225 episodes

Each week the editors of Christianity Today go beyond hashtags and hot-takes and set aside time to explore the reality behind a major cultural event.

Quick to Listen Christianity Today

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Each week the editors of Christianity Today go beyond hashtags and hot-takes and set aside time to explore the reality behind a major cultural event.

    Why White Evangelicals Love Police More than Their Neighbors

    Why White Evangelicals Love Police More than Their Neighbors

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    In the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets to protest police brutality. Video of Floyd’s final moments as a police officer used his knee to pin his neck and his three colleagues looked on prompted a strong reaction from around this country.
    While perhaps more white evangelicals have spoken out against the police officers’ actions than after previous acts of police brutality made national news, some of the ways that they are framing their statements about law enforcement suggests they actually aren’t getting it, says Aaron L. Griffith, assistant professor of history at Sattler College in Boston.
    “I worry that many white evangelicals are talking about the problem of police brutality in terms of the exceptions, in terms of the bad apples. And then proposing things like more training or pushing more into the colorblind frame or even mobilizing language like ‘racial reconciliation,’ to say that black Americans have an opportunity to forgive and befriend the officers in their midst,” said Griffith, who is also the author of the forthcoming God’s Law and Order: The Politics of Punishment in Evangelical America.“That is very concerning to me because we've seen this before.
    We've seen this in moves toward community policing, which envisions the police as more closely connected, and perhaps even friendly, to the neighborhoods they serve,” he said. “But community policing projects are really much more about just changing perceptions of law enforcement, not the practices of how they operate. And really, making police more directly connected to communities, embedding them more closely in communities, often just exposes residents to more interactions and more risks.”
    Griffith joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the origins of the police, how a desire to reach teenagers affected attitudes toward law enforcement, and if white evangelicals views are changing or not.
    What is Quick to Listen? Read more
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    Music by Sweeps
    Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola

    • 55 min
    Churches Are Reopening. That Doesn’t Mean Singing's Back.

    Churches Are Reopening. That Doesn’t Mean Singing's Back.

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    California’s Department of Health’s reopening guidelines for houses of worship contain bitter news for those who love corporate worship. 
    “Strongly consider discontinuing singing, group recitation, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets,” the report warns.
    In another section it notes, “ Activities such as singing and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.”
    Absorbing this is tough news for those who feel most connected to God and others through music.
    “There is something about articulating our emotional state and using music, using song, as a means of expressing ourselves before the Lord. And that's deep in the Christian tradition, from singing and praying the Psalms to the early hymns in the New Testament like in Luke's gospel and peppered through Paul's letters,” said Glenn Packiam, associate senior pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “There was also a reputation that early Christians get. In Pliny’s letter to the emperor, he says, “These strange Christians get together before sunrise and they sing these hymns to Christ as if to a God.”
    “There's something about song that helps us express more than just what the words of the song are saying,” continued Packiam, who is also the author of the forthcoming book, Worship and the World to Come Exploring Christian Hope in Contemporary Worship.
    Packiam joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how his church has handled the pandemic from a worship perspective, what makes corporate singing special, and what it means that eschatology is missing from our worship music. 
    What is Quick to Listen? Read more
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    Read more about Packiam’s church: New Life After the Fall of Ted Haggard
    Music by Sweeps
    Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola

    • 52 min
    Prayer amid Pandemic: "All Shall Be Well," She Wrote. But There's More to the Story.

    Prayer amid Pandemic: "All Shall Be Well," She Wrote. But There's More to the Story.

    "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” That these 17 words were uttered by a woman named Julian of Norwich may be the only thing you know about this 14th-century English saint. Historians don’t necessarily know that much more. We’re not even sure her real name. So why do we remember her?
    In this episode of Prayer amid Pandemic, Amy Laura Hall, the author of Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich and a Christian ethics professor at Duke Divinity School, tell us why we know so little about Julian’s identity but why we still read her writings on the vision she received while sick today.
    Gideon Para-Mallam, the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students regional secretary for English and Portuguese-speaking Africa, offers this week’s prayer.
    Read Christianity Today’s latest coronavirus coverage
    What is Prayer amid Pandemic? Read more
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    Music by Urban Nerd Beats, Prod. Riddiman, and Oliver Dúvel
    Prayer amid Pandemic is produced by Morgan Lee, Mike Cosper, and Erik Petrik

    • 21 min
    What the Bible Says About QAnon

    What the Bible Says About QAnon

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    Plandemic? QAnon? Bill Gates creating the COVID-19? 
    As the novel coronavirus has traveled around the world, so too have conspiracy theories about the origins of the disease and the winners and losers that have emerged as result. In the past month, a video making claims that Gates and Anthony Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, used COVID-19 to gain money and political power, went viral. At the same time as Plandemic, The Atlantic launched a new series examining conspiracy theories, including an in-depth look at the QAnon, a movement that makes bold claims about the global elite.
    The Bible has many things to say about conspiracy theories, specifically with regards for how Christians should determine what is real, says Dru Johnson, the director of the Center for Hebraic Thought and who wrote about conspiracy theories for CT in December.
    “The biblical diagnosis, the biblical impulse here, is not that you have to be afraid of someone lying to you. It's that somebody will always be interpreting your world for you,” said Johnson. “And you have to lean into the wise practices that God has given us as people to discern what is worth listening to and what's not.”
    “People say that God sent COVID-19 to bring the Church in America together to teach us the lesson. How could we know such a thing?” said Johnson, who also teaches biblical studies and theology at The King’s College in New York City. “But I certainly do believe that God is using this as a test of us. A test of who we trust and how we think about what's worth trusting and understanding.”
    Johnson joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to share about how the Bible discusses conspiracy theories, what Paul means when he writes about the mysteries of God, and what differentiates a conspiracy theory from a religion. 
    What is Quick to Listen? Read more
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    Visit our guest’s website: Dru Johnson
    Music by Sweeps
    Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola

    • 53 min
    What Ahmaud Arbery’s Death Recalls About Lynching and Church History

    What Ahmaud Arbery’s Death Recalls About Lynching and Church History

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    Last week, a video was leaked of a white man shooting and killing Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery in his neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. While Arbery’s death occurred in February, the alleged shooter and his father were only arrested last week following a massive public uproar following the release of the tape.
    Many Christians, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, have condemned the Arbery’s killing. But widespread condemnation from the church for these types of killings was not always the case.For years, for white Christians, “the critique of lynching rarely moved beyond ‘Lynching is anarchy, and we need to kind of reinforce the rule of law,’” said Malcolm Foley, a PhD candidate in Baylor University’s Department of Religion, whose dissertation examines African-American Christian responses to lynching from the late 19th century to the early 20th century,
    Not surprisingly, the black church took a much more forceful response to these atrocities.“Many black pastors were commenting on this and saying, ‘If you can either stand in a mob of thousands of people and watch a black man be set on fire alive, or if you are one of the people holding the rifles that riddled this body with bullets, you're most likely not a Christian,’” said Foley, who is also the director of discipleship at Mosaic Waco.
    Foley joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the colonial history of lynching, how beliefs about white women provided justification for this violence, and how lynchings changed the theology of the black and white church.
    What is Quick to Listen? Read more
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    Music by Sweeps
    Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola

    • 51 min
    What Shocks Russell Moore About Covid Church-State Disputes

    What Shocks Russell Moore About Covid Church-State Disputes

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    Last week, Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas announced plans for the city’s reopening. Churches are among the institutions that will be allowed to open this month: with one caveat. Any business or establishment that allows people to stay for more than 10 minutes must allow attendees or customers to sign a sheet with all their contact information, to allow for contact tracers to contact them if there was later a COVID-19 outbreak at the establishment.The conservative Christian law firm Liberty Counsel compared Kansas City’s actions those of Nazi Germany.
    “The Germans did this very thing to Jews – collecting the names and locations of all known synagogue attendees - in the early days of the Nazi regime,” Founder and Chairman Mat Staver wrote in a fundraising appeal. “Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined Nazi-like measures designed to surveil, track and spy upon what was once a FREE American people. Yet that is exactly what Kansas City’s misguided government officials are now demanding.”
    Kansas City mishandled this situation, says Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm.
    “I have almost no doubt that this was taking place due to very well-intentioned people, but there's a reason why that raises a sense of alarm in all kinds of people–and not just the conspiracy theory, propagating people who are complaining about having to wear masks in the grocery store,” he said. “...I think governments, even when they're well-intentioned, have to think through what are the implications going to be, how can somebody use this policy I'm putting into place in another time and for another reason, and how am I communicating it?”
    Moore joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how COVID-19 may shape religious freedom battles in the future, where churches should look for wisdom and guidance as they reopen, and what he finds surprising about how congregations have responded to social distancing.
    What is Quick to Listen? Read more
    Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts
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    Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen
    Follow our guest on Twitter: Russell Moore
    Music by Sweeps
    Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola

    • 54 min

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360 Ratings

360 Ratings

BobandKristi ,

Always helps to go beyond the headlines

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Super insightful and non dogmatic

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