Episode 55: Taking off the masks

In the feedback from our personality episode, we discuss the ‘masks’ we wear in order to conform, their relationship to personality, and how they can become a burden to us. Also Joe advertises his cult, Nick has a new book out, and we remember that great worship song composer, Graham Ken and Dick.

Oh No, Mr Snowman! by Nick Page and Clare Fennell

Episode 53: Personality Types


Episode 54: ‘Death is a Very Good Part of Life’

In this episode, Joe interviews theologian Bethany Sollereder to explore the issue of death and dying. Why is our culture so afraid of death? Why is grieving important? Who, what or where is apoptosis? We also find out why Joe playing snooker instead of attending his Pastoral Care modules was actually a good thing, why Nick sending off his manuscript is actually a bad thing, and when little Martin Buber’s Christmas Album will be out.

 


Episode 53: Personality Types

What role does personality play in faith? We explore ideas about personality types, and how our different personalities affect what we believe and how we behave. We also take a look at some bad language in the Bible and find out what Myers-Briggs type Ethel Sadoldperson is.

  • Sandra Krebs Hirsh, Soul Types
  • Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective

Episode 52: Now we are two!

Yes, it’s the second anniversary of the Mid-faith Crisis podcast. We reflect on why we started this, what, if anything, has changed in our lives over the past two years and the importance of discussing the real questions. Plus loads of lovely feedback (specially designed to embarrass Nick) and the difficulty of playing a defensive back three of Bonhoeffer, Bultmann and Tillich.


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.