Episode 51: The Mystery of the Cross

In this second part of our discussion of the cross (recorded about 5 seconds after the end of the first part) we explore some of the major historical models of the atonement. Was it about victory? Ransom? Substitution? Justice? Example? (Answer: all of the above.) And how did Jesus explain it? (Answer: he didn’t really.) Along the way we discuss the mystery that lies at the heart of this event and the danger of taking metaphors too seriously.

For the first part of this discussion listen to Episode 50: The Scandal of the Cross.

Books mentioned

  • Mark D. Baker and Joel B. Green, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross
  • Jane Williams, Why did Jesus Have to Die?

Episode 50: The Scandal of The Cross

In the first of two-parts on this topic, we explore the cross – the event which lies at the heart of the Christian Gospel. In this first part, we look at the many different ways the first Christians talked about it and why it seemed so foolish and scandalous. And we touch on an important question: why does talking about the cross make people so cross?

Make sure to check out Episode 51: The Mystery of the Cross – which  is a companion to this episode, and in which we explore some of the main explanations of what the cross is all about.

 

 


Episode 49: Serious stuff with jokes in it

It’s a feedback episode with great stories from the listeners about the power of forgiveness. We touch on the need to forgive ourselves, discuss whether laughing at something means not taking it seriously, and address the fate of Nick’s beard. There is also stuff about removing our fig leaves, but it’s probably best not to dwell on that.


Episode 48: Inching towards forgiveness

Forgiveness is, perhaps, the most characteristically Christian thing that we do. But what does it look like? How do we go about forgiving those who have hurt us? We discuss strategies for forgiving others, how it sets us free and how we are really all just Jesus tribute acts. Added bonus feature: Who is Ethel Sadoldperson?

Books mentioned:

  • How to Forgive – A Step by Step Guide, John Monbourquette
  • Don’t Forgive Too Soon, Dennis, Shelia and Matthew Linn

Episode 47: You have to leave in order to return

We say that ‘God is love’. But how do we know that? This episode explores the need for experiences, feelings and emotions. We look at the need for new experiences, new metaphors, new ways of understanding, and how these things can breathe life back into old phrases which might have lost their power and meaning. It also begins with Joe singing: you have been warned.


Episode 46: Rambling in Lee Abbey

In which our heroes sit on a bench in the North Devon countryside, and ramble on about how the knowledge that God loves us can transform our lives. Featuring sheep, house martins, and a van passing by.


Episode 45: ‘A massive suitcase full of us’

In which our heroes discuss the value and practice of going on retreat and the need for solitude, silence and reflection. Including our top tips for those thinking of going on retreat (#retreathacks). Plus feedback on the whole ‘calling’ thing, and there’s a story from the Desert Fathers, as opposed to the Dessert Fathers.

Stuff we mentioned…


Episode 44: How big is your calling?

In which we look at calling, guidance and all that stuff. Do you have to be called to the ministry or is it OK just to want to give it a go? Does God micro-manage our life, or is it all a lot more up to us? And what does it mean to hear from God. Meanwhile, Joe is panicking about Lee Abbey and King Lear sends his love.


Episode 43: Taking the Pistis with Steve Chalke

Joe interviews Steve Chalke. Always engaging and thought-provoking, he talks about how we wrongly define church, what the gospel is and the meaning of the Greek word, pistis. No, really.


Episode 42: Flippant Depth

Along with a humungous amount of excellent, thought-provoking feedback this week, Joe temporarily masters technology enough to record an interview with listener Shane Styles, whose guidelines for social media use we both found so helpful.

Shane’s 10 steps on finding the balance and disengagement:

  1. Practice the sabbath.
  2. Do not have your email or social media notifications pushed to your phone ever. Do not have your social media notifications pushed to any device.
  3. Only check or look at your social media on one device, remove it from all other devices.
  4. Only check social media once a day. If it is for work, then have set times.
  5. Fast from food one day or for a set period every week.
  6. Do not engage with work, news or social media for the first hour of the day, and the last hour of the day before sleep.
  7. Have a period of quiet time most days and in this time do not look at any media, email, social media, work or news.
  8. Try and walk in nature, see the ocean, sit in the park for a time most days, combine it with excise if you can.
  9. Share what you are going to do with someone, a mentor and be kept accountable to change.
  10.  Control email, do not allow it to control you. Find a way.

Episode 41.5: Bonus episode – Back to the future

In what can only be described as a ‘low-key’ episode, our heroes meet in a hotel in the countryside somewhere to discuss the future of the podcast, whether Hitler can be forgiven, Stanley Spencer and Joe’s new found fame on another podcast. Also listener Shane gives us some great guidelines on using social media. Plus a brief special guest appearance from our better halves.

Shane’s 10 steps on finding the balance and disengagement:

  1. Practice the sabbath.
  2. Do not have your email or social media notifications pushed to your phone ever. Do not have your social media notifications pushed to any device.
  3. Only check or look at your social media on one device, remove it from all other devices.
  4. Only check social media once a day. If it is for work, then have set times.
  5. Fast from food one day or for a set period every week.
  6. Do not engage with work, news or social media for the first hour of the day, and the last hour of the day before sleep.
  7. Have a period of quiet time most days and in this time do not look at any media, email, social media, work or news.
  8. Try and walk in nature, see the ocean, sit in the park for a time most days, combine it with excise if you can.
  9. Share what you are going to do with someone, a mentor and be kept accountable to change.
  10.  Control email, do not allow it to control you. Find a way.

Stanley Spencer: Sandham Memorial Chapel

Spencer: The Resurrection of the Soldiers


Episode 41: What the hell!

In which our heroes discuss hell, damnation and other associated, cheery subjects. Is there such a thing as an orthodox view of hell? What are the options? We explore what the Bible says (not a lot), what the early church believed (different things) and just where the idea of a loving, just creator God fits in. Plus, we invent the Gehenna Tattoo and  feature excerpts from Jonathan ‘Laughing Boy’ Edwards’ classic chuckle-fest Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. 

Some books and websites mentioned during the show:


Episode 40: Detachment and Deep Work

In which our heroes discuss the need to detach from distractions, especially social media and all that stuff. We talk about the need for space in our lives, and how to detach from the things which stop us doing the ‘deep work’ that is so necessary, both in our professional and our spiritual lives.


Episode 39: Interview with Alexander Shaia Part 2

Happy Easter, everyone. This week we have the second part of our interview with Alexander Shaia on his idea of the fourfold journey as it is reflected in the gospels. Meanwhile Joe joins us from his holiday in Mexico – accompanied by the world’s biggest Pina Colada.

 


Episode 38: Interview with Alexander Shaia Part 1

In the first of a two-part interview we hear from Alexander Shaia, author, teacher, speaker and, most remarkably, a person who is prepared to go to Worthing and spend time with Joe. He talks about his background, about the power of story and myth, and about how the moments when we feel we have lost our way can be ‘the most fertile, rich moment of your life’. Also loads of feedback, and a special guest introduction!


Episode 37: The magic prayer word is banana

In which we talk quite a lot about how a wrong image of God leads to problems with prayer. Plus lots of other topics, (not least why the mid-faith crisis and the mid-life crisis are not synonymous) and lots of great letters. And do you have a least favourite worship song or hymn lyric? Go on, share it with others.


Episode 36: ‘There is something hypnotic about your podcast…’

In which our heroes tackle a whole bunch of feedback on various topics, including stages of faith, the good and the bad side of beauty and mainly a lot of good stuff on how to talk to your children about your beliefs. Meanwhile, Joe explains that 14th February is really friendship day and Nick tries out hypnotic auto-suggestion on sleepy listeners, and we look forward to gold dust appearing magically in our Bibles.


Episode 35: How to succeed at parenting and other myths

In which our heroes share their expertise about being parents. A short podcast, then. Anyway, we discuss how to talk to children about God in the Mid-faith Crisis, why pretending to be an expert on parenting is ridiculous, and the relative merits of vulnerability, honesty, integrity and lecturing your children about sin. We also explore whether Nick should have some kind of warning system and the possibility of people donating in order to shut us up.


Episode 34: How to Look Good Sacred

In which our heroes discuss the body. Is dieting a spiritual discipline? Is it wrong to care about our appearance? How can we achieve a balanced view of our own bodies? Is St Belinda of Carlisle correct in saying that ‘Heaven is a place on earth?’ Yes, it’s the body episode. And, appropriately enough, our own bodies were in meltdown at the time. So be warned: this episode contains coughing.


Episode 33: Practical Thankfulness

In which our heroes discuss different ways of building thankfulness into our lives. What difference does it make? And is Nick ever going to be able to say ‘Thanks for your feedback’ and actually mean it? Meanwhile Joe gets all poetic and does stuff on a beach with stones. Nick shares a picture which proves that Joe was probably possessed at one time.

 


Episode 32: Happy Christ-tide Eve-Eve!

Yes, it’s the Christ-tide Eve-Eve show. In which our heroes discuss all things Christmassy. We focus on what’s really important about Christmas, the sparkliness or otherwise of Joe’s baubles and Nick’s opinion that the main problem with Christmas is that there’s simply too much joy and fun. Happy Christmas everyone.


Episode 31: The Spirituality of Paddington

In which our heroes reflect a bit on last episode’s arguments before going on to discuss the spirituality of… er… Paddington 2. Why do we respond so deeply to goodness and kindness? What does it mean to be good? How can we think the best of everyone, even Australians who are gloating about the cricket score?


Episode 30: Jesus Part 1

In a strangely argumentative episode, Nick and Joe talk about what it means to follow Jesus. Nick gets very insistent on the resurrection, Joe uses the word ‘ontological’ and there’s a lot of discussion about reality and metaphors and stuff like that. We also feature some more book recommendations, share the latest news about the week for the bewildered and discuss whether Gregory of Nyssa ran a bakery.

 


Episode 29: The Landscape of the Heart

In which we have an interview with Roy Searle, one of the founders of the Northumbria Community. Roy talks about the importance of space, the need to escape the ‘consumer-based faith’, about ‘living life with the questions’ and how our thirst for authenticity can lead us deeper with God. We also hear from listeners with their book recommendations (see below) and Joe engages in the little known sport of hermeneutical gymnastics. Warning: contains the words ‘pith’ and ‘spong’.

Don’t forget the Renovaré Day on Nov 24

 

Book recommendations

David recommended

  • Mike Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality
  • Mitch Albom, Tuesday’s with Morrie

 Peter recommended

  • Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

Hannah recommended

  • Tom Wright, Surprised by Hope
  • James K. A. Smith, Imagining the Kingdom and Desiring the Kingdom
  • Greg Boyd, Benefit of the Doubt
  • Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace
  • Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary

David recommended

  • Eugene Peterson, The Pastor
  • John Spong , Why Christianity Must Change or Die
  • Brian McLaren, Why Did Jesus, Moses and Mohammed Cross the Road
  • Karen Armstrong, A History of God
  • Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels

Lee recommended

  • Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World