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

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

Thursday, January 6, 2022

James Cone, Father of Black Theology - Part 3


https://homebrewedchristianity.lpages.co/upsettingthepowers/


James Cone, Father of Black Theology
Part 3 


Reading List


For My People
by James Cone

Bishop Henry McNeal Turner Studies in North American Black R
June 11, 1984

Amazon Link



Session Podcasts & Discussions

  • (1/11/2022) Session 1 - Why Black Theology Matters
  • (1/18/2022) Session 2 - Disciplinary Decadence: The Emergence of Black Theology
  • (1/25/2022) Session 3 - From Black Power to Black Lives Matter
  • (2/1/2022) Session 4 - Christ from the Underside
  • (2/8/2022) Session 5 - Women Hold up Half The Sky
  • (2/15/2022) Session 6 - James Cone as World Teacher


Related Previous Episodes with Adam & Tripp




January 6th one year later: a theological debrief
January 6, 2022



Dr. Adam Clark & Dr. Jeffrey C. Pugh join Tripp for a conversation
about the past year and the ongoing significance of 1/6.





PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT

Part 1

All right, hold on. I'm gonna hit record. And then Hello, everyone, this is Tripp and I am here with two of my favorite theological nerdy friends. Adam Clark, Jeffrey CPU who didn't force will just be Jeff and Adam. But they are both amazing theologians, scholars, friends, and they both done homebrewed classes with me with 1000s of people where we got to read James Cohn, Adam Clark. And I did that we did Bonhoeffer with Jeff Pugh. And then last year, we just finished those classes when January 6 happened. That's right. And I said, we got to theologically debrief this together. It was the most popular episode of Home Brewed last year over is like 111,000 downloads last time I checked. Wow. Which is big. I mean, like that's a lot of downloads. And and then people that are members of the Homebrew community many that are on the stream now we're like, Can we do this again? And I said, Yes, we can do it again. It gives me an excuse to get two of my friends helped me process things because much of the last two and a half years I've been sitting in Scotland, not even in my home country of the United States. While this is going on. I've only shown up at weddings twice in the last three years. And so I feel like kind of disconnected while experiencing the movement of American culture the role of religion in it the kind of disgusting displays politically the the partisan ship the the ad, there's so much of it that I never know if my intuitions are good or not. And so I two trusted smart wise friends talking to me about it is exciting. And is the other reason that this is fun is it next week, Adam and I are starting a new reading group together called upsetting the powers. Were last time when we did an overview of Black Theology in the way it's changed. This time. We're digging into James Cohen's work, his legacy and how it shapes the future of American religion. And thinking about what's happened in the past year. I think all of us really listened to our conversation. And there are points where like, oh, wait, I was on point. Oh, wait. I underestimated this. Oh, wait, you know, all that kind of stuff. Looking at the past year and everything that's happened. I'm more confident than ever. The church needs to take James combs voice seriously, and needs to wrestle with it in deep ways. And so I'm excited to have this conversation with friends and invite everyone to participate in that you can go to James Comey was right calm, very catchy URL. But but most of all, I said topics that I really need help processing. But before we jump into all that, I want to let each of you set the table in different ways. And then I have a set the table set up for the conversational part. Once we go now, you two haven't got to hang out since then. Online and such I've talked to both of you kind of ongoing. So is there anything that stuck out to both of you thinking about this moment, and picking back up a conversation we had that, you know, right now like 600 people or so we're streaming it on all the different platforms. Last time we had this, plenty will listen, like when you think of picking up this conversation thinking theologically about the state of American religion, politics, culture, society and such. How would y'all see the new context differently? Because I think how we see the contrast from asking it right after the event to today, and then all this played out since then will help us get a a framework for the future theological conversations. And as they're setting that up, all of you that are listening know, I can see questions that come in on any of the places that streaming feel free to leave them. Adam and Jeff don't have to look at them, because I'll be your voice. All of you that email them in. I have a collection. So maybe with that, oh yeah. And if you're on Zoom, use the q&a function. If it's a question you're hoping I bring up in this because I hope all of you there just like in the Facebook and Twitter, Youtube thing. Use the dialogue thing to go back and forth. I know it's fun when you're streaming stuff, especially if you're cooking dinner on the East Coast.

Unknown 6:16
The to dialogue with people hanging out. So use the dialogue parts to dialogue, but tag me message me if it's a question you want everyone to answer. So that mail it. I'll let Jeff go first and Adam like how is the first anniversary of January sixth for you a different context for thinking theologically then you know the week or so after like last time Well, first of all, let me just say that the first words out of my mouth last time are white people love their shit. And that has become ever more apparent now. I mean, it was apparent from the election of Barack Obama on but it's ever more apparent in the last year as we see this move to the lie, as opposed to any kind of truth. So that's all I want to say. And the second thing I want to say is what's perplexed me and sort of made me struggle this year is what does a particularly Christian response to this particular moment entail? Because it doesn't entail you know, choosing team Democrat over team Republican entail something far deeper than that. And so where I've sort of come down is sort of thinking about the fact that we're in a moment in which it's not so much their political orders that we align ourselves with. It's the way that we are formed as social actors in this moment. That for me has become a question of, How can I best be an agent of redemption in this moment, for the society in which I live, irrespective of what the political order is doing? What does that entail? It doesn't entail sort of getting wrapped up into the Manichaean dark and light even though that exist. And black and white views of this involves something I think a lot deeper, and I'm just going to leave it there. And let Adam I'd like to hear from Adam. Yeah, thanks,

Unknown 8:41
Jeff. I agree with that. You know, my my reflection today went to Howard Thurman's Jesus in the disinherited, and in the chapter called deception. He says the penalty of deception is to become the deception. A person who habitually lies, becomes the lie. So much so that they can't tell the difference between lying and the truth. And I think what's happened is that the Republican Party or the conservative movement has become the deception Right? Like it's it's it's one of the greatest it's almost an Orwellian type of lie. Right, like going through the memory hole, like not remembering where this thing started from? Right a twice impeach President who lost the popular vote both times talks about stealing, stopping the steel, right when he was helped by Russia, right? Like it's in and like, I don't know what's if actually trying to overthrow a certified election isn't the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors? I don't know what it is. That's worse than Nixon. Nixon got caught spying. Right? They have everything on record. That this is about overturning a certified result. So to me, if you're going to think about this, theologically, first, I mean, you could just go to the commandments right. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Number one, about truth telly. You know, it's really about idolatry, right like about this, this this form of this type of racialized kind of national ideology, which I'm sure we'll get into about white Christian nationalism. It just whiteness and even the idea of kind of disentangling Christian identity from this type of mix is really the key thing in terms of what Jeff talked about as being a agent of redemption needs to happen. And to me, I would say that's about the prophetic witness. So to me, where our conversation needs to go, is, what does it mean to be prophetic in public spaces? Right? How do you be prophetic and part of that is a critical task. And part of its, you know, a compassionate task, right? Like how do we walk with that? Right so those are, those are two, at least two ways to try to enter into the discussion. First, a critique of idolatry. Right? And then a way of truth telling, right, like I didn't really get a chance to trip to see your your conversation about the matrix in simulations, but it kind of seems the same where it's kind of hard where reality is so been so blurred for some people, and there's this massive type of group fake, this type of Orwellian doublespeak that encaptured about 40% of the country. It's hard to pierce that bubble. And part of our prophetic task is to speak the truth, to bear witness to the truth.

Unknown 12:09
That the challenge and that for me, Adam, and trip is that sometimes in the prophetic register, or self righteousness comes through. So so the prophetic register gets done in the basis of I'm giving you this from my position of an unalloyed purity and goodness and it does that doesn't open up the space for people that might might be persuaded that they've been deceived. And so for me that the hard part is how do I how do I exercise the prophetic witness? And yeah, keep space open for people who are caught in the lie. And I have to say that that that gives me a lot of and I you know, I think about that a lot. As I think about the fact that if what we I mean, what passes in America for democracy, it's always been flawed and a mixed bag. But if what passes for democracy dies, it will be at the hands of Christians. Yeah, absolutely be at the hands of Christians.

Unknown 13:28
And I agree with you. And I like what you said earlier also about that. The task of the moment is not to be debt, identify with either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, the left or the right, but define the kind of moral center from below, right it really tried to reread our type of both national and religious narratives through the lens of below the least of the the Matthew 25 vision, and really try to start from there and try to look at the impact of this. This moment. From that perspective, for the Matthew 25 perspective,

Unknown 14:10
yeah. So so, you know, originally when we were talking about doing this, I sent both of you a prayer, like last week on Steve Bannon podcast, the War Room. And now and, and when you hear the word Steve Bannon, people are like, Oh, if you are the I like the archetype of a listener of this, you're like, oh, yeah, he's that guy. You know, that was connected to Trump that he got rid of. But as someone with a friend's ish, with people that followed him deeply and shared it up to January 6, they kept sharing things. Steve Bannon said, the original January 6, and I was listening going, Oh, John, this is going to be ugly, because he's explaining what they're going to do. Which is Why.

Unknown 16:10
I was dumbfounded that people weren't expecting it if I did, and I'm just like listening to things my crazy right wing friend shared on the internet publicly. And he and he had a rabbi and then a Catholic priest on both of which prayed and gave these prayers about the coming of, you know, the anniversary of January 6, that were this. It was just the worst theology I've ever heard come out of someone's mouth, calling it prayers. And originally I was thinking we should start it pray. Like play it and stuff. And, and I've listened to it a few times, because underneath it, it had a whole list of assumptions, actually, and you even mentioned, Adam, like it was packed full of idolatry. The prayer was a way to wrap untruth as what we treat as reality. And then, because untruth and idolatry is now been labeled as the divine. And it's this weird mixture of Christian nationalism. That's the very platform from which you understand the present, which leads to the committed listener to experience themselves as the victim, all the while they're exercising their agency to undermine democracy to work against the actual model of Christ and the witness of Israel when it's faithful, like all those things are being undermined in what's going on. And I And and I wanted to play and then I felt conflicted about it cuz I didn't necessarily want to give it airtime but yet, I think a lot of people don't understand. Because of the way we're siloed, algorithmically online, the world a lot of the people that were conflicted about and then don't know how to engage with live in and it's wrapped in Scripture and faith and such, and the untruth and perverse pictures of the reality are given to them. Right. And that's there. And then I realized last night, putting core in a bed, my daughter, who's eight, we were today's epiphany. And we were reading the epiphany story right? The Weizmann the Magi coming to Jesus. And when we read stories, I always come up with a few questions to ask like one just to make sure they pay attention ranked like enough to remember the story when it comes back up, but also, as a minister to get high quality sermon material, right like good nothing works is a sermon illustration. Like your child popping up some high quality material. So we read the Magi story, right and Cora says it one of the questions was, I said, why are the wise men wise and she said, because they knew Herod wasn't really the king, and it was Jesus. And I said, then where does the king that comes from God live? And she said in mangers not in a palace and reach Yeah, I wrote that shit down. I knew I was gonna use it tonight. And the next time I get preached that text, feel free to invite me next year on Epiphany. Now, I'm and I say that because epiphany, you know, is the end of the Christmas season. In the liturgical calendar of the church, but in it it's not just the recognition that God solidarity shows up in the underside, is recognized by the outsiders. The Magi comes to the outsiders, right, the shepherds his birth in the neglected, Mary and Joseph but it's, it's also it involves God agency revealing to those that listen, that another opponent to the divine desire is at work. And so the Magi and Joseph in the Gospel of Matthew are visited in dreams. Joseph realizes Herod, the other king, the pseudo King, if you're in God's kingdom, is going to kill him.

Unknown 20:39
And the Magi realize that they don't want to play a part of it, and they go home by another way. And so, last night, when I was reflecting after Cora, and I had that conversation, I realized that so much of this moment, like looking back, and then re listening to our previous conversation, that this happens on Epiphany. The day the Church calls these Magi wise because they identified the one born in a manger as king and not the one that wields power in a palace this key is a beautiful invitation for us as Christians that happened to be citizens of the domination, domination system of the day. And I wonder if this really is a question for both of you, like what does that mean then what is the epiphany look like? If we allow it to be framed by the clarity of vision that Joseph gets because he's visited by God in a dream and that the Magi get when they're visited by God in a dream, right? Like all of them were being faithful to who they thought God was. But it took the vision in a dream to shake their reality to realize that the powers that be we're working for the death of the sun. And so Mary and Joseph escaped to Egypt, in the Magi go home by another way. The idea that that story makes sense, and is something that I lingered over as a follower of Jesus, who's also an American citizen, is new to me. And I hadn't thought about that way because because of course responses, which obviously she wasn't thinking of it this way, but her father's always looking for sermon illustrations. Took it though, I wonder if there's not a sense that we actually have narratives narrative that fits this day liturgically that gives us a framework for thinking theologically about this moment in this past year differently. than being theologians and Christians who are just responding to the tumult in the day to day and the anxieties that show up when someone does this or someone does that and we freak out about this or freak out about that. So what do you think about that because i i I had the sauce and then said to myself, conveniently tomorrow night, I get to talk.

Unknown 23:13
Rabbi family in it too, right. Do you want to go to

Unknown 23:21
you go ahead, Adam. Well, I have something I want to say but go ahead. Okay.

Unknown 23:25
You know, trek when you said that story to me, what came to mind is, Christopher Morris has this book called not every spirit and what he says in there is about one way to try to tease out Christian belief is by having faithful disbeliefs faithful disbelieve. So if you believe right, in terms of this priority of the poor of the oppressed, right, then what do you disbelieve because of that you dip disbelieve that the worldview of elites are sovereign, you disbelieve that people who are privilege are better or more noble. Right. So to me, what that story does is talk about what we disbelieve in right in terms of that, that that that if that actually that type of affirmation implies a radical critique of the social order. As it stands, right. It provides an entry point, like I like I like the way with Jeff kind of warned us about not being so self righteous, but you know, in the back of my mind, I was thinking of Senator raffia, Warnock who also was a trade theologians. He gave his first speech from the Senate stairs that he talks about, they were talking about the infrastructure bill and bipartisanship. And he says, you know, slavery was bipartisan. Segregation was bipartisan. Not all forms of bipartisanship are good. We have to worry about the Right. Right. So to me, that is the task. How do you How are you right in this historical moment, this issue? Right, and I know there's there's always dangers of that. We have to have this kind of healthy sense of need. Borean skepticism about hubris, about, you know, public sinfulness about the misuses of power, right. But we have to land someplace that what your story talks about is where we must land in order to have a a effective and faithful reading of the situation.

Unknown 25:43
I want to go back to kip Morris's book for just a minute. Chris actually taught me my graduate school class had been offer. So he commuted over from Union to Drew and but he was also a member of the United Methodist Virginia conference, so I knew him. And that book, not every spirit is a powerful book, but in relationship to the conversation we're having. He has a part in that book about the notion of the way that tradition functions. And the word tradition can actually have kind of a double meaning as the delivering on of something. But it can also have a negative meaning as to and I think the word the sentence he uses in his book is Judas tradition, Jesus into the hands of the of the Pharisees. So it has a has a sort of double meaning and when you think about where we are right now, what's at stake is a notion of what is the tradition of Jesus that is being carried forth in the political order, by those who are both fighting to over to overturn the current administration and those who are fighting to defend it? And you know, this is a moment of kind of moral clarity that if you attach yourself to the lie, then you are attaching yourself to the tradition in such a way that the tradition itself becomes a lie. And you discredit everything about that tradition and your embrace of of the lie. And what you know what may well come out of this as it will see the utter destruction of American evangelicalism, especially the nationalist sort of arm the nationalist expression of angelical ism. But I'm sorry, I just You mentioned that book. I think it's a profoundly compelling book, for discerning the things that fake communities structure themselves around for themselves around having an understanding of themselves. It's very discerning to try to pick out those places where the lie gains grill. Absolutely. So, so what one of the questions that someone sent in that befuddled me was how would you, how would you frame this moment to a well intentioned disciple who's uninterested generally, in what's going on in the civic and religious conversation? Right now? And I say that because people listen to homebrewed Christianity, people that joined our reading groups, right, like, it wasn't like we read, like the evolution of Black Theology. And Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his writings in a vacuum. Our conversations have always been like, we're wrestling with these texts and these figures in these traditions because they are faithful testimonies to the heartbeat of the gospel in their times and we want to have that heartbeat in ours. Right? I can underneath that is that the gospel has this a much broader scope than a lot of expecially people that have been that are catechumens of American civil religion? Right? We were the discourse of religions. About a very small thing. And a small part of their life. It's much more private fine tuning you to be a good citizen, maybe a good family member or neighbor, whatever, a good worker, definitely. But how do you frame the question? How do you introduce the concept of being a disciple for those in America who this conversation is just uncomfortable? Because like, the vision of religion they were handed in America's not one that politics Culture Society stuff is is like on the front burner, right? Yeah. Maybe you don't watch certain things or listen to certain things or go to certain websites and such but like, the, the discourse in politics, like that's not, that's like not what we're doing. And in both of you have had ongoing conversations, both from it dealing with Black Theology, James Conan such and also like the work of Bonhoeffer. So like thinking of those conversations, how would you frame the task of being a disciple

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Part 2

alright what it has to you know, the code actually helps a lot with this, because CO makes a clear distinction between Christianity and white religion. Right He did this in the 1960s he says what you see is white religion, dressed in Christian garb.

Unknown 0:36
But really it's a white power structure that uses the language and the mythology of Christianity as a disguise.

Unknown 0:45
So they have this type of soft language with an iron fist. Right is the Christianity of empire. It's a constant Tinian Christianity says the religion of Jesus is a is a prophetic type of voice, as in solidarity with the poor. So part of what needs to happen in terms of that is to look at people's pre theological commitments, because a lot of people who actually came into Christianity after this, were Trump lovers. They use religion as a way to try to dress up their pre theological solidarity with the kind of this type of conservative politics and Trump movement which usually rests on the issues of abortion and sexual binaries. Right, the idea of male and female Miss really strong and distinct clarity, the idea of having plural sexualities is something that they find so disconcerting, right, and so anti Christian, they latch on to that, right because the world is changing at such a rapid rate and so much complexity is coming out in our human lives. That's hard for people to assimilate that at once. So Christianity has very clear man, woman is a traditional marriage. Right? These are traditional boundaries. I'm set apart from that I live in holy, pure, right. So it's the it's really this conservative retreat, and then you have a politics that sets up. That's why they love Trump, because it's Jesus and John Wayne, right. It's this type of idea of this type of on the frontier is trying to fight to protect a diminishing and kind of dying off identity that that refuses to be open to new information in a rapidly changing world. Right. So it's this kind of it's an identity out of a deep anxiety. That's why they see themselves as under siege. Wow. Well, you know, black and brown people are starting to find voice and and and they call the very movements for human dignity from black and brown community identity politics, while not realizing that they are trying to conserve their own identities. Right. So I think that's part of what's happening with the with the phenomenon of identifying with evangelicalism, but Cohn if you read his most his works, he has a that that Christianity has a a content and a substance to it. Right? It is not usually for but one has to have creative fidelity with the idea of solidarity. So that might look differently in different historical instruments. But the idea of God choosing the downtrodden is a categorical imperative recall.

Unknown 3:47
And for bond hopper to when he says that he's learned to see history from the underside, in this little essay on after 10 years. So there's a notion that once your vision shifts your understanding of how faith relates to the world in which you live shifts as well. I want to say that going back trip we're we're in an apocalyptic moment. And apocalyptic in this sense, is not the end of the world apocalyptic but the sort of original meaning of Apocalypse says, an unveiling a kind of realization of what's going on behind the scenes, so to speak, or beyond the screen.

Unknown 4:31
And I think that we're in a, we're in a moment in which even to people who care nothing about faith.

Unknown 4:40
There is a revelation going on, of just maybe how shallow significant aspects of American Christianity are. That they would attach themselves to a political party that clearly follows a lot.

Unknown 4:58
And that doesn't let doesn't let progressive Christians off the hook. But right now, what's being revealed is a kind of the dynamics that Adam just talked about, in how American Christianity shaped itself.

Unknown 5:20
It shaped itself as the religion of of the oppressor, even though it believed it wasn't.

Unknown 5:27
And that's, you know, I mean, you could say we're in kind of a spiritual moment which God is opening a revelation and saying is this is this what you want to follow?

Unknown 5:38
And people are having make choices and what's really interesting is that, increasingly scholars are now understanding and and, and bringing this to more public consciousness and before Adam mentioned Jesus and John Wayne, which is the title of a book by is a Christian do May.

Unknown 6:00
Is there anything else? You can't Yeah, can you know that book is getting an enormous amount of interest from a lot of different circles because she goes in just goes right to understanding analyzing and critiquing the worlds of patriarchy, and and misogyny and power. And there are so many people on that American Evangelical side who are freaking out now, because the critical lens is being reflected on them.

Unknown 6:35
And they have a chance to step back and to say, where are they right? What can we learn here? But they instead seem to be drawing the wagons ever tighter together and building up the walls and you will not arise? That's kind of rhetoric. And it's it's it's sad because they have a moment in which they can say, okay, where, where are the, and Thea Butler and Kristen demais and Andrew Whitehead and all these other people, Sarah Posner, who are sort of bringing really learned understandings of the dynamics of American evangelicalism and white nationalism, the connection between those two, they could say, Well, where are our critics, right, and the ones that do are probably going to be able to have some integrity going forward and the ones that won't.

Unknown 7:30
They won't

Unknown 7:34
Okay, so

Unknown 7:38
I'm sure regular podcast listeners will recognize that when you have two friends on that are just rocking it like champs it's really hard for Tripp that normally turns his questions into seven minute monologues followed by a brief invitation to respond. It's true, it's it is it is it Let go. Let it fly out. Now, so the second of the three constellations of questions around violence.

Unknown 8:10
There are a number of ways this question was posed.

Unknown 8:14
One, well, actually, there are multiple people that pointed this out. There were a number of surveys in the last few weeks that pointed at the growing number of Americans who think that political violence is justified at American this wonderful human being and our zoom group named George fuller. He might have been my father said his Civil War possible if so what would it look like?

Unknown 8:42
And then the other question that was connected to it was specific towards you.

Unknown 8:53
Jamie, I know she's a Methodist minister, somewhere in flyover country. Sorry, Jamie. I don't remember exactly where that she said that. Both of you, Adam and Jeff, in the previous reading groups, struggled with how Bonhoeffer and his like turn towards participation in violence even though he's confessing us and and we're in Adams, non violence connected to James Collins wrestling with like power that questioning live and most liberation theologies.

Unknown 9:28
At what point would like could you imagine violence coming back on the menu in American religion?

Unknown 9:37
And then there were a couple that brought it up specifically around?

Unknown 9:43
Yes, America's having these political fights currently, but underneath it, there's all this passive violence both the passive violence of the state right on the oppressed, military industrial complex, externally, the prison industrial complex, the questions around police violence and all that kind of stuff, but also the kind of violence that is being done to the planet that supports future generations and the lack of verbose response.

Unknown 10:18
They get what point at what point do we reconsider our commitments, as followers of Jesus committed to non violence when we think of extinction of a species or the or the breaking of non violent mechanisms for recognition of value?

Unknown 10:40
I mean, I think the Civil War question connected to those big ethical questions really raises the challenge. And there's a unique perspective both for how Bonhoeffer wrestles with it. And then how Cohn gives us wrestling between like Malcolm and MLK, and then what that looks like in today's prison like the Black Lives Matter movement. They think of we've talked about the George Floyd trial, he wasn't even on trial. It was his murderers. Right and the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, who like kill people, so even so, like it broadly, there are so many people asking the question of violence. And as someone who's gets questions regularly from listeners, I had a chart for the frequency of violence questions from 2008. It goes like this.

Unknown 11:36
Like a hockey stick, it's like co2 at the bank Industrial Revolution. And so what what are your intuitions on the fact that so many people are asking this question, and I think it's got in the hockey stick comes when we went into lockdown, and all of a sudden so many of your relationships are mediated by algorithms online, and you're alienated from the places you encounter people difference, like, but but how theological. How do we wrestle with the growing desire to put violence on the menu as legitimate options?

Unknown 12:19
As as Christians and as citizens? Yeah, I get that question a lot too. First, just, you know, two thoughts. One is, first of all, that's a very Protestant question. And I say that because I work at a Jesuit school. Right and there is just war theory within the Christian tradition, right, which is about the protection of the innocent, right, so that there are certain types of about criteria for violence, but violence is always defensive in a last resort, right? There's issues of proportionality. There's issues of proper authority, right? You could go Google this, you know, in terms of this, but there are certain steps within Catholicism, in which they would say the use of lethal or deadly force is a moral priority. than letting innocent life be slaughtered. Right. So that's just one in terms of just the Christian tradition, broadly seeing goes back to there's like, yeah, and there's like, let 16,000 people alive that are American citizens that may have been alive for something that passes a just war. But like if you use the rule like I mean, if you just take what the Pope's opinions are about the military engagements of, of America, the 16,000 Word War Two veterans that haven't died yet, are the only ones that have passed and like if you look at the military investment financially in the States, since then, it's grown exponentially, right. So yeah, and that's why I love like bring up the just word thing is like, even if you aren't going to go like alright hippie, dippie, Adam and Jeff like, like like, even if you use those rules.

Unknown 14:08
There's only a few people that even under like the most lenient just the word theory, should go to bed feeling good.

Unknown 14:16
And that's the question of Hitler. I mean, that's the whole thing about Hitler, the moral type of kanji that most people would say this is an example of just war that that violence there's an appropriate use to repel a destructive force. Right that that to be Chamberlain, right. Like in terms of that he looks worse than Bonhoeffer in terms of his kind of moral rectitude with that, like it's been this idea of should you appease the evil or should you repel the evil? Should you be a spoke in the wheel? Right, that type of thing. So, you know, just and I just want to say that just in terms of normative christian ethics, terms that within the Liberation's in the Black liberation tradition, the idea hasn't been about violence, per se. It's a bit about self defense, right, which is similar in terms of that there that what people say, you know, frame it as the use of violence, right as if there's an active use, in terms of some type of like black Parma was kind of black al Qaeda, they will go into white suburbs and try to hunt white people that know the idea even within black lives matter. It was about can't to I have the human right to defend myself. Right when someone aggresses on me, can I use deadly force to repel right? A destructive and evil force me? That's been the set the question in terms of that it hasn't been a use can we use vile now for the right it has been that it's been targeted like even if Black Lives Matter the targets were non human targets right like in terms of it these are mostly Antifa there was that but they were uses of destruction of property destruction to people right like can I burn a building? Can I create sabotage? Those weren't faith based people, but that was not the same thing as human life, right, in terms of that, but in terms of the activist with the Black Lives Matter.

Unknown 16:07
The question as has never been about some type of strategic takeover with armed force of white enclaves or something like that. It's been about can I defend myself from my cat? What are the means that I have to repel aggression? And usually it's been seen as if George Washington did they get critique from from from from repelling imperial power? Why should people of black bodies not be able to repel imperial power? Right? That's how it's been thought about within the logic of black liberation theology. Right? And, you know, you know, and then, you know, as an addendum, if we look at certain types of Christian heroes with a Black Theology, such as Denmark BZ Nat Turner, right. A Gabriel Prosser. These are people who use violence in the context of slavery, right channelize slavery, right to to resist. So that's been seen as situations of you know, you can see that as not like normative christian ethics, but as situations of extreme situation, right, like chattel slavery, can you use it, that kind of thing, but in normative christian ethics, like, you know, there's a certain it's not that's never permissible, but that there's a stream reluctance and it shouldn't be at last resort. It has to be conditional things and I think that's the probably best way to think about

Unknown 17:48
I don't know the heavy thing that ask you and about this.

Unknown 17:53
Yeah, I'm a Catholic and Baptist and so you know, there's that scene in the movie. Witness the old movie with Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, about a detective that gets embroiled in a Amish community in Pennsylvania. And at 1.1 of the Amish kids is looking at the detectives gone. I think I may get the story all wrong, but he takes it in his father's says what you take into your hands you take into your heart.

Unknown 18:28
And on any given day, there's so much violence in my heart.

Unknown 18:37
You know, just there that I tried to be as non violent as I can be in the world.

Unknown 18:48
And I tried to

Unknown 18:53
because my violence occurs in different ways that may occur in the way that I speak to somebody. That could be a form of violence. It could be in the way that I ignore a need of a human being that can be a form of violence. And I know we're talking about sort of the gun level violence and stuff but I think what Adam said is that even in the Catholic tradition, that is nothing but a last resort.

Unknown 19:19
And the fact of the matter is, is that too often we say well, I had no other choice, but the fact of the matter is, is that we had a lot of choices. We just took the easiest one and often that's violence.

Unknown 19:36
Do you think that the not in the justification of violence but in the anticipation of the fruit of the seeds that are being sown? Yeah, I think if we do this podcast and 15 years

Unknown 19:57
I'll be dead. And that just be you too. I'm optimistic, Jeff.

Unknown 20:04
And And by then, you know, because of the the sheer success of the podcast and the lack of COVID we fly us all together. So we're hanging out in a room. I don't even know what it'd be like to record a podcast. I forget what this is like where you're like in a room with other humans and not on Zoom. And the three of us are sitting there in 15 years and we are thinking about the church and the question of islands.

Unknown 20:32
Will Will a faithful had to have cut themselves off from plenty of people with crosses around their necks, or will the church in America have cut itself off from its citizenry? Who thought violence was a solution that is that make sense? Because like that the question around civil war and I mean, there were a couple of you brought it up, but in the chat my dad did and I and I can guess why cuz I would during all the BLM protest. He's right by the Capitol and in in North Carolina. Can I answer your father directly I forgot about that part. That yeah, that's a key question. Because look, I think most people underestimate how close we came to civil war, meaning that if it wasn't for Trump's inner circle, what he was asking people to do what he was asking Mike Pence to do to decertify election, if my Preston stand up and he said, Look, I'm going to send this back to the States. That could have been it. It could have been finished all over with, right. So if there weren't certain people who actually said look, this is going too far. If Trump's will was just follow through through it would have been that it would have been a he would have gone down as the Jefferson Davis of the 21st century, right. Like in terms of that, like it would have been that break. So I think that's a really serious question that I think that it's almost upsetting that the Democrats shouldn't say Democrats, the American public at large has not taken this threat to democracy as seriously as it is. I mean,

Unknown 22:36
and what happens a lot is that to even talk about it gets almost subsumed in partisan bickering. Right. Like it in terms of that you're a partisan for saying this, but no, this is not this goes beyond certain type of political opposition. And it goes to the heart of what it means to live in an informed democracy. Right. Like, I don't think people realize that Trump that Trump literally called the Secretary of State of Georgia and said find me votes.

Unknown 23:09
Right. I mean, that in and of itself, yeah.

Unknown 23:16
That people still don't think about the Mueller report. Right. That did not exonerate although that's been the kind of mythology but acknowledged there were certain types of connections between Russia, Russia and the Trump campaign. No

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Part 3

But he talks about this. I mean, they'll even talk about Gore versus bush. Right. But Gore had more votes in Florida than Bush is still that there's a history to this happening. If people do not take this seriously, I don't know how many threats to democracy that can happen before that, that by just human error or somebody one of the things that to get through in the country is going to go up in arms. So I think this idea of violence is really, really important in terms of that, and I want to go back to what Jeff said is that you know, the direction he went in terms of the idea of violence is an expression. Right, what's get to the cause, right? It is it that the root source, that is a symptom. Oscar Romeo talks about this too, that we have institutionalized violence, right? And to actually overcome that. You have to not just look at the that had the symptoms, you have to go to the root of that. And those are types of ideas of, of otherness, and non neighborliness in the human heart in in our Constitution, right? So part of what has to do in terms of just Christian teachings is to really have a new 21st century idea. Who is my neighbor and how I should relate to the person. Right, yeah.

Unknown 1:24
That's what I think what you know, in terms of this historical moment needs to happen. And I think there needs to be a shift from the idea of being a patriot to be an A citizen, right? Like, I think that's what evangelicals need to focus on. The idea of patriotism is almost this type of gets caught up in this type of idolatry and hubris about higher and better and American exceptionalism. Be the idea of what does it mean to be a citizen? How do I be a good citizen? Right, which is much more about the Kenyan tradition. I think we need to expand that and bring that into kind of Christian reflection, as a way of trying to talk about how to actually go forward in this country.

Unknown 2:09
Four years ago, no, no, I was about to set you up for telling a story. So go ahead. For four years ago, I was asked in a speaking to a group of methods, and I was asked what do you see the task of the church been in the coming days years and I said the task of the church is to prevent civil war.

Unknown 2:33
The structural fissures were there, they've been there. They've always been there. And right now, what is the main task of the church?

Unknown 2:47
And I don't know that I would answer that question any differently.

Unknown 2:51
And it may well be that we're in a will Campbell moment.

Unknown 2:57
For those of you who know the story, will Campbell he was he wrote a book called brother to a dragonfly.

Unknown 3:05
And in this book he has he's a profound social justice activist, deeply Christian, very Baptist. And he's working in Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia in the southern tier in 1963, and 64, and 65 and things are really bad.

Unknown 3:28
And at one point, he becomes convinced that the radicality of the gospel causes him to go and minister to the Ku Klux Klan.

Unknown 3:42
And I have never understood that, quite frankly. But I've always been sort of struck with the fact that I'm not sure that my own faith is deep enough to where if God said, Jeffrey, I want you to go to your local

Unknown 4:05
three percenters or Oathkeepers group, and I want you to minister to them.

Unknown 4:12
I don't know how I'd respond.

Unknown 4:15
But the place where the church needs to be and will have to be in the future to avoid Civil War, is they're going to have to be having some kind of relationships with the people who we are othering at this point, to try to try to build some kind of sense of community that we're all in this together. And if we don't stand together, we're going to fall apart. And and I'm not sanguine about the prospects for America in the next two to four years.

Unknown 4:48
I'm just not.

Unknown 4:50
My hope is that on the other side, the beloved community is is the polity of our new of our new world. But I'm not sanguine right now. Because the structures being built and if you listen to Steve Bannon, his war room, page, hatred and violence are being stoked. So if you talk about violence, there is a certain constellation of groups and communities right now that are stoking it that are feeding it that are encouraging it.

Unknown 5:27
And and if and if the church joins that on the other side, then it's joined in the demonic dance of destruction.

Unknown 5:37
But trip just listening to Bannon and then when you start going down into Reddit communities and other communities have the right wing they are waiting for the you know some boys to say yeah, go kill your enemy.

Unknown 5:55
And And the church has to speak to that the church has to dress dress that it's not right now. I mean, it's just and ultimately of angelical is are going to have to be responsible for other angelical like Republicans are going to have to be responsible for Republicans. There's a way out of where we are now, but it's going to have to take people that are more concerned about the life of society than their own political careers.

Unknown 6:21
A new vision of life togetherness, right? Yep, yeah. And trip you're a process person. So you know that the humans human species could just go and think and life could still go on.

Unknown 6:35
Right? Like if it doesn't, there's no necessity for human beings to inhabit the universe.

Unknown 6:42
Go without us. Once you get over the offense, that is a cosmological structure of grace that you don't intend to recognize.

Unknown 6:53
Yeah, we may not be the center of the story. Exactly. That's the point. The the hubris of our theology is that we put humans at the center of the story we make. I mean, yeah, their gut bacteria. They can't live without me, right? I mean, so maybe I'm, I'm not important except for their survival. Yeah, maybe you have to like just have a theology of life itself and like root for life and say life go on with our without human beings and we can as King says, we can come together as as sisters or brothers or perish together as fools trip. Was there a third constellation of questions? Yeah. It Okay. I'll give it to you. And then I'll, I'll say something so you can think about it. Because the third constellation and it there are a number of about like, how you respond personally, but the the question that stuck, and I Okay, basically, I read it, but I want to know, Mark, I mean, what what Adam and Jeff are gonna say it because Mark asked the question, he said, How do you pray in this moment?

Unknown 8:03
Now I'm not saying you should just like straight up pray on a zoom call. Because y'all aren't Baptist. You got an Episcopalian and Methodist now I'm bad. Again. Like it didn't take much effort to get me to pray in any situation. Pisco. Talian. Okay. Well, well, Adams Episcopalian to the works of the Catholic former. Yeah.

Unknown 8:25
You don't have you're not pilotis Stickley demonstrating your connection to the spirit by the ability for impromptu prayer as a sign of your elected pneus. So I'm not trying to put anyone on the spot but think about like how you pray in this moment. If you're at in the in the the way maths question was, how do you pray so that you're both uncomfortable and honest at the same time?

Unknown 8:58
Good question. And the thing I like because the thing that came into my mind listening to both of you around I mean, your response to the question of violence in this moment is So, and this came up in our last conversation, both of you mentioned it, I think I can't remember who mentioned it first. But Adam responded that part of the power of the civil rights movement, was it a community insisted upon the beloved community. And so King didn't speak on his own. Right. There's a community behind it. And part of the struggle for Bonhoeffer was there was no community in resisting in his context, and so he felt pushed to this extreme.

Unknown 9:49
And so when we start to ask the question of islands, and then what does that mean? And because it'd be civil war and all these type of things, in our present moment.

Unknown 9:59
My observation listening to you last time in this time is part of preparing for the the context of extremes or finding the people you live life together, when your d values are shared, such that when you're being faithful to them, you have allies.

Unknown 10:21
And because allies infidelity are like multiplications, not just editions, right, like so. It and and I think that one of the situations we've been in from lockdown leading into this is that people feel more and more isolated.

Unknown 10:47
Now, granted, I'm in Scotland, so you have to like book a ticket to be one of the few people that gave up the worship, if you want to go in person.

Unknown 10:57
But a lot of people have been isolated and out side of that worshiping community where you have physical community.

Unknown 11:05
I've only had physical communion once and the last 27 months. And I served it in a cathedral that was ticketed, you know, and I hadn't missed worship, more than twice a year, the entire rest of my life.

Unknown 11:27
And I'm someone that does this, and then teach us like, the way you could get isolated and not actually spend time with the community that goes the story The world tells us it's true, is this and it does lead to a civil war. It does lead to violence. It does lead to enemies that deserve death.

Unknown 11:52
But the true story is this.

Unknown 11:57
Well, he came to the Baptist, John the Baptist, and he was baptized in this in this in the sky opened up.

Unknown 12:08
And the voice of the Father said this is my son, my beloved in whom I'm well pleased and then he was tempted with visions of being the Christ that involve coercion and power. And he said no, and then he walked out and said, Come to me who are heavy laden, right? And he went to people who thought they were cast out and shamed and said the kingdom of God is here. And then he said, Woe to this. The powerful and blessing are the like, I think the vision of the kingdom of God is one that is so true, but it only hums when it resonates between image bearers and I think one of the tragedies of the last year in the year before it is it isolates people. And the isolation is something that neoliberal capitalism and all the anxieties of manufacturers seizes on.

Unknown 13:12
And then it says squeeze religion and spirituality in that.

Unknown 13:16
And then one of the testimonies of cone black prophetic church, Bonhoeffer the Confessing Church do is a insists that you can't speak the name of Christ outside of a community. Jesus wasn't the Christ alone. He literally called disciples before he started his mission. And then at Pentecost, he didn't just go the the spirit and just show up. He gathered the community. He taught them the kingdom of God again, right, and then goes, wait until the Spirit comes and then it ceases them all. And, and so I think the anxiety of isolation and fear and division leads to the is violence our only option but I would just say, remember that we've been cut off from community, the community Jeff talked about when he was talking about the experience of communion, the beloved community, Adam was echoing from King that like, if you believe that as an that we each bear the image of God, then it is amplified when we gather together with neighbors and strangers and enemies.

Unknown 14:35
And it's not magic.

Unknown 14:37
It's not weird. It's just the power that comes when we start to resonate hum and participate in the one who knows us and loves us completely and calls us into a way of being that God has desired for us from the very beginning.

Unknown 14:57
And in violence is what happens when you demand a solution from an individual that only comes in community.

Unknown 15:12
And this could set up for running through Genesis as examples for how this works out. But I just want to say that because when an individual sees the situation, and they're the only actor violence makes sense, because they see the real problem.

Unknown 15:33
But what they don't recognize is that we were never meant to act alone. were meant to act together. And so what are we baptized into the body? What do we participate in the mind of Christ? What are we called into a new creation? All those images mean we do it in community and I feel like at this moment when we're sitting here, thinking about a growing expansion, the ability to reconnect with the anxiety and fears of struggles that we've cultivated in this time.

Unknown 16:10
Realize that as people of faith, it is in the presence of other people, the bare other elements of divine image within them. The word a partner for something beautiful.

Unknown 16:25
And that doesn't mean it's going to be easy or struggle free.

Unknown 16:30
It just means you were never the solution for your problems that you thought you were.

Unknown 16:36
We were never meant to be alone. And like recognizing that I think reframes the story we tell ourselves because I mean, I don't want to like give examples of things people sent or read my prayer journals out to you from lockdown. But so often when you're cut off, from the very places that God blesses you in the day to day in relationships, then you start to think your experiential horizon is the actual horizon of possibility. And that collapse leads to justifications of ugliness.

Unknown 17:18
Now, those are vamping sermon to set up for

Unknown 17:26
Adam and Jeff answering the prayer question but so if both of you are thinking about this moment, like what is your advice for prayer a praying prayers that are honest about our situation?

Unknown 17:43
And calling us to what fidelity looks like?

Unknown 17:47
Yeah, well, personally, I pray every day and I do contemplative prayer. First of all, that that's that sermon made me want to go back to church. I haven't been to church.

Unknown 17:58
I mean, I go to church virtually all the time. Yeah, actually a couple of church services but I don't have physically grabbed back the chair since the pandemic, not least, not any routine basis. But for me, you know, I'm informed by Ignatius spiritual exercises, right like part of in the pandemic, people talk about physical exercise. But I think the life of the Spirit is also a kind of spiritual exercise, right? Being a spiritual athlete. So for for me, you know, I don't know if I would call it it's prayer and contemplation. So I'll just tell you what works for me. It the desire or the impulse to prayer is not for me some type of, you know, anti violent act and per se, it's more of a type of way of trying to talk about centering in union. Right, so I begin with gratitude.

Unknown 18:54
Right, I begin each day with gratitude. What am I grateful for? Right and reflect on that. Right and it could be the smallest thing it could be the smile on somebody's face. It could be the food that I could be the air that I bribe breathe. It could be completing a task, right? False to me. It's the economy of attention. What am I paying attention to? Right? That's part of part of actually I think living life in the Spirit is about attentiveness. So much of the world that our cell phones every tree gets us distracted. But what prayer does for me, is helped me focus my attention on what matters most. Right so to me, I begin each day in gratitude. Right? And then I go to certain types of you know, praying about my own personal limits, or shortcomings. And then I go to the healing of people who I know are in pain.

Unknown 19:57
And then for me, you know, I focus on if I'm talking about a social justice image, I used to focus on beloved community as a way of trying to talk about what I believe history, the end is coming to what needs to come to, but I've written lately been working with the world soul, or the pulse of the universe, as a way of trying to as a focal image of me trying to wrestle what does it mean to bear witness to the world, so to be a beneficial presence? Right. Those are the type of questions I asked in my prayer. So my prayer isn't so much of looking at, you know, a certain type of political construct per se.

Unknown 20:44
It's about trying to live in a or it's about re orientating my spirit, my soul, where I believe I'm being led to serve, right so it gives a certain type of adjustment for me. So that's my personal practice. I don't know if it works for anybody else. But that's what I've been doing in terms of of grounding and centering me throughout the pandemic.

Unknown 21:17
I'm trying to I mean, I'm trying to think about the best way to answer that question.

Unknown 21:22
And I don't know where this comes from my EV angelical Pentecostal days, but I swear to God, it just feels like there's not a time in my day that I don't feel like I'm in prayer.

Unknown 21:34
In some ways, now the tension does get concentrated in the first hour or two of the day when I'm taking a really long walk are trying to get some exercise in and I'm doing something mindless.

Unknown 21:51
And then at night, as resting, but, you know, it just seems like there's this consciousness throughout the entire day.

Unknown 21:59
How do I manifest your presence in this?

Unknown 22:04
How do I make this a space for something redemptive to happen or a moment of grace?

Unknown 22:15
You know, so I mean, I even my entire life gets interpreted through those lands. So I watched Ted lasso. And I'm like, this thing has more grace in it than Christian churches do.

Unknown 22:26
Look at what he just said that the guy that just said he hates him and thinks he's a ball of spirit. What can I learn here? How did I offend you? What can I learn here? And that that moment hits me like, God what what is that? Am I that graceful to other human beings in my interaction? So there's, you know, there's actually a way in which the honesty part is where it gets tricky, right? Because we all project our images, no matter who we are. You know, Meister Eckhart one time said that humans love God the way of farmer loves its cow, because it gives him milk and cheese.

Unknown 23:09
And, and try to keep thinking about prayer life in a certain way of not asking for but how do I manifest how, how can I be a presence that you move through and more often than not, I fail?

Unknown 23:26
Because I have a congenital snarkiness that probably prevents that.

Unknown 23:33
Grace from moving through but but but I think it's the honesty question and trip I just want to say that I feel for you with you that loss of community. I haven't been in church for 18 months or longer, longer. Almost 20 months March of 2020.

Unknown 24:00
And so I feel that lack of community in deep and profound ways and I hope that at some point we start to move out of it now we can, you know, we all of us, we we create communities on zoo, we create other communities you know, as we can, and I'm glad we had the technology to do that. But it's not the same as the embodied.

Unknown 24:24
Part. Right. I agree. I agree. You know, one thing I want I want to add to this is that Walter Rasha Bush talked about how they, he said the kingdom of God starts on the inside, and then unfolds externally.

Unknown 24:43
You know, and that image has always stuck with me. And I think for me, you know, prayers, not some type of wish list, but what it does for me is it centers me so I'm not reactive to the way everything's thrown at me during the date. I've come from my center. One of the things I think progressives have have a hard time doing is they know what they're against, but they don't know what they're for. In prayer helps me understand what I'm for right? It clears up so I can actually be affirmative and not just reactionary against that, right. So that part of like, the challenge when you're actually in battle all the time, is I don't want white supremacy, which which I'm critiquing to be so dominant in my consciousness, that I become part of the very thing I'm entangled with. You let your enemy define you. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I just don't want that to happen. So if you're actually someone who actually is an activist, right, you always run that danger of becoming part of the evil that you're struggling against. Right? That's why so many colonial situations, we reproduce the very colonialism you struggle against, right? So I think what prayer does for me, it disentangles that kind of stuff for me, so that I could actually be a more loving and more just a more courageous person in my personal life. Right. And that kind of spreads, you know, socially than always be reactionary to the latest outrage that occurs every day. I think that's where in terms of what I try to and I'm in a lot of contemplative groups and spiritual groups. And for me, Howard Thurman was an entry point into the way to to actually talk about he talked about disciplines of the spirit. Right and in terms of commitment, and courage and that kind of thing. And and I think that's really, really important. Because progressives like to talk about social justice, but not talk about personal transformation or character. And I think there needs to be much more robust conversation about the significance of that because we've all met progressive jerks, all right, mean progressives or Mean Greens, in terms of that and I think that's where they don't have on that type of internal development. They got the politics is right. But the personal orientation is all off and I think we need to be you know, more, we have to have a more robust conversation about that.

Unknown 27:17
So we're gonna close out now, but I just want to briefly say thank you to both of you.

Unknown 27:25
I mean, I really hope we're closing out all the impact of COVID on everything.

Unknown 27:31
But both of you were parts of reading groups that like kept me sane, but also meant I got to hang out with a friend and read other friends. You know what I mean? Like, when I'm reading Bahnhof with Jeff, or reading Cohn with Adam. It's like our third friend that's on a text is there and in lockdown in a country where there's only one person that I knew more than two years I guess at this point, like they're except my family, like the fact that we got to read texts from bankers. I've been reading forever. And then talk about it with a friend has been a sheer joy in the fact that so many people have connected to doing homebrew and reading groups over that time, probably because a lot of them got figured out how to use Zoom just to talk to their family. And then we're like but I'm still bored. And I'm a nerd. So I'll do this, but I, I mean, I feel like one of the reasons I'm saying and Alicia makes jokes about this. Like even tonight. She's like, Oh, good. Now I don't have to like try to listen to your theology lecture, had dinner again.

Unknown 28:52
Go talk to them.

Unknown 28:55
And so it just really is it's been really meaningful to me that view, not just as friends but also conversation partners and then agree to do them. I'm super pumped about the upcoming one. Next week on legacy of James Cohn with Adam and I.

Unknown 29:19
Anyway, I just really appreciate both of you your responses. Have been beautiful.

Unknown 29:24
We got to about 1/4 of the topics I thought we're gonna talk about so I'm sure we could do this again.

Unknown 29:31
But it you know, that I mean, when you said it, Jeff about like how little access you have to community like the one time I've been to a church and this entire lockdown was when I preached it the cathedral. Dear the summer, my parents were here. So my parents were here. I hadn't seen them in forever. And I'm preaching a digital. I didn't know when I started preaching that I was supposed to serve. Community. It was like, you know, super high church angles. And so I didn't even know what I'm supposed to, oh, gosh, I I broke all sorts of rules. And it was clear when people were coming up to me that there was concern on their faces as to if I knew what I was doing, but just in serving communion to people plenty of them probably hadn't received it in forever. As me I just I, I became the awkward Southerner who preached a sermon with jovial stories they probably weren't used to because it was a giant cathedral. And I'm now tearing up that I'm serving the Eucharist. The people that haven't had it forever. And I don't know. I say I only say that just because I think a lot of people it will. Right now where we it was like a lot of things got pushed on the menu. The same time we've had our limbs cut off. And so we're like that, the Black Knight and and Monty Python's quest for the Holy Grail, pretending that it's just a scratch or a flesh wound.
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