Let’s be honest. There are some topics that are too heavy for a 20 minute sermon. There are issues that need conversation, not just explanation. That’s why we have created The Weight Podcast. Launching on March 5th, this is a podcast that creates a space for honestly discussing some of the heavy topics we face in our culture today. We believe that the church is called to engage in a way that honors the weightiness and importance that these topics have for how we live faithfully today. We’ll cover everything from art to mental health, social injustice, and the future of the church. If it’s something the culture talks about, we need to be talking about it, too.
"COVID & Community Health" with Michael Ugwueke
Healthcare institutions are an essential part of a community’s fabric, and each healthcare facility has a civic responsibility to each member of its community. At this moment in history, our nation’s healthcare system is facing insurmountable challenges with COVID-19 cases spreading rapidly among citizens, in addition to the PTSD and fatigue experienced among hospital staff. To help us gain a greater understanding of the healthcare system’s nature right now, we decided to bring in one of the top healthcare professionals in our community to provide his expertise and perspective. In this episode, Chris and Eddie are joined by Michael Ugwueke, President & Chief Executive Officer at Methodist Le Bonheur Hospital. Driven by a deep passion for individuals to thrive, Ugwueke desires a more proactive approach to spending and preventative care. They discuss Ugwueke’s role as a minority executive in healthcare, the social determinants of health, and the role of the healthcare system in the health of the community.
Religious Lives of Young People - "Cultivating Testimony" with Dr. Amanda Drury
Offering a testimony creates space to witness to God’s real and present hope in the world. Testimonies are necessary elements to spiritual development in adolescents as they are navigating their own journeys of faith. However, for many Christians, sharing a testimony can be an intimidating practice and a source of comparison. Personal testimonies offered on a Sunday morning or at a church camp tend to follow a three-step pattern: one was lost, one found Jesus, and now one’s life is changed. How can we view testimony in light of our past experiences and current experiences? How do we help adolescents build a faith language that helps them gain confidence in their identity?
In this episode, Chris and Eddie are joined by Dr. Amanda Drury, associate professor of practical theology at Indiana Wesleyan University. Dr. Drury defines a testimony as “a story we tell where Jesus pops up.” She believes that our testimonies are shaped by small, everyday moments and that they make space for every person from every background to be heard. Dr. Drury challenges us to broaden our definition of testimony in terms of past, present, and future storytelling. She talks to Eddie and Chris about the importance of building a faith language, the power of narrative and story in therapy, and how to display appropriate vulnerability when telling your story.
Purchase Dr. Drury’s book Saying Is Believing: The Necessity of Testimony in Adolescent Spiritual Development here
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Religious Lives of Young People - "Faithful Authenticity" with Dr. Andrew Root
We all have a deep desire to belong and to be understood. As we move through different stages of life and different cultural realities, we are constantly navigating what it looks like to live into our most authentic selves. For teenagers, this process carries a lot of insecurity and awkwardness, which can stir up anxiety in pastors, youth ministers, and church leaders. How can we faithfully equip young people with a strong sense of identity and purpose, given to them by God? How can we help young people gain a better understanding of their unique stories?
In this episode, Chris and Eddie are joined by Dr. Andrew Root, professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary. Dr. Root has written a series of books revolving around Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, and his book Faith Formation in a Secular Age specifically examines the church’s hopeful attitude that a “youthful spirit” will save the church. Root speaks to the power of testimony, confession, and storytelling to help teenagers and young adults navigate their own complicated stories. Root challenges us to greater curiosity and stronger questions that will benefit not only the lives of young people, but the church as a whole.
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Religious Lives of Young People - "Sociology of Religions" with Dr. Christian Smith
Broad historical and cultural changes have shifted traditional life scripts from generation to generation. Over the past several decades, the changing nature of families and work has made a significant impact on the role of religion, particularly in teenagers and young adults. While many young people have embraced religion as a part of their lives, sociologists and pastors have observed a compartmentalized version of faith rather than a rich solid ground for growth in love and grace. What factors make the idea of church-going less plausible or less attractive in our modern society? Where can true, meaningful change happen in the lives of young people?
In this episode, Chris and Eddie are joined by Dr. Christian Smith, the William R. Keenan Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and author of Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion on to the Next Generation. Dr. Smith’s work examines the variety of reasons that individuals and communities are religious, as well as the impact of the family institution on traditional religious beliefs. Dr. Smith talks to Eddie and Chris about a general form of faith called “moralistic therapeutic deism,” the structures of society and culture that have made transitions challenging for young people, and the expectations that parents have for church congregations.
Learn more about Dr. Smith's work here:
Check out all of Dr. Smith’s books here
Order Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion on to the Next Generation here:
Read more about The National Study of Youth and Religion here:
"Hang On, Let Go" with Frank Viola
Our lives are full of unexpected changes, difficult transitions, and painful crises. In the midst of these realities, we all experience moments when it seems like we have no control and all hope is lost. Some of us may descend into apathy and numbness, and some of us may enter into “fix-it” mode to attempt a solution. How can we abandon our inclination to be passive and wait for God to intervene? What steps can we take to sustain hope during our trials?
Frank Viola’s recent book, Hang On, Let Go: What to Do When Your Dreams Are Shattered and Life Is Falling Apart, gives practical advice to anyone who has found themselves in a hard, dark place. Shaped out of Frank’s own pain and struggles, Hang On, Let Go offers a roadmap for experiencing transformation that points back to God’s love. He joins Eddie and Chris to discuss the difficult questions about human suffering, the gifts of presence and empathy, and the importance of perspective.
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Listen to The Insurgence Podcast from Frank Viola here
Community Heroes - "Rice and Beans Ministries" with Fred Curry
Innovation and imagination are crucial to partnering in God’s redemptive purpose both locally and internationally. In this episode, Eddie is joined by Fred Curry, Executive Director and Founder of Rice & Beans Ministry (RABMIN). After visiting Costa Rica on a mission trip, Fred formed a connection with the community there and began to use food as a way of opening the door to deep conversations and long-term relationships. Since then, RABMIN has opened a branch in Brazil, and soon the ministry will serve victims of natural disasters in the United States. Fred’s ministry work focuses not on measures of success or growth, but how to sustain members of a community right where they are. He talks to Eddie about how to be a faithful “first responder” in missions, bridging gaps with those who aren’t comfortable in a church setting, and the importance of relationships over results.
Learn more about RABMIN’s work in Costa Rica here:
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Healing the imagination
Started with the James K A Smith interview because I am reading “You Are What You Love “ and I am enjoying these sustainable farming episodes!!
Thank you for your thoughtful, helpful conversations with authors, farmers and more!!
Relevant and refreshing
Eddie and Chris are gifted communicators and do a great job of keeping the discussions interesting, relevant, balanced, practical, and on-track. Difficult topics are handled with grace, intelligence, and often some well-placed humor. Excellent podcast.
Look forward to it each week
Really interesting to hear the variety of topics and the ministerial perspective. The episode with Bishop Swanson was incredible. Thank you for discussing the tough stuff.