August 17, 2017

Episode 108 | Whole, Part 1

"When something shatters, the broken pieces find their way into hidden cracks and crevices. Then they end up inside of us, causing pain, especially to the most vulnerable. It’s easy to walk past the fragments of brokenness. We’re busy and overwhelmed. And maybe that particular piece of jagged glass hasn’t hurt you. But it is hurting someone.

Last night, I watched a video showing a five-year-old boy in Aleppo, Syria, being pulled from a burning building and placed in an ambulance. His home had just been bombed, and he was covered in dust, stunned. The left side of his face was bloody, but he didn’t say a word. He didn’t cry. He simply touched his face with his hand and then wiped that blood on the orange seat where he sat.

Who is going to pull the jagged glass out of his mouth?

I’m a pastor, and I live in the suburbs, far away from buildings that get bombed. But I see jagged glass everywhere. Last Sunday at church, a dad came up to me with tears in his eyes. “He’s back in treatment,” he choked out, speaking of his youngest son and the addiction that keeps getting the best of him. I hugged this brokenhearted dad, prayed with him, and held him as he cried."

That's from the preface of my second book, Whole: Restoring What is Broken in Me, You, and the Entire World, which is set to release on Tuesday, August 22nd. This one took a long time to write. Lots of editing, lots of head scratching in front of a blinking cursor. I felt lost a lot of the time. But I'm really, really proud of what came together. 

My good friend Becky read it several weeks ago, and we spent about an hour discussing what went into writing this book, and why it's important for this time in our world. Part 2 will be next week.


Music from this week's episode is from Joel Hanson (song: Let Me Tell You Everything). 


Esther Emery was lost: her marriage was a mess, her career had stalled out, and she didn't know what to do. So she decided to go off of the internet for a year. A YEAR. 

Then she wrote a book about that experience, and it's gorgeous, thoughtful, and challenging. Her book is called What Falls from the Sky: How I Disconnected from the Internet and Reconnected with the God Who Made the Clouds. It's so good. 

Here's what Sarah Bessey has to say about Esther's book:

"You've never read a book like this one: frankly self-deprecating, boldly complex, intense, joyfully honest, devastatingly beautiful, heartbreakingly funny. What Falls From the Sky is about so much more than one woman's year without the internet, it's about marriage and choices, faith and rest, community and family, grief and hope, food and dirt, all the thigns that make our lives worth living. It is impossible to live an unexamined life with Esther as your friend. She is completely herself and so her story sings of freedom within the silence and even within the noise."

I loved my conversation with Esther, and I think you will, too. Get in touch with Esther and all she does by visiting her website

The music on today's episode is from Nichole Nordeman (Beautiful Day). 


I wasn't ready for how much I would enjoy my conversation with Science Mike - I've heard his voice a bunch on his own podcast (Ask Science Mike) and The Liturgists - his story is expansive, rich, beautiful, and hopeful. We talked about God, fundamentalism, Spiral Dynamics, America, and... Ghostbusters. 

Mike McHargue (better known as Science Mike) is an author, podcaster, and speaker who travels the world helping people understand the science of life's most profound experiences. His bestselling debut book, Finding God in the Waves, has helped thousands understand faith in the 21st century.

Mike hosts Ask Science Mike, a weekly question and answer podcast helping hundreds of thousands explore the questions they've always been afraid to ask. He cohosts The Liturgists Podcast with his friend Michael Gungor. With over a million downloads per month, The Liturgists Podcast is reshaping how the spiritually homeless and frustrated relate to God.

Mike frequently appears before sold-out audiences in New York, Chicago, and London. He's a favorite for churches, colleges, and conferences exploring the intersection of science and faith, with recent stops at The University of Georgia, Mars Hill Church (Grand Rapids), The Wild Goose Conference, and Google. Mike is a frequent contributor to RELEVANT magazine, Storyline, BioLogos, and The Washington Post. He's also a frequent guest on radio program and podcasts worldwide, including recent interviews on SiriusXM and NPR.

Mike McHargue is one of those rare voices that can speak knowledgeably and authentically about both science and faith. He's a for anyone looking to dig deeper into doubt, atheism, and how God rewires our brains. Mike's mix of honesty, humor, and affability allow him to connect with remarkably diverse audiences.


I've been enjoying my sporadic series on God - I hope you have, too. In case you missed the first two episodes, here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2.

In this episode, I talked about the inevitable association that nearly all of us will have with a religious tribe - that group of people with whom we share spiritual affinity, similar beliefs, and shared values. I also talked about what happens when you feel like you no longer fit within that tribe, how to process that in a healthy way, and how to move into something different. I talked about how to lose your tribe without losing your faith. 

I talked about closed systems, broken systems, and open systems.

I talked about what Jesus was really talking about when he said he didn't come to bring peace, but a sword, and that you're supposed to hate your father and mother. 

And I talked about how to graciously keep growing, even when it's confusing to you and everybody else. 

Enjoy the podcast. 

P.S. I also mentioned my new book that's coming out on August 22nd! Take a look

Music on today's episode by my good friend Matt Moberg. 


Tsh Oxenreider (yep, that's how you spell it) is the author of Notes from a Blue Bike, Organized Simplicity, and At Home in the Word: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe. She's also the founder of the community blog The Art of Simple, and she hosts the top ranked podcast The Simple Show

Tsh and her husband Kyle and their three kids sold their house, put their furniture in storage, and spent nine months traveling the globe. They went to China, Singapore, Australia, Uganda, France, Croatia, and beyond, "world-schooling" their kids (look it up, it's a thing) and experiencing wanderlust and contentment. 

I loved catching up with Tsh, and I think you'll be inspired by her story of adventure alongside ordinariness. 


Paul Pastor is a writer living in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge. His writing on Christian spirituality has won numerous awards and critical recognition for its beauty, insight, and depth. Paul just released The Listening Day: Meditations on the Way, Volume One. In it are 91 reflections, meditations, and thougths on the bible and spirituality - you might call it a poetic devotional for those who think devotionals lack beauty and depth. This book is thoughtful, lyrical, and beautiful. I enjoyed my conversation with Paul, and I think you will, too. Paul is also providing a free 12-week group discussion guide based on The Listening Day. Download for free here.


On this week's episode, I chatted with my friend Stu G, who has just released a beautiful record and also a book into the world, centered on the paradoxical teachings of Jesus in the beatitudes - blessed are the poor, those who mourn, the merciful, the meek, which directly contrasts today's measures of who is blessed and who is not. I've had the chance to sit around a campfire late into the night with Stu, who is brilliant, humble, and so gifted. Here's what Stu G has to say about words:

I am in love with words - a would-be poet even - but am often at a loss for what to say. I used to think I spoke best through my guitar, but I now see how easy it is to hide behind the ambiguity of music. I am more enthralled by the power of words, which can bring life and death. Words are dangerous - even controversial - depending on how they are used or interpreted. Like the teaching of Jesus, I want to be challenged - though it can be painful and fearful. And I want to challenge others - encouraging them to take risks and embrace adventure, to share their hopes and fears, and to live the questions to the answers they seek. I myself am a thinker who is always questioning, always wrestling, always trying to find a better way. I used to live for the future, like weekends or holidays. I used to say, ‘One day I will do this or that.’ But all we have been promised is today. ‘Today is the day of salvation,’ says St. Paul. In an age of social media, we need to work at being present to others, to the task at hand, and to stay in the moment - living for eternity but in the here and now. The new ‘now’ for me is one of community and collaboration - of creating with and performing for a wider group of people. I’m passionate about the connection we make when God inhabits the creative space between artists and seekers. For me this is an authentic expression of church and a foretaste of heaven.


Check out more information about Stu's book, record, and upcoming film here.

You can support me on Patreon here.

My work:

I host a weekly podcast. I wrote a book. I have a website. I am the pastor at a great little church. I am sometimes available to travel to hang with your tribe to help you all become more you. And yes, I do Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Oh, and if you’d like to stay up to date with my writing and events and such, you can subscribe to my email list. There. We’re all caught up.


Stephan Bauman is a new friend who has written a courageous new book called Break Open The Sky: Saving Our Faith From a Culture of Fear.  Stephan is the former President of World Relief, and he has seen firsthand in some of the most difficult places in the world how it is possible to embrace love in the face of fear. He describes his book this way: "An expedition into living a life of authentic faith, free from the fear that so often plagues our faith communities. We can either turn away or choose to be brave. The journey is not for the faint of heart. 

As I have gotten to know Stephan, what I appreciate most is that his fierce message is wrapped in his own humility. He's gentle and winsome, and therefore I am finding his message irresistible. 

Enjoy the podcast. 

Music on today's episode is by Andy Gullahorn (Song: If You Want to Love Someone).


For the 100th episode, my brothers in law (Joel and Adam) decided to turn the tables and interview me. I'd say I was nervous, but that would be lying. I had a blast and I couldn't wait to do it. We talked curiosity, God, writing, my next book, creativity, and so many other things. 100 episodes????? Whaaaaaat????

Music on today's episode is by Joel Hanson (Song: Keep On Singing).


So, let's talk about God. What is God? Where is God? Who is God? And how does God inhabit our stories, our hopes, our fears and our dreams? Where is God taking all of this, if God is taking all of this anywhere at all? 

In this series - and I have no idea how many episodes it will take - I'm going to do what I do: I'm going to share my own journey of understanding God, I'm going to talk about some odd, poignant and interesting stories in the Scriptures, and I'm going to invite you to show up with your story as well. 

In the second episode of this series, I talked about the universal temptation to label and judge everything in comparison to something else, and to decide that one is good, and one is bad. We learn this as children, and it's very helpful. But if we don't learn to hold the tension of two seemingly opposing thoughts, we'll always choose sides, we'll only seek out the facts that support our side, and we'll dehumanize the other side (the enemy). There's a better way. Enjoy! 

Music on today's episode was by Grayshot (Song: You Know the Way). 


Load more