Join Jo Frost and Peter Lynas for a conversation asking what does it mean to be human. We will be chatting with several special guests about the different stories and experiences that form and shape us, exploring how we can ensure that it’s God’s story that ultimately defines being human today.
For more information visit our website beinghumanlens.com
Many parts of the church are sick because so often it does not follow its Lord. How do we come to terms with abuse and misuse of power within the body of Christ?
In this episode, Jo and Peter are joined by Dr Diane Langberg for a timely conversation on power, balancing justice and forgiveness, and honouring the stories of the oppressed.
Dr Langberg is globally recognised for her 52 years of clinical work with trauma victims from war-survivors to church leaders. She has trained caregivers on six continents in responding to trauma and to the abuse of power, and now she is invited to speak and train all over the world. Her newest book, Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church, brings her decades of experience into light.
To discover more about Dr Langberg’s work and read her latest books, head to dianelangberg.com
As followers of Jesus, we all have a responsibility to bring darkness into the light. If you are affected by anything in this episode and wish to seek further help, we do recommend checking out the resources of Christian safeguarding charity thirtyone:eight.
Part one (00:00)00:45 – From meeting with Vietnam war veterans to hearing women’s stories of sexual abuse – Dr Langberg’s journey to investigating the church as a place of abuse.5:40 – As someone who has been the listening ear to stories of suffering for decades, what has kept you on the path with Jesus?6:39 – If power is part of being made in the image of God, why does the church have such a complicated relationship with it? What can good and holy power look like?12:35 – Beginning to dismantle a system-protection mindset: holding leaders in respect, without making them untouchable.
Part two (15:16)15:29 – How we engage with a seemingly growing and fruitful church, while remembering that what is happening on the surface doesn’t always indicate a good and pure heart.20:40 – How do we navigate the church as a place of justice for the abused, but also a place of forgiveness and grace? We can look to the cross where the cost of forgiveness was truly shown.24:55 — Humility and restoration doesn’t necessarily mean a return to positions of authority and power. How can leaders steward power well?29:00 – Looking towards the life of Jesus and His relationship with the temple – keeping our faith in Jesus strong while dealing with stories of church abuse in the right way.32:00 – For anyone listening today who has suffered in the church, some words of comfort, hope, and resilience from Dr Langberg.
Being a disciple of Jesus is not about becoming like the people around us, it’s about becoming more like Him – so why are most western churches predominantly middle class?
Having grown up in relative poverty in a deprived seaside town, Natalie Williams’ life was changed when she became a Christian at age 15. Now she is the chief executive of Jubilee+, a national Christian charity that seeks to equip Christians and churches to alleviate poverty and injustice in their communities. Natalie joins Jo and Peter in this episode for a conversation on class, culture and learning to celebrate difference and diversity.
As the co-author of several books, including Invisible Divides which explores some of the barriers to belonging in the church, Natalie is passionate about recognising the image of God in everyone, and how the church can practically become a place of overflowing mercy.
To hear more about Natalie, discover her books and the work of Jubilee+, head to their website.
Part one (00:00)00:56 – Introducing Natalie: from the teenager who wasn’t looking for faith, to the woman who now champions the power of Jesus to change the world through His church.04:04 – Understanding class barriers and belonging: are we to conform to the image of a middle-class Christian? Or to the image of Jesus?07:34 – Learning to reconcile class differences with a God who doesn’t want us to move away from our cultures and contexts, nor ignore our differences.11:36 – Trying to unpick values that reflect God vs values that reflect culture, learning first from the Bible and then one another.
Part two (17:34)17:34 – Class, gender, singleness – how can we better understand multiple and intersecting barriers to belonging?21:00 – Becoming thick-skinned yet soft-hearted – learning to recognise the plank in our own eye and host spaces where people feel they are welcome.29:50 – Practically, how do we maintain communities of difference?
As Western culture becomes more and more secular, are we increasingly ‘living in exile’ as Christians? If so, how can we better understand our identity, our home, and one another?
We welcome Damilola Makinde to the Being Human podcast. Her background spans law, public policy, preaching, and worship leading. Damilola is originally from London but having grown up within a Nigerian diaspora in Ireland, her experience of tri-cultural heritage has contributed to the powerful and prophetic voice she holds today.
In this episode, she draws on her own story of ‘living in exile’ but finding home in the presence of God. Join us as we discuss how our culture impacts our understanding of who God is and our relationship with Him, the challenge of discipleship in more secular environments, and Damilola’s hope to see revival and renewal in our day.
Damilola is a member of the Being Human team, you can find more about her at beinghumanlens.com
Part one (00:00)03:40 – Growing up in a Nigerian diaspora; being deeply formed and shaped by a country, yet not living in it.06:50 – Finding similarities between Damilola’s tri-cultural heritage and the experience of Christians in the West. What does ‘living in exile’ look like?11:00 – Home is the ability to recognise the presence of God wherever you are. So, although living in exile can be painful, we can find hope in its promise of home.
Part two (16:38)16:45 – Understanding secularism as a climate that diminishes our view of God.18:45 – Before we can understand who we are, we need to understand God as ‘other’ and holy. But what do we do when we find ourselves in environments that over- or under-emphasise the otherness of God?24:55 – The challenge of discipleship within a secular context is to be responsive to the culture around us but remain reflective of the gospel.
Part three (28:50)28:56 – Revival is when people respond to Jesus on His own terms – are we seeing signs of this today and if so, how should we respond?33:30 – The cultural stories of today are bringing us to our knees, and yet this is exactly where we need to be to see revival and receive a fresh revelation of who God is.38:01 – Damilola’s hope and prayer for anyone listening today – that as we are transformed, we too become agents of God’s transformation for the world.
To be human is to search after a home. For Rachel Gardner, this is found in community.
As well as an author, speaker, and activist, Rachel is the youth resourcing lead at an intergenerational church plant in Blackburn. With a background in youth work, Rachel is passionate about young people finding their voice – and redeeming relationships.
In this episode, Jo, Peter and Rachel focus on the ‘connection’ aspect of being human. They ask: how have things changed for young people? What impact has the online world had on ideas around love and safety? And what opportunities can the church look out for to redeem young people’s understanding of Jesus?
Deep connection has always required self-sacrifice, but in today’s culture love is expressed as a self-first love. However, one of Christianity’s most captivating offers to humanity is a genuine offer of belonging: that all of us can be one family in Christ.
Interested in finding out more about Rachel? Follow her on Twitter @RachelGardnerRA or read one of her latest books The Sex Thing and The Girl De-Construction Project.
Part one (00:00)00:49 – Meet Rachel: stories of finding home in community and finding family through adoption. 04:17 – How has the nature of connection to one another changed? Each generation is extraordinarily bold and innovative in finding connection. Today we see this innovation through the ideas of expressive individualism and a new heroic narrative.08:30 – Instagram and the online world prevent young people from being able to work out who they are in the fullness of a kind and up-close community.11:00 – A poor understanding of safety, combined with a poor understanding of connection, is a toxic combination, particularly for young women and girls.
Part two (14:15)14:20 – The compelling nature of a narrative of “God loves you” is so warmly appreciated, but the closer that love comes, the more suspicious many people become. What are the challenges of communicating the gospel today?19:09 – The remedy to these challenges – finding the stories of sacrificial love in our culture today.21:00 – If we are part of communities that are discipled as much by secularism as by Christianity, how do we begin a conversation about redeeming the idea of desire? 24:30 – God’s invitation – told throughout the God story – is for us to come close and be known. When we are drawn to God’s holiness, we learn that He can cope with our desires and fears.28:30 – As parents, church members and leaders, we must be incarnate communities in order to welcome and embrace young people.
The Bible is a fuller and richer story than we might tend to think. Within it, all other stories find their place. But is it possible to truly make sense of the world with a biblical perspective?
Introducing professor and author of Biblical Critical Theory, Chris Watkin. As a scholar in the relationship between the Bible and philosophy, his groundbreaking book seeks to place biblical ideas alongside the cultural theories of our day.
Chris joined the podcast for a conversation on the power of stories, philosophy and disrupting culture’s disagreements. He chatted with Jo and Peter as they explored some of the ideas of Biblical Critical Theory, a book that the late Tim Keller had “eagerly anticipated for years”.
Interested in reading Biblical Critical Theory or more of Chris’ work? Head to thinkingthroughthebible.com
Part one (00:00)02:20 – How do ideas become viable, visible and valuable to us? Introducing critical theory and the way it shapes the stories we tell and our view of the world.06:23 – Discovering the kinship between Christians and philosophers. Whether we agree or disagree, it's important to make space to ask the big questions of today.09:23 – The God story isn’t just one story added alongside the many others trying to explain our world. Rather, it is the story within which all other stories exist.11:08 – How do we make sense of the world with a biblical perspective – do we need a lens or a map?
Part two (15:09)15:55 – How does the Bible disrupt our culture’s comfortable dichotomies? When there is a tendency to pit human dignity against human humility, the Bible balances them in harmony.21:57 – Is it possible to tell the story of sin in a way that makes sense in cultural conversations?26:35 – The Christian story ‘out-cynics’ the cynic and ‘out-hopes’ the optimist.
Part three (30:54)31:05 – The implications of new creation and revelation. What are we being redeemed for?34:01 – Putting this into practice: what difference can biblical critical theory have in our daily lives?
Karen Swallow Prior
When much of contemporary Christianity is suffering an identity crisis, how do we engage well with cultural conversations? As followers of Jesus, we need to return to Christianity’s rich DNA and uncover the ‘why’ behind the vision for our lives and the lives of others.
We are welcoming author, professor and long-term activist Karen Swallow Prior back to the Being Human podcast! A renowned social commentator, Karen’s dedication to bridging the gaps between faith, culture and literature has left an incredible mark. With a nuanced and compassionate voice, her writing has appeared in Christianity Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Gospel Coalition, to mention a few.
Join Jo and Peter in this interview as they dive into the themes of Karen’s most recent book – The Evangelical Imagination: How Stories, Images, and Metaphors Created a Culture in Crisis – and chat activism, imagination and finding Jesus in some of life’s greatest challenges.
To discover more about Karen Swallow Prior and order your copy of The Evangelical Imagination, head to: karenswallowprior.com
Part one (00:00)02:25 – Introducing Karen’s inspiration for The Evangelical Imagination: when much of evangelical culture is more Victorian than biblical, how do we faithfully distinguish cultural values from biblical ones?04:41 – In recent years ‘evangelical’ has become a controversial and contested term – what does it actually mean to be one?07:48 – Why activism is in the DNA of evangelicalism.10:44 – What is our ‘social imaginary’? Engaging with cultural conversations and uncovering the ‘why’ behind our actions and vision for our lives.
Part two (13:50)14:18 –What do we do when cultural and biblical values are entangled? How do healthily examine and separate them?19:36 – The ‘before and after’ storyline: exploring the cross-over in contemporary Christianity between the language of conversion and the language of self-help.23:48 – What can metaphors teach us about spiritual realities and the character of God? Learning from Karen’s experience of being hit by a bus and the stories of abused women in the church.28:15 – Being human is a ‘sign act’ – something that points to another, greater thing and prepares us for eternity. Therefore, as we look to Jesus who redeems all things, pain doesn’t have to be the end to somebody’s story.
Insightful and Relevant
Really appreciate the thought and time given to helping frame the current issues facing society. Great Jenga analogy too.
Very relevant and topical; love the way current issues in our society are linked to biblical truth
Just love the content. Highly relevant, so helpful. Glad you are talking about this. Thank you.