Sound harsh? I know it is, but these are those moments when we need to have a sobering look in the mirror and an honest talk.

I’ve gone from being sick and tried to just being tired of all this. It seems like we’ve lost common decency and are moving down the road towards losing our humanity. This rot is rotting us.

So join us this week, as we have a family talk. It’s necessary. Change begins with us. It begins with how we think, respond, love and how we chose to react or not react to the problems we face. This won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. We can be better. We must be better. And at the end of the day, Jesus calls us to be better.

Anyone with me?

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Leatherbound Terrorism

A Kratzer take on Conservative Evangelicalism

Chris Kratzer is that unique voice crying out from the wilderness in these crazy times. Conservative Evangelicalism has become a cancer on American Christianity. In his new book, Leatherbound Terrorism, Kratzer is an absolute wrecking ball. He speaks in real, raw, and honest truths exposing how far Christianity has moved from its source.

Through his own experiences serving as a conservative pastor for 23 years, Chris shares stories from his journey of disillusionment and the nagging questions that eventually awakened him to the depths of God’s grace. Chris is a brave truth-teller and a unique voice.

If you’ve also found yourself disillusioned by the church, this is the book for you. It holds no punches, but it’s also hopeful as it offers an alternative to a faith that has long been hijacked, institutionalized, and monetized. The church is broken and in need of fixing.

This book is a hope-filled message that needs to be heard in the age of Trump and the Religious Right. It reminds us God’s love wins out. There is hope. There is more. This book is a call to step outside of institutionalized Christianity in order to find Jesus.

Join us for a wild ride as we talk with Chris about Leatherbound Terrorism. The book is a great read and this show is a wild ride. Enjoy!

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

Leatherbound Terrorism is available on Amazon 

For more on Chris Kratzer click HERE

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Fight the Powers: An Interview with Cody Cook

A snarky take on America as a Christian nation

Sometimes life steers you in interesting directions. Sometimes your path intersects with fascinating people with a unique take on the world. Cody Cook is an author with an intriguing voice. In his new book, Fight the Powers: What the Bible Says About the Relationship Between Spiritual Forces and Human Governments, Cook blends apologetics and biblical theology in regards to how Christians should engage in politics.

Join us for a wild ride as we talk about the problematic nature of blending Christian ethics with political ideology. One side wins and it’s not usually the right one. Fuelled by fear, Evangelicals continue to push the church further down a road of no return.

Why do Evangelicals continue to need to call America a “Christain nation”? What does declaring that over and over mean to them? It’s almost as if it’s a mantra like they are trying to convince themselves that their bad behavior is somehow justified. If God is on their side, then who can oppose them. It’s just another excuse that leads them further and further from a faith that resembles Jesus.

Gain the world, but lose your soul? Join us as we delve into this with Cody Cook. It’s a fun and wild ride so buckle up.

For more on Cody Cook, you can check out his blog posts, podcasts, and other writings at www.cantus-firmus.com.

Click here to find Fight the Powers: What the Bible Says About the Relationship Between Spiritual Forces and Human Governments on Amazon.

 

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Hurricane Brett

A snarky take on Brett Kavanaugh

Last week, Brett Kavanaugh became the new poster boy for white privilege. He raged and cried his way through the Senate hearings and will most likely be confirmed in a week. In America, there’s always one axiom that will always ring true: the aristocracy always wins. It’s a disgusting display that reminds us that the playing field of justice in America isn’t level.

While, it’s expected to see Republicans fawning over Kavanaugh and turning a blind eye to the accusations, it’s a different story watching the response from conservative Christians. It just makes me sick.

How can a faith grounded in love consistently ignore justice?

How can it continue to ignore the cries from victims of abuse? How can it protect its own interests while ignoring the ways and teaching of Jesus? It’s just business as usual for American Christianity.

Don’t believe me? It was recently found that 48% of white evangelicals say that Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court even if the allegations of sexual assault against him are true. That’s 48% support if it’s TRUE! Conservatives want power and don’t care how they get it. This sounds more Machiavellian and a little less like Jesus. Sorry, let me rephrase that. It looks nothing like Jesus.

Join us as we examine the Christian response to Brett Kavanaugh and how it mirrors similar situations inside the church where white men of power are accused of sexual assault and/or predatory behavior. We see the same denials and the same deflections. The men continue on in positions of power while the women and children suffer as accusations are swept under the rug. It’s happened before and history will repeat itself again if the church fails to change. It must change for the victims, past and future. It must change for our sons and daughters who are watching us and how we respond. It must change for the sake of Jesus and the ways of love and grace.

But that might not matter anymore Christians. Time will tell.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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This A-Hole?

A snarky take on Mike Pence

Trump is terrible. I mean he’s beyond your wildest dreams terrible. There are times where I am literally impressed with the depths of his awfulness. If you’re a listener of this show, none of this should surprise you.

So, today, let’s talk about Vice President Mike Pence. Is he any better than his boss? He’s the so-called adult in the room. He’s the stalwart pillar of bland virtue to the Conservatives. He may seem like a mother-loving Buster Bluth, but Mike Pence is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The term ‘impeachment’ has become commonplace fodder and become the go-to for envisioning a way out of this nightmarish hellscape of American politics. I totally understand the rationale for wanting impeachment, but it’s also a cheat. You get rid of one big orange problem and are left with another misogynist, bigoted one except Pence knows the game. He’s measured and is far more conservative than Trump.

I hate to break it to you, but Mike Pence is just as bad as Donald Trump.

How bad is Pence? It’s like if the Billy Graham rule was also racist. The evangelicals choose to see Pence as a virtuous altar boy of the faith when he’s actually closer to being that predator priest. He’s misguided, complicit, and waiting for his shot. Christians may rejoice about this supposed man of God, but the rest of us should be worried. He’s the religious right’s wet dream and also their plan B. Let’s not be fooled by the urgency of the now. We must also keep our eyes open for the evil in waiting.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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WTF Church

Another snarky take on American Christianity

When you stand back and look at American Christianity as it stands today, it’s not hard to see the cracks. There are fundamental flaws that plague American Christianity. We’ll journey through the week’s news to see how Christianity is missing the point. Not only are they missing the point, they may not even be on the same page with Jesus anymore. Christendom is broken in America. Can we fix it?

Of course, we can fix it. The bigger question is, do we want to fix it? Just because something is broken, it doesn’t mean that the owners are willing to do the work to fix it. That’s a problem. Who really owns Christianity anymore? Jesus? Oh, hell no. As the faith marches forward, it looks less and less like its founder and God. Again, I’ll say it. This is a big problem. WTF church?

This week, we look through the lens of faith and culture to point out some of the major cracks. We’ll go through the Bill Hybels scandal, Greg Laurie, and the SoCal Harvest Festival. We’ll even look into the pedo that founded the Christian “rock festival” Creationfest. A show about why Christian rock is not really rock will possibly happen in the future but not today. That’s not the point. We’ll talk through our issues with pastor worship and commercialization of the church in general. WTF church?

The church is fundamentally broken. The problem is fixable, but those in power are unwilling to right the ship. The ship looks nothing like Jesus and neither do the Christian leaders navigating it, so why is the Church in America messed up? Well, for starters, it looks more like a business model and less like a movement. The church has learned over decades to care more about itself than about those in our communities that are hurting and in need of help, compassion, and grace. Seriously, WTF church?!?

If Jesus left the church, would you leave as well?

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Religious Liberty for Some

A snarky take on the Religious Liberty Task Force

With the newly established Religious Liberty Task Force, Jeff Sessions is once again rolling back time and progress in an effort to pacify the Evangelical Right. It’s a simple knee-jerk reaction to the cries of persecution from Trump’s conservative religious base and also Jeff Session’s naughty, bigoted wet dream.

Privilege is defined as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.” Those that have privilege don’t want to give it up, and for those that live with privileges, when other people outside the group get equal standing, it may seem like there has been a loss. Equality for all is not the problem. Hate and bigotry are. This is just another symptom of white, privileged evangelicals wanting to keep their protections under the law exclusive to themselves. This isn’t about liberty at all. It’s about discrimination.

When establishing this new task force, Sessions says that, “We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law, where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit, and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a ‘hate group’ on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.” This should be scary enough for the nonbeliever. Those inside the congregation should also be appalled by the hijacking of faith in such an overtly political, power-hungry manner, though, I doubt that they’ll think beyond their own comfort and pleasure. As you may know, comfort, preference, and pleasure were all things Jesus highly valued. 🙄(sarcasm implied)

What does religious freedom look like in an egalitarian age? If Trump, Sessions, and Conservative Christians have their way, we’ll never know. It’s too bad that Jesus never gets a say in this or are we just not listening?

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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The Problem with White Jesus

A snarky take on snowflake Jesus

With Christianity in America, we have a white-man problem; more specifically, a white Jesus problem. The problem with white Jesus is that it gives us an excuse to worship a white (or orange) Trump. Christianity was never meant to be tribalistic in nature because, at its core, it’s meant to be inclusive. Christianity should not be about dividing people; it should be about uniting them. If we look at the Bible, all of this is more about God’s ethics and not our preference. When the faith becomes all about division, we can know for certain that it has been hijacked… for centuries.

If Christianity is only seen through the powerbrokers, the white men of power and faith, it becomes an ugly abomination that looks a little like its founder and savior. It’s problematic when the faith orientations only see others in terms of how different they are. Things have gone awry. Thinking like this is what sets up the white-savior mentality.

When it comes to following Jesus, Christians are called to love, sacrifice, and give to others for no other reason than “Jesus said so.”

Sorry, white, American church. You’ve forgotten why you exist. The church of Christ is only supposed to be about people and for the good of people as we mold ourselves closer to God’s image. Anything else is just wrong. To preach Jesus and not preach love is not Jesus. To preach Jesus and not preach inclusion is not Jesus. To preach Jesus and not preach grace and compassion is not Jesus. If the American church has too many “not Jesus” moments, I’m pretty sure it’s not God’s church anymore. It’s just cosplay Christianity. There has to be a better way.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Romans 13 and the US Southern Border

Romans 13
A snarky take on Romans 13

There’s been a lot said about the current atrocities happening at the US southern border. Most of the responses have been along political lines, but recently, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III decided to insert scripture as a justification for separating families from their children. Now, it’s not surprising that Conservatives are using religion to justify their own warped worldview, but if you’re going to use the Bible, you might as well use it correctly. Join us as we delve into the scripture in question. Let’s look into Romans 13 and see what is actually being said in the text.

I’ll try to make sure I don’t mention that Romans 13 has been used to justify a whole host of evil deeds over history from slavery to Nazi occupation, but that’s not the main point, though it is a notable side point. Our main thrust is to expose the hypocrisy of using scripture to justify the law of the land. It makes no sense and is completely asinine. You have the rule of law that governs the United States of America and you have the holy scriptures that supposedly govern the Kingdom of God. Even for Christian Conservatives, this should be abundantly clear that there are two very different sets of ethics and two very different sets of worldviews at play here. Spoiler alert; they don’t blend well together.

It’s time for Christians to get their heads out of their asses, blink the shit out of their eyes, and look around and see how horrific and abusive it is to separate families in this manner. It’s cruel and evil. Isn’t Christianity all about vanquishing evil and doing the morally correct thing? Maybe that was forgotten along the way. This is sick. This is twisted. This is beyond evil.

None of this should be done in the name of Jesus or scripture. Let’s just call it what it has become: spineless, hateful, evil, self-serving, and blind to compassion… or otherwise known as the mantra of the Conservative Christian.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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