Episodes

  • Can silent meditation be prayer? Is prayer always in some sense bodily and physical, or is it only a spiritual thing? When did prayer first enter the story of humanity — millions of years ago, or only after verbal language? Did Neanderthals pray? Is it worth looking into the prayer practices of other religions, and if we do, what might we learn? These questions and more are explored with Dr. Carol Zaleski (Smith College), co-author of the incredible book “Prayer: A History.”

    Later, Dan answers a listener question: “What are the mental tricks or ways that you seek to understand or empathize with someone’s viewpoint you disagree with?” (1:32:00)

    Dan’s 4 mental tricks:

    Trick 1 -- system 1 or 2 belief? If 1, let it go, and just be kind; show them that people with your opposite belief can be loving; and remind yourself that they will probably only change their mind if they change their tribe. In this case, it’s better to ask general life questions than to drill down on the specific area of disagreement or original interest.

    Trick 2 -- if system 2, start asking more specific questions, learn their story as it relates to the issue.

    Trick 3 -- remind yourself that you are also a member of various tribes, so you can let your guard down as you listen to them.

    Trick 4 -- look for nuance; if you are finding it, you're on the right track; if there is none, you are probably stuck in mostly pointless tribal warfare.

    Carol’s book "Prayer: A History":
    William James, “The Varieties of Religious Experience”:
    Father Giles, “Prayer is the greatest freedom of all” (BBC): https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/prayer-is-the-greatest-freedom-of-all/p07b8dq5?playlist=what-is-freedom
    CS Lewis, “Transposition" sermon: https://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/lewiscs-transposition/lewiscs-transposition-00-h.html#ch01transposition
    Scott Davison, “Petitionary Prayer: A Philosophical Investigation”: https://www.amazon.com/Petitionary-Prayer-Philosophical-Scott-Davison/dp/0198757743

    Edited by Josh Gilbert (Gwall.Gilbert11@gmail.com)
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    Artwork by http://sprungle.co/

  • Did God really command the complete slaughter of everyone living in the Promised Land (men, women and children)? Would a loving God ever allow Israelite soldiers to take on additional wives as war widows (if they found them attractive and if they proved themselves to be sexually pleasing)? For 2,000 years, Christian thinkers and Biblical scholars have wrestled with difficult Old Testament passages that seem to show a violent and unloving God, one that seems to contrast sharply with other descriptions of God in the OT. Dr. Eric Seibert joins Dan to talk through this landscape of passages and problems, and to explain 14 distinct approaches that Christians have taken in dealing with them.

    Later, Dan answers a listener question: “What do you think of the whole #emptythepews movement?” (1:42:00)

    Eric’s book (The Violence of Scripture): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0800698258/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i1
    Nuclear Taboo article: https://news.stanford.edu/2017/08/08/americans-weigh-nuclear-war/

    Edited by Scott Cangemi
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  • One of the most divisive questions in the modern church is whether or not biological sex plays a role in who should be allowed to preach (and there are other issues wrapped up in this one, like whether women should be primary bread-winners, etc). Egalitarians say, “No, let the women preach!” Complementarians say, “Yes, men only; that is how God set things up.” In this episode, we hear from Dan’s Godmother Barb Clark, who is an elder in an Egalitarian church, but has some nagging concerns about the whole thing. Then the bulk of the episode is spent with Rev. Bonnie Lewis, a pastor, teacher and Bible translator, who not only makes her argument for Egalitarianism, but also responds to many of the most common counter arguments from the Contemplentarian side. Finally, we get Barb’s reaction to Dan’s chat with Bonnie. This one is a doozy!

    BadChristian Podcast Dan/Bonnie episode (#438): http://www.badchristian.com/bc_podcast/bonnie-lewis-at-the-bcxcon/
    Bonnie’s “Timshel” translation: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1945582321/timshel-an-idiomatic-bible-translation

    Edited by Josh Gilbert (Gwall.Gilbert11@gmail.com)
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  • Why is there a (perceived) conflict between science and religion, and has it always been that way? How does science actually get done, and is the scientific method and community set up in such a way as to come up with trustworthy claims? Are young Christians being set up to fail by well-meaning teachers who are skeptical of “mainstream” science? Dan is joined by Adrian Wyard of Counterblance.org to talk through all of this; before that, he hears from his friend Andy, an Evangelical pastor, about what he is and isn’t suspicious of in the world of science.

    Counterbalance.org
    Biologos.org

    Edited by Josh Gilbert (Gwall.Gilbert11@gmail.com)
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  • Is it possible to be certain about anything in one’s Christian faith? Is it possible to be certain about anything at all, like math, science, or the love of a spouse? Why does it often seem moreseo like preachers and Christian authors are peddling certainty than they are encouraging genuine faith? (The same could also be said for the “New Atheists.”) What does genuine faith look like in a world full of baked-in uncertainty? Dan’s guest Mark Schaefer, author of “The Certainty of Uncertainty,” provides some excellent commentary on this society-wide issue.

    https://www.certaintyofuncertainty.com/

    Edited by Laura Kondourajian
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  • Dan is joined for a long afternoon of somewhat experimental podcasting by Christopher Carter and Seth Schoen, who together have developed a very interesting group/individual practice (and they teach a class together about it), using meditative practices and psychology to talk about, think through, and FEEL their way through racial issues, questions, and personal histories. It is, in fact, as interesting and unique as it sounds! In the middle of the conversation, Dan offers to go through a short "session" with them, which produces some interesting results as well. We all have feelings about racial issues, whether we attend to them or not. Later on, the three of them have a somewhat difficult, honest, and ultimately clarifying conversation about critical race theory, and some concerns surrounding the way that race is talked about in American society.

    P.U.L.S.E.:
    Paying Attention
    Understanding Empathically
    Loving With Connection
    Sensing the Sacred
    Embodying New Life

    F.L.A.G.:
    Fears
    Longings
    Aching Wounds
    Gifts Stifled

    Frank Rogers - Practicing Compassion: https://www.amazon.com/Practicing-Compassion-Frank-Rogers-Jr/dp/1935205250
    Christopher’s faculty page: https://www.sandiego.edu/cas/theology/faculty-and-staff/biography.php?profile_id=840

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  • While of course there are times when it makes sense to leave one’s religious institution, today Dan and sociologist of religion Dr. Tricia Bruce make the case for staying. What is lost when people leave their churches or denominations? When they leave the church altogether? How much do they unintentionally reduce their potential impact? How have a group of concerned Catholics worked from within the Church to combat sexual abuse? Later, Dan answers a listener question: “In your opinion, what are the requirements for being considered a Christian?” (1:20:00)

    https://triciabruce.com/
    “Orthodoxy” patron-only episode with Ben Bishop: https://www.patreon.com/posts/21074279

    Edited by Josh Gilbert (Gwall.Gilbert11@gmail.com)
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  • Should Christians go to "regular" therapists, or is "Biblical Counseling" the only option available to a Christian? Do therapists encourage Christian couples to divorce unnecessarily? Is it shameful to see a therapist? This week, we hear from Howard, a therapy skeptic, and then from Jonathan, whose positive experience with therapy led him ultimately to a master's program to become a psychologist himself.

    YHP Racial Blindspot Episode: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/to-acknowledge-evangelicalisms-racial-blindspot-14/id1448000113?i=1000433295257

    Edited by Josh Gilbert (Gwall.Gilbert11@gmail.com)
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  • ...and still love the Bible! Thomas Jay Oord joins Dan to discuss the issue of postmodernism and the Bible (through the lens of a fantastic article by Old Testament scholar Terence Fretheim, which Tom himself edited). How does a postmodern Christian's reading of the Bible differ from a modernist approach? What is modernism and postmodernism? Don't worry -- no ivory tower language here; everything is in regular laymen's terms, and Tom is one of the best at translating these complicated but important issues into regular speech.Later, Dan answers a patron/listener question: Did you receive flack from your evangelical friends and church family when you became decidedly gay affirming? What were the range of responses like? (1:42:00)Terence Fretheim article: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0nwxu3pkplg30so/Fretheim%20for%20Open%20and%20Relational%20Reading%20Group.doc?dl=0*AUDIO VERSION* of Fretheim article: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yqmprg69vdxd29z/Chapter%209%20-%20Terence%20Fretheim.mp3?dl=0http://thomasjayoord.com/http://openandrelationaltheology.com -- reading groupThe Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor: https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Certainty-Reflective-Christian-Commitment/dp/0830822372Benefit of the Doubt by Greg Boyd: https://www.amazon.com/Benefit-Doubt-Breaking-Idol-Certainty/dp/0801014921/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=benefit+of+the+doubt&qid=1558999348&s=books&sr=1-1Edited by Scott CangemiJoin the Patreon for bonus episodes (and more) every month: patreon.com/dankochYHP Patron-only FB group: https://tinyurl.com/ycvbbf98Website: youhavepermissionpod.comJoin Dan's email list: dankochwords.comArtwork by http://sprungle.co/

  • Seattle's own Dr. Tina Shermer Sellers (psychologist and sex therapist) joins Dan for a fascinating conversation about what is known as Purity Culture, that near-ubiquitous set of sexual-moral claims and practices that ruled the Evangelical zeitgeist in the 80s, 90s and 00s, and is still today probably the default sexual understanding of most American Protestants. But is that understanding Biblical? Does it accord well with what we are learning through science? Why did it come to such prominence? Does having premarital sex really take away "a piece of you" every time you do it, and what's with the double standards for boys and girls? We get into it all, including a bunch of interesting listener questions.

    Later, Dan answers a patron question: "What is the Gospel, and how do you evangelize?" (1:30:00)

    SEXUAL SHAME is a visceral feeling of humiliation and disgust toward one's own body and identity as a sexual being and a belief of being abnormal inferior and unworthy. This feeling can be internalized but also manifests in interpersonal relationships having a negative impact on trust communication and physical and emotional intimacy sexual shame develops across the lifespan in interactions with interpersonal relationships one's culture and society and subsequent critical self appraisal. there is also a fear and uncertainty related to one's power or right to make decisions including safety decisions related to sexual encounters along with an internalized judgment toward one's own sexual desire.

    Vow of Onah: http://tinaschermersellers.com/2011/02/12/the-vow-of-onah-and-other-jewish-attitudes-about-sex/

    Bible For Normal People purity culture episode: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-82-linda-kay-klein-breaking-free-from-purity/id1215420422?i=1000434395466

    Sex, Mom and God: https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/sex-mom-and-god-how-the-bibles-strange-take-on-sex-led-to-crazy-politics--and-how-i-learned-to-love-women-and-jesus-anyway_frank-schaeffer/369821/#isbn=0306819287&idiq=4395577

    Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape: https://www.amazon.com/Girls-Sex-Navigating-Complicated-Landscape/dp/0062209744

    80% of abstinence-only curricula contain serious erroneous information: https://rockthrower.blogs.com/rockthrower/files/20041201102153-50247.pdf

    http://tinaschermersellers.com/
    Thankgodforsex.org
    Nwioi.com - Northwest Institute on Intimacy
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drtinashamelesssex/
    Twitter: @tinassellers

    Edited by Scott Cangemi
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  • Dan is re-joined by Bonnie Kristian (author of "A Flexible Faith") to talk through the various ways that Christians think about Biblical inspiration (and just what kind of "errors" might be in there). As you know from episode 6, Bonnie is a great guest, and has really done her research on these topics! Also, Dan corrects something from last week regarding his "Protestant Rosary" segment, shares some thoughts about the theological consequences of how we process the sudden passing of Christian author and thinker Rachel Held Evans, and he answers a listener question: "How do you navigate conversations with conservative friends/family as you deconstruct?"

    Corrections / Rachel Held Evans: 2:00
    Inerrancy, Infallibility, Inspiration: 10:00
    Listener Question: 1:19:00

    Bonnie's Discussion Questions:
    - Which view of scripture is most familiar to you? Which one did your Sunday school teachers tell you?
    - Which perspective do you find most appealing and why? Most convincing?
    - Is the view you find more convincing the same as the one you find appealing? Why/why not?
    - How authoritative is the Bible in your life and faith? How does it interact with church tradition, reason, and personal experience?
    - What is at stake in how you understand the inspiration of Scripture, and should your view influence your reading and studying of the Bible?

    "A Flexible Faith": https://smile.amazon.com/Flexible-Faith-Rethinking-Means-Follow/dp/1478992093/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548661564&sr=8-1&keywords=a+flexible+faith

    Edited by Josh Gilbert (Gwall.Gilbert11@gmail.com)
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  • Richard Beck is a psychologist, professor, speaker and author of many books, right in what I consider to be the sweet spot: the overlap of psychology and Christian faith/theology. This is more or less where I am headed professionally, and it’s encouraging to have had a conversation like this one, so chock full of interesting, challenging, and inspiring stuff. We talk a good bit about disgust, which is a big factor in the impossibility of “love the sinner hate the sin,” but we also talk about spiritual practices and habits, Jesus and the Pharisees, and even placing cockroaches in orange juice.

    Later, I introduce a simple prayer practice I call The Protestant Rosary (1:26:00).

    Richard’s blog/site: http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/

    Directions for praying the "Protestant Rosary":
    1. Get a rosary
    2. Start where the three strands meet, near the cross, and pray one Jesus Prayer for each of the 10 beads before the spacer bead
    3. For the spacer bead, pray the Lord's Prayer
    4. Repeat until one "lap" of the rosary is finished. Repeat if you so desire.

    Variation #1:
    For each of the 10 standard beads, pray for a person in your life, i.e. "Have mercy on Derek," and imagine God's mercy enveloping Derek.

    Variation #2:
    Like Variation #1, but use multiple beads for the same person, each time saying the same prayer, "Have mercy on Derek," but with each bead, focusing on a different aspect of Derek's life, like his work life, his faith, his relationship with a loved one, his health, etc.

    How to End:
    Madame Guyon recommends taking a moment to "swallow" or accept whatever God has given during the prayer time, even if this time nothing appears to have been given; be grateful for the silence and peace.

    The Jesus Prayer:
    "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me/us (a sinner)."

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  • Many of us know the psychological costs of our addiction to all our electronic devices (do we really?), but have we considered the spiritual costs (and are those actually distinct)? Do we really understand what's going on neurologically, as we continue to log hours per day on our smartphones? Dr. Tricia Rhodes chats with Dan about what exactly is being lost, what we might regain, and how the human brain is able to re-wire itself -- thank God!

    Later, Dan answers a listener question: "You often mention that you were more afraid to be a liberal Christian than a non-believer when you were younger. What's the main belief you feared would change and has it changed? Is there anything that changed as you became more progressive that went back to, or is now trending toward, a more traditional position over time?”

    ** Edit: In the Introduction Dan says Tricia‘s books are released by Zondervan. It is actually NavPress -- an even more conservative publisher!

    Tricia’s site/blog: https://www.soulatrest.com/
    Tricia’s book “The Wired Soul”: https://smile.amazon.com/Wired-Soul-Finding-Spiritual-Hyperconnected/dp/1631465120/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=tricia+rhodes&qid=1552191189&s=gateway&sr=8-6
    Tricia’s book “The Soul at Rest: 25th Anniversary Edition”: https://smile.amazon.com/Soul-Rest-40-Day-Journey-Prayer/dp/163146860X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=tricia+rhodes&qid=1552191189&s=gateway&sr=8-1
    Madame Guyon’s autobiography is actually FREE for Kindle users: https://smile.amazon.com/Autobiography-Madame-Jeanne-Bouvier-1648-1717-ebook/dp/B0082PM382/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=madame+guyon&qid=1551923653&s=gateway&sr=8-9
    Fenelon’s book (includes “Christian Perfection”): https://smile.amazon.com/Complete-Fenelon-Paraclete-Giants/dp/1557256071/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2MYKLUR2JD68H&keywords=christian+perfection+fenelon&qid=1551923842&s=gateway&sprefix=christian+perfection+fe%2Caps%2C205&sr=8-2

    Edited by Joe Diaz-Romero
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  • Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist and author/speaker with degrees in physics and theology. He speaks with Dan about his regular practice of seeking the Christian God through "Buddhism Light" meditation services in London, where he lives. Dan and Mark also discuss how Christians might relate to other faiths in general, and the danger of leaving one's own tradition for greener pastures, which is not what Mark sees himself as doing.

    Mark’s book “A Secret History of Christianity” http://www.markvernon.com/books/a-secret-history-of-christianity
    rethinkinghell.com/

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  • Dan is joined by NT scholar Dale B. Martin to consider what it means that the four Gospels present four at-least-somewhat divergent accounts of both Jesus's life and his character. Dale argues that there is both much to be learned and much to be experienced devotionally by taking each Gospel separately, and not "deciding beforehand" that they must be harmonized. Dan's friend Kenny shares his concerns regarding the Gospel of John, and Dale responds to those questions. At the end of the episode, in a brand new segment, Dan answers a patron-submitted question about he and his wife's current church transition, after leaving their church of 10 years.

    Timeline:
    Dale Pt: 1: 4:15
    Kenny Pt 1: 36:00
    Dale Pt 2: 52:00
    Kenny Pt 2: 1:24:00
    Q&A: 1:31:00

    Depolarize Episode with Dale (web): http://depolarize.blubrry.net/2018/10/01/while-you-were-evangelizing-hell-with-dale-b-martin/
    Depolarize Episode with Dale (iTunes): https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/while-you-were-evangelizing-hell-with-dale-b-martin/id1163609659?i=1000420855971
    Jean Vanier, “Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John”: https://smile.amazon.com/Drawn-Mystery-Jesus-through-Gospel-ebook/dp/B00I08WWA0/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=jean+vanier+drawn&qid=1554673416&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull
    Dale’s fantastic book “Biblical Truths”: https://smile.amazon.com/Biblical-Truths-Meaning-Scripture-Twenty-first/dp/0300222831/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=biblical+truths&qid=1554673453&s=gateway&sr=8-1

    Edited by Scott Cangemi
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  • There is a kind of “religious humidity” in some parts of our country, such that the dominant form of Evangelicalism puts a kind of constant and uniform pressure on anyone who lives there. This affects what happens to people who leave their religious communities, either altogether or who leave to join different communities. Dr. Terry Shoemaker has done some very interesting research with some of these people, especially those who were in some way traumatized by either their original community, or through the process of leaving. Some of them, he says, were “weaponized into a Culture War Christianity.” Wars require weapons, and sometimes those weapons end up being our own children.

    “Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays” - https://smile.amazon.com/Pray-Gay-Away-Extraordinary-Lives/dp/0814786383/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=pray+the+gay+away&qid=1552928029&s=books&sr=1-2
    “The Sacred Canopy”: https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Canopy-Elements-Sociological-Religion/dp/0385073054
    “America’s New Religions”: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/andrew-sullivan-americas-new-religions.html
    Dr. Tina Sellers: http://tinaschermersellers.com/
    Allender Center Podcast Episode on Spiritual Trauma: https://theallendercenter.org/2018/03/spiritual-abuse-1/
    Shelly Rambo: https://www.bu.edu/sth/profile/shelly-rambo/
    Terry’s email: Terry.Shoemaker@asu.edu

    Edited by Scott Cangemi
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    Keywords: spiritual abuse, Bible Belt, culture war, weapon, spiritual trauma, science, creationism, theology, spiritual but not religious, progressive, liberal, conservative

  • Bethany’s book “God, Evolution and Animal Suffering”: https://www.routledge.com/God-Evolution-and-Animal-Suffering-Theodicy-without-a-Fall-1st-Edition/Sollereder/p/book/9781138608474

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    Edited by Josh Gilbert (Gwall.Gilbert11@gmail.com)
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  • This one is a doozy! And it's both here and in the Depolarize! Podcast feed because it's just that good. Sociologist Michael O. Emerson breaks down his and Christian Smith's argument as to why White Evangelical Christians have such a bad track record on racial issues, summarized in their co-authored "Divided by Faith." This is the best explanation that I have ever heard or read regarding this phenomenon.

    “Divided by Faith”: https://smile.amazon.com/Divided-Faith-Evangelical-Religion-Problem/dp/0195147073/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=divided+by+faith&qid=1553212642&s=gateway&sr=8-1
    Pass the Mic Podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pass-the-mic/id1435500798?mt=2

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  • Reese Roper is the singer of Christian ska-punk band Five Iron Frenzy. We hear how his understanding of what it means to be Christlike has changed -- or more accurately, has been nuanced -- over the years, from his many years touring in an 8-piece band to his more recent work managing a nursing home in Virginia.

    http://www.fiveironfrenzy.com/
    Imitation of Christ ($4 copies): https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/de-imitatione-christi-by-thomas--kempis/256916/#isbn=038502861X&idiq=3793782

    Five Iron Frenzy songs played in this episode:
    "Far, Far Away"
    "Dandelions"
    "Anthem"
    "Fahrenheit"

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    Edited by Josh Gilbert
    Artwork by http://sprungle.co/

  • Our guest today is Dr. Philip Clayton (Claremont School of Theology), giving us his personal faith story from a secular household, through conservative Evangelicalism, and ultimately into Quakerism. We also talk about Panentheism, for which he is a major Christian advocate. Most of the nerdy stuff occurs after the ad break, starting around 54:00, so feel free to skip that stuff if you are less into the true nerdery.

    "how i found GOD in everyone and everywhere" (great essay collection including Phil's story): https://smile.amazon.com/How-Found-God-Everyone-Everywhere/dp/193968188X/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=how+i+found+god+in+everywhere&qid=1552328138&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull
    http://philipclayton.net/
    Join the Patreon for bonus episodes every month: patreon.com/dankoch
    YHP Patron-only FB group: https://tinyurl.com/ycvbbf98
    Website: youhavepermissionpod.com
    Join Dan's email list: dankochwords.com
    Email Dan: youhavepermissionpodcast@gmail.com
    Artwork by http://sprungle.co/