Winn Collier is the pastor of All Souls Charlottesville, and he just wrote an "epistolary novel" called Love Big, Be Well: Letters To a Small Town Church, which I devoured in 3 hours. Winn is a pastor's pastor, with a sacramental, hopeful outlook on what it means to be faithful in an age that is being formed by the dumpster fire that is social media.  

This was the first time that Winn and I talked, but from the very beginning, I knew he was a kindred spirit. If you need to get a sense of hope, this is the person to listen to. Then go out and get this book - it feels like coming home.  

You can connect with Winn on his website, on Facebook, or Instagram.

Music on today's episode is by Sara Groves (He's Always Been Faithful)

Enjoy!  

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Nearly three hundred years ago, a young preacher by the name of Jonathan Edwards gave a sermon called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," which has aruably become the most influential sermon in the history of the Evangelical church. In it, he says “The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.”

Lovely image.

Brian Zahnd is the founding pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. When he was in his twenties, he was greatly affected by Edwards' vision of God as angry, violent and retributive. "What I did know was that I liked Jesus," Zahnd says, "But I was really scared of his Dad, the faceless white giant with obvious anger issues." 

In his brand new book, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News, Zahnd paints a very different, very biblical portrait of God: one that looks like Jesus. In it, he asks questions like: Is seeing God primarily as wrathful toward sinners true or biblical? Is fearing God a normal expected behavior? And where might the natural implications of this theological framework lead us? 

I loved this book, and I loved my conversation with Brian. 

Enjoy! 

Oh, and Here is the hilarious and poignant youtube video of "Fyodor Dostoyevsky" reviewing Brian's book. 

Music on today's episode is by Masss (Silver Collar

 

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Carlos A. Rodriquez was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and he's traveling there early next week with as many water filters as possible so that people can have access to clean water. Please join me by donating here so that Carlos can get thousands of water filters to people in need. They cost $13 apiece, so please consider being generous! 

Carlos is a pastor in North Carolina, and he's also the author of Simply Sonship, and his brand new book, Drop The Stones.

Oh, and make sure to check out his podcast - he has had some amazing conversations with people like Brian Zahnd, Brian McLaren, Richard Rohr, and others. 

Carlos is hilarious, deep, gentle, and I loved my conversation with him. Enjoy! 

The music on today's episode is from Stefan Van Voorst (Halfway).

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September 20, 2017

Episode 113: Forgiveness

Let's be honest: Forgiveness is so very hard. 

I suppose that we all know that letting go would be of some value to our own personal well being; we just can't seem to be able to do it. Or maybe you've been to church and you were told that you "had to" forgive, which only heaped shame and guilt on your already burdened shoulders.

So let's not do that.

But let's talk about forgiveness. What isn't it? What is it? And how can we move towards it, even when it feels impossible? 

Enjoy. 

Music on today's episode is from my brilliant friend Matt Moberg (Tangled Up)

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September 14, 2017

Episode 112: Richard Rohr

Richard Rohr is a Franciscan Friar, and the author of many bestselling books, including Everything Belongs, Falling Upward, and The Divine Dance. I met him last summer when a few other pastors spent a weekend with Father Richard at the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was hilarious, wise, deep, generous with his time, and we all loved our time with him. So when I reached out to him to be on the podcast, and he graciously agreed, I couldn't wait to share him with you. He's one of the most influential theologians of the 21st century, and is way ahead of his time. 

Enjoy!

Music on today's podcast is The Prayer of St. Francis, performed by Meredith Van Voorst. 

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This is the second time I've had Seth on the podcast - I love this guy. September is National Recovery month, so in this episode, we talked about how his understanding of sobriety has matured since Coming Clean: A Story of Faith came out two years ago. We talked about the foundational principle that God has created everything for good - including sex and beer. But we also talked about the pursuit of the deeper desire of intimacy with Christ that seems both elusive and right in front of our face. 

Enjoy the podcast! 

And then connect with Seth on his website, or by subscribing to his Tiny Letters, or by joining his Patreon Community. And make sure to grab a copy of Coming Clean.

Music on today's episode is from Andy Gullahorn (Song: I Want to Be Well). 

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August 31, 2017

Episode 110 | Dialogue

Emotions are so raw right now. White supremacy, CNN, Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Fake News, Fox & Friends, Antifa, President Trump, Nashville Statement... the list goes on and on.

We all know what instant reaction looks like.

What does dialogue look like? Is it possible to learn more about each other, even while holding wildly differing views? How do we give dignity to someone when we disagree? How do we learn from someone even if we don't change our mind? 

In this episode, I talk about tangible ways to enter into dialogue with "the other" - not necessarily to adopt their point of view, but to humanize them instead of caricaturing them. 

Enjoy. 

Music on this episode is from Stefan Van Voorst (song: Love Will Show its Face

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August 24, 2017

Episode 109 | Whole, Part 2

"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 Worldwhich just released 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. This is part 2. You can listen to Part 1 here.

Enjoy! 

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

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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.

Enjoy! 

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

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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). 

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