July 14, 2020
Michelle and guest host, Seth Showalter, discuss Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne. Their conversation covers politics, the church, and more.
From the back cover: "Jesus for President is a radical manifesto to awaken the Christian political imagination, reminding us that our ultimate hope lies not in partisan political options but in Jesus and the incarnation of the peculiar politic of the church as a people "set apart" from this world. In what can be termed lyrical theology, Jesus for President poetically weaves together words and images to sing (rather than dictate) its message. It is a collaboration of Shane Claiborne's writing and stories, Chris Haw's reflections and research, and Chico Fajardo-Heflin's art and design. Drawing upon the work of biblical theologians, the lessons of church history, and the examples of modern-day saints and ordinary radicals, Jesus for President stirs the imagination of what the Church could look like if it placed its faith in Jesus instead of Caesar. A fresh look at Christianity and empire, Jesus for President transcends questions of "Should I vote or not?" and "Which candidate?" by thinking creatively about the fundamental issues of faith and allegiance. It's written for those who seek to follow Jesus, rediscover the spirit of the early church, and incarnate the kingdom of God."
About Seth: "Seth grew up in a small town in Northwest, Missouri. He was on track for a future in the ministry, when he came to the conclusion that he was gay. Cue: long, draught out coming journey. Ministry was pushed to the side for a career in social work. If he couldn’t serve in the Church, he definitely could by being the hands and feet of Christ in the world. Seth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and holds a second master’s in Healthcare Administration. Seth can be a bit too serious at times but the cast knows how to put him in his place."
June 30, 2020
Michelle explores Wake Up!: How to Get Out of Your Mind, Stop Living on Autopilot, and Start Choosing Your Best Life by Claudia Velandia. She explores consciousness, identity, and more.
From the back cover: "There is no better time than now to control your mind and get out of your own way! Do you feel unfulfilled, fearful, or unhappy? Do you feel you can’t control your mind? Do you think you are sabotaging your own success? Are you struggling to find the best version of yourself? Are you living on autopilot, feeling empty, without purpose? If you answered YES to any of those questions, it is time to realize that you don't have to live that way. It's time to Wake Up to live YOUR best life, no more excuses! Imagine what your life would look like if you could overcome what is holding you back? What would the possibilities be? Imagine how you would feel living a life of awareness, willingness, and preparedness, a life without limitations. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Everything you are experiencing stems from your own subconscious programming and Wake Up! will teach you how to get out of your conditioning."
June 16, 2020
Michelle and guest host, Meggie Lee Calvin, discuss A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman. Their conversation covers death, grief, joy, and more.
From the back cover: "Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations. Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. “If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down” (Booklist, starred review)."
About Meggie: "Meggie Lee Calvin (Meg) is an Amazon Bestselling Author, Wife, Mom, Speaker, Podcaster, and Coach who helps her fellow Spiritually-Attuned Go-Getters find confidence and certainty in who they were meant to be. After serving as a Minister to Children and Families at a mainline protestant church for over a decade, she now serves as Director of Engagement for the Institute for Discipleship. Her days include such fun as recruiting participants and instructors for BeADisciple.com, producing and co-hosting the Listening Chair Podcast, coaching content creators in the creation and marketing of their content, and writing and speaking over grit and grace to her fellow spiritually-attuned go-getters and recovering holy-rollers. Her second book, I Am My Own Sanctuary, reads like Seth Myers and the Benedictine nun, Joan Chittister conceived a book-baby. This, “Full-steam comedic rant”, as Dr. David Dault of the NPR Show, Things Not Seen called it, was written for other “recovering holy-rollers” and encourages them to own the power of the Divine within to take back the power from others in their lives. Meg has been featured on NPR, and has served as a workshop presenter at both state-wide and national conferences."
June 2, 2020
Michelle explores The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone. She discusses racism, Christianity, Civil Rights, and more.
From the back cover: "The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. While the lynching tree symbolized white power and black death, the cross symbolizes divine power and black life God overcoming the power of sin and death. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era. In a work that spans social history, theology, and cultural studies, Cone explores the message of the spirituals and the power of the blues; the passion and of Emmet Till and the engaged vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.; he invokes the spirits of Billie Holliday and Langston Hughes, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ida B. Well, and the witness of black artists, writers, preachers, and fighters for justice. And he remembers the victims, especially the 5,000 who perished during the lynching period. Through their witness he contemplates the greatest challenge of any Christian theology to explain how life can be made meaningful in the face of death and injustice."
May 19, 2020
Michelle and guest host, David Hayward, discuss The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates. Their conversation explores gender equality, female empowerment, and more.
From the back cover: "How can we summon a moment of lift for human beings―and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity. For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift society up, you need to stop keeping women down. In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares lessons she’s learned from the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world. As she writes in the introduction, “That is why I had to write this book―to share the stories of people who have given focus and urgency to my life. I want all of us to see ways we can lift women up where we live.” Melinda’s unforgettable narrative is backed by startling data as she presents the issues that most need our attention―from child marriage to lack of access to contraceptives to gender inequity in the workplace. And, for the first time, she writes about her personal life and the road to equality in her own marriage. Throughout, she shows how there has never been more opportunity to change the world―and ourselves. Writing with emotion, candor, and grace, she introduces us to remarkable women and shows the power of connecting with one another. When we lift others up, they lift us up, too."
About David: "David Hayward is the NakedPastor. He has a Masters in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Diploma in Religious Studies and Ministry from McGill University in Montreal, and a Diploma in University Teaching from the University of New Brunswick. He served the church as a pastor for 30 years and left the ministry in 2010. Like all graffiti artists, NakedPastor uses words and images to challenge the status quo and offer hope for those who struggle and suffer under it. He founded and facilitates The Lasting Supper, an online community for those looking for a safe alternative to church. He coaches people who long for spiritual freedom and independence."
May 5, 2020
Michelle and guest host, Dillon Naber Cruz, tackle Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanhn. Their conversation covers Christianity, Buddhism, orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and more.
From the back cover: "Buddha and Christ, perhaps the two most pivotal figures in the history of humankind, each left behind a legacy of teachings and practices that have shaped the lives of billions of people over two millennia. If they were to meet on the road today, what would each think of the other's spiritual views and practices? Thich Nhat Hanh has been part of a decades-long dialogue between two great contemplative traditions, and brings to Christianity an appreciation of its beauty that could be conveyed only by an outsider. IN lucid, meditative prose, he explores the crossroads of compassion and holiness at which the two traditions meet, and he reawakens our understanding of both. "On the altar in my hermitage," he says, "are images of Buddha and Jesus, and I touch both of them as my spiritual ancestors."
About Dillon: "I am a tattooed theologian who currently resides in Lancaster, PA. I am also the author of the book Go Golden: Applying a Universal Religious Teaching and the Ethics of Permaculture to Create a Sustainable, Just, Happier World, published in 2018 by Wipf and Stock Publishers. My theological interests include ecological sustainability, living into the kingdom of God, reflecting on the social and historical contexts of Jesus’ life and ministry, and deconstructing from fundamentalism. My theological education was undertaken at Lancaster Theological Seminary where I received an M.A. in religion in 2018. My B.A. in history and I have multiple Permaculture Design Certifications including an Advanced Design Practicum from Oregon State University."
April 21, 2020
Michelle analyzes Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America? by Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson. She covers religion, politics, the Kingdom of God, and more.
From the back cover: "Authors Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson once believed the best way to fight the 'liberal agenda' was to beat them at their own game. Mobilize voters. Organize boycotts. Get invited to the White House. And raise a ton of money to keep the war chest full. Not anymore. Blinded by Might takes you inside the early and heady days of the Moral Majority, tracing its well-intentioned but fatally flawed battle plan aimed at reversing America's slide into a moral wasteland. It shows how groups like the Christian Coalition, which stepped in when the Moral Majority ran out of steam, have not changed, cannot change, and will not change the trajectory of America's culture. Written by two conservative Christians who worked closely with Jerry Falwell in the 1980s, Blinded by Might explains what you can do for your country that twenty years of heavily financed political activism has failed to do. When Ronald Reagan won the 1980 presidential election by a landslide, conservative Christians discovered what could happen when they flexed their electoral muscles. Suddenly, faith and politics seemed a promising match and before the eyes of the astonished media, a new movement called the Moral Majority and its leader, Jerry Falwell, rocketed from obscurity to national prominence. The Religious right was born. Today with luminaries including Pat Robertson, James Dobson, James Kennedy, and Ralph Reed, the right remains a powerful political force. Yet, despite nearly twenty years of vigorous and sophisticated activism, it has failed in its mission to end abortion, eliminate pornography, restore the shattered American family, and usher in a better world built on 'traditional values.' Why? Few know the answers better than Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson. Former insiders with the Moral Majority, they share never-reported information on a movement they helped shape in order to show why it could not and did not succeed. And they tell what it will really take to stem the ungodliness that is sweeping our nation. 'Whenever the church cozies up to political power, it loses sight of its all-important mission to change the world from the inside out,' writes Thomas. In blurring the lines between politics and Christianity, the Religious Right has traded the only power that can truly change America—the Gospel's power to transform hearts—for the methods of a kingdom that is of this world. What, then, is the alternative? Given such critical issues as abortion, gay activism, are Christians to simply disengage from the political process? Hardly. Uninvolvement is not the answer, say the authors, but a shift in perspective. As Christians, they insist we must realize that God's agenda does not rise or fall with political causes; and that we must rediscover our most potent influence is not the ballot booth, but lives that extend God's grace in the home, in the workplace, and in all spheres of our culture. Blinded by Might calls us to realign ourselves with a kingdom infinitely more powerful and certain than politics, that advances initially through changed hearts that inevitably must change and impart government."
April 7, 2020
Michelle and guest host, Julie McVey, tackle UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality by Colby Martin. Their conversation covers why the church shuns over differences in beliefs, what Scripture actually says about homosexuality, and more.
From the back cover: "Churches in America are experiencing an unprecedented fracturing due to their belief and attitude toward the LGBTQ community. Armed with only six passages in the Bible—often known as the “clobber passages”—the traditional Christian position has been one that stands against the full inclusion of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Unclobber reexamines each of those frequently quoted passages of Scripture, alternating with author Colby Martin’s own story of being fired from an evangelical megachurch when they discovered his stance on sexuality. UnClobber reexamines what the Bible says (and does not say) about homosexuality in such a way that breathes fresh life into outdated and inaccurate assumptions and interpretations."
About Julie: "I see myself as a fellow traveler among many on a transformational journey. My passions are family, relationships, creative awareness, and spiritual discoveries. I find writing to be therapeutic and a wonderful way to share my humanity, my heart, and my journey with others. I hope you find value in some of my writings."
March 24, 2020
Michelle covers What's With Paul and Women? by Jon Zens and explores the backlash against women in ministerial leadership positions, what Scripture says regarding silencing women, the patriarchy, and more.
From the back cover: "1 Timothy 2:11-12 has been used as a "clear" mandate to silence women in the church for over 1500 years. In What's With Paul & Women? Jon Zens exposes the fallacies of this interpretation, and opens up the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 using insights gleaned from the Artemis-saturated Ephesian culture where Timothy was left to stand against false teaching (1:3). Going beyond 1 Timothy 2, this book covers the major issues in gender inequality with three Appendices: one on the Ephesian social world in which 1 Timothy was written, another on 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 and an extensive review of John Piper's What's the Difference? Manhood & Womanhood Defined According to the Bible. If 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-36 have puzzled you, What's With Paul & Women? will help in your quest to discern the mind of the Lord as the gender debate continues."
March 10, 2020
Michelle and guest host, Kevin Miller, discuss I See Satan Fall Like Lightning by Rene Girard. Their conversation covers Mimetic Theory, scapegoating, the #MeToo movement, and more.
From the back cover: "Rene Girard holds up the gospels as mirrors that reveal our broken humanity, and shows that they also reflect a new reality that can make us whole. Like Simone Weil, Girard looks at the Bible as a map of human behavior, and sees Jesus Christ as the turning point leading to new life. The title echoes Jesus' words: "I saw Satan falling like lightning from heaven". Girard persuades us that even as our world grows increasingly violent the power of the Christ-event is so great that the evils of scapegoating and sacrifice are being defeated even now. A new community, God's nonviolent kingdom, is being realized—even now."
About Kevin: "Raised on a farm just outside of Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, Kevin went off into the world and fulfilled many of his childhood dreams, which included working in the film business as a screenwriter, director, producer, and film editor and also establishing himself as a freelance writer and editor in the world of book publishing. Over the years, Kevin has worked on over a dozen films, including documentaries, feature films, and short film projects (he's Kevin Miller XI on imdb.com) and over a hundred books, both fiction and non-fiction, many of which he worked on as an editor."