Conversations about Hopeful Faith, Hopeful Theology.
Those Other Churches with Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart
In recent years, there has been a growing number of people who have moved from one Christian faith tradition to another. Some of the lines within Christian expression have been fairly rigid. This rigidity has even led, in some instances, to the assumption that “those other churches” are not even Christian.
One of the main lines of distinction has been between mainline churches and evangelical churches and now, more than in years past, people have begun moving across this line in one direction or the other. Perhaps you grew up in the Christian Missionary Alliance Church and now attend a United Church. Or maybe you were Presbyterian for most of your life and now you are part of a Baptist congregation.
We speak with Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart, Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall in Vancouver, about the history of how some of these divisions came to be and how they exist today. We aim towards a more accepting and grateful view of the other (whatever “the other” means in your background) as enlivening and helpful to Christian faith in general.
Ecumenical – Representing a number of different churches and denominationsMissiology – The theological study of the mission of the church, particularly the character and purpose of missionary workEcclesiology – The study of the church
Ross’s Books:Christianity: An Asian Religion in Vancouver (2023)Christian Witness in Cascadian Soil: Coworkers with God in the Land of Hiking, Hipsters, and Hand-Crafted LattesBetter Than Brunch: Missional Churches in Cascadia (2020)Beyond Snakes and Shamrocks: St. Patrick’s Mission Leadership Lessons for Today (2018)Lessons from Laodicea: Missional Leadership in a Culture of Affluence (2016)
Phyllis Airhart – A Church with the Soul of a Nation
Host Only: Is God Like a Cat?
Have you been feeling like things are a little precarious at the moment? If so, you are certainly not alone. For our first Host Only episode of season five, we gather to discuss some of the precarious nature of our current days.
The conversation is not entirely serious, the facial expressions of cats and destructive nature of a local bear come up as well.
Whatever you’re feeling at this point, we hope this conversation provides some levity and encouragement as we all walk through some rather precarious times. Blessings from all of us at Rector’s Cupboard.
Articles referenced in today’s episode:
“The End of Retirement” by Cathrin Bradbury, from the December 2023 edition of The Walrus
“Think cats are aloof? They make nearly 300 facial expressions, study says” by Kevin Melnick, The Washington Post, November 7, 2023
“I was freaking out: Bear breaks into Metro Vancouver minivan” CTV News, November 7, 2023
On today's episode, Cupboard Master Ken made us a warm cocktail, very appropriate for the rainy falls we get in Vancouver. If you'd like to make one for yourself, here's the recipe:
Gin Toasty Cocktail from Food & Wine
1 ¾ oz Gin3 ½ oz Hot WaterOrange peel twist¾ oz Tonic Syrup
Does Faith Include Non-Belief? With Professor John Lennox
John Lennox is a mathematician and bioethicist at Oxford University, where he is a Professor of Mathematics. He has spoken internationally and written many books on the intersection of science and philosophy and religion. His latest book, 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, came out in 2020.
While most of us here at Rector’s Cupboard have had fraught relationship with what has been called “apologetics,” we are pleased to welcome Professor Lennox as a guest.
The discussion took place on a visit to Oxford. We speak about artificial intelligence, about John Lennox’s public engagement (discussions, debates) with various neo-atheists, including Richard Dawkins, and we address the larger question of the role of apologetics in faith and belief.
You can find more information about John Lennox’s publications, debates, and other resources he has made on his website.
Books referenced in this episode:
Bittersweet - Susan Cain
Replay: Rest and Vocation with Julian Davis Reid
Around this time last year, we had the distinct pleasure of speaking to musician, author, theologian, and all around wonderful person, Julian Davis Reid. Next week, October 13 and 14 in Vancouver, BC, we are having an in-person conference around the theme of vocation and rest and Julian is our keynote speaker. In honour of that we thought we’d replay this episode from last season. If you’re in the Vancouver area and would like to attend, there is still time to register. You can check out the Rector’s Cupboard social pages or click here.
Original episode notes:
In so many ways, we often feel ground down, in the words of this episode’s guest, “disintegrated.” Julian Davis Reid speaks to us about rest. This is more and better than simply disengagement or a break from the grind; rest is an essential part of what it means to be human, in the image of God.
Julian starts from a recognition of the profound restlessness that marks much of our lives and moves us towards the promise of the final and complete resting in God. Along the way, we talk about what theology and aesthetics, music and culture have to do with rest. We hold on to the promise that we might know rest, rest for our soul.
Julian’s website has links to all his music, both his solo work and work with the JuJu Exchange, his retreat work, as well as his newsletter where you can get more of his thoughts on rest.
Articles referenced in this episode:
Do You Really Want a New Kitchen Counter - The Atlantic, November 18, 2022
A Parent’s Typical Day, As Envisioned By My Child’s Preschool - McSweeney’s, November 10, 2022
Decline as the Hope of the Church with Dr. Andrew Root
In the United States and elsewhere, including Canada, large numbers of people are leaving church. A recent book, The Great Dechurching, points out that the movement is the largest religious cultural shift in American history. Many writers, professors, and observers have often used the word “decline” to talk about such a phenomenon. The truth is more nuanced. The church is not in decline in much of the world and where it is declining in numbers, North America, etc. there is perhaps much more to the story.
What if the decline of the church is a good thing for faith and the church?
We talk to Dr. Andrew Root about his recent book, Churches and the Crisis of Decline, and how recent and ongoing decline in church attendance might point to something positive. As Root says, the church is more properly the narrator not the star. He argues for a better view of faith in which faith is lived in the world, rather than in opposition to the world. Root mentions that, so often, God is caged into religion and that the changes in the church, that so many see as threatening, are an opportunity to embrace a healthier view of faith.
We found, in reading Andrew’s books and in speaking with him, an enlivening way of seeing and living faith that many people who have pushed away from church will likely experience as hopeful and engaging.
One term to mention; a good portion of Andrew Root’s writing touches on the work of Charles Taylor and his book, A Secular Age. That book asks one question, Why was it virtually impossible to not believe in God 500 years ago and yet in contemporary western culture it has turned the other way around, to where it is much more difficult for people to believe in God? One of the central terms in Taylor’s book is “The Immanent Frame.” The idea here is that the frame of a person’s worldview, the way they saw the world and their place in it, used to be defined by a sense of the transcendent, by a belief in God. Now, even for most people who count themselves as religious, the frame has become immanent, that is, bounded mostly by the scientifically observable and material.
For more of Andrew Root’s work you can check out his website and his work with Homebrewed Christianity.
Books and Articles Referenced:
The Weariness of the Self - Alain Ehrenberg
Bittersweet - Susan Cain
“The Largest and Fastest Religious Shift in America Is Well Underway” - New York Times, June 21, 2023
Sinners In the Hands of a Loving God with Brian Zahnd
Rector’s Cupboard is pleased to welcome Brian Zahnd. Brian is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church in Saint Joseph, Missouri.
Brian has been somewhat of a trailblazer in contemporary expressions of hopeful theology. His books, including Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God and Beauty Will Save the World, outline a thoughtful, positive, and beautiful understanding of Christian faith and belief. Brian’s work has informed the work of Rector’s Cupboard and Reflector Project. As our reach has grown, we have consistently encountered people who have been helped by Brian’s writing.
We were pleased, in this episode, to include a couple of friends we’ve met through our work who have also followed Brian’s work. Neil and Peter start the conversation with Brian by opening up some of their key questions.
Brian is one of those writers and speakers that people who hold rigid and fearful understandings of faith sometimes warn you about. One of the problems for such accusations is that Brian knows his stuff. He opens a consideration of the history of Christian faith and theology and of Biblical interpretation in a way that shows us how, often, the fearful or divisive ways we have understood theology and the Bible are the distortions, not the life-giving truth.
Brian does this in a way that is direct, but not accusatory, thoughtful, but understandable and relatable.
Enjoy the episode.
Our tasting for this episode comes all the way from Lviv, Ukraine. Piana Vyshnia, or Drunk Cherry in English, is a not too sweet cherry liqueur that we would highly recommend, if you can find it.
Oh good. Ken Bell’s back in my life.
Clearly, you never read the rebuttal in Australia’s Women’s weekly!!
Did you bother once checking any facts in this story?
Do you always sit sipping drinks and mocking Christians ?
Did you make even one phone call to check any part of this story out?
Did you ask if this young couple left the organization because they committed fornication?
Did you seek out any professional documentation about the so called abuse?
Do you even know what a cult is?
Are you pretending to be Christians?
Clearly the Bible gives us this commandment for a reason…
Exodus 20:16 NKJV
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.