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

 

 


Episode 28: Lots of Books

In which our heroes get up early and talk about books. What books have transformed your understanding of God or of what it means to be a Christian? Nick and Joe share their top five (and Ethel Sadoldperson gives us her recommendations). And we have a special guest appearance from Rachel Davis as well! But what do you think? Let us know.

The Titles

  • Return of the Prodigal – Henri Nouwen
  • Moominpappa at Sea – Tove Jansson
  • Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer – Richard Rohr
  • The Courage to Doubt – Robert Davidson
  • We Make the Road by Walking – Brian McLaren
  • Into the Silent Land – Martin Laird
  • Dance of the dissident daughter – Sue Monk Kidd
  • Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense – Francis Spufford
  • Bitten by a Camel: Leaving Church, Finding God – Kent Dobson
  • George MacDonald: An Anthology or The Gospel in George MacDonald – George MacDonald

Also mentioned

  • New Heavens, New Earth: The Biblical Picture of Christian Hope – N.T. Wright
  • Surprised by Hope – Tom Wright

Episode 27: We’ve got a big announcement

In which our heroes talk about all the feedback from the last episode, reflect on the first ever Day for the Bewildered (including Ethel immortalised in icing sugar) and talk about whether Nick should become a woman for the sake of balance. But more important than that: we have a big announcement. You’ll have to listen to the whole podcast before we tell you. Or you could just fast forward to 29 minutes in, if you can’t wait. Your shout.


Episode 26: Walking each other home

It’s our first anniversary! And to celebrate, we’ve got actual content, with an interview with the very wonderful Jill Rowe, in which she talks about women and gender and being loved and how we are all, in the end, ‘just walking each other home’. So light the candle and sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Warning: this episode does contain a lot of discussion of Joe’s swelling. (It’s his elbow, in case you were wondering.)


Episode 25: ‘Weakness, negligence and deliberate fault’

In which our heroes deal with more feedback from recent episodes. How do we cope with the painful, destructive effects of sin? Do we hold our beliefs, or do our beliefs hold us? Is there really such a thing as prophetic Bongo playing? Also we have a quote from Thomas a Kempis’s famous work The Imitation of Christ and his less famous The Imitation of Bruce Forsyth.


Episode 24: It’s a sin!

In which our heroes discuss sin, guilt and other bad stuff. Do we take sin too seriously? Or not seriously enough? And is there anything we can do about it anyway? Meanwhile Nick has been reading Romans, Joe has forgotten to record Bake Off and Ethel sends us a lovely poem.


Episode 23: Definitely Maybe

In which our heroes deal with the excellent feedback from last episode. After our podcast on creeds, we hear from the listeners about their beliefs. Can we have certainties during the Mid-faith Crisis? Or is it all just ‘maybes’ and ‘perhapses’? Is ‘perhapses’ even a word? So many questions. Talking of which, there’s news of the first ever Mid-faith Crisis Day for the Bewildered. Only a few tickets left so book now!