Crackers and Grape Juice began in the spring of 2016 with a conversation between Jason Micheli and Teer Hardy. In the years since, two shows have been added to the lineup, Strangely Warmed and (Her)Men*You*Tics, but the goal has remained the same: talking about faith without using stained-glass language.
Episode 282 - Heidi Neumark: Being Christian in the Wake of Trump
"Rather than resorting to Luther's Law-Gospel binary to excuse the Presidents mendacity and self-justify support for him, Protestants should turn to Luther's theology of cross which tells us that we should call a thing what it is...and the thing is only God knows the details and depths of Donald Trump's spiritual life, but Jesus says what comes out of our mouths is the fruit of what's in our hearts, and what Trump routinely says publicly disavows every core teaching Jesus set forth in the Sermon on the Mount."
Our guest is Heidi Neumark, an author and Lutheran pastor in the South Bronx. Her new book is Sanctuary: Being Christian in the Wake of Trump.
Throughout her nearly forty years in ministry, Heidi Neumark has strived to make communities of faith into sanctuaries amid the turmoils of life. Now, with the social and political upheaval of the years since Donald Trump was elected president, Neumark believes the true Christian calling is to live out a counterpoint to today’s prevailing spirits of exclusion and hatred. Using her own bilingual, multicultural congregation as a model, she moves through the seasons of the church calendar to reflect on what it looks like to live out essential Christian convictions in community with others.
Sanctuary is an amplifier for the many voices crying out against policies and rhetoric that are cruel, dehumanizing, and dangerous. Neumark begins each chapter with a quote from Donald Trump that she defies and dismantles with the power of her own stories—anecdotes about offering shelter for queer youth in her city, supporting immigrants and asylum-seekers being harassed by ICE, and embracing her church’s diversity with a Guadalupe celebration, to name a few. Timely, but also timeless, this book speaks to the deep wounds of this era, inflicted before and during the Trump presidency, which will remain long past its end.
Episode 281 - J. Todd Billings: The End of the Christian Life
"You are mortal. You are not indispensable to the world. Your life will come to an end. We're not heroes of the world and we can't do much. To what and to whom do we give ourselves in this short life? Lacking a journalistic account of the future leaves us with many unanswered questions: What will 'do' in heaven? What exactly will it feel like and look like? My most basic answer to questions like these is "I don't know." Our hope rests not in a speculative vision of the future but in God and his promise."
With COVID having claimed over 200K lives and All Saints approaching, our guest is J. Todd Billings, Professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. Living with incurable cancer, Billings reflects upon the end in his new book, The End of the Christian Life: How Embracing Mortality Frees Us to Truly Live.
Episode 280 - Douglas Harink: Resurrecting Justice
“Both sides are thinking that some how or another getting this or that party elected is good for Christians. I think my point of view is neither side is good for Christians. Because effectively they have become idolatrous powers that christians are looking to for salvation”
What is Post-Liberalism?
What does "apocalyptic" mean?
How is justice central to Paul's understanding of the Gospel?
Our guest today is Dr. Douglas Harink, a theologian whose work has been important to me for a while now and who intersects with many of our favorite folks like Stanley Hauerwas, Karl Barth, and Fleming Rutledge.
Douglas Harink (PhD, University of St. Michael's College) is professor of theology at The King's University in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the author of Paul Among the Postliberals and 1 & 2 Peter in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. He is also the editor of Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision: Critical Engagements with Agamben, Badiou, Žižek, and Others.
Episode 279 - David French: Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation
Friend of the podcast and commentator at The Dispatch, David French, has a new book out that couldn't be more timely and bracing. It's called Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation. As a preview, here's a conversation Teer and Jason had with David when Divided We Fall was being written.
Episode 278 - David Gushee: After Evangelicalism: The Path to a New Christianity
Our guest today is David Gushee, whose new book is "After Evangelicalism: The Path to a New Christianity."
Dr. David P. Gushee (BA, College of William & Mary; Master of Divinity, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy, Union Theological Seminary in New York) is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University, where he has served for eleven years.
Widely regarded as one of the world's leading Christian ethicists, he is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 25 books and approximately 150 book chapters, journal articles, and reviews. His most notable books include Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, Kingdom Ethics, The Sacredness of Human Life, Still Christian, Moral Leadership for a Divided Age, and the new After Evangelicalism.
Dr. Gushee was elected by his peers to serve as President of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Christian Ethics, a very rare combination for any religion scholar.
A devoted teacher, Professor Gushee offers courses to seminary students at Mercer's McAfee School of Theology, and to college students in Macon. Over a busy 27-year career, he has written opinion pieces or given interviews to almost all major national and religion media outlets in the United States and many around the world. He has also been heavily involved in numerous activist efforts for peace, justice, human dignity, and the integrity of God's creation, most notably in addressing torture, climate change, and the continued harm being inflicted on LGBTQ persons by Christian churches and families.
Along with his friend Jeremy Hall, David runs a popular podcast called "Kingdom Ethics."
Dr. Gushee and his beloved wife Jeanie live in Atlanta, where they are happily surrounded by four generations of family members, including his father, sister, three children, and two grandchildren.
Episode 277 - Richard Beck: Trains, Jesus, and Murder: The Gospel According to Johnny Cash
"Saints and sinners, all jumbled up together." That's the genius of Johnny Cash, and that's what the gospel is ultimately all about.
Johnny Cash sang about and for people on the margins. He famously played concerts in prisons, where he sang both murder ballads and gospel tunes in the same set. It's this juxtaposition between light and dark, writes Richard Beck, that makes Cash one of the most authentic theologians in memory.
In Trains, Jesus, and Murder, Beck explores the theology of Johnny Cash by investigating a dozen of Cash's songs. In reflecting on Cash's lyrics, and the passion with which he sang them, we gain a deeper understanding of the enduring faith of the Man in Black.
Jason and Johanna talk with out latest guest, Richard Beck, who is an award-winning author, speaker, blogger and Professor of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. Every Monday Richard leads a bible study for fifty inmates at the maximum security French-Robertson unit. And Monday-Friday on his popular blog Experimental Theology Richard will spend enormous amounts of time writing about the theology of Johnny Cash, the demonology of Scooby-Doo or his latest bible class on monsters.