What is a life worthy of our humanity? How can we live it? Featuring Yale's Miroslav Volf, Ryan McAnnally-Linz, Matt Croasmun, and Drew Collins for conversations exploring theology and culture. Hosted by Evan Rosa. A production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture.
Keri Day / Targeting Normative Theology: Lived Experience, Practice, and Confessional Theology
Miroslav Volf has said that every Christian is a theologian. This is important not so much because it demands of an individual Jesus-follower to exert the best of her cognitive abilities, but because it demands of theologians that theology take seriously the experience, perception, and lived realities of human life. As part of our Future of Theology series, Keri Day (Princeton Theological Seminary) joins Matt Croasmun to discuss the purpose and promise of theology today, honing in on this phenomena and the temptation to see theology as an abstract exercise cut off from the particularities of faith.
Luke Bretherton / (Un)Common Life: Secularity, Religiosity, and the Tension Between Faith and Culture
Jesus's teaching to be in but not of the world (John 17:14-15) has gone from a mode of prophetic witness that could lead to martyrdom, to bumper sticker ethics that either feeds the trolls or fuels the tribe. We're in a moment where the ways that Christianity's influence on culture—and vice versa—are writ large and undeniable. And yet, how are we to understand it? How are we to live in light of it? How does that relationship change from political moment to political moment? In this conversation, ethicist Luke Bretherton (Duke Divinity School) joins Matt Croasmun to reflect on the purpose of theology as a way of life committed to loving God and neighbor; the essential virtue of listening and its role in public theology; the interrelation between Church and World; the temptation to see the other as an enemy to be defeated rather than a neighbor to be loved; and how best to understand secularism and religiosity today.
Tyler Roberts / Taking Theology Seriously: A Perspective from Outside Christian Theology
Over the past two centuries, colleges have slowly replaced theology departments with religious studies departments. But what happens when theology becomes religious studies? It can produce a more neutral, observational approach that might not fully appreciate the normative claims of religious adherents and their values, commitments, and beliefs.
A careful historical and objective study of religious history and the dimensions of religious practice are deeply valuable. But engaging religious texts and voices without a serious appreciation for the normative elements—that is, the things about a theological or religious idea that means your life would have to change—that would be a problem. It would evacuate the true substance and meaning of theological claims as they're experienced by religious adherents. But it would also fail to form students of religion and the humanities in a way that poses significant challenges to their own lived experience. For living a life worthy of their humanity.
Today, we share a conversation between Tyler Roberts and Matt Croasmun from November 2016. Tragically, Roberts died at the age of 61 on June 3, 2021. He was Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College. In this conversation, Roberts reflects on the contribution of theology to the humanities, the role of religious studies in a critical examination of theology, and the importance of appreciating the kinds of theological and moral claims that can change your life. May his memory be a blessing.
Aristotle Papanikolaou / Russian Christian Nationalism and Eastern Orthodoxy (and How Culture Wars Contributed to the War in Ukraine)
"Real wars always begin with culture wars." Theologian Aristotle Papanikolaou discusses Eastern Orthodox perspectives on war and violence; the impact of Communism on Eastern Orthodox theology; the complicated ecclesial structures of Eastern Orthodoxy, where bishops, patriarchs, and nation-states interact in unpredictable ways; he reflects on Eastern Orthodoxy in Russia and Ukraine, the ways Christianity is enmeshed and caught up in the authoritarian, nationalist regime under Putin, and the idea of "Russkii Mir" (the Russian world), which has come to motivate and justify a great deal of violence and aggression in the name of peace and unity.
Katherine Sonderegger / God, the Great Hope of Theology
“There really is no more beautiful thought in all reality than the thought of God. I believe that theology is ultimately just that: thinking the thought of God and worshipping the Reality who is God.” (Katherine Sonderegger)
In this conversation, Katherine Sonderegger joins Matt Croasmun to discuss the importance of a free and unapologetic, unembarrassed approach to Christian theology; the interplay of Christian theology with other religious texts and pluralistic perspectives; the practice of peace, listening, and being knit together even in difference; the strong unity and center of theology, which is the capital-R Reality that is God, who is, in Sonderegger's words, "the great hope of theology."
Miroslav Volf / War in Ukraine: Theological and Moral Reflections
Miroslav Volf offers his personal reflections about the war on Ukraine. His theological and ethical commentary speaks to various facets of the situation, including: the global cultural clash between authoritarian nationalism and pluralistic democracy; the primacy and priority of God's universal and unconditional love for all humanity, including evildoers; the call to actively resist evil and guard our humanity; the importance of truth in an age of disinformation and suppression of real facts; the need for Christians to remain "unreliable allies" with governments or parties while remaining faithful to the humanity in the friend, neighbor, stranger, and enemy; but ultimately his message is one to soberly—and dare I suggest joyfully, with unabashed hope—lift up our hearts (and the hearts of those suffering through war, dislocation, death, and destruction) to the Lord.
A thought provoking and engaging podcast
I found this podcast through an interview between Miroslav Volf and N. T. Wright.I was particularly interested in that conversation, but soon realized how how vast a treasure trove this podcast library was.
I am constantly challenged by this content, and always look forward to tuning in to the next episode. I have yet to be disappointed.
Wisdom for troubled times
Thoughtful discussion and insights for life’s most challenging questions
So much is happening and our society has rules where we often check our deepest meaning systems at the door. This works until a year like this year when we need to draw on much deeper resources, and we want a way to connect as a community. This group seems committed to softening those isolating norms, and showing us all what that could look like to do so with love and respect.