Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Christianity 20 Years After 9/11 - Session 1

"Spiritual Awakenings begin with God's LOVE above all else.
This interiority speaks to an internal awakening of the soul first
before an exterior awakening of the Church second." - re slater

"Relationships are always first and foremost in a Christian revival.
If true, it will always affect our religious communal presence in politics.
It will place a strain upon our version of human justice with God's own
version of social justice. There will always arise a tension to do the right
for humanity over-and-above the church's own dogmas." - re slater

Christianity 20 Years After 9/11 - Session 1

8/31 – SESSION ONE: 20 Years of Religious Decline
9/07 – SESSION TWO: The Rise of Authoritarianism
9/14 – SESSION THREE: Repentance & Resistance
9/21 – SESSION FOUR: Inter-religious Learning
9/28 – SESSION FIVE: Theology & Spirituality in Times of Rupture
10/5 – SESSION SIX: Christianity – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

* * * * * * * * *

Interpretive Commentary by R.E. Slater

TF - Tripp Fuller
DBB - Diana Butler Bass
BML - Brian McLaren
RES - R.E. Slater

Imperfect Commentary by R.E. Slater
October 5, 2021

* * * * * * * * *

Here's what's making America less religious
May 12, 2015

PBS NewsHour - While the U.S. is still an overwhelmingly Christian country, since 2007 there has been a notable drop in the number of Americans who call themselves such, and the number of people who don’t identify as any religion has risen dramatically. Jeffrey Brown talks to Alan Cooperman of the Pew Research Center, which conducted the latest survey, and Rev. Serene Jones of the Union Theological Seminary.

* * * * * * * * *

We've Reached the End of White Christian America
Oct 14, 2016

The Atlantic - The United States is no longer a majority white, Christian country, and that is already beginning to have profound social and political implications. At 45 percent of the population, white Christians are a shrinking demographic—and the backlash from many members of the group against the increasing diversification of America has been swift and bitter. “People fight like that when they are losing a sense of place, a sense of belonging, and a sense of the country that they understand and love,” says Robert P. Jones, the author of 'The End of White Christian America,' in this animated interview. “How do they reengage in public life when they can’t be the majority?”

* * * * * * * * *

Millennials are leaving organized religion. Here's where some are finding community
Jan 2, 2020
[res - excellent vid reaching out to one's LGBTQ+ / trans- community; the
rise in new-ageism spirituality practices; black millennial congregations]

The American religious landscape has changed dramatically over the past several decades. While regular church, synagogue and mosque attendance has been on the decline since the late 1970s, a Pew Research Center study this year has found that the biggest generational dropoff has occurred with millennials -- young adults born between 1981 and 1996. Special correspondent Cat Wise reports on why.

* * * * * * * * *

Exploring the rise in political partisanship as religious identity declines
[res - Shadi's last 8 mins needs to be heard as an American Muslim]
Mar 12, 2021

The U.S. has seen a rise in the intensity of political ideology even as Americans turn away from religious beliefs. Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote about this for The Atlantic and joined CBSN to discuss the danger of blurring the line between religious convictions and political ideology.

* * * * * * * * *

20 years of religious decline
[ res - listen esp to last 2:20 sec]

23 ABC News | KERO - Churches, temples, and mosques are reopening their doors. But not all members are coming back. Some prefer online streaming. Others stopped attending services altogether. But as Amanda Brandeis explains, church membership was already on the decline.

* * * * * * * * *

Interpretive Commentary by R.E. Slater

TF - Tripp Fuller
DBB - Diana Butler Bass
BML - Brian McLaren
RES - R.E. Slater


RES - This begins the first session of six looking at the decline of religious affiliation in America. As was my personal experience over the past 30 years, so too in the lives of Diana and Brian who will speak to the historical and present day factors affecting church attendance. With myself, as with all three commentators, we each have felt a great disappointment in the church's involvement during the Trumpian years in actively participating in the taking down of democracy for a radical form of authoritarianism. The majority of Session one's discussion looks at the church's recent historical past up to this sad point of Christianity.


DBB - 1990s Christian book publishing was huge. All sorts of people were reading all sorts of Christian topics. Religion was a very popular topic then. Anne Lamott, Phyllis Tickle, Annie Dillard, Kathleen Norris, etc.

A mystical, inner faith revival was happening everywhere around us. Everybody was expecting societal growth from spiritual decline to a spiritual revival in heart and acts. But after 9-11 (September 11, 2001, The Twin Towers terrorist event) Christianity began to measure in huge declines across races, genders, denominations, etc. So that by 2002 through the investigative stories of the Boston Globe detailed a series of stories about the Arch Diocese and Catholic priests who were systematically abusing children as a known internal Catholic event.

By the following year of September 2002, Catholicism was spinning downwards and Protestantism was beginning to soften.

July 8, 2021, of this year, a published report by Public Religion Research showed this decline had become precipitous through the past 20 years with one exception. Even as people were leaving religion another category was rising, the None and Dones categories of Christians leaving the institutional church.

Even the untouchable category of white Christian evangelicalism had gone down from 23% to 14.5% of the American population. Basically a loss of 10% or 1 in 6 Americans are remaining. Before it was always between 25-33% of America before 9-11 (per Dr. Martin E Marty).

Religiously Unaffiliated - 16% (2006) to 25% (2018), to 24% (2019) to 23% (2021)

The question to ask is "Where are they going?"

Well, not Catholicism (decline has steady out but not increased)

White Mainline Protestantism went from 13% (2016) to 16.4% (2021)

White Evangelicalism hemorgherring has stopped not because of conservatives but because of liberal Jesus lov

* * * * * * * * *

BML - Observes that a current story in Christianity Today this week is trying to rewrite the story of evangelical decline against the facts.

The Jesus Movement v Fundamentalist Christians (who were lining up behind Ronald Regan, Hollywood, divorced, not a church goer) parallels the religious rights lining up behind the pagan Donald Trump. We have this Sodom and Gomorrah and Apocalyptic feeling at the 9-11 terrorist attack (v. Islam).

Later in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol we have this violent, religious anger, terrorist attack paralleling the Islamic attack on September 11, 2001. The radical conservative right showed no difference to the Islamic Jihadist only in the exception that they were not mutilating and murdering individuals and families.

* * * * * * * * *

Group Talk - What does it mean when we say "Who is my neighbor?" when examining Christians living in the white American South or Bible Belt districts vs Christians living in LA or NY or in London, Ireland, France, and North Africa.

DBB - The narrative of the 1960 allowed for the secular and sacred to co-exist because of the belief in the separation of church v. state (the religious centuries in Europe had shown the disaster which occurred when both church and state combined together to rule).

Religion is here for good but not for good reasons as a God of Love was envisioning spiritual life in societal living. First Naziism and Lutheranism killed 6,000,000 Jews and today we have a religious American in non-stop global wars and nation building since WW2. Whenever religion gets involved we get bloodletting.

BML - Critical Race Theory, Dumbing Down of education re anti-science movements, the looking down on people who are different: feminism, genders, LGBTQ+ trans- sectors, etc., re conservative talk religionists, preachers, and media.

DBB - Western Christianity has failed even though English speaking Christians do not see this as a failure. Rather, Anglo-Protestant Christians believe they have succeeded via Billy Graham and white evangelical hubris filled with racially energized Protestant vision (sic, Josiah Strong's white supremacy Christian moral vision for American).

Diane speaks to Emergent Christians struggling to re-image their Christianity (for myself, I prefer to place myself in the post-evangelical neo-tradition as a natural growth out of emergent evangelicalism to its post- doctrinal flavors of progressive Christianity measured in social justice, Christian humanism/humanity, and again, for me, an uplifting of Wesleyan doctrine into Open and Relational PROCESS-based Theology - res).

TF - Reflects on his disappointments with Christian institutions falsifying themselves by their words and actions through all these momentous events in the past 20 years. Through this events the church has never showed itself to be on the rightside of Jesus and God's Love. Even the homeschooling movie of "God's Not Dead, Part III" is speaking to the phobias and fears of conservative Christians separating themselves over their racial divisiveness and darkened doctrines as being on the right side of God when it is not.

DBB - Speaks along the lines of the ideas of Christians against white Christian nationalism, supremacy, and historical revisionism showing the radical right to be in the right and moral position of God. The evangelical narrative continues to propel white supremacy all the way to the steps of the Capitol.

For myself (res) I see this kind of church think as self-deluding, willing separating from Jesus Christians, and giving themselves persecutional accolades for withstanding the devil by genuinely believing and supporting religious discrimination, disequality, and separation.

BML - The church should see itself as a civil religions to pronounce blessings and pray for the nation. Then there is prophetic religion which denounces false religions, stands up for Jesus, and desists false prophets in the pulpits and theologians. So too may Roman Catholics imitate their Protestant counterparts in blessing and resistance. To help the world and the nation discern God's love while ridding societies of bigotry, racism, prejudice, etc. That we must radically reconstruct our Christian faith away from its damnable parts.

DBB - Protestant identity can regage society with a Jesus-informed vision, Eucharistic Table, and renewed vows to be a true neighbor rather than a religious neighbor who is disingenuous.

TF - Thank you guys. Blessings! The next following weeks we will try to be more positive but because many of us have had to unlearn our Christian identities in order to relearn what Christian is and must do has caused many of us to feel abandoned and betrayed. Thank you all.

Imperfect Commentary by R.E. Slater
August 31, 2021

* * * * * * * * *


Unknown 0:00
Dustin's reflection was around that, because the church was caught up in, in that fear that Jerome articulated. You know if Rome is fallen, what can be secure. Rome is the eternal city Rome is the now Christian, the seat of Christian empire. What do you mean, Rome is Rome is fall, Rome is fallen and and so for for Christians and 911 You know that was a it was a very similar thing, and it wasn't just Christians of courses people around the world, just like if the twin towers have fallen, what could be secure, New York, as can be secure. And so the continuity is this sort of historical resonances I'd rather say between what a Gustin was reflecting upon in terms of the end of a civilization and what, what really counts as eternal. And this last 20 years, I actually think that a huge amount of the work that Brian and I have done is in that quest of this, the seeking out of what is lasting and joyful and beautiful and just, and we, you know, we've tried to do that, I can't wait either of us to destiny. I think both of us have tried to do that in our writing in our preaching and forming community and the questions we've raised because we've, we felt that, you know, in the same way of Dustin felt Jerome's question

Unknown 1:33
was really good. Now I'm gonna have to go check that drum thing, that's, that's high quality material, all the ministers just wrote it down. So the format we were thinking of doing, which we'll see if we keep it. By the time we get done is we're going to take turns kicking off, where each of us will dig into a particular feature that strikes us in thinking about this past 20 years since 911 and that will set up a conversation that will go well, wherever it goes, and will be informed by questions and topics you send in, everyone in the class, you get emails, before and after each session, you can reply to them. And any of those emails when you reply, just a good question at the time, or if there's a topic you want us to talk about. We'll leave some of them into the sessions, and also, Brian Diana will join a number of times, live just to answer questions. So, if it is specific, that, Oh, Diane you brought this up in the first session, what about this, then just make sure you tell me, and I will chronicle it and ask questions and maybe one of you I have a question so striking, it will inspire one of them to write another city of God. But with that, I'm gonna mute myself and lead by Hannah, take it away for the first session.

Unknown 2:54
Great, thank you, thank you trip. I wanted today to talk about the topic of Christian decline post 911 And it's a, it's a funny topic in certain ways, in order to really get our minds around what's happened in the last 20 years, I think it's important to step back into the 1990s and the 1990s were a time when religion publishing was huge, all you needed to do was write a book with Jesus on the top, in the title and the book would just Dart, to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. There were spiritual memoirs that were talked about just, not just in churches but as sort of regular common currency book groups would read spiritual memoirs, people like Annie Dillard and Anne Lamott, and Kathleen Norris, are considered to be sort of the literary masters almost as it were of the category of memoir, and they all wrote about they all worried about religion. And I remember that, Phyllis tickle founded at the Publishers Weekly religion, pages, and in the 1990s because the book industry around religion was so incredibly financially lucrative, and it was just it was, it was a giant market, and there were all kinds of really interesting trends in the 1990s, there was this big Angel craze that went on for several years, there were people who actually opened stores, and real life, malls that used to exist in states, brick and mortar stores and they would be sort of like spirituality shops I remember visiting one in the Mall of America in the late 1990s, and you could walk into the shop and you could buy tchotchkes from basically any world religion you could think of and there was a huge selection of books, and, and magazines and other kinds of materials that would help you aid you in your spiritual quest. Wayne Clark roof wrote a book called a generation of seekers, that sort of captured the moment, and the world of course was heading toward the new millennium, and so it was that anticipation, the new millennium, the 2000 Birthday of Christianity. The fact that we were getting this number that was turning it that seemed to foster a kind of a mystical kind of religious interfaith revival, where all the biggest news was about religion, and everyone who knew anything about religion from people sitting in classrooms at major universities to people at Publishers Weekly to the people at Time magazine to the people who were in congregations, everybody was expecting it. And even in the old mainline which have been going through 30 or 40 years worth of decline by that point, there was an increase in membership in the 1990s, and not just an increase in membership, these are the liberal Protestant churches which had suffered so much. Post 1970s Those, those liberal Protestant churches, not only were recording a little bit of a membership increase, but their average Sunday attendance numbers were actually shockingly high. And so there was this period in the late 90s where the Episcopal Church was around 2 million members. And that's a, you know, still fairly robust enough size denomination, but not a huge denomination, but what they were showing in terms of average Sunday was about 800,000 people. On Sunday, so it was almost half of the denomination that was showing up, or at least you know, registering their presence in buildings. So, so that was what it was like in the last years of the 1990s, this, this, this, this huge economically profitable bodies in buildings, people purchasing religious goods. Sort of. This is among the biggest news on the block. And

Unknown 7:45
a lot of my early work was around that, actually, I was in those years that the New York Times. Wire Service hired me as a columnist and I wrote a weekly column that went over the New York Times syndicate on religion in America and wrote about many, many. So, so that's kind of where we were before 911 was in this highly successful religious sort of landscape. In the United States. There were other things happening in other countries around the world, I realized that, but the sort of the energy and enthusiasm I think of American religion was rubbing off in interesting ways. In Western Europe, certainly in Canada, and also in Latin America and Africa, with huge mission movements coming out of evangelicalism in those in those in that decade. So, where we were. And then 911

Unknown 8:45
I cannot think of anything that surprised me more than to watch this statistics, start coming in. After 911 decline. Around Christianity. At first, those statistics were not divided up by race, they were simply divided up by denomination. And so we had 911 in September of 2001. And that was a shock to sort of the religious ecology of the world. But then, there was a second shock that came just on its heels and were was equally as powerful, and it was also global, and that was at the beginning of 2002. The Boston Globe, began a series of reports on how Catholic priests in Boston had systematically abused children in their care, and that the systematic abuse of children had been covered up by the Boston archdiocese and that priests had never essentially been punished for this that they had just been moved around abusing creases just been moved around. And that story, which began I believe in January 2002 stretched into the report stretch into March 2002 Huge series, and it began to look like. It was a cover up well beyond the Boston archdiocese that there was some larger problems within global Catholicism, about abuse, sexual abuse, and how the church had handled it. So, you have the one story in September, followed by this story in February and March, and by the next September September 2002 What you begin to see is a radical decline of the number of people who are willing to call themselves Catholics, and you start to see numbers that are softening around Protestantism in America, and as late as 2001 Protestants were still the majority of people in the United States. And so, but that begins to shift as a result of these two huge, huge events. Just this past July it was on July 8 Public Religion Research came out with, I believe it's it's 13 report on religious adherence in the United States what we're, what people call themselves. And this report showed a couple of things that are old news, and a couple of things that are actually new news and the part of the report that wasn't entirely startling and that most people on this.

Unknown 12:09
In, in, in this course will be aware of is that that decline that started in the wake of 2000 2001 2002 in wake of 911 and the Catholic Church abuse scandal that that decline became precipitous through the last 20 years. But first it looked like, you know, the sort of the Protestant mainline decline was continuing, which it sort of did after a little rebirth in the 90s it kind of went soft again, in the early aughts, but the Catholic number, I mean that literally started falling like. And then we started softening of the angelical number in the early part of the aughts by 90 by 2020 this. That's what this PRI report covers, what we see is that those patterns have largely continued, with one exception which I'll mention in a moment. And while the religious quadrant was softening while people were leaving religion. People were bailing out statistically into a category that was called, none of the above. The religiously unaffiliated. And so, the, the way that that has tracked for most of the last two decades has been watching every year when these statistics come out the percentage of people who are Christian, and then they divided that into white, and Christian black Christians and Christians of color, eventually through the last 20 years we thought the racial sort of razor brought into, look at that data more closely, but the percentage of people who are white Protestants and white Catholics, that is going down. And the bigger surprise over that or what began to surprise people in this, this data was that evangelicalism once considered to be a category that was untouchable by religious decline was declining. And indeed, in the religious landscape skirt service survey this year, I got the number right here in 2006, the percentage of people in America who were white evangelicals was 23% of the population, and in the most recent data available 2020 that percentage is 14.5% of the population. That means that in a little bit more than a decade, the percentage of people who are willing to identify with evangelicalism This is white people who are willing to identify with evangelicalism has gone down 10 points and gone from being basically one and for every American to what is one, I guess six all Americans, that number this little number that I've got on my phone right here. If I had say sitting next to me the venerable Martin Marty who has been following his heart Marty is 25 years older than I am. And he's been following these kinds of statistics even longer. He years ago told me that evangelicalism always winds up being somewhere between 25 to 33% of the American population, never lowered never higher. Well, the great Dr. Marty, I would love to hear what he said about this because this is a shocking, shocking number if course if you add bundles of color to this. You do get a higher percentage of the population as a total.

Unknown 15:49
But this decline among the among white evangelicalism is unlike any decline that we have numbers for in American history, period, full stop. And so, so, this chart showed that continuing decline to this point, Have a number that statisticians don't know what to do with, and at this point, that number has created on Twitter and other social media, a huge argument among people who don't believe it. My friends at Public Religion Research say they have fielded more calls from critics, than they have ever gotten for a survey in the last few weeks as the publication of this data. And yet, it's also been kind of the cause of people buying wow I knew it was bad. I didn't know it was that bad. So, so this is a piece of continuing news, not a total surprise but the actual number has been surprising. The other pieces, you know, we do see this same strength, among the community of people and that this is not divided racially, the community people who are religiously unaffiliated from 2006 to now. In 2006, the percentage of the population who were religiously unaffiliated was 16% that percentage has never gone down. And this data collection, until the last two years, it reached a high of over 25% in 2018 2019 it was 24% So, statistically almost in the same place. But, this past year, it went down to 23%, which was a surprise to people it means that there's some level of stability, or even a few sort of points of people who are peeling away from being identified to putting themselves in some category of religion now. And that's the, that's where the really big surprise came for me in this data. So if people are leaving white evangelicalism and if people are beginning to re affiliate with some form of religion from being religiously unaffiliated. The question emerges, where are they going, well, they apparently are not becoming white Catholics, because the percentage of white Catholicism has remained around 12% of the population for quite some time. It's a very sort of steady number, the only number on this data chart that went up, was among white not evangelical Protestants, which is a category that's also sometimes called mainline white mainline Protestant. And what we see in the last four years, since reaching their low of 12.8% of the population in 2016 Same year Donald Trump was elected, interestingly enough, each year since the number the percentage number of white evangelicals has gone or white main liners, non evangelicals has gone up in the population to this year to 16.4% were for the very first time since 1970 This this kind of data you just can't even. This is why people are calling PRI they can't literally believe these numbers but they're there they are, the first time since 1970 There's a higher percentage of white non evangelical Protestants, than there are of white evangelical and the hemorrhaging, out of white Protestantism has stopped. And it stopped because of liberals, not because of Jones. So, this is just really interesting data, and it's largely a story of the last 20 years. Two initiating crises, sort of shocking the system of global Christianity and in America that shock, became

Unknown 20:23

Unknown 20:25
most claws exactly I don't know if you can kind of say cause and effect, but it certainly became an initiating event that precip that that led to, or that contributed to a precipitous decline in adherence among America's white population. And then in the last four years since the election of Donald Trump. We've seen a sort of re arrangement of whatever is going on within that, that larger story of decline. It's literally, I got my PhD and in American religious history in 1991, like sets that thoroughly part of my career tracking the religious enthusiasm leading up to the millennium, and no one I know was prepared for statistics like this. In the 1990s, and yet we've lived this story for the last 20 years.

Unknown 21:29
Wow. Great, that you've given us a lot to chew on there. I should say, I don't want to mention any names here, but I just saw an article this morning, published in Christianity today, that is trying to present the data very, very differently, saying, you know that that means articles are doing it, Don't have much to worry about comparative mainlanders So anyhow, it was interesting to watch people tell stories, interpret data is one of those. As you were speaking, you know, when I was a child growing up in elementary school in the 1960s I think you could make an assumption that religion would never be mentioned in any of my classrooms, in public school, and that the assumption of most educated people, was that religion was under decline. And this sort of feeling that yeah religion will generally fade away to slowly fade away, then it seems like we had this period, maybe the Jesus movement represented one wave of this. And then, the religious right coming to life in the late 1970s and, which by the way. Watch fundamentalist Christians, line up behind Ronald Reagan, really was like a, a test case for the mining of behind Donald Trump. It's kind of bizarre to watch it being almost that you're on it because Ronald Reagan was from Hollywood for crying out loud, and he was divorced and not a church going on. But then there was this film that was 2000 September 11 2001 marked this moment, where the most secular people had to say. Religion is not gone, and it might not be. It might be here for good, but not for good and otherwise it might be here to stay, but for no good. And I miss memory, you know, You're still in the DC area Diana but I lived in the DC area, in 2001. And I remember going down a couple blocks from my house and I could see the pillars of smoke coming up for the Pentagon which just had a sort of, you know, Sodom and Gomorrah feel to it of just this apocalyptic vision that I was driving on September, 12, in my car and I remember exactly where I was on route 29 in silver spring if anybody knows where that is. And there was a press conference, and somebody, some military figure for the Pentagon was speaking and a journalist said, Do you have any experts helping you understand Islam and Islamic extremism. And it was, I remember this because you don't normally hear somebody laugh in a grave moment like that, but he had like a chuckle, where he said something like, we're not in the religious business. So, it's September 11 marks this strange moment where religion, we've assumed religious goes away. It's coming back with a vengeance. But that very act of coming back with a vengeance. It seems to be so is the seed for this decline because people of goodwill, people are just nice people don't want to be associated with something that seems that hateful, And that's to me why September 11 2001 and January 6 2021 really have this resonance, because in a sense we saw the ugly at the ugliest face of Islam, of extremist Islam, that he doesn't want. And then, you know, I think he got Rene Girard and the whole idea is an emetic theory that groups, react, and as they react they imitate. And so you end up with a violent hostile religious insurgency, showing up at the Capitol, and people like Franklin Graham in Texas and Robert Jeffers, and Jerry Falwell Jr, and many other things. I think needs to be mentioned. I just think we need to mention those names. We have to say there. As the supporters of Donald Trump and I think we just have to assume now you're at this, this is the perfect time. Yeah. Oh my gosh. A prime Elementary School in Rockville, Maryland.

Unknown 26:23
You see, I always think it's so funny because our lives were so close to one another, and we just, we didn't know each other until. What was it 202 2003 But, you know, I grew up in Baltimore City. So I was in the state I was in Maryland public school systems, you know, at the same time and as soon as you say, you know, we grew up in this world where religion was never mentioned in public school, and there was this idea of a very strict separation of church and state. People were very religious and this, this is the interesting thing to me is that we were kind of in the same school system that we're all different sides of the religious divide as my parents were liberal Methodists and you know I was in church every single Sunday as a little kid, and everyone in my neighborhood was, and they were either in Methodist church or Catholic Church. And there were very few people who would admit to not going to church, and at the very edge of my neighborhood there was a sort of independent Pentecostal church, and it didn't have a real church building event and some other kinds of buildings, and everybody in the name in our neighborhood kind of looked at that church and kind of went, what were those people. But I think that they're probably the people your family was.

Unknown 27:40
You know one of the things about that is, I grew up in rural North Carolina until we church planted in a city, and America, the way it was secular. Was that it kept the public and private line clear right like that used to be how we did it, so you wouldn't worry about religion showing up at school, because that was a private thing. Unlike right, so the way secular it later gets played out where it's kind of, is something religious or not religious, that kind of older account of secularity was such for America, when the church was culture dominant, like in rural North Carolina, the religious diversity was the kind of Baptist you were in Granville County, North Carolina. I remember when a Missionary Baptist moved in, and we were worried, like, aren't they, Christian, you know, and, and I, and I just know. My children never had that they grew up in Los Angeles that are now in Scotland in it, so it is like a huge shift, just to think about the, who your neighbor is in the tactile sense changes, questions of religion, and I, and I wonder if there's a way that, you know the because Protestants took beliefs so seriously. And then chronicle the correct beliefs in all sorts of different ways you get all these different denominations, but the anxiety for so many Christians was like, Are you believing the right things, and then the threats were the ways in which outside forces or ideas fragile eyes, these beliefs, and that was problematic, right and the evangelical movement emerges as a resistance to the way maternity brings in different types of critical thinking and such, but what's shocking to the way you were telling the story and the interesting thing is that the big fragile isation that actually changed our demographics are when religion is public, something like 911 for a and I think what we're seeing now is something like January 6 That these public demonstrations of religion problematize the traditions in ways evolution doesn't really do that.

Unknown 30:05
Yeah and if you think about that, the Catholic Church abuse scandal. I mean, you're talking about something that happened in private, being made. And what had this secret was kept you know so that the people who were victimized, you know, they live in shame they lived in this sort of shadows and as and pressing out of their stories, created a public narrative about abuse, and, and, and violence and all.


Unknown 0:00
And I think Brian just said it so perfectly, is that people began to see that religion was around for good and it wasn't for good. And I, the comparison that I come up with and the reason I was sort of asking Brian was that about his elementary school experience was that in the 1960s the primary narrative that there was about religion in the United States, it was partly this public private split narrative religion was private and then this sort of secular space that we share that was the public space.

Unknown 0:36
But there was a second narrative, and that was that

Unknown 0:43
wealthy civil wealthy societies, wealthy democratic societies had all become more secular, and that the United States was more secular than it had been perhaps several generations earlier. But because of this private religious thing that was so robust that we sort of bucked the trend of secularization in the same way that the European European public's had embraced secularization. And we could see religion in decline, rapid decline post World War Two throughout European European countries. And so, so I think it was in the United States, it's a little bit of this worry that, you know, are we going to become like Europe, religiously, and even the liberal Methodists that I hung around, they didn't want that to happen. They, they wanted Protestantism, we understood ourselves to be a Protestant country I mean it's, I can't even believe I grew up in a world like this, but we understood ourselves to be a Protestant nation, and that we were proud of that. And, and we didn't want to be like the Europeans, and yet there was this, this, this undertone that that might happen to us too because it had happened to them. And I think that the connection there to 911 is really fascinating because the Europeans had to deal with the religion is here for good, but not for good reasons, or not for good purposes. In the wake of the Holocaust,

Unknown 2:23
where you could really see how Christianity had been manipulated and abused, to the point of murdering 6 million people in a systematic genocide. And so, the Europeans had to face that public ugliness, a lot earlier than we did in the United States where we're still holding on to this, this sort of myth oh so Protestant purity, and we're gonna save the world for democracy and we're the good guys in this movie, and all of that kind of stuff that we that we grew up with. And it really did not come on done for most Americans until 911, when I, and, and I really do think the combination of 911 and the very worst of Catholicism. At the same time becoming Pope that there's publicly inactive.

Unknown 3:19
Just cores. In the name of religion.

Unknown 3:25
It's so ironic that Protestants thought of themselves as so pristine, with the history of slavery and genocide of indigenous peoples, but I think it's very hard for even people your age, to believe how how totally successful that purity narrative was for kids, for when you know and I'm older than that about when we were kids, it still was attacked and so ironic that right as we're having this conversation through all these battles about critical race theory, and attempts to dumb down public education to not tell the truth about about American history, there's this desperate grasp to reclaim that that mythic narrative of purity.

Unknown 4:15
I wonder if I could. This might take us too far afield.

Unknown 4:19
So, Troy, feel free to, you know, redirect us here. But, Diana. I'm thinking of you as a historian, and I'm thinking that that the 30 Years War. What was it 1618 to 1648. I think it was that the 30 Years War. In some ways prepares away for the enlightenment and sort of a super powering of secularism to say whenever religion gets involved, we have bloodshed. Could we just get reasonable, percent of men around the table and reasonable white landowning privileged men around the table and, and they'll agree and solve all the problems that religious violence, leading to decline in religion. And then I've often wondered if, has anybody talked much about World War Two, being seen as a failure of Christianity, or all of these so called Christian nations, most of them, Protestant, Protestant in the north and Catholic in the south, unable to stop Hitler and Mussolini.

Unknown 5:27
And, you know, if that really becomes an interesting, because if religion has power, then its power to stop these horrible things from happening. And if it didn't have any power, what good is it, it's like a lose lose for religion when violence breaks out like I'd love to hear any thoughts you both have Yeah.

Unknown 5:50
Well, the thing about the 30 Years War is, that's a really important point. There were some lectures I remember giving, probably about 15 years ago, where I looked at what I called maternity one and maternity two and I pitched maternity one beginning in the wake of the 30 Years War, which most historians do picture there and talked about how coming out of the 30 Years War, you get this. You do get a kind of decline of conventional religiosity across Europe, you get the first understanding of atheism. As far as I am aware, that is when the term atheist was actually coined, and you get the first people coming out of the closet as actual non believers in God, and we didn't even have language for that, in European cultures, until after the 30 Years War, which I think is a really interesting thing, if you look at what happened post 911 and the growth of new Atheism. And then you also have, you also get, you know, people just sort of questioning the religions they were born with these newly first fourth actually religions of Protestantism or the new form of Catholicism that was born after the Reformation. And the people were saying, Well hey, it didn't.

Unknown 7:06
It's brought us a lot of trouble. So is there a better form, and that's when you begin to get the development of quietism and what eventually becomes the movements towards the religions of the heart, you get the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, you get very pious warm is sort of inwardly directed forms of mystical Catholicism that become quite popular, so that all happens post modernity one, but I you know I really, I think your question about World War Two is really fascinating. I am not aware of a book that does that but that could be because most of my reading in the last 10 years has been in different fields other than that particular one. But the thing that really just burst into my imagination while you were talking, is the fact that, yes, it was a failure of Western Christianity.

Unknown 7:59
English speaking Christians did not see it as a failure. As a matter of fact, you could catch World War Two as a sort of, I mean, I've been mean to say World War Two. World War Two as a failure of continental Christianity.

Unknown 8:21
But Anglo Protestant Christians thought that they had succeeded. And so what you get immediately following World War Two, in Anglo Protestant countries, is you get Billy Graham, you get the revival of sort of a really pious form of Christian personalized form of Christianity that will eventually feed, what becomes the Religious Right. So I think that we could look at sort of Anglo Protestant hubris in the years following World War Two as a sort of a last gasp, that sort of racially energized.

Unknown 9:05
Protestant vision first articulated that was particularly really strongly around 1900 100 in a book called our country by Josiah strong who was a liberal minister who really created a whole vision of white Anglo Saxon supremacy as being the sort of moral vision for the world. And I think that we're we're to sort of put up an approved stamp of approval on that. And, and that's why I think the racial issues have been so hard to deal with. And that's just a really interesting question to me. I was binge watching the Queen, or the crown this week.

Unknown 9:47
And I watched the episode I just recently watched the episode about the Queen and the Billy Graham visit, and think about how incredible that that moment was in the late 1950s I think it was 1957. And yet, everybody in those episodes, Everybody thinks that England is right because it's an English Christianity is morally superior to every other Christianity, there is. And so I just think that's fascinating because that might well be the last gasp of that particular vision, and it just so happens that you and I were born, that at the end, you know, we born in born into that, I mean that was that was the, the air that we breathe. And so trip when Brian says you don't remember it because you know you're 20 years younger than we are. It really shows a kind of a break in the culture, where folks who are my agent and Brian's age, we've had to work really hard to stay in church, we had to literally self consciously reject everything that we were taught as children, we had to re learn history, technology, politics.

Unknown 11:20
We had to relearn our own senses of our of identity. And then we had to decide if it was worth it to do all that work.

Unknown 11:29
So you kind of understand if you, if you'd like me and Brian, and obviously we think you do, is that people who are our age who have done

Unknown 11:44
kind of rare.

Unknown 11:46
I mean it's not, it's impossible. We Brian I have plenty of friends who have also done this work with us as why we could do the work. But when you look at our generation, you know, there's a whole lot of people who would just much rather capture the mythologies that they hadn't placed when they were kids, is just too hard to do anything else.

Unknown 12:08
You would you agree with the World War Two thing is passing you mentioned, strong, and that triggered.

Unknown 12:17
I read a bunch of the Walter Roush biographies because they're both social gospels. And one of the big things that World War One did was get all the ethnic churches, or B, churches attached to a particular part of continental Europe to attach themselves to American Protestantism, and after that you get the finalization of a lot of the denominations we have today. So that World War Two. The role of America and the UK played in World War Two, that comes as a means of justifying right Anglo shaped Christianity.

Unknown 12:54
And luckily capitalism, and a whole host of other things that go along with it. Right, so they, I know. Brian's talked a lot about it before about the way the post world war two Christianity, sets the stage for, really, the explosion in the global south gets more and more taken over by Anglo forms, essentially, Christianity, so that, you know, now one of the things we've exported, right, is a Christianity that has is able to tell itself. That sanitizing self stories that are a little blind, right to the fact that we've inherited stolen land is built on dead bodies, right, like we, we, we have internalized that and then export it. And I think that's part of what for me and definitely those younger than me that I was their youth minister Christianity in America after 911 We never had a moment where we really thought we were the good guys. Right. Like, I watched the church. Say no to the biggest protest, that's happened globally around the war in Iraq. The number of people protesting and wants is huge, and who wasn't the Methodists, in the White House, or his denomination could tell him no, he didn't care, right, so there's this sense that like after that all these institutions that set the stage for export. Across the globe, just get falsified by 911 and everything that goes in after it being the collapse all that stuff I'm sure what you're talking about. But I do think that that's, I hadn't thought of it that way but there is a real shift that. What if your memory of the big institutions in the in the state, the economy, religion, for those that 911 was coming of age and younger, When were the glory days.

Unknown 15:01
Like, when was some time that you can even convince yourself, we were on the right side.

Unknown 15:07
What would it look like to do so. Well I think January 6 is an example of what it looks like to try to convince yourself at this point that our inheritance, and our institutions are telling a winning beautiful good story. And so those 1611 Project critical race theory is crazy.

Unknown 15:25
Here's a perfect example, I just saw this, it just came out. The trailer for the new God's Not Dead movie about homeschooling I've heard that yeah but not just homeschooling. It's telling a story where they are literally going to outlaw talking about religion, in America, even in homeschooling curriculum they're going to go in and then forcibly move these, these students in the schools so they can tell them about trans identity and how secularism is the greatest thing ever, like the phobia around that, right, is what's God's Not Dead he's surely a lap bra, and you're like that, that's, that's what we've gotten to that I think it's, it's real, it's connected to that piece. Ryan talks about it in his fourth area like this, this, this need for a story that justifies the preservation of ill gotten gains, and your, your place in the world, and trip you know historically what I think is really fascinating because this is the conversation about decline, you know, is that liberal Protestantism, that mainline denominations, for as easy as it is to heap on them to see everything that's wrong with them. They did possess self correcting mechanisms.

Unknown 16:50
And so despite Anglo Protestant triumphalism post World War Two.

Unknown 16:57
There were people in the, in the main line, who did look at the flow of history, And who did say, Wait a second.

Unknown 17:08
We have black people who were soldiers, sailors, in World War Two helped us win this great victory and now they come back to the United States and look they're, they're treated like shit, you know, and so this isn't right, this is what we're about. And so, so the main line, at least in some portions of it, and that those are the portions we valorize now.

Unknown 17:31
They began as sort of a self corrective journey about race, it didn't happen fast enough, but it happened it was happening, and it still is happening, Interestingly enough, they also be in a self corrective journey about violence around, Vietnam, and they began a self corrective journey about women around feminists. And so the liberal traditions, because that's enough sort of theological liturgical communal resources to be able to do that work of self interrogation and examination and say, We need a different type of shirt for different kinds of things, and to try to create a different story, that would go along with that. But the tragedy of it is, is that those are the churches that decline in the 60s and the 1970s. And so, so they became a parable for other Protestants, of what you can't do.

Unknown 18:34
And when they became that terrible but you can't do other process say well what can we do.

Unknown 18:40
Well, we're going to become more patriotic and so by 1980 You got Jerry Falwell standing on the stairs of Thomas Road Baptist church with a big choir behind him all wearing red, white and blue waving flags. And, and so, so, um, literally every single time you turn around, that form of that highly pop up a pious paper patriotic Protestantism, all like was heaping on the mainline at the same time, saying oh you can't do liberal Christianity because if you start doing that kind of stuff here, there's no, there's not gonna be I love your churches, nobody wants to nobody wants to hear all that.

Unknown 19:22
And so this tradition, became actually a tradition of denial and a tradition of rejection of any kind of self criticism or genuine cultural reflection. And then they created a narrative of growth around that. If you go into that place of denial. If you go into that place where you, you refuse to look at this other historical evidence. Your church is going to grow. And that's why this narrative was so dangerous at the end of the 20/20 century, and why there is nobody happier in America, that that narrative is dying right now, then me and, and if that Christianity day piece was written because I've been making a big fuss about how much they're dying and the media is finally paying attention to me. God bless them, I hope Christianity takes me on every single day for the rest of my life,

Unknown 20:25
literally shut up.

Unknown 20:30
Have you ever heard me say that it's like that narrative that that evangelicalism are always going to grow narrative was the narrative that propelled this kind of white supremacist Christianity, right to the steps of the Capitol in January 2021 And I have, I don't want to hear any more of it, I'm over it and I'm really glad this just sticks are showing that I'm not alone.

Unknown 21:00
Oh my goodness. I know, we're probably getting near the time we need to wrap this up. But it strikes me that one way to describe this decline growth pattern is to say that churches can broadly speaking, identify themselves as civil religions, where their job is to bless the war, the nation's wars to bless the nation's policies to pray for forgiveness if the nation does wrong, whether or not the praise for forgiveness pronounces forgiveness and justification.

Unknown 21:40
And there's other positive things maybe that civil religions do to their standards of decency and all the rest.

Unknown 21:48
But then your prophetical within it rises up to say our nations of mass, our nations hypocritical our nations, nations got very skeletons.

Unknown 21:57
Let's face the truth. So you have civil religion versus prophetical.

Unknown 22:03
I think part of what we've seen is mainline Protestantism served as the silver religion through the world wars, and then the 60s came to have the courage to become a prophetical named feminism and name, what is the density of native peoples who talk about the environment and exploitation the environment as it talks about poverty and make racist central issue by liberal Protestant clergy doing that in the 1960s They broke the contract of the civil religion and evangelicalism were opportunities. At that moment, and they said here's our opportunity to sneak in and become the new civil religion, steal away mainline Protestants. And I think there's a way to say that Roman Catholics in the in the religious writing effusion white conservative process by Conservative Catholics, Roman Catholic sees their opportunity to say we can be the civil religion.

Unknown 22:59
And in many ways. These 20 years from 2001 to 21 from September 11 to generate these 20 years it seems to me.

Unknown 23:12
The were being a civil religion and and reckoning.

Unknown 23:22
And so, even though a lot of people hear the word declined and they think it's really too bad. I think part of what you're saying is, good riddance of civil religion that defends the indefensible. Good riddance. And that maybe sets is tough for some of our future conversations because this decline is one of the best opportunities that a genuine form of Christianity has ever had to say that race is a pivotal gospel issue. Poverty is a pivotal gospel issue, caring for the environment is a

Unknown 23:59
radical reframing of of our faith, so that that decline, it seems to me, is a phenomenal opportunity, and I think we have to say, as you just did.

Unknown 24:14
I don't want to go back. i There's nothing I want to go the extra hour.

Unknown 24:20
And that little tiny uptick in the statistics that were present in the July, 8 data.

Unknown 24:29
I don't see that as hopeful and good news in the sense that oh my gosh the churches could be big again, but I see it as a hopeful good news is that maybe this much reduced mainline has finally done enough public work that people who are searching for Protestant identity that is reflective, that wants to engage issues of race, that's happy to have women that's welcoming to LGBTQ people that's trying to create a different kind of vision of a truly, Truly pluralistic table Eucharistic table, that there are legitimately enough, Americans who are searching for that, that they're wandering toward some of these older churches again. And that's where I think the good news is not that the churches are going to grow or that they're going to become you know influential in the public square.

Unknown 25:32
But that may be the long part of inviting some percentage of white people into a new story might finally be paying off in terms of people understanding what's been happening in that quadrant American religion. And so that's one of my places of.

Unknown 25:59
I really enjoyed the first session, and getting the talk.

Unknown 26:05
I'll just say one of those participating. The second half we're going to intentionally be more positive the first three were digging in to trying to look into problematize like setting this anniversary aside, and not in like making each little moment right have shaken the last couple of years and exception. We're trying to recognize that they are regulatory but we have to deal with and one of the things, when I've just been thinking about doing this with you is that both of you represent, To me, people who are invested in it, or maybe recognize that liberation involves a kind of unlearning and there's a call for new framing stories. And so like that's where we get to write in the second half, but the act of unlearning is really important and I think the notion of the client. There's so many bits that are connected to it. But the idea that civil religion is the only driving religion in the empire.

Unknown 27:16
Is that something that would be wonderful to unlearn. Because I'm regularly told that's the case.

Unknown 27:27
So, yeah. Any final thoughts like I I'm just super excited to do this.

Unknown 27:36
I'm glad we're talking about this, I feel like I learned some things today.

Unknown 27:41
All right, well we will see you next week. Remember, apply to any of the emails have questions. And, yeah.

Christianity 20 Years After 9/11 - Introduction

Invite to Oh God, What Now?
from Brian McLaren & Diana Butler Bass
Aug 25, 2021

8/31 – SESSION ONE: 20 Years of Religious Decline
9/7 – SESSION TWO: The Rise of Authoritarianism
9/14 – SESSION THREE: Repentance & Resistance
9/21 – SESSION FOUR: Inter-religious Learning
9/28 – SESSION FIVE: Theology & Spirituality in Times of Rupture
10/5 – SESSION SIX: Christianity – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Live Streaming w/ Diana Butler Bass
Jun 16, 2021

The award-winning author of Grateful goes beyond the culture wars to offer a refreshing take on the comprehensive, multi-faceted nature of Jesus, keeping his teachings relevant and alive in our daily lives.

How can you still be a Christian?

This is the most common question Diana Butler Bass is asked today. It is a question that many believers ponder as they wrestle with disappointment and disillusionment in their church and its leadership. But while many Christians have left their churches, they cannot leave their faith behind. 

In Freeing Jesus, Bass challenges the idea that Jesus can only be understood in static, one-dimensional ways and asks us to instead consider a life where Jesus grows with us and helps us through life’s challenges in several capacities: as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence. 

Freeing Jesus is an invitation to leave the religious wars behind and rediscover Jesus in all his many manifestations, to experience Jesus beyond the narrow confines we have built around him. It renews our hope in faith and worship at a time when we need it most.

* * * * * * * *

Lived Theology in a Time of Authoritarianism
by Brian McLaren: TheoCon 2021
July 12, 2020

Your Hosts

Tripp Fuller

University of Edinburgh

Dr. Fuller is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Theology & Science at the University of Edinburgh. He recently released Divine Self-Investment: a Constructive Open and Relational Christology, the first book in the Studies in Open and Relational Theology series. For over 13 years Tripp has been doing the Homebrewed Christianity podcast (think on-demand internet radio) where he interviews different scholars about their work so you can get nerdy in traffic, on the treadmill, or doing the dishes. Last year it had over 3.5 million downloads. It also inspired a book series with Fortress Press called the Homebrewed Christianity Guides to... topics like God, Jesus, Spirit, Church History, etc. Tripp is a very committed and (some of his friends think overly ) engaged Lakers fan and takes Star Wars and Lord of the Rings very seriously.

Diana Butler Bass

Public Scholar of American Religion

Dr. Bass is an award-winning author, popular speaker, inspiring preacher, and one of America’s most trusted commentators on religion and contemporary spirituality. She is the author of ten books, including her most recent, Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence.  Diana’s passion is sharing great ideas to change lives and the world – a passion that ranges from informing the public about spiritual trends, challenging conventional narratives about religious practice, entering the fray of social media with spiritual wisdom and smart theology, and writing books to help readers see themselves, their place in history, and God differently. You can connect with her on Twitter or by subscribing to her popular newsletter, The Cottage. 

Brian McLaren

Author & Public Theologian

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is a faculty member of  The Living School and podcaster with Learning How to See, which are part of the Center for Action and Contemplation. He is also an Auburn Senior Fellow and works closely with the Wild Goose Festival, the Fair Food ProgramVote Common Good, and Progressive Christianity. His recent projects include an illustrated children’s book (for all ages) called Cory and the Seventh Story and The Galapagos Islands: A Spiritual Journey.  His newest book is  Faith After Doubt, and his next release, Do I Stay Christian? will be available Spring 2022.