LRR Ep15. True Socialism and the Kingdom of God, W. Travis McMaken

I interviewed W. Travis McMaken about his book Our God Loves Justice: an introduction to Helmut Gollwitzer. We talk about the Gollwitzer movie Travis would pitch, Dialectical Theology, Socialism (this is a great section), Revolution, writing theology in an online community, and, we play a game of Conceptual Lightning Round… have you ever wanted tweetable definitions of Dialectical Theology, Socialism, the Kingdom of God, and non-objectifiability? We got you covered. Listen in iTunes

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Ep05. Race, Faith, & Comedy, Jonathan Braylock

“Comedy can teach us to let go a little bit and think about things in a new way, allow God to change us so we’re not stuck in one setting. I do that specifically with race right now.”

I talked with comedian and actor Jonathan Braylock, cohost of the excellent Black Men Can’t Jump (in Hollywood) Podcast. We discuss the podcast, diversity in Hollywood, trends and tropes in movies with Black leads. We also talk about his faith, comedy, and what a good laugh can teach the life of faith. And loads of other good stuff. Listen in iTunes

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Awaiting a Response

Habakkuk’s prophetic book begins with a bang. Bursting open the doors of resigned apathy and quiet pietism by demanding of God a response to the violence and injustice he sees around him. I explore two responses, the first is direct from God, the second is found in Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus.

… how many of those under the thumb of Zacchaeus, who’ve had to go without because of the taxes he levied, how many of those oppressed by his economic exploitation found solidarity with the words of Habakkuk – how many, when they heard the scroll of Habakkuk read in Synagogue thought of the violence and injustice inflicted upon them and their community by Zacchaeus, and how many cried out to God hoping for a response… and here, Jesus embodies that response and brings change.

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SICARIO, and being sent in the midst of wolves

You will not survive here. You are not a wolf, and this is a land of wolves now. 

A reflection on the final line of the excellent film, SICARIO and Jesus’ sending of us into the midst of wolves. Why do we need the mix of dove and serpent, of shrewdness and innocence?

Serpents are wise to the ways of the wolves, to the darkness of the land, and because of that serpents can be subversive in their resistance, crafty in their struggle. The shrewdness of the serpents allows us to sidestep repaying like with like, of believing that the only way to stop a wolf is to become a wolf… 

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The Ghost of Grace: A Christmas Carol, Tillich, & Caputo

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge receives three ghostly visitations awakening him to the separation that exists within himself (and and between he and others). Grace has a similar ghostly quality, it haunts and it spooks – provoking us out of our apathy with a call beyond ourselves.

In the event on the road to Damascus, was Saul not visited by a kind of ghost? His own Christmas ghost (or better yet, an Easter ghost)? Saul was spooked by a moment of grace, which struck him blind (– that led to his great awakening and the overcoming of his deepest separation –) and haunted him for the rest of his life. Grace struck Saul like an apocalypse rupturing his existence, separating old order from new life. But grace stuck around, as ghosts are prone to do, so that the haunting might remain. So that Paul would not be content to revert to Saul. Grace remained to spook Paul when he would not do the good he desired, but the evil he did not desire (Rom 7:19).

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