90 - Finding God's Life for My Will with Mike Donehey/Transcript

Note: Can I Say This at Church is produced for audio listening. If able, I strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which has inflection, emotion, sarcasm where applicable, and emphasis for points that may not come across well in written word. This transcript is generated using a combination of my ears and software, and may contain errors. Please check the episode for clarity before quoting in print.

Seth Happy Monday, I mean this comes out on Monday so I'm gonna assume that you downloaded on Monday, and if not happy whatever day it happens to be. I am Seth, this is the Can I Say This At Church podcast and let's do this thing.

A few weeks ago on Brad Jersak’s episode someone that is engaged with the show had commented (on Facebook)

“you know another great conversation that I can't listen to” because of audio impairments. I realized he was right and so what I did was I went in and I transcribed all of Brad Jersak’s episode, last week's episode with Clare I also transcribed. I'm finding little nuances there that I didn't see before but this episode also, if you go to www.canIsaythisatchurch.com click on the episode link and right at the beginning, right underneath the little animated play button to play the episode, will be a link to the transcription as well as in the show notes at the bottom-there will be a link to the transcription.

Tell your friends if you know someone that can't really discuss these things, can't listen to the podcast or anything like it, and you feel like they may benefit from a conversation like what is happening here. Let them know that I am transcribing now. Any episode before Brad Jersak eventually will be transcribed, I have no idea how I'm gonna do that that's a lot of hours of transcription-maybe I'll crowdsource the help.

It's a thing that I am happy to do it & is worth the time; and to be honest I'm slightly disappointed in myself that I didn't think about it prior but like most things unless, they directly impact you…you just have blinders on. To that gentleman thank you for bringing it to my attention and to everyone else let your friends know it's there, take advantage of it, I know I certainly am going to.

I really like having the text there has been a few new things added to the store at the website as well get you something there are some really cool things. I know I've seen you know people on Facebook and whatever taking pictures of what they're wearing and supporting the show in that way.

Those shirts those mugs they tend to start conversations not necessarily about the podcast but about God and faith and I love that, absolutely love that.

Mike Donehey is, well you'll hear in the episode and, I've listened to his music for a long time and it was an absolute privilege to have him come on to the show. So you'll hear a lot of people use that platitude of “its just God's will this happened because it's God's will” or “of course this happened because if it's the will of God it's got to be easier you know he shuts this door and opens that door”. And that's not quite right and so Mike has a book that is coming out man, it might already be out by the time that you hear this, called finding God's Life for My Will and that play on words is intentional. In this conversation you can hear some beautiful stories…

We laugh quite a bit, which I love it when I can laugh with a guest…love those, but mostly you're gonna hear just genuine conversation about what God's will even means. Is that a question that we should even ask? So I hope that you really enjoyed this conversation with Mike Donehey here we go…


Seth Mike Donehey, welcome to the show. I'm excited to talk with you for a couple reasons A: I didn't know that you wrote books B: I didn't know that we were about the same age. C: reading through a lot of your book, well when I say reading I mean briefly skimming I do want to be transparent, and the kind of the stories that you tell at, least in that first section or the first sections I relate a lot to l. So welcome to the show. I'm extremely excited to talk to you I'm glad you're here man.

Mike Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Seth My wife and I actually saw you and your band, gosh, a couple months ago when you were in Charlottesville. I don't know what it was called “big night out”…no no “big tour out” big…big something big. It was at John Paul Jones Arena. I think we were the first one on the tour, and if I remember right somebody, I think was Michael W Smith, like his mic did not work at all.

Mike Haa! That was that was The Road Show.

Seth that's what it was, yeah yeah! We had a blast man. When we left I actually told my wife…I was…I've never seen Tenth Avenue North, although you are, the album that you had come out (gasps) what's it called?… You have bleached blond hair on the cover

Mike Over and Underneath!

Seth Yeah, there it is, couldn't think of what it was called.

Mike First one!

Seth Yeah so that is my soundtrack every time I paint one of the kids bedrooms because that was the soundtrack of painting my son's bedroom; and so it became the soundtrack of painting my daughters and my other daughter.

Mike Aweee!

Seth So every time I that's the, I don't know, why but that is that soundtrack takes me back to that moment of… “I'm about to be a dad!”. I don't know why it was that soundtrack, I'm sure there was a data storage issue and it's all that I had downloaded offline but it doesn't really matter that is that's become that soundtrack. All of that to say-been a fan for a long time.

Mike I hope that my music is synonymous with fertility…

Seth (laughter) why?

Mike Oh, you know I just wanted to be like just robust and spilling over with life.

Seth Ahhh…yeah…we already… I don't often play on the title of the show but we're already really close to that line, like.

Mike Bro. I live on that line…you don’t even know.

Seth So for those that don't know that you sing, or don't know anything about you, if I was to break you down into small parts and you're like alright I got 90 seconds which really you can take as many seconds as you want. What is it that makes you you and then how does that like inform your faith; what what matters and how did it get there?

Mike Well I was a middle child but the eldest male. I'm an Enneagram 4…I'm thinking of all like you know the titles have just been handed upon me

Seth mm-hmm

Mike I love…the thing that makes me, me, is I love when I see a light bulb go on for someone; particularly when that light bulb is freeing you from unnecessary shame that you've carried for a long time.

Seth hmm

Mike Does that make sense?

Seth yeah yeah I want to circle back to that. What are those points in your life though that have shaped you religiously isn't the word that I want to use. Spiritually also isn't the word I want to use. But what are those, those, things that when you think back you're like: “This moment right here…” this is where I began to become…at least whatever you are now. I'm a big fan of believing that the Christian that I'll be in a decade is probably going to be different than the one that I am now, and if not I'm a little sad for faith.

Mike Oh, bro. You're in good company.

I remember a conversation with my dad when I drove a big wheel down my front road, the road right outside my front house. And you're you're near Charlottesville, I grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Seth Yeah I actually live right outside Staunton, it’s a much smaller city right at the base of the Wintergreen Ski resort there.

Mike Hot dog man! Yeah I know Wintergreen…I learned to snowboard at Wintergreen.

Seth I've never be on a snowboard up there, I'm brittle and old and it’s not happening, not happening.

Mike osteoporosis like…?

Seth yes

Mike So conversation with my dad like I knew I was bad and I knew I needed someone to save me from my spankings. So those early conversations like that whole like “Jesus will be your savior” it's like okay cool yeah I can get into that. I definitely want someone else to take my spankings because I got a lot of them. Then I would say a couple like inexplicable sort of experiences one would be my freshman year a high school I went to a young life camp and I sat out on this lake and there was a heat lightning storm and for lack of better words I felt the presence of God.

I felt like I was connected to this Great Being who loved me even though I was this little peon in the universe, right. And then my senior high school, and I write about it in my book, I got in a near-fatal car accident. Got thrown out of a car, broke my back in 2 places, broke my head, and you know I flat-lined five times on the way to the hospital. That was the first time I went, “Oh man. I am fragile and life is fragile”.

There's this verse in the book of Job that it's actually one of his friends…there's kind of like ranting about what he thinks about God. So it's a weird verse but it basically says if it was God's intention and he withdrew his breath all mankind returned to the dust. So getting in a near-fatal car accident senior high school is this revelatory moment of “wow I am dust and I'm gonna die and if I'm breathing it's a gift”, right? And then I get him to college and I start I went to like a private Christian school called Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Seth mm-hmm

Mike Which most kids go to just because the word beach is in the title

Seth and the other 20% are there because they were forced to go by their parents.

Mike Yeah and those people I usually fail out the first semester. There's a very high Freshman flunk out rate at Palm Beach Atlantic, unfortunately. But I went all four years I loved it. My first day on campus there's this group of kids who are just just worshiping and praying right outside my dorm room and I looked over my balcony I went, “man there's a lot of good-looking girls down there”. There were guys playing guitar and I just started learning to play the guitar after having my near-fatal car accident in high school because I had to lay on my back for two months, waiting for my back to heal. And while waiting for my back to heal that's the first time I asked for a guitar. So I didn't start playing guitar until I was 18 years old

Seth hmm

Mike So I got to freshman year of college and I was like man. There are these good looking girls and these guys who play guitar…these good-looking girls are singing with them so I need to get better at the guitar. And with all that mixed motivation, I again, like my freshman year high school sitting there with 50 kids experienced this sort of supernatural, effectual, presence that I didn't have any other explanation for. And I saw things in that freshmen year college, when usually people are experimenting and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. I got really into prayer, and really into worship, and we would three or four times a night five of us or 50 of us would gather in this little outdoor amphitheater outside my freshmen room and just pray for each other and worship and sing. I just experienced a feeling that I'd never really experienced before.

Seth mm-hmm. I relate a lot to that. So we talked a bit earlier and so I went to Liberty and had a very similar experience with guys and guitars and you know attractive women. So one of the questions that…so we buried the lead…so the name of your book is is a play on words. Which I do want to ask you about in a minute, Finding God's Life for My Will and the question I'll ask you is…I don't really want to know why the play on words I just don't know what you mean by finding God's life and then how that relates to any choice that I want to make. However, we'll table that for a second. So at the amphitheater if it's anything like Liberty and you know the flock that I was around what would be the ratio of, you know “real worship music” you know Heart of Worship, Chris Tomlin, maybe a bit of that..you know…the early stuff there. And then you'd have you know More than Words and maybe Enrique Iglesias. You know just the G C D (chords) things. So what would be that ratio there between - if I just twist these words a bit - it could be a worship song, but really it's just an Enrique Iglesias song or Extremes More Than Words. You know, just to get somebody to swoon. Like what would be that ratio there at your university.

Mike Honestly, in those little moments, it was like 15 percent Enrique and trying to think Lifehouse was popular you know at that time;

Seth absolutely yeah falling even more in love with you

Mike yeah absolutely. We weren't even to Tomlin yet, there was this record called Enter The Worship circle if you remember that?

Seth I do yeah that was the one that was a raindrop…right? That's hitting down and it's a raindrop I think yeah I

Mike Yeah, I don't remember the cover. I just remember playing those songs to my fingers bled.

Seth mm-hmm

Mike and those were the, those are the the repeat

Seth Enter the Worship Circle, I think was the one that was like Casting Crowns before Casting Crowns…like acoustic Creed-ish, Casting Crowns-ish right?

Mke No…it wasn’t Creedish; what are you talking about? It was more like “hippie-ish”

Seth I guess the vocal tone from what I'm remembering in my head.

Mike Well the guy from Waterdeep they wrote alot of songs. They were like seventies sort of rock band. So it had that sort of like, you know, Jesus Movement, 70’s, kind of thing going on. A lot of djembe…whole lotta djembe.

Seth well that's portable! It’s a better percussion than that back half of the guitar. Because you hit that too often and your guitar’s out of tune and it just ruins the whole night.


Getting back to the topic, so what do you mean in that title there of “finding God's life”? That's not a phrase that people say, like everybody says “God's will” or “my will” or “your will be done” and really I think when most people say that they're just looking for permission to do what they already want to do. And then pray about it so what do you mean when you say finding God's life?

Mike Okay, so just I have this unique position, right, I started a band spring of 2000, so it's been 19 and a half years. I've played in churches all across America, every denomination, you know, and the thing that I see over and over and over is this weird belief that if we obey and do things right and pray enough and have enough faith we can leverage God to give us what we really want. The rampant prayer I hear over and over is “I need to know God's will for my life, I need to go know God's will for my life, I want to know God's will for my life”. And there's this sort of like belief that if I do every and correctly he'll show me his will for my life. But really what we're saying is I want to know his plan for my life, and I want to know that if I obey he'll give me what I really want out of life.

Which really if you want to really label it correctly we're just saying “God how can i obey you where you'll owe me my idols” because like “God if I don't have sex till I’m married then you owe me a virgin to marry.” right; or if I am virtuous and I do business correctly you owe me like this really prosperous business and success in the business field one day.

And so I go I don't understand why we keep asking what's God's will for my life? There's so many verses in Scripture it's like this is God's will for your life…be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, and like well “no I need to know like this the secret plan” and I'm going let me get this straight you…you don't care how you make money or why you make money you just want to know that you're gonna make money. Because they're like “God what's what's the plan show me my career” and Gods going…yeah before we work on your career can we work on like why you want to make all that money. Why career is so important to you…

Seth yeah

Mike and why you need to be…So I had the stupid analogy about the book right. I was making a smoothie for my daughters I have four daughters by the way

Seth mm-hmm

Mike yeah all under the age of 10 and having four daughters is great just means someone's crying and it's usually me, someone is always crying.

Seth no they're crying, you're weeping.

Mike yes exactly I'm, dude right now right when we get off this podcast, I'm gonna go pick up my wife from the airport. I've been watching the girls by myself for 7 days so she could have this big trip out to Yosemite with her friend; I'm actually passed out right now. I'm talking in my sleep.

Seth But have they eaten anything more than chicken nuggets an easy Mac because that's my go-to?

Mike And Fun-Dip-come on…

Seth No... fun dip, so I don't know where you're at but there's too many the little pissants that come in with fun-dip because fund dip(s) everywhere, and although I have a miniature dachshund, she's kind of averse to flavored sugar. She just won't pick it up and I just don't want to…I just don't want…it's too much it's everywhere and then there's ants everywhere. So now it's just chicken nuggets an easy Mac

Mike My kids lick the fun-dip dust off the ground…I mean there is no trace of it left

Seth I mean well that's impressive.

Mike (laughter) So I'm making for my kids the other day right it's early in the morning and I've actually I'm actually gonna fly on a plane early in the morning to go do this festival with Tenth Avenue North. So I get up early and I'm like feeling like a king because I've set my alarm super early, I've gotten up at 5 a.m., I'm gonna make this smoothie for my girls so that my wife when she wakes up breakfast will be made for the girls. And smoothie is just it's the only way I can secretively force nutrients into my children's body.

Seth mm-hmm

Mike Right…so good because you can hide all kinds of nutrients

Seth oh yeah throw kale in with Kiwi yeah

Mike You never know! So this is what I’m doing…I added an avocado, to make it creamy, so I’m forking half an avocado into the Vitamix blender and my nine-year-old wakes up. It's like 5:15 in the morning she comes downstairs she goes “dad what are you doing?”

I said, “I'm making a smoothie I was gonna put it in the fridge so you guys could have it when you wake up.” and she says “Oh daddy! Daddy I want to help. and I said “ok here”, I mean I was about to throw some spinach in. Well I just forked the avocado which came downstairs took me by surprise and I dropped to the fork in with the avocado into the Vitamix.

Next thing I know she's putting a big handful of spinach into the Vitamix. I forget the forks in there right so she goes to hit the switch on the Vitamix…well what happens? The fork, the lights in the kitchen are like flickering right, and then this fork goes shooting out the side of the Vitamix and puts a hole in the wall. I'm not making this up there's a hole in the wall. It exploded outside the Vitamix-there is smoothie everywhere!

Seth I feel bad for laughing, but I don'.

MIke So now I'm gonna spend the next 20 minutes I have to get ready to go to the airport cleaning up and…okay so the title of my book is finding God's Life for My Will, right? It's, God I don't need to know your will for my life like, what the big plan is, I just need your life to come change my will. Some of us are going we're just throwing stuff in! I want to make my portfolio look perfect! I want to make I'm putting everything in! I look good, my Instagram looks amazing! Everything is like awesome and God's going “hey how about that fork that's in your your smoothie...like the bitterness you have for that guy?

It's like, no, God what's like am I supposed to be a lawyer or am I supposed to be an astronaut and Gods like hey can we just work on the bitterness you've got in there?

No God! Like just show me what to do. I just, before we do that, just take the fork out! You got a fork in there and if you don't deal with that fork now then you could be the most beautiful put together businessman but it's gonna come out sideways eventually.

Seth mm-hmm

Mike That's sort of the the idea the book. How I have seen my own hidden idols come out sideways.

Seth Did they drink the smoothy?

Mike Heck yeah they drink the smoothy! I mean I was scraping it up off the ground. I was like “this is good for your immune system…you will like this!”

Seth It makes me think of description of the plank in your eye but if you don't address it, when that fork explodes, like it's gonna break you. It's gonna break your Vitamix, you probably got a new one now, but it also I mean you got lucky it sounds like it didn't hurt anybody but it literally could have shot anyone. It could hit you could hit your daughter

Mike it could have impaled me…right through the stomach

Seth I think you're right now if we don't address it when it shoots out like it's gonna cause more damage than your uncomfortability of dealing with it if you just sit with it if you just sit with it. What happens then when I'm trying to find my will and I work at a bank for a living and I feel like I'm good at it; and you know and I'm like, I've got these big dreams to do this. If I'm honest, if I'm really honest Mike, if I could make the amount of money that I needed to, to do this (podcast) I would do this full-time; if I could figure out how to make it work. I would much rather talk about God then talk about money. But I'm really good at the other and so what happens when my hopes and dreams seem to work out just fine but you don't feel like it's necessarily filling that hole of what God's will actually is? Like how do you make those two puzzle pieces, they go to different puzzles, all fit together?

Like I'm having success but I don't have any fulfillment-this will make me go bankrupt but I get so much fulfillment, like how do you reconcile it too?


Mike Right, and and it's sort of like ,we have to recognize that we do live in this very privileged place in world history where we even get to ask that question. Like you're living in poverty you're not going “What can I do that's gonna bring me a great fulfillment and feeding my family?” You know? You're going “I will do whatever it takes!”

Seth mm-hmm

Mike But we have to acknowledge that that can't be God's intent-is just do whatever you can to pay the bills. There's an amazing Frederic Buechner quote that I've been sort of trying to aim the trajectory of my life toward, and he says…do you know Frederick Buechner?

Seth No, mm-hmm.

Mike He wrote in the 60s and 70s primarily, anyway he's basically too religious for a secular crowd and to secular for a religious crowd.

Seth So like Henri Nouwen where he only fits in now?

Mike Yes but even more like…salty. Think of Henry Nouwen and he had a love baby with Mark Twain

Seth (laughing..so much laughing)

Mike okay…so make sense yeah a little more like salt of the Earth. Okay he says your calling is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Seth hmm

Mike He’s like, you got to ask two questions. You don't just ask what makes me come alive, if that's the only question you ask you just end up a narcissistic a-hole right. And you can't just ask what is the world need, what does the world need, was does the world need.

Because if you only ask that then you just burn out but if you can figure out and obviously this is it's a trajectory it's like what you're aiming for it doesn't mean you're gonna get there right now. But if you can at least aim your ship toward, okay what makes me come alive, and how can I meet the world's deep needs doing that thing? That's where true fulfillment and true calling is I believe.

Seth I would go one more ,if I found anything in doing this A: other people are impacted by just having an honest conversation but I find if I focus on meeting my needs other people hear truths in that whether or not they intended to. At least that's the feedback that I get I get it like

Mike I get the tension of like Tenth Avenue North is my band. The last EP we put out was called The Things We’ve Been afraid to say and every every song was about an issue that the church doesn't like to talk about. And for the people who listened to it I felt like it was incredibly rewarding, but it was our worst performing piece of art we've ever put out, commercial.

Seth I'm assuming that's because, and I forget who they give you like a name…like Susan, or whatever doesn't the people on the backend of the production, like a target demographic Susan or whatever.

Mike The name is Becky

Seth Forget who told me that…David Zack from Remedy Drive, I think, and I'm assuming it's because they couldn't put that on KLOVE…I don't know I don't listen to SpiritFM or KLOVE all that often but I'm assuming that probably relates to why it wasn't as successful.

Mike Here’s the deal with KLOVE, people like Christian artists they kind of have this chip on their shoulder about Christian radio. I go look it's not that KLOVE doesn't want to talk about Jesus but they built their brand on a slogan called “positive and encouraging”

Seth Which is not the Bible..

Mike Right well but it is parts of the Bible. do you know I mean you're like and this is true of a lot of churches wait guys we're not against the other parts of the Bible but these parts if we double down on this one section we found that more people like us and more people want to be a part.

Seth mm-hmm, yeah

Mike You know it it doesn't start like malicious or through ill contrived I guess. It really begins is like Hey…how can the most people hear about Jesus we find that if we just stick with the positive encouraging things about Jesus more people hear about him. And if their slogan were music about Jesus that is beautiful and true. That's a really it's a much narrower slogan but it's actually a much broader landscape of genre and themes you could sing about right.

But I get it like Jesus isn't appealing to people who don't know Jesus so positive encouraging it's like that could that can be marketed to people who know Jesus and marketed people who don't know Jesus.


Seth guess my biggest gripe with KLOVE is it doesn't matter where I'm driving or KLOVE or anything like it it doesn't really matter what you call it you know Way-FM or whatever; it's all the same stuff. Um when you hit that point of the dial on the radio there is a lyrical and melodic stamp but it's like that with with everything like I know when I hit the country station it doesn't even matter like you know when you're in the dial range? That's my biggest gripes is there's nothing…the lyrics are fine but the lyrics aren't the only part of music that moves me matter of fact sometimes I just wish people would not sing and just let their emotions bleed through the instruments. But that leads me…it's actually so a question I like to ask every musician I talk to…

How does making and writing music shift your lens personally of how you see God?

Mike Oh…wow…

Most of the songs I've written I feel like have been gifts to help me actually believe God likes me. Because I feel like my default is to believe he doesn't like me, and you know I think…I think it was Leo Tolstoy who said music is the shorthand of emotion. Like you put these little lyrical truths, that you've heard a million times, you put it in a song with a melody and suddenly it's much more impactful and much more quickly (impactful).

Seth yeah

Mike and a lot of the songs you know people say to me, man thanks for writing that song; that was just for me, and I was like…actually it was for me but glad it spoke to you too.

Seth right right

Mike There's great verse in Psalm 49 where David says I incline my ear to wisdom and with the music of the lyre I will solve my riddle. So that to me is a really beautiful template for some writing is I'm just trying to solve my riddles with this music. I don't know it's it's interesting I the Christian radio thing like I love every song I've ever put out on Christian radio. They sound a lot different than the songs that haven't been on Christian radio but I get that they are, you know, they're trying to mathematically figure out what will people like the most. And honestly they really do care they're like “I really want people to hear about Jesus” but we also want the most amount of people to be listening. Mathematically we found that this, you know even like the mix of a song you listen to on record, and then listen to on the radio and the vocal is almost twice as loud and that's because the people who listened to that station have said we really want to hear the vocal, you know.

Those sort of intangibles, it's interesting, a lot of the songs even, I don't know if you heard the Hillsong UNITED song oceans that was just a massive song

Seth mm-hmm

Mike they had like four different radio edits for it than the album version. That was because they went, look we really love the song and we'll put it in whatever package you need it to be in to speak to your audience

Seth hmm

Mike Cause as an artist you're always balancing this weird line of “this is really what I believe in” but also, like I tell my guys whenever we take the stage

“Don't forget we're waiters tonight.”

Seth What do you mean waiters?

Mike Okay so like there's two ways, well there's probably multiple ways, to look at it but in my mind there's two ways to look at taking the stage. I'm either there for them to serve me, or for me to serve them.

Seth Okay

Mike And when I think of my job as being a waiter….I go “cool! We have this art, we have these songs, but ultimately I'm here to serve you. Then it…it shifts just my whole perspective on what I want to get out of the evening. And part of that is I was a theater major and you know there's a lot of different ways of looking and acting. There's some people who say as long as the person viewing me acting feels something then my acting is effective'; but then there's some actors you go depending on the style, or the express…gosh what's the word?

Seth method acting?

Mike there it is! Say if the audience feel something it doesn't matter I have to feel something refer to be important and like I look at it as … man I want it supposed to be feeling something but if it's one or the other I hope you feel something before I do.

Seth I get that. So I sing at my church

Mike sing us something!!!

Seth So that probably won't happen although…

Mike have you ever sung on this podcast?

Seth Uhh… The patrons


Seth no stop it, not doing it. Maybe, I don't know, maybe I will. I have sung and I think people that follow me on Facebook have seen me singing. I sang a song that John Mark McMillan did on his Christmas album which is one of the best Christmas albums that I've ever listened to, that came out last year but I can't remember the name…Baby Son…that's the name of the song. I enjoy singing though the comfort level of my singing is I have to have a guitar in front of me even if I'm not playing it or I feel like I'm too close to everybody, if that makes sense? It's my blue Linus blanket, and that's that's all about me.

Mike A Linus blanket..that’s fantastic!

Seth It's the best analogy I can think of mostly because there's also blue blanket directly behind the computer here so but the only two, Oceans song, that I've ever listened to are the one that they'd filmed in I believe it was Israel and then one from the Relevant studios because I really don't want all of that mix all I want is as few guitars as possible and the voices; because that's really what I want is the voices on almost any song.

I don't want the production I need the emotion because if you sing as you do your voice is the biggest instrument out there but that's hard to relate to and it's really hard to explain to people that don't - don't sing

Mike Well no, what sets bands apart more than anything isn't the music, it's … there's something that you can't replicate and that's the timbre of the singer's voice.

Seth There's a part in your book you talk about position and so I asked it because you relate to like you know Michael Jordan and I think you tell story about Michael Jordan just you know when he was done playing basketball like just falling off you know Wylie coyote style like right off the edge. Like life is over, I have no place in this world, and I feel like so many people set the bar so high especially in the economy and the culture that we live in America of I have to excel all the time; anything less than whatever accolade I'm striving for is not acceptable. I'm curious, you know when we're talking about roles, what does it look like to be the Barnabas? You know in whatever vocation you fit into, whatever puzzle piece that finally latches into, you know as you're honest with yourself and with life and what you've been called to do to to bring joy to the world. Like how do you know if that's where you're at and then if you can realize that like how do you make sure that you're not ever trying to to push further than you really meant to but also still be satisfied in that?

Because I think you know without Barnabas most of what we have from Paul we wouldn't have that, but nobody talks about Barnabas; like his role is deeply important and to take the wisdom that you took from Monsters University and without whatever that that one guy is with the one eyeball without him

Mike Mike Wyzowski

Seth and then we'll call the shaggy one Paul; he wouldn't have succeeded.

Mike If you’d have kept reading there's a chapter in the book called The Day I Stopped Asking God to Use Me, That is, so I worked at a church a local church for a long time. A lot of people who work in a local church I don't think they realize how big of a deal they are. Like I say this all the time, I've been in this band for 19 years and you know we've gotten some accolades here and there but I've never felt as famous as I did when I worked at a local church because everybody knew me everywhere I went in that town. And when I got out on the road and touring I just prayed what we always prayed “God use us. God use us, you've given us the special thing that we're gonna share with the world; we want we want to be used by you.”

And that's a good prayer right? Like God used me, God use me, God use me. Then one day God kind of like revealed to me how even that really noble prayer can go sideways in your heart. We're at this big festival and it was the first time we were kind of you know, we had started touring now, we were out with other bands and we'd never been in that situation. We were always just the worship band at church, there was no one to compete with right; and now it's weird like, the longer you do music the more young kids who've just been in the music business a tenth of the time you have-they shoot past you in accolades and listenership and CDs sold and tickets sold.

And it's easy to go and “I'm doing it wrong” you know and I'm sure if I keep writing books I'll say the same thing about book writing. I remember this one time we're doing this festival called Livefest in Wisconsin and we were sitting backstage going “God use our band, use our band, use our band.” A God just kind of tapped me on the shoulder and said “Hey what if I want to use the other bands?”

And I remember (Dog barks over and over) “oh sorry…we got a dog barking here” (laughter)

I remember I was sitting there going “that's fine just use me first!” And I realized that I was using being used by God to to be my identity; and I actually that day…I stopped asking God to use me.

I love saying that people go what? That's…. your you a heretic!

I go “No! Now whatever situation I'm in I just say God move, God work, God set people free, God heal peoples shame.”

I'm here I would love to be used, I'm available, but it doesn't need to be me. If you use someone else I will celebrate that you're moving; and suddenly I'm not in competition with other people, I'm in solidarity and I'm in community with them all striving for the same thing. I'm actually able to participate in their joy when God uses them instead of being like fraught with jealousy because it wasn't me.

Seth That goes back to what you were talking about earlier with you know when you're on stage you you want to act as the waiter like it's the same mentality it's just a differently it's a differently phrased sentence. That's actually the last thing that I wanted to touch on before we wrap with…I have a few random questions that have nothing to do with anything but I'm curious because I could read your humor in the book. So I just, you know some little, I don't ever do a rapid-fire session but I'm gonna try we're gonna make it happen.

How do you then define joy because that that words got a lot of nuance and I think I know you have a chapter on joy that again full disclosure haven't finished reading. How do you define joy because I think what is joy for one person is deep pain for another person? You know the joy of childbirth, or the joy of motherhood/fatherhood or success or music or whatever. It is like that joy can equally be entirely unjoyful.

Mike Yes, I'm generalizing the quote Ann Voskamp she talks about the secret joy is to keep looking for it in the places you're unlikely to find it.

Seth hmm

Mike so joy is like that to me they always say joy and happiness or two different things. Happiness is everything I want circumstantially has worked out and I'm happy. Joy is I have a piece, a bedrock of peace, that exists even when circumstantially things are going way wrong. Right…

Seth yeah

Mike and I think that only comes and the theme in my book is really just surrendering your idols and the more you surrender every Idol then the more circumstance doesn't have the power over your peace that used to have. Joy is peace that surpasses circumstance.

Seth who is the quote again you said?

Mike Ann Voskamp

Seth You keep with the last names that I don't know how to spell but Google will fix that…

Just a couple of quick questions just to tie up some loose ends that made me laugh as I was skimming through…

So when you explain Hollywood video to your kids what's the look on their face? Because my first job was at Blockbuster Video you know?

Mike Yes!

Seth Out in West Texas and there was a Hollywood Video across from me; it was the enemy, because I don't think that they charged you to rewind the videos. and so either way,

Mike Sure didn’t, I rewound those videos bro!

Seth Yeah I was 50 cents. Do It Yourself I mean this is, you're gonna pay for my service, so but what is like how what's the best way to describe the look on their face when you're like, “let me explain to you Meet Joe Black-in a six-inch tome of two massive VHS tapes. Like how does that work when you try to explain that to your kids or other people?

Mike That's funny cause me and you we probably working at the same time when you meet Joe Black came out when I was working at Hollywood Video. And it was, it was, two VHS tapes.

Seth Yep

Mike Double-double tape! Did blockbuster charge you double if both tapes weren't rewound or was it a just single rewind fee?

Seth I think it was per UPC…

Mike Ha that’s fantastic!

Seth You know I think it was so it was just one item that you rented.

Mike I given up, I've actually given up, trying because the best equivalent is RedBox cause RedBox is still around though I don’t know when this podcast gonna air, it might not be around by the time this thing airs. But my kids they get that like well I gotta go get it cuz it'll save us $4 I leave here…and I go…but a whole store like…

THIS…guys…imagine all of these titles that were skimming through on Netflix, imagine each of them as an entity on a shelf and we have to go into a store and browse them manually. I lose them on the manual concept, you know?

Seth I can remember, you know, from the cashier stand you would judge people inherently as you watch the same people week over week. Like, oh that guy only goes down the drama section he's got some issue. That guy I know he's going to the comedy section and we moved the comedy section and nobody told him. This is gonna be fun everybody get together.

Mike Maybe the guy looking in the comedy section is the one who has issues cause he needs a pick me up. Maybe the drama guy is only trying to get in touch with his feelings.

Seth I'm off topic

Second: you reference What About Bob, and I again, I quote what about Bob often so what's the best scene in that movie? Like if someone goes to RedBox and finds out that What About Bob is not there and then they go to iTunes and they buy it anyway…where did they skip to?

Mike Richard Dreyfuss him and Steve Martin have probably embodied physical tension better than any other two actors at least in the early 90s sure. But like the tension that builds in that scene (dinner scene) we're just…just because of the bliss that Bill Murray is experiencing eating that fried chicken.

Seth I'm with you although I think the kids make that scene the daughter in there that looks on her face.

Mike Well that’s it I mean 90% of acting is reacting.

Seth For me it's the “I'm sailing! I'm a sailor”!

Mike I’m Sailing!!!!

Seth Final thoughts, like if people have not been listening and I hope that I hope that you have. I don't often get to laugh a lot on these podcast and so thank you for that. Often it's so overtly serious that I'm afraid to laugh but I've enjoyed laughing a lot and I probably kept my daughter awake who's literally above me.

Mike I just read this thing, an article from Princeton I think, about the honesty that exists in a community in correlation with the amount of cursing that is allowed by that community. That like the more cursing there is the more honest a community. And in some ways I feel like for me like the more I give myself permission to laugh and my kids to laugh there's like there's actually a deeper ability to actually go real low, and I don't know I have to do some study on that I haven't read Princeton’s study in detail.

Seth I mean do you feel the need now to curse is that what you're saying you need?

Mike No no!

Seth Feel free.

Mike It's like the great dramas, like the really greatest dramas in film history, are not sad the whole way through, right? There's always a comedic element because it actually enables the viewer to like go deeper down. Like Braveheart has hilarious scenes and that's what makes it great because it sort of like relieves you and resets you and almost like builds trust. Okay, I can laugh with this guy, I can go deep.

Seth Yeah he does that craziness, and so does “spoiler alert” you know Game of Thrones that giant guy. I don't know if you watch Game of Thrones or not but there's a giant it's a….

Mike Yeah, I don't watch Game of Thrones because I’m a Christian…Ha !!!

Seth I also am one and I finished it. But do you really not?

Mike I haven’t

Seth There is a comedic character that's like he lives outside of civilization so like if Jonah's trying to escape Nineveh you know he's going west off the known earth and then he meets a giant there like a half giant. The dude is hilarious but he is that in that whole show…of all this war and tension and ability and then I'm a crack this joke which and you're right it builds like you just you wait for him to be on screen.

But for those listening in the back row if they haven't heard anything at all like what is the last thing that you want them to hear and then how do they connect with you?

Mike The only thing is like that God, and don't miss hear me I'm not saying God's not interested in what you do with your life, but he's way less interested in what you're doing then he is in how you're doing it and why you're doing it. What you do with your career to make money is not near it's not even close to why you're wanting to make money and how you're doing it. So that's it.

Seth Perfect how do people connect with you? Obviously they can get the book everywhere fine books are sold I feel like in August that to answer your previous question that'll be close to when this releases. Where would you direct people to either engage with you, engage with the band engage, with a book. Where would you send them?

Mike We have a new record coming out a couple days before the book comes out. It's all happening. Honestly for me ,if you want to talk to me online direct message me on Instagram. That for whatever reason of all things like there’s a million ways to comment on things if you direct message me on Instagram I'm gonna see it. I may not respond to you but I will see it and choose not to respond.


Seth Ha…farm that out to your ten-year-old it'll be fun.

Mike Could you imagine….

Seth Say whatever you want

Mike God is awesome! Love, Ponies! Butterflies Mike are you okay? Have you been drinking?

Seth It would be fun. So those links obviously I'll include the show notes. Thank you again so much for being on I've really enjoyed man.

Mike Dude, such a pleasure. Thanks man.


Seth And we wrapped another one didn't we? It's fantastic! it is such a privilege to be able to do this. Thank you so much the supporters of the show on Patreon and if you're not one that get off the couch and make that happen well actually you can do it from your phone so just stay on the couch and make that happen.

But thank you to every single one of you to support the show financially you make this work. I can't stress enough how much you make this work and I am honored that you value the show in that way.

Gor those of you that can't do that rate and review the show I won't read some of them on the air but man they really…I love those things I'd like to see them even if I don't agree with them. But remember to do that it helps other people kind of make their way you know when they search “Bible” or when they search “church” or when they search “faith” to find a show that they maybe wouldn't have seen prior. So rate and review the show

All of the music today is from the newest release of Tenth Avenue North. I believe the album is called No Shame it is really good! I had the privilege of listening to it a little bit before its release to find songs for this episode…I mean it's really really good, I can't stress that enough. So you'll find links to today's tracks on the Spotify playlist for the show.

Thank you for listening, I hope that you have a fantastic week.

Be blessed, remember that your beloved. Talk to you soon!


89 - Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram with Clare Loughrige/Transcript

Note: Can I Say This at Church is produced for audio listening. If able, I strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which has inflection, emotion, sarcasm where applicable, and emphasis for points that may not come across well in written word. This transcript is generated using a combination of my ears and software, and may contain errors. Please check the episode for clarity before quoting in print.

Seth If there's a buzzword that is out now, and there's a lot of them; for instance, illegal immigration-we won't get political in this episode, but you know there's us versus them. There's patriarchy there's a bunch of buzzwords, but one that if you just hit Google and just start typing in E n m e a g r…and just see what the autocomplete says. The Enneagram is everywhere now.

I touched on this topic briefly, very briefly, with Suzanne Stabile. I don't know if, gosh maybe a year ago, and I've wrestled with it and I touched on it with my pastor and I still continue to wrestle with it, the Enneagram.

I was sent a really good book called Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram, and I wrestled with that. I'm still wrestling with it and I'm liking it and I'm hating it and that will make sense as you listen to the episode.

I'm Seth you're listening to the Can I Say This At Church podcast; I am glad that you're here.

Before we get going, I just want to say I know you have options to download, to listen to whatever you listen to, and I continually see the Downloads tick up; and I can't tell you how humbled I am by that and how thankful I am that you devote any time at all to listen to the show. So thank you, if it's gotten the hold of you at all, if something speaks to you, just let me know.

I would love to hear your feedback! Tell a friend! There's almost 50 of you now that support the show in a financial way on patreon be that anywhere from $1 a month to…some of you, are way more generous than I deserve. So thank you from the bottom of my heart but each and every single one of you makes this happen and it's a privilege.

Fair warning, as we dive back into the show, there is a partly…I don't…I don't, I'm getting better at dealing with emotions, and you'll hear that in there, but I was so tempted to edit out parts of this. Where my humanity or my emotionality breaks through but I decided to leave it in; as that’s terrifying. So here we go, a conversation about the Enneagram with Clare Loughrige.

Seth Clare Loughrige, welcome to the show! Thank you for your understanding with my lack of calendaring abilities, and for long-term listeners to the show that will not surprise you. I screw up all the time with the calendar and then just for those listening I'd originally said let's do this Thursday, and then we realized, and by we…I mean you, that that's the Fourth of July and I'm like well that's that's stupid. I don't know how I missed that! I think I just looked at this Thursday's wide open on the calendar and didn't realize that the reason it was wide open is because all the family would be here with me. So anyway, welcome to the show I'm glad you're here.

Clare I'm glad I'm here too. No fireworks.

Seth We shall see, we shall see. A couple questions before we dive into the subject at hand, which is the Enneagram. I'll tell you up front the enneagram both frustrates and amazes me ,sometimes at the same time, but we'll get there. But I want to talk a bit about you like what makes you? Because I feel like the book, and the practices that come from it, will be informed greatly by your life experiences. So if someone asks, “Hey Clare, what makes Clare…Clare?”, what would you say? What are those things that have made you what you are?

Clare Wow, alright, so I was raised by a Sicilian father, maiden name Pizzimenti, and he was raised by the Christian Brothers and the Jesuits. So that's my story, so I went to Catholic school, I loved mass and at 18 years old I was introduced to the Catholic Charismatic Movement and that just fit my personality style. I loved reverence for God but I always had this “out there” energy. You know this, I wanted to experience God not just learn about God, not just honor God, but have an experience. So the Catholic Charismatic did that for me. Those priests and nuns, it was wonderful. And then my husband and I, we knew we were called to ministry together, and because the Catholics don't have a married order, like Francis and Clare, if they would have gotten together it might have been fine. I could have stayed in the Catholic Church; but we discovered that that wasn't possible. So we went to an Assembly of God-Bible College; which felt a little Catholic Charismatic, except for there was some resistance to Catholicism there.

So I began to leave behind my Catholic roots into this new realm, and then went from there to not to this nondenominational world. And then from there went to studying with the Methodists and and Quakers and all of that. Then finally, at 40 years old, ten years into our church plant I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I ended up at the Transforming Center, with Ruth Haley Barton, don't know if you know who she is…

Seth I don’t…

Clare but that creates space for pastors and leaders to recover their souls. And I discovered that I had lived such an extroverted life that I didn't pay much attention to my own interior-ority, and so when I discovered that I had this autoimmune disease. I went to the transforming Center and ended up with the first practice I was taught was rest. And I actually, that was to me, that wasn't even Christian. I thought, you know, you die. Jesus says enter your rest. You know, now you work at the vineyard because the Sun is going down, night is coming, no man can work.

So I didn't realize that I had worked myself…I had lived such an extroverted-active life. Lots of social justice stuff, and I you know, the youngest of six, living with Sicilians…I mean it just, my life was always out “here”.

So when I discovered that there was an interior world to pay attention to I also discovered that I had been wounding my own life and the life of others with that very active energy. While it had done some good it had also caused some problems. And so I began to practice rhythms of work and rest. Silence and word, action contemplation and discovered that there was actually rhythm in life and not just all out here stuff. So I was introduced to the Enneagram during that first two-year community and then discovered I was a three on the enneagram.

So a very active, workaholic, image management, deception, self-deception; somebody would say; “Are you tired?”

I'd say, “No! No need for rest until heaven.”

So what makes Clare…Clare is that I really am a combination of glory and grime, action and contemplation; only because I had to learn the contemplative style because of trouble. And I am an ecumenical potpourri! I love…I love so many faith traditions that, you know, and part of that is my gift as a three that I can blend in different places. But it's also been my pain…that while I was blending into places I lost my own soul. So that's kind of the elevator speech of who Clare is.

Seth I've never heard the words ecumenical potpourri but that needs to become something. I like that! I don't know how to flesh that out, but I like that. I've never ever heard anybody say that before.


Question…because I don't know much about either the charismatic faith you know in America or in the Catholic tradition. What are those differences or are there any outside of Catholic and this is the pastoral order that I report to? Is there any practical differences or is it just all dogmatic differences?

Clare I like the way you said that. Yeah, I do believe it's dogmatic differences and that we have so much more in common than we do separating us. There's a deep desire to know God and be transformed by the renewing of our mind; and that mind the Greek word, nous, which really isn't just your brain, it's your whole life. It is your head, your heart, your gut, your actions in the world being transformed for the glory of God.

Ruth Barton would say, for the abundance of your own soul and for the sake of others; and so we have far more in common this desire not just to know God intellectually, but to have an encounter with God that goes beyond just our intellect.

Seth So the book that you've written, or you and others have written, there's a lot of names on the front cover. It's called Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram, and then subtitle: A Handbook for Harmony and Transformation.

I want to circle back to harmony in a minute but the first question is how do you…how is it even possible to write a book with four humans involved? Because I don't understand how that would, I mean it was hard enough to just calendar this, much less hundreds of pages, and an editor, and a publisher. So how does that even happen, and then when conflicts arise, because I have to think that all four of you are gonna have a different take on…you know, “what a three is” or “what a five is” or “how they are healthy or unhealthy”…how do you work through that?

Clare Well, I wrote my first book on the Enneagram back in 2006. Self-published. I wrote my second one in 2012 and was doing trainings with those books my friend Adele, who you see her name on the front cover. Adele wrote a book called the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, and she was my first spiritual director seventeen years ago. Then we became friends, so we let go of the professional, you know, client you directee/director relationship, and we began to just love the Enneagram and spiritual disciplines together.

So they were teaching the Enneagram my husband and I were teaching the Enneagram and actually I certify people in the Enneagram, but we began to find this lovely connection. So if you've read a little bit Doug is a 1 that's, Doug Calhoun, Adelle Calhoun is a 4, Scott (my beautiful husband) is an 9, and I'm a 3.

So we as we have this mutual love we said well what could we do together that might offer some some grace to the Enneagram world. Lots of great stuff in business and psychology and spirituality but is there a way that we could show this kind of harmony?

So one of my favorite scriptures is if two of you would agree on Earth, anything is possible; and what I've discovered is that most people can't even agree in their own soul. You can't even agree with yourself. You're in arguments with yourself all the time right, and so this idea of already what we were doing with the Enneagram was working on harmony with your head your heart and your gut. Your IQ your EQ, emotional intelligence, and your GQ, your gut intelligence, and so we we were beginning to find some flow; some harmony individually. And we said, “Well if this is really gonna be the good stuff…if we're gonna love God with our hearts and mind and strength and our neighbor as ourself-let's practice and see what we can do together with this work. See if it's true, see if it's really possible to bring harmony”.

So that that's how it began and yeah you are right. We did have moments where we looked at each other and said…”okay, right now I'm just gonna take a moment and breathe I'm gonna try to find some inner harmony because I'm feeling some outwards dissonance”. So we would do that. We would actually…we've named our own demons, our own stuff, our own false-self; whatever you want to call it, vice. We had that kind of honesty and if we didn't the other one might say; “How are you doing right now?”. If they were picking up on something…

Seth just shut the laptop… call me later so

Clare yeah, that's really how it went. It was really practicing the book.


Seth There's a part of me that gets angry that when I, say like I'm 8 5 and 2 because I know…when you asked me and I said well here's where I'm at…so part of my brain is like “don't tell me what I am”! The other part of my brain is “challenge accepted” I'm not that. I get so frustrated because I can't actually change anything, and then I get mad. So does it have to be those three numbers? Because they're, as I read through everything, I'm like…I would like to be able to be like “this”. My wife is a nurse, she's entirely different than me I don't ever want to do what she does; there's no way I ever could, but I would like to aspire too.

But I feel constricted by limitations that I don't know how to get out. Is it always those three numbers? Is there any nuance?I guess what I'm asking is, when I'm 70, can I be a different three things? Is that even a thing? Is that even a real question I should even be asking?

Clare Well I think you asked a lot of questions there

Seth haaah

Clare I love it! I think first of all you know any Enneagram teacher that has been in this wisdom for a while says you are not alone. We've heard, and I maybe that makes you mad too, but we have heard others say the very same thing and then we would just like to say we feel you, we see you, and we really do believe you are a dominant type. That there are things that you have dismissed along the way, maybe because one part of you was applauded, and so you did more of that.

Maybe because one part of you was told “we don't do that in this house” so you dismissed it or it wasn't valued. You know you could have been raised in the house where intellect was so highly valued that you just undernourished the heart part of yourself. That kind of caregiver person and so you know whether it's undernourished or dismissed or something was more applauded we have all three centers of intelligence. You have all three of those accessible to you, but you have taken one to an art form and you have been able to work. That it's got you your job, it got you your marriage, it's done great work for you. And at the same time when you say, “Can I be something else at 70?”. I love that too, because what we say about harmony is it's a model that actually gives you access to more grace when you're centered.

So when you are centered you can access all of the virtues at the time you need them and what we see in people who have aged well, and who have suffered well, is they have lost a lot of the egoic structures. They are far more “living from essence-from true self” and able to access grace. That is really, really lovely and then we've seen people who have not let go of their egoic structures, and they get meaner and more difficult in their aging process.

So I think the point is the more centered we are you do have more access; but yes what we would say is that all models are wrong and some are really helpful (and that's quoting someone else but we don't know who it is but they're right). So this model of the three numbers is really just a way for you to practice letting go of the things you're constricted in.

Thank you for using that word, I love the word constricted, because it really gives us a picture of how we get stuck and trapped in what we've overplayed in our lives, what we've taken to an art form. And when we can loosen that and when we can open to FLOW which is one of the acronyms we use, Free Loving Open and Welcoming, we have accest to more than just what we're constricted in when we're over playing our personality style that has gotten us good things and has gotten us in big trouble and frustrates the heck out of you.

Seth Right at the beginning of your book the part that, it's probably the part of my brain that likes to rip things apart it's a reason probably that I do this podcast if I turn the screen there's like 27 books here that I'm gonna read this month in one way or another, it's all gonna get read. The logic of things is what I tend to gravitate to and rip apart and then I just question, unceasingly sometimes, I don't know what the purpose is for the questions, but I feel like I have to continually ask them. So there are two diagrams, there's the traditional Enneagram diagram that has like an open-end; almost like a horseshoe with fancy points. But yours is more, you call it like a harmony, the harmony Enneagram. So is that just semantics in the verbaige that you're using or do the extra lines actually intend to mean somethin?

Clare Yeah so the original Enneagram is nine personality styles around a circle that begin with, let's start up in the gut area.

The 8’s is the, you know, the person that shows us that God is strong. They show us the face of God is strength. The 9’s show us the face of God as peace, those peaceful people. The 1’s show us the face of God is good, you know, they're reforming the world. The 2’s show us the face of God is loving and serving you and caring for you, maybe your wife's a 2,I don't know?

There's a, you know, the 3’s the effective person they show us that God indeed is effective. “Let there be light” - there was light. The 4’s shows us that God is creator, this originality-this beauty of God. The 5’s shows us that God is wise and will rip apart everything and study everything in research and come let us reason together, Seth…

Seth mmhhmm (in laughter)

Clare right, excellent. Then there's the 6 who shows us that the face of God is faithful and loyal mercies, new every morning. Then the 7 shows us that God is an Epicure. God is adventurous, God is joy. God has plans that we know not of and then we are at the top again.

Okay, so I'm sure that Suzanne did a perfect job describing all that. So what I'll say about the the original diagram in the West…we have to understand that if you look at the beginning of the book the history of it; you know it could go back to the Pythagoreans…it can go back to Plotinus.

So we find it in math, we find it in philosophy, and then we find it with a Evagrius Ponticus, in the third century. With some conversation he has with Melania, where he looks up at the sky and says “The heavens declare the glory of God”. But when it came to the west we started with all these arrows and have things pointing, now, we've got wings. It's lovely, it's a robust system, it's fabulous. It's a model, and all models are incomplete but some are useful when you look at our model; which we say there are hints of it with the third century and the 12th century. We talked about that in the first chapter, but where I learned it with Stanford psychologist David Daniels, back in 2009.

David Daniels has written much on the a diagram, he's a brilliant psychiatrist and Enneagram master who is now gone on to his great reward. He threw up this diagram, I was studying at Loyola University, and he was the presenter and he threw up the new Enneagram model in my eyes but it dated back with three triangles. These connected one-four-seven, two-five-eight, three-six-nine and as soon as I saw it…what happened was it, it, just dropped me right back down into my Catholic roots.

With Ignatius Loyola who taught us how to know and do the will of God by checking in with all three centers of intelligence. We can't just make decisions with our intellect or with our heart affections or with our gut instincts; but all three, together open us to this flow. So that diagram while I learned it in 2009 from Dr. Daniels it has hints with Raymond Lowell in the 12th century. It has hints with Evagrius Ponticus.


Seth Is there a way to have any growth without suffering? Well I think that's what you said, suffering well, and then how do you even define that? Because suffering, for me is entirely different. So I'll say this, I've recently been telling my wife that this year-I've been doing the Examen and ever since I read the book last year, the name escapes me now, every single night..and I hate it and I love it but mostly I hate it.

It makes me deal with emotions and I like the way that… I've never thought about it as…

As a child it was, I can remember my dad often times saying you know “we're gonna do this use, your head, calm down, breathe, think through this logically”. Everything logically was rewarded and applauded. Only control what you can control and make sure that you control that well. Don't even worry about the rest of this “stuff”, which he would use biblical reasons for, but everything was logic and rhetoric and debatable, if that makes sense. But emotions…we don't cry. We don't do that. What purpose do they serve if you're not bleeding? What's the point in crying? You know?

Which, I'll say similar thanks to my kids now and I never thought about it as being undernourished. So for me emotions are struggling, like I feel a sense of loss when I…like if I'm watching a movie. and..

I watched the movie Interstellar the other day with my kids. I don't know if you've seen that movie or not so I'm gonna get scientific for a minute; and I'm not a scientist.

So here we go as you get closer to a black hole time actually gets sucked in, and so the closer you are to a black hole the slower time moves for you. But, relative for you here (on Earth), it moves at the same pace and so if I'm really close to the Sun a day for me…maybe four or five times longer for you. An hour for me maybe a year and a half for you. Because time itself is being sucked into that gravity well, which, that's just Einstein. I'm really badly explaining that. The movie does quite well and actually hired a brilliant physicist or astrophysicist from somewhere in the UK and because they had them, the money for the models, those are some of the best scientific models that exist for that type of science. They literally now use those as, hey, they had the money of a studio as opposed to grant money-so we can really make these computers work for us.

So there's a part where this guy is leaving earth he can SPOILER alert for those that haven't seen the movie from a decade ago, this is your fault, and he he basically…is like you know. When I get back to Earth…his daughter who's maybe 12 or 13 when he leaves …well we might be the same age. But my goal is to save humanity, we have to leave this planet were not destined to die on this rock. This is just where we were born but we have to leave because we're out of resources, effectively we've been poor stewards and were just out of resources. It is what it is and we can't go back and fix it.

So he leaves and has to make a decision with a team and the decision costs him I think 40 years. When he gets back (to the ship) there's all these relayed messages that are sent through the satellite stations. He's watching his son come on…his son say “I graduated college” his daughter say “I don't think you're listening to these/we buried grandpa today/I lost my firstborn son”. And you can just seethe hut the father just began to break down like…I was gone for hours and I missed their life.

And even now I'm getting a little mad about it, but I was watching it with my kids and it's, either way I couldn't deal with it, and so I basically just pause the movie. I'm like who wants to go play outside? We'll finish this later. Because I don't deal well with emotions. I've started talking my wife about it, like, I feel like that's a big issue for me and somehow I got to fix it. But I can't seem to move past any of those walls as I pray, anything else, and I don't know how to suffer that well. But for my wife it may be something different, you know, it may be she has cancer kids that she takes care of…and so for her her suffering is entirely different.

So I'll have people and, even listeners to the show like, how do I do this? What are some resources to suffer well? But…but my question is two parts how do I do that? Because I think you do have to do it, but is there any way to actually have spiritual or personal growth without suffering?

Clare Yeah well there it is…

So when I think about a 5

Seth mm-hmm

Clare and you saying I'm watching this movie and when it gets to this part I want to go out. Let's go out and do something else. You're actually naming the pain of your dismissed childlike self. So, if that's okay, I can say this if not you can cut it out

Seth it's okay

Clare and so just in June I was doing our training and certification, and I had a British 5 who was here and day 1 we began to unpack some things. I was giving a preview of what we would experience, not just cognitively, but actually in the body throughout the week; and was talking a bit, just as just a preview. even though he read the book before he came about the dismissed childlike self. And he said, “You know, you're reminding me right now that people talked about CS Lewis as a feeling intellect”. So he said, “and I realized that as a child when this particular teacher ripped up my art. I put my heart away“ and this was day one in the training.

This British 5 PhD, and he connected with a story of where his suffering came from; and where he dismissed his heart. And that became just an open door for the next several days for him to practice living in to his health. Not just the suffering of it, but the beauty of it. You know the gift for you, Seth, being a young dad you're actually being invited to not miss the story of your children's lives before you're at the other end. Like this father who came back and realized I missed the best part of life here, right. So there's a grace there, you know, the fact that you're doing the Examen daily, even though you hate it/love it. So that's Ignatius for the people who are listening who don't know that, as I mentioned Ignatius telling us to open up to all three centers. You're inviting that opening, and so practice doesn't make perfect but…one person said practice makes permanent.

When you're regularly accessing that ability to touch into “Where did I feel like I moved toward light today'“? “Where did I move away from light? Where did I move toward God? Where did I move away from God?” and then if you were sitting with a spiritual director and you said that I would say, “and where are you holding that in your body? Is there anything you're noticing? Is there a tightening in your gut, is there clenching in your jaw? Do you feel tears behind your eyes?

Which maybe I can also say this; it looked to me like there were tears behind your eyes when you talked about Interstellar…

Seth yeah they're gone now though, we..we are better now though…

Clare and so you know this…this willingness to wake up all three centers of intelligence is practice for every one of us. Because we have one part of our intellect whether IQ, EQ, or GQ that we have overplayed and one that we have diminished or undernourished. So the practicing through the Examen is one wonderful way to do that. And yeah you can awaken and it is through even feeling the suffering like what did I miss? What did I miss? And when was the last time I felt that as a little person? When did I feel like I needed to close that down? Listening to the words about your dad saying the tears are not necessary, right, you just say oh my gosh. When…when was the last time I felt the freedom to feel tears? And going there for a moment and welcoming back that wonderful God-given EQ that you have.


Seth so I want to go away from my numbers because it's….just..just as uncomfortable as I was with Suzanne, I'm also uncomfortable now, so let's go to yours. You say “effective loyalty harmonizes” and then you talk about that in the way that you pray and in the way that you engage in life. So what do you mean by that when you say effective loyalty harmonizes?

Clare So that's my harmony triad. So I start with the effective, which is my 3 heart, and I go to loyalty which is the 6-head my IQ, and I go then to my 9-harmonizes my GQ, my nine. So 3/6/9 the goose drank wine, you know that?
Seth nope

Clare okay you don't know that? “the monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line?

Seth I have no idea (laughter)

Clare You probably didn't jump rope as a kid, okay.

Seth no I did not

Clare 3/6/9 is my harmony and if I'm all stuck in my heart, which is effective, it just means I want to connect. I want to make it happen. I want to produce, I want that. If I just stay there I will dismiss my wonderful loyal questioning IQ that says Clare…why do you want to produce this? What is behind this? Is it that you are feeling unworthy and you think if you produce one more thing you'll be loved? What about waiting on this? How about you do a little more research about producing that-or are you just gonna get all caught up in your workaholism. So I go to my 6 to let me ask some questions and then I take a break and practice this rather rhythm of rest and harmony with the nine. Because 9s, nobody rests like the 9s the nines actually in their virtue they show us the peace of God, the face of God. So when I go to my 9 I will sit back in a chair, if it's okay to say this here, I'll pour myself a glass glass of cab. And I will sit with my overactive-effective-producing self and let the 6 ask some questions and let the peace of God come before I just move into something and produce one more thing that is saying “start another web page, make another phone call, get another thing done”


Seth So my pastor, I forget what he is I'd have to ask him again, I find myself often though in other virtues find myself entirely jealous. Like I wish that I could do that in such an easy way. To do it, which I know that's not…it's just not the way that I am. What are some practices to grow towards things that you see in other people that you’re like “Yes! That is something that I need to do and I need to do it better!” but to do so I also feel like I'm not me. Like it's a way outside the comfort zone…so what are some good practices that when you see things like you know, just rest and relax, or…Like my music minister is a 9 and I pastor teases him all the time like just make a decision like stop trying to placate ever but just make a decision already. It's the Easter service what are we singing? Well I thought we could do this and he could do that but… Buddy listen and we really need to do this so just make a decision. So how do you know when you see something that you're jealous of, a bit, and I think I use that word rightly I don't mean like a sinful jealous like a I would like to emulate that how do you practice to grow that way?

Clare Yeah. Well this is why we love this triangle because it gives you access to three different kinds of energies. A moving toward energy, which we can't unpack today, a moving away energy, and a moving against energy. Which all three are really important and you had them all present in the Harmony triangle. So for you, you naturally move away. You're great behind the camera right? In terms of, like, you're interviewing somebody else…right? You can live behind the one-way mirror but you moving toward eight; I love what you said you do this in groups. You've got that moving against energy, you can say, “Okay, no. Let's take action here; no we're gonna direct this group” and that kind of a thing. Then your two would be moving toward, right. Moving in-relating, engaging in ways.

And then the 1/4/7 has that same gift. You know 1 are move against, though they've got this “we're gonna reform it, we're gonna make it happen” but they can't always be reforming things otherwise it's perfectionism, right. So they have to move away, down and in, like a 4. Do some introspection. Feel your feelings. Get a lay of the land, feel other people's feelings, move down and in, right. And then the 7, move out into the world and experience and enjoy and take hold and taste everything and enjoy some stuff!

So each of the types really have that gift, practice really is it is present in this harmony triangle. Because what we say is when you're living in your type alone as a 5 you're playing God. But when you actually are harmonized you're reflecting God. Because you're accessing more than your type, your thing way to three different kinds of energies. You're giving way to three different kinds of intellect and practice makes permanent. You know God didn't just say oh you have a lovely headset and that's all you're gonna need in this life, you know, your body is just an appendage attached to your head. No you really do have a heart.

You know and as The Wizard of Oz says, you know “You have the head, a heart, a home, the nerve.” So you've got access to all three centers of intelligence; and all three energies, that will help you say; “This belongs to me. I don't have to be jealous.”

Just like Dorothy, it's like it's all here. There's no place like home. I've always had it right here within me. So are you too young to know the Wizard of Oz?

Seth no I have it on one of the anniversary specials. We watch it with our kids regularly, which is probably traumatizing. Those monkeys actually, now that I'm older, I'm like wow! This is pretty traumatizing, I still like monkeys though so it's fine but yeah. Yeah just the whole movie is a little bit unsettling the book is worse. I'm sure you've read the actual book, is actually worse.

Clare I understand, yes!


Seth I'm curious so you said something there you know you were born with a head, it's not just the head. So I don't know enough about Gnosticism but do you feel like, or in your experience, two people that hold a different type of faith-that don't have the same “Western civilization Aristotelian” addiction to logic…do they struggle or do they have an easier time with a practice like the Enneagram?

Clare Oh you are naming that tune! There is much, especially in underdeveloped what we would say non-civilized places, people access more body wisdom. You know the first Bible, as many have said, is creation. And so, you know, before we have anything on the page; before I think therefore I am, we did accept our body wisdom. We did know… “okay, there's a lion outside and I've got to be”…you know, we actually did listen to the hair on the back of our necks standing up, right. We did actually listen to the wisdom of the body and so when we think about how the gifts of reason and logic and, you know, the printing press have helped us-they've also hurt us.

So we don't always look up at the night sky and say the heavens declare the glory of God; we forget that as David said…he did a great job and saw him saying “when I kept silent about since my bones were wasting away” or or saying things like “oh my God my heart has come alive”. When was the last time we felt our bones telling us, Hey you need to get this right, or our heart saying…oh life is here! This is awesome! And so if we are willing to receive the gift of the intellect, the gift of our emotional affections, the gift of our body instincts then we're living a whole and holy life and able to experience life.

Human beings, we're spiritual beings trying to have a human experience, right? That is that's not my quote, it's one of the greats, but we really realize that this body, this temple not made with human hands, is where we're experiencing the life of God - the life of the divine. You know however people want to say it, the life of the universe it's here! We are a part of the cosmos and the beauty of awakening to all three centers of intelligence is an enlivening and harmonious experience.

Seth So I've been accused of lacking empathy probably because I don't do well with emotions, which works well at the bank. Because it's just, everything is, it's not black and white; but the gray area is as the manager there, that's the area that I flex but it's still predicated upon logic and risk management. But you end, or y'all end (somebody ends) each chapter with what does empathy look like for a one? What does empathy look like for a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 27, there aren't 27—I was just seeing if everybody's paying attention ;)…

Clare haaa!

Seth so why empathy? Why that focus on empathy? Because I read a lot of books and there's not a lot of books that intentionally recenter everything back to empathy before we move on to the next topic?

Clare So the golden thread throughout the whole book is this beautiful scripture from Luke 10. Love God with all your heart, mind, strength-love your neighbor as yourself. So my professor Dr. Muholland, from Asbury, used to teach at the transforming Center. He talked about how it's like a Mobius strip, so it's actually this it is inextricably bound-loving God, neighbor, and self. It is two sides of the same mobius strip and if you run your finger in a mobius strip that's you gonna keep, just keep, touching. I really do believe that you can't say you love God, if you don't love your neighbor. You can't say you love your neighbor, if you don't of God. They are an inextricably bound truth that there is something about my connecting with you Seth that opens me to grace, and hope, and love, and faith, right.

In neuroscience we would say it's a social-synapse, it's really good for us. We're firing one another's little happy neurons and we're creating a way to start to see a 5 a 3, you know, and then empathy begins. Like if I tell you my story, Seth, why I do this little dance to impress you; it's because I'm the youngest of six children. They were all developmentally smarter, developmentally more, you know developed right. So I always had to impress, I always had to compete, I always had to know their music, know their books. I wanted to be as good as them and so it wasn't that I was trying to deceive anybody; I just wanted love. I wanted worth and if you can get my story you're gonna you're gonna wonder about other 3’s.

You're gonna say, “I wonder what their story is?” not, “oh there they go doing their little dance, their little impress you dance” right, I don't trust it. And when the 5 starts to move away, rather than judging you and feeling judged by you, like; “he's so smart he thinks I'm an idiot that's why he's moving away right now”. No! I might get to know your story and say, “well actually there's a story about tears not being acceptable here; but just go to your head with logic.” So then I start to just open space for you. To be curious about you. To care about your story and then it's just the social synapses are firing.

And if you know anything about heart math…do you know anything about heart math?

Seth mmhhmm…no..mmhhmm

Clare Oh, it's awesome! So they did some work on 9/11, after 9/11, when people were running in to help their neighbors. When people were not polarized by stupid stuff but they were polarized about caring about their New York neighbors. They actually found an atmospheric change over the city of New York. Now, I love it because you're gonna research it now, and if you look them up on YouTube what they'll do is they'll actually take people up on stage. They'll give them something that causes some disharmony, in their heart area. That causes this kind of frenetic movement and then they will give them something that helps harmonize it. And they can pick it up through their blood pressure, through their EKGs.

What happens in the body in disharmonious times, when the frequency is all jagged, and then when they can regulate. When you can regulate what happens in the body and then what happens out “here”. You can tell the difference when you're with a person that's harmonized and a person who is dysregulated in their emotions. But now we can pick it up, and we can actually say, “Yeah…it changes the world.” It doesn't just change between you and I, it can actually have an effect on our culture.

Seth So this is just a comment that requires no answer…but that terrifies me. When I look at the ideological landscape that is our current country, because I don't see any harmony there. But I don't want to go there because we're running close out of time. When you kept saying they for heart math and they for bringing people up on stage who is they? It'll make it easier to research…

Clare Heartmath.org …

Seth Oh! That's the name of it okay…okay-yeah that sounds fascinating. Yeah and then I'll dip down that rabbit hole for a bit. So the back of your book, what I like about your book and a few other books is, there's a lot of content upfront but then there's some practice at the back. And so if there's one of these practices, and I'm not gonna call it the appendices, it's called something else…Resource Center…something like that. What is maybe one or two of the practices that will yield, not the easiest results, but yield maybe the most fruitful, easily seeable, results as people begin to engage in things that are uncomfortable?

Clare Well you know number one. STOP for harmony it's an acronym and it is:

See. Trigger. Open to. Presence.

And it gives for each and every type a way for them to see, be awake to where you are and the situation that's causing you a problem at the moment. Trigger, what is the trigger here? If I can actually name that demon it doesn't have power over me right. If you can name it you contain it, so to speak. Then open, beginning to breathe, and open up to all three centers of intelligence. 1, 4, 7 if you're those three numbers 2, 5, 8, if you're those three numbers 3, 6, 9 if you're those three. Then you're open to presence, your own presence, which is your truest-self. Not you're out here, ego-structure personality type that's over playing your gift and the presence of God to what is more than you.

So it's really you know it's in response to Romans; “The things I want to do, I just don't do; and the things I hate, I end up doing. Who can save me from the pit”. Right… or who can save me from the noonday demon? I wake up, I say I'm not going to do that today. I'm not going to do it and then 12 noon hits and you do the Examen, and you say, yeah I did it. Oops!

Seth I did it again and again. I did it yesterday. Why do I suck at this! Yeah I was talking about Romans last night with someone at a baseball game. We were talking about…I don't take the Bible as a literal textbook to tell you what you're allowed to do and not to do, I think it's intended to be chewed on more than that. But he did, and so he kept quoting Romans to me and I ended up quoting that scripture and then just the whole first part of Romans. I'm like if you just read the whole first missive of Romans he's basically saying

Stop being so legalistic! Stop judging people. Because as soon as you read this Bible in a legalistic way or this letter, it wouldn't be in the Bible then, you're doing the same darn thing. So now we're gonna talk about “this” we're gonna talk about, “this” we're gonna talk about the way you worship at the temple…he just looked at me. He's like “that's what it says”.

Then we can't…we can't even talk, because we don't have the common ground. That is a tangent it's just related… So

Clare No, no, no. Can I add to that?

Seth Yeah

Clare It's not a tangent because it's what the Enneagram is about. We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are and we all have a lens, you know, we're all looking at the world through our own lens. So you know somebody said don't argue with a fool because even if you win you've just made friends with a fool.

There's this idea that we all are not awake until we're able to be awake. So there is a way that many people view the Bible and so that is part of the struggle in our landscape right now. And so what we might say is that practices that help us open to more of God's presence and the true self made in the image and likeness of God.

You know Nelson Mandela said “human beings can't bear the burden of their own inherent greatness”…and so there's this part of we have been made in God's image; and when we touch into presence all that other stuff drops away. All the law, and all the prophets, drop away so this one thing loving God and loving neighbor as yourself.

Seth You start the book with a similar quote - that's from Soren Kierkegaard - which is “With God's help I shall become myself”.

Point people in the right direction. Where do they contact you or any of the other 72 authors of the book? How do they get a hold of the book, etc? Where would you send people to?

Clare So Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram is available, it's on sale right now for $17 dollars. Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram by the Calhoun's and Loughrige’s.

We have a Facebook page: Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram. We have a training actually accredited through the International Enneagram Association that is available twice a year in Marshall, Michigan. I can send you my links if people want to look at show notes, be happy to do that.

We have a website: morethanyourtype.com or Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram. So there's lots of places you can go and really love to get this wisdom out there; and you know hope that the world can be in harmony together.

Seth Yeah me me too, that would be fantastic. Well thank you again Clare. Thank you for your willingness to bend to my poor calendaring I really enjoyed the conversation, thank you so much.

Clare Thank you! Appreciate your willingness to let me come on and share with you and I love your show.

Seth Thanks

Clare I got to tell you some of the authors you've had on or my very, very favorite. I won't name them one by one but thanks for getting the word out there.

Seth Perfect, thank you.


So by now it's been it's been some time since I recorded this with Clare and begrudgingly I am learning to appreciate the Enneagram. I'm learning more about myself with it but I'm also holding it still at a steady distance but it's beginning to crack into me. I'll tell you why, I don't know but but Clare could hear it, when I started talking about you know my kids and that movie Interstellar…there it was…it was emotional. And I'm learning that that's okay and that is changing me but I'm also learning to be protective of that. I think that there may be a damage to allowing oneself to crack too quickly and maybe I'm wrong would love to hear your feedback on that. But I am intentionally letting things break away and letting that reveal whatever is beautiful underneath me; and that is frightening. It's frightening to watch what I've made the ego that I have created that I work with very well to protect myself chip away; and even just saying that sounds weird. And it's not quite right but it's the best that I can say it now and so I'm gonna end with that because I don't know how else to end. This one really hit home for me and I hope it did for you.

Big, big thank you to every single one of the patrons supporters of the show. Everyone that has rated and reviewed the show I can't thank you enough. I can't do this show without you and so thank you, so very much.

To the hope Arsenal whose music you heard blended into this episode; thank you as well.

Ben has been gracious enough to let the show use his music ,twice, and I really love it. His most recent album is just good! It's fantastic. So check him out.

You'll find links to him in the show notes as well as all the stuff from Clare.

I look forward to talking with you next week.

Be well everybody.

88 - Political Theology with Brad Jersak/Transcript

Note: Can I Say This at Church is produced for audio consumption. If able, I strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which has inflection, emotion, sarcasm where applicable, and emphasis for points that may not come across well in written word. This transcript is generated using a combination of software and human ear, and may contain errors. Please check the episode for clarity before quoting in print.

Seth Happy Monday everybody! How are you doing? I'm Seth, I'm excited that you're here and I'm just excited today. I'm happy, I’m in a good mood and I hope that comes through, at least in this intro. I don't remember if I was in a good mood when I talked with the guest today but we'll get there in a minute.

I just want to warn you so, today, we're gonna talk about two controversial things: politics theology, and uh religion will just use those interchangeable here. Fair warning, Brad Jersak who's the guest today, he says some things that really speak to the heart of, I think, the crux of the way that so many of us act talk and treat each other when it comes to politics. I like the way that he redefines what it is to have a political theology and how those two words interplay together but I don't want to give that away. Before we start, hit pause, rate and review the show on iTunes because I think that matters. I don't know why but I know that it wouldn't be an option to do so if it didn't have some purpose in the way that the internet does things. So if you just drop me a line, let me know how that is going what you think of the show.

What I could do better? Be honest with me and also shoot those to me as an email, you'll find that contact info at the website.

Another month is halfway gone at recording on this July 15th and another uptick in patron support and so thank you, every single one of you. There is not adequate words, at least not that I've found, to say thank you. Without you, every single one of you, this show would not be a thing; in any way shape or form, and it is a privilege to do this with you all. I'm I know I'm growing and if any of these shows impact you at all, speak to you at all, if you listen to it and think: “you know I should share this with person A or person B”. Consider becoming a supporter of the show at any capacity any level.

Enough of the updates! Here we go, a good conversation with Brad Jersak.


Seth Brad Jersak, it's been over a year, welcome back to the show Brad!

Brad Thanks for having me back. I can't believe it's been over a year, in fact, I have no clue what we even talked about last time a lot of waters gone under the bridge.

Seth The episode with you still is consistently one of the most downloaded. So there's you, and then two or three on hell, and a couple others that just consistently every month after that first couple weeks bump continue to creep back up, month-over-month over a month.

So we talked about the atonement, you made a Men In Black reference about Tommy Lee Jones and sin and death.

Brad very good

Seth We talked about Christus Victor and I believe you were trying to convince me of some form of that. At the beginning of that one you had said you know in your little lead-up of “tell me about you” and so we won't do that again because people can go back to episode 21 or 22, you had said that some of your training is in political theology. You started to talk about that a bit and I wanted to do that but I wasn't prepared for it; but and I said this then and I'll say it again now; those two words don't make any sense to me.

Both of those words are very, very, very, charged, and so when you say “you know I I have training in political theology'“ what does that even mean?

Brad Yeah, good question. So you're really asking me aren't you?

Seth mm-hmm.

Brad Okay let's let's break down the phrase. I really agree with you that those words are charged and so when we talk about words like politics and theology they're loaded with backstory and accretions and lots of ugliness too. Especially in America right now where politics, if you're a Christian, I wish it were a bad word, a dirty word because Christianity has so bedded itself with partisan politics and policies.

So what do I mean by political theology? I'm gonna back up just a little bit and say that that the roots of politics are not partisan Democratic culture Wars. Politics have to do with public faith, and that is, if we're going to have a faith that is more than private; yes we want a personal faith but do we really want a private faith, that has nothing to say about justice.

Well actually that's not a bad idea. We might want to fast from that for a while just because we've watched it so badly. On the other hand, our attempts at a secularized, or should we say a privatized faith, that our values free; that hasn't worked really well either. So, on the one hand, you get religious politics that has been so violent historically and yet on the other hand when we've tried to expunge our faith from from a public voice, what ends up happening is well…

How about Stalin? How about Hitler? How about Pol Pot? I mean the 20th century saw more secularized violence than all the religious wars in history put together. So simply walking away from a public faith that has a word to say about justice, from a practical point of view, it completely didn't work. But then we ride the pendulum back and we see the church in various forms trying to co-opt the political process in order to get power. Yuck, and so that's not what I'm talking about!

What I'm talking about is this. Rather than trying to take over the state, rather than trying to suck up to the state, rather than getting in bed with partisan politics…

I wonder if we could root our faith in the Hebrew prophetic tradition that cared about justice and spoke as a prophet to the to the political powers. So I'm not saying become a political power.

I'm saying that a good political theology will renounce being a chaplain to the Empire and will be a prophetic voice challenging it; like Micah did, like Amos did. And in subtle ways, or maybe not so subtle, like the early Christians did when they would say things like “Jesus is Lord” when that was on on the Emperor's coinage.

When they would say that “Jesus is the Lord and Savior of the world” that was a direct challenge to things that people like, well, the emperor of Rome for one. Where Caesar Augustus for example was claiming that and so when the church would say those kind of things they're not just talking Christology then, they're doing political theology around allegiance.

Christ wants our allegiance and he wants the values of that prophetic tradition to be part of our discourse as we push back against what, let's say left and right wing, tribalism is demanding you sign up for with their script.

So it becomes truly prophetic rather than a chaplain it shows up before each war and prays with the president

Seth Yeah …

Brad that's what I'm talking about

Seth You said we should possibly take a fast from “that”. Do you mean a fast from public faith? A fast from private faith or a fast, for a time, from justice? Like when you said that, which one of those things were you saying fast from?

Brad Yeah, that's a good question. I would say taking a fast from the political partisan alignments

Seth hmm …

Brad as our way of doing public justice, that's just completely missing the point.

So I don't want to be…I don't want to say no to public faith, but I suppose when I said maybe we need a fast, actually that might be…it might be that we need to do some detox before we do some rehab.

Because it just seems almost impossible that we could speak out on this without sounding partisan without sounding like we've been co-opted by the left or the right or that we're trying to do so.

I mean we've got to say something about what Matthew 25 says about immigrants and refugees and prisoners and compassion to the marginalized. So I don't want to abandon that either it's just so horrendous that when we try to do it we do it so badly.


Seth I find this last year, so I don't know, this'll sound weird but the offshoot of doing this podcast is somehow or another I have been given a small voice

Brad Yep

Seth and each week is the podcast grows that voice gets bigger and so I find myself muzzling, no that's not the right adjective. I find myself really intentionally choosing why I comment or say anything;on anything. So when I do comment I try to just echo what Jesus said about things and depending on the topic I'm either called a liberal, and I'm gonna use that word in the real sense of liberal like change everything liberal, or I'm also called…why are you so like you're so far over this way over here, but on this side on this issue you're so far right.

So, how, using a good praxis of political theology, how does one listening that wants to use a voice to talk about justice…and I mean, shoot, just today there's a news article where the my president, luckily you're in Canada correct..

Brad yeah

Seth so not your president. My president argued in court that migrant children that are being detained don't need soap and toothbrushes and toothpaste, like they just don't really need those. I don't even know why that's is a concern that matters. I read that and I'm like

“I should say something on this” but I don't know how to do so, well, and I don't know how to do so and represent what I want to represent, well. I don't know how to do both. Speak out and detox at the same time if that makes sense but I'm afraid…I'm afraid that nothing will get said if I can't decide how to do either.

Brad Yeah and silence is complicity of its own sort, isn't it? I mean, and so, I suppose I have two things to say about that, One is follow Jesus. Even if other parties use what you say in Jesus name, to “slot” you into their left/right, conservative-liberal, spectrum and then resist that slotting at the same time. So, let's say on the topic of refugees Christ makes that a criteria for the final judgement so this is no an application of the gospel, it's not marginal to the gospel, it's a criteria for the final judgment in Matthew 25.

So speak on that and when you do you will be called a progressive or a liberal or left-wing and then that opens the gate to say, “no that that kind of spectrum language, the spectrum itself, the whole spectrum is the world system that hates Christ”, the whole thing. Because intrinsic to the spectrum is “other-ing” and exclusion, and on the far ends, even silencing. So everybody…you're going to find yourself with strange allies on the left on the right in any given situation. But it's not because you're on the left or on the right it's because they've accidentally hit on something Jesus said at some point. But if you check their script the script is absolutely not something you're gonna be able to sign up for.

So I have a friend right now, who I color a budding friend; maybe, through my mentor Ronald Dart, who is alt-right and she just got crucified by her own people. And so I'm watching now my men my mentor take her under his wing and say, you've got to repent. Not of being on the right and moving left, you need to repent of spectrum ideology itself. That's the world and so when I talk about political theology that's my platform. That spectrum ideology is what the Bible calls factionalism and it's liberal versus conservative, right versus left, us versus them, either versus or, and so on. And I'm saying if you follow Jesus it can look like he's taking you right or left if that's the worldview you're trapped in but it's a matrix…

Seth mm-hmm

Brad and you've got to transcend the matrix by following Christ. And that means befriending people, love of enemies until they're not your enemies, until they are your neighbors; until they are your brothers and sisters. In that way we understand that the best of political theology is opposition to polarization. It's about having the maturity to hold difference in tension with the other. What we've done when Christians try to engage in it we've tried to make it about sameness and forcing people into our script and even making them obey our script by trying to take over the Senate, for example or the Supreme Court or whatever. And I'm just like, oh man, that is so worldly. That is so Imperial. That is so not public faith.

That's just the Christian Taliban;

Seth yeah

Brad left or right,

Seth mm-hmm

Brad and I'll add one thing to that, sorry to ramble on but, in terms of what I've noticed about the Christian Right is…as ugly as they can be intrinsic to their theology is fear…

Seth mm-hmm

Brad and that can make them angry and violent. But what also noticed is on the fundamentalist left they don't have that fear, and so they're free to be more cruel. And I'm like wow!

So there everybody will be mad at me now. I'm just saying that's the matrix and get out of the matrix!


Seth So, I agree with that. So I don't know, maybe four or five days ago, I was mowing the grass and I stopped to turn the lawnmower off, had the AirPods in so I can talk to my phone. I've been trying to get thoughts out as they come to me I don't know why they're there, maybe I'll write about it maybe I don't know maybe they'll go nowhere, but I basically said something similar.

That something to the effect of “I'm in a constant state of fear and right when I feel like I've moved past fear something breaks and it gives me reason to fear again. I find myself constantly falling back to, you know, if the dominoes are coming down and right, when I get where I need to be…which is probably the most uncomfortable spot to be…I find I often revert back to a tribalistic form of mentality. Because it's…it's easier and there's a community there, and I think so often when you're using a voice prophetically; I guess there's no one else there with you.

Brad Yeah, and I think part of us really needs that…that sense of belonging and I'm just saying that if you buy into tribalism to get your belonging…watch your back because that's gonna…that’s when you go off-script that's the problem. And so this person on the the alt-right, she went off-script, and it was her own people that stabbed her in the back.

Seth mm-hmm, yeah

Brad there's this song…I'm not a big Tim Minchin's fan

Seth I don’t know who that is…

Brad Tim Minchin is, he's a I think he's probably like a British pianist, who does very cynical kind of performances. But he's got this song called “Fifteen Minutes” and he's just noted this very phenomenon. Where he talks about in the few he's talking about in the future as if he's talking to Andy Warhol about what's the future gonna be like. He's like well..tell Andy Warhol this…

In the future everyone will have 15 minutes of shame…

See he said (Warhol) we'll have 15 minutes of fame and the song 15 minutes of shame. Where they become unforgivable; and so, he's kind of mocking this. He is saying “look, yeah go ahead. Pick up your pitchfork and your torch. Join the lynching! We'll go hunt the monster down”. But then he says, “but keep an eye out for the uneven ground. We'll turn on you if you stumble.”

Seth mm-hmm

Brad and he says that part of the era that we're in now, it's really where we've weaponized humiliation and he's talking about how people of your own tribe will will stab you in the back. And they'll do it in a public way, let's say like a Twitter lynching. I've just seen this with my own friends, and saying I'm like wow this is brutal!

Seth mm-hmm

Brad so okay…so we don't want that…

Oh! I see your problem Seth. You were hoping to do this and you thought it would solve your rejection issues.

Seth Me? No, no… :) — ( but maybe )

Brad Ask Jesus about that one right!…Following Jesus we'll run you into problem with your own crowd at some point because you'll go off script, but the good news is this. There are people you respect who love you who. When the crowd turns on you you can say

“yeah but you're the crowd. You're the herd, but I know Brad loves me. I don't even need to agree with Brad and he loves me. So who are you? You're just a herd!”

If you have a little posse of people that you respect and who love you that goes a long way, when it hits the fan.


Seth I don't know enough about history, outside of my own. how did the early church do this well? I don't necessarily mean, like right there, at you know…at that the early early church with Augustus Caesar; because people talk about that. That's pretty much all they'll preach on. Coming soon, you know, as we finish up the Pentecostal season and as we roll in to Christmas. Because we really only go Christmas/ Easter/Pentecost/Christmas/Easter/Pentecost; over and over and over again. So over the first thousand years/two-thousand years, of the terms, how did they practice as well? Or what did they do to model this in a way that will…I mean you and I are both Christians so obviously they did something well,…but what did they do as they're being bounced around, exiled from place to place to place to place?

Brad Okay, yeah and so in terms of public theology, what that would have looked like in the first few centuries was well one persecution by the Empire. But also in the second century the apologists were writing letters to the Emperor saying this persecution is ridiculous because look what we're doing! Wherever we go we're caring for the poor; we're making your your society, the Pax Romana, “the Peace of Rome” we we're actually serving your goals. In terms of peacemaking, in peace building.

Sometimes emperors would buy that and often they wouldn't. In other words when the Empire was their enemy Christians practiced public faith, so there's political, that looked like Matthew 25 caring for the poor the marginalized widowed. In fact some of Paul's cousins and Phillip’s daughters practiced their public faith even before he became a Christian. We called them the un-mercenary physicians because they were in Tarsus, they were well-to-do, and they had healing springs there, like spas, and they bought them because only the rich could use these. They bought them and and they welcomed prostitutes and the sick and disabled to come to their spas. They were even treating the prostitutes for sexually transmitted diseases and they were doing it for free; that's why they're called un-mercenary.

It’s free health care! So those kind of things happen in the first few centuries. Then there's this just, as it's kind of a partial truth and it's a partial myth, that when Christianity was in was endorsed by the Empire when Constantine came to power some treat that as the real fall of the church. Okay maybe in some ways it became dangerous because then the Emperor Constantine would go out and attack other people's in Jesus name. That's not what you do!

I noticed we still do it

Seth mm-hmm

Brad it's not what you do. But it's also too simplistic because at times that the church pushed back at the Emperor and was…let's say John Chrysostom was able to confront the empress of Constantinople could confront her corruptions from the pulpit as she's sitting in front of him. So there is a guy who's saying we're grateful for freedom of religion and we will speak truth to power even it's when it's right in front of us. He gets banished, two times, and he's willing to do that. So you'll hear people talk about the fall of the church when Constantine became Emperor and I'm like, that's that's partly true if we get in bed with their military industrial complex.

But on the other hand Athanasius went into exile five times for 15 years so clearly they weren't only giving in, they were speaking as prophets to the state like Nathan was to David. Even at the risk of their lives and many were martyred over that. Even once Christianity was was the official state religion, if they were honest.


Seth As I was researching for this, I'll see the church speak out about something. You know, it will at least here in America and to be honest that's where my tertiary research was. The church or pastors will see something a few of them will speak out about it and then 50 years later something will change. Then there is a lull, is there a way to practice public faith or public theology that constantly calls people to do better to love better, to take care of one another better, without the cyclical nature; or is that just inevitable.

Brad Yeah, it probably goes in and out like the tides but we could have some principles that would mitigate that. One principle would be this:

Do not try to legislate your moral-ism by taking charge of the Senate. If you could just make that commitment that this idea of legislating our moral-ism is so completely anti-gospel. That is not what God has done he hasn't made us obey Him in any way, and so rather, through Christ we hear the call to peace building, What does peace building mean?

On the one hand it means let's oppose that which causes harm. Sure that's true for sure, but, I think there's even a layer under that; and this is why I call it peace building. We're not peacemaking in the sense of you don't make somebody do anything and it's not just passive-ism, as in like you know, passive sense but rather you look at what are the underlying causes that create the desperation that bring about unjust behaviors. A good example of this is when when the twin towers fell some fundamentalists actually are just saying “well this is God sending these Jets”. Like his own missiles

Seth hmm

Brad because he wanted to punish America for gay marriage and abortion, or something like that. Right, well, I mean that's really crass. But also there were those who said how dare you ask why they did it it's just evil they are evil. They hate our freedom! That's not peace building!

Peace building is asking what on earth creates the desperation that would cause somebody to do a suicide-bombing of any kind. There was a real attack on peace builders, and I noticed this from the Beatitudes, that there's to be attitude that says blessed are the peacemakers. There's is they will be called the children of God and then the next beatitude attitude says blessed are those are persecuted for the sake of righteousness or justice, it' is the same word in Greek.

Brad in other words…when you're a peace-builder who begins to poke those buttons you will face severe retaliation. Martin Luther King Jr., for example, he didn't die because of the civil rights movement, that was way before, he was doing civil rights preaching in ‘63 & ‘64. The day before he was murdered he was preaching against the Vietnam War and the American military complex. That was, you know like, so he's going after, like, what are we doing here in the world is an empire? And although it never went to a criminal court, in civil court the CIA was indicted. And it's like okay hang on a second I don't know what we can prove…but I do know that in the more American court system, at the civil level, they indicted your secret service with murdering somebody who had been preaching against the Vietnam War the day before.

Okay! Hey, wow now we're back into the Hebrew prophetic tradition and all of that could be, like speculation, well what I just said were facts, I don't know that they actually did it. I'm just saying those are that's the data we have now. Why did I tell you that? It's just because peace builders who question why things happen tend not to be seen in a good light. Unfortunately the most vocal Christian spokespeople for faith right now are as far as I can tell are just buying into the government party or the government's foreign and domestic policies. And it's like wow did we ever lose the plot?


Seth I was having an argument with someone earlier today and he asked me…he's like well what would we do with AIPAC which is American Israel superpac. Because he was talking about Iran and everything else and he's like how do you know? How do we not go to war?

Well, I hope that we don't and, I was like, but it's…it's ridiculous that we would want to force them to demilitarize when we refuse to.

And he's like “but we have to protect ourselves”

Brad from who?

Seth we're adults here. You can't say do this and then refuse to also do that. And he's like but Israel’s our ally. I'm like, okay they also have their own nuclear weapons that we gave them so I don't..,what are we worried about her? He got so angry…

I am curious about this, so very quickly, I don't know how the demographics are in Canada but Christians will not necessarily be the majority at least not, I would say practicing Christians. I don't mean Christians on paper, your Church and Easter only Christians but actually practicing / participating Christians; so we will have to figure out a way to do this interfaith. So I'm curious your thoughts on that like very, very quickly. By the time my son has graduated from high school the political, cultural, and religious landscapes will…will be vastly different than what they are now. So how do we either prepare for that or just proactively engage in it in a way that respects both traditions regardless of the tradition?

Brad Yeah that's a great question because our answers to that have been unbelievably short-sighted. As if there won't be a shift at some point and we'll prevent that shift, you know through anti-immigration laws or something crazy like that,

Seth sure because that's always worked in the past.

Brad so my critics will go “you're just saying open the borders”. No I'm not, not saying that. I'm just saying the way things are going your grandchildren are facing something that you better hope…you better hope people treat your grandchildren kindly when they're the minority. How do you best do that? By clamping down on people now; or by treating them so kindly that they remember and that their grandchildren show gratitude?

Right, so let's take Christianity and Islam for example-there are of course toxic versions of Islam just as there are toxic and violent forms of Christianity. It seems to me and this will come back sort of transcending spectrum ideology. It seems to me that we have really good allies who are peacemaking Muslims, and if we can befriend those peacemaking Muslims I see two stages to really taking that next level.

One is: first of all we find the common ground. Most Muslims in the world, in fact nearly all of them, their hopes and dreams are for a peaceful society where they're not being bombed or wasting their money on missiles. They want to have good hospitals and good schools for their children. They want to see their children grow up and flourish just like us.

So that's good common ground, in fact we have more common ground than we do if let's say the secular Israeli state, for example, and even among our Jewish brothers and sisters we've got real pacemakers that we can work with who are opposing the oppression of Palestinian people, for example. They're not self-hating Jews, they are Jews who have paid attention to their own prophets and so should we.

Okay so having said all of that so the first thing is we can look for some of those common grounds. By the way any god-fearing Quran keeping Muslim is a follower of Jesus. They absolutely believe that Jesus is alive, he's not just a good teacher, he's the Messiah. He's coming again, he'll overcome the Antichrist and establish God's kingdom on earth. That's Muslim theology and for those who push back at that—go learn from them and ask them, ”you know tell me about Jesus” and if their Imam is not teaching that he's gone off track.

So how do I know this? Because I'm friends with Imams. I'm friends with with a Safi kaskus who's a translator of the Quran and he's like of course every good Muslim would be a Jesus follower.

So I'm like, okay, we've got some common ground and then I would go next stage and say…

What if we took the relationship a level higher to where we acknowledge our differences, like, I mean core differences. Where Safi cannot believe Jesus is divine and I must believe he is. How shall we then live? Well, shall we bomb each other? No we will honor difference, we will have the maturity to hold difference, and to love one another even with a covenant love; since the God of Abraham conferred covenants on both Isaac and Ishmael. And to say, you know you see this God very differently than I, and you must if you're a true Muslim, and yeah..we intend to worship the God of Abraham and the God of Abraham has a commission that we're to fulfill and that is that every family and yours would be blessed.

Could we do that even while we disagree on some core theologies like our Christology? Safi says yes and I say yes. So that's working for us and it'll probably happen from ground up but you're also gonna get the nut jobs.

Seth yeah

Brad but that's down on the spectrum and we don't live there.


Seth So the next biggest segment that everyone will engage with will be those that hold, you know, that there is either no God or that if there is one I don't really care, you know atheists or agnostics. While we can find common ground in that we're both humans how would you do that when you don't have a similar Christology?

Brad yeah

Seth Because I have no religion to fall back on. All you have is politics or maybe shared community or maybe our kids playing the same baseball team, you know something like that. The circle of overlap, maybe I'm wrong, maybe, but I feel like it would be smaller though.

Brad Yeah in some ways theologically it would be but in terms of Christ-like value systems maybe not. Here's what I mean. I know some desperately un-Christ-like Christians who are anti-humanist. They believe that people are fundamentally corrupt and depraved and they really dehumanize anybody who's not in Christ in their mind. So that, and in fact I've been told you know, we need to think of them as zombies they're dead, spiritually. And I’m like “oh my goodness I don't know what that is but it's not it's not Christianity!” and yet it's pretty dominant out there at least in circles we've rubbed shoulders with right?

Seth mm-hmm

Brad On the other hand we've got the father of humanism, Erasmus the great Church reformer who chose not to break ties with Rome. But what he's doing is he's riffing off the eastern Greek fathers who said “no at your core every human on this planet continues to bear the image of God even if it's been tarnished and our roll is to see that diamond beneath the tarnish and to proclaim its goodness and to introduce a good news message that actually cleanses that tarnish”.

Well I know lots of atheists who see the dignity of every human being, they would call themselves secular humanists. So who do I have more in common with…the secular humanists or the Christian de-humanists?

So, yeah again, with them I'm like okay we're gonna have core differences but could we agree on some key things that I believe are actually Christian values? The dignity of every human being, the diamond that is each person.

So today I was at a harm reduction seminar and my friend, Ward Draper, from Five and Two ministries was a speaker. So this is in a public college, very secularized society, and he was able to say…”you may see it differently than I because I see Christ in everybody. You might call it something else but could we agree on the dignity of human every human we meet?” and everybody's like absolutely! It was unbelievable and a beautiful common ground. But also he didn't have to shrink back on his core belief system and they didn't expect them to. So that was pretty amazing.

Seth I like that. I don't know much about Canada…do y'all do public theology better on that side of the latitude line then we do? If so, what can we learn from that?

Brad I don't know that we do. We have different problems, I would say ours are in some ways more subtle. What we observe from up here as we look South is…we're shocked and we're kind of smug and we say we have our own “quieter, more passive-aggressive” issues. So I would say it like this, in Canada you might learn from us in terms of the honor that we are trying to restore to our First Nations or Aboriginal peoples.

Really learning from them about things to do with justice like restorative justice. That's something that I think we've seen good fruit from that you might actually be able to bear as well. I will say this though, whereas in America, your highest moral value is freedom. Even if it means killing someone, okay I see that as deeply problematic but our highest moral value is tolerance

Seth hmm I see

Brad and now here's the ugly part about that. When you make freedom your highest moral value you will kill anybody who tries to interrupt your freedom. But when you make tolerance your highest moral value you will demonize anyone who makes a truth claim.

Seth hmm - laughter

Brad and so tolerance becomes very, very, intolerant, which is mostly okay in Canada because we're so far beyond you in terms of secularization. We don't have a powerful Christian Lobby and that's really helped us. But on the other hand it means that Christians can feel defensive and then they start lashing out, or they can be silenced in ways they shouldn't be and so here's the interesting thing. I'm not a pluralist, meaning that all paths are valid, well I don't think that. I think all paths are actually fulfilled best in Christ and my tolerant secularist friends hate that. But pluralism, that's how we do battle, we say hey wait a minute I thought were pluralist that means Christians get a voice. Actually if we have lots of voices and we're one of them we think we'll do pretty good because we have the best news on the block.

So my mentor, Ron Dart, who taught me political theology he serves in a public university and so his battle is with secularism where he says; “What do you mean we can't have a Christian chair and a Sikh chair and a Buddhist chair in a university I thought we were tolerant?”. He is a like a genius at this and I'm seeing people's fath restored as they enter his pluralist classes. He's got Muslims and Buddhists showing up for his Muslim and Buddhist classes and saying he's honoring their tradition.

Seth yeah

Brad and then that gives them space to make a case for his tradition. And kids who've lost their way, especially ex-Church kids are kind of finding their way back.

Seth nice

Brad yeah it's so good. So that's a real, ongoing, concern in Canada. Where it's like we're battling secularism using pluralism to give Christianity a voice and we may lose that one but we're working at it.

I think it's more subtle, you can see it's more subtle, than just trying to take over the Supreme Court with conservative right-wing Christians.

Seth Yeah, so earlier, you talked about prophetic voices and I'd like to give people some resources as we wrap up what are two, three, four, whatever voices that people can engage with that are maybe coming at this from a different angle. I don't even care if they're American or Canadian or British or Australian, I don't care where they're from, what are some of those current active voices that are doing work that you find impactful or prophetic. Voice that maybe we won't necessarily realize until what's too late.

Brad I can give you specific examples. I want to start by online education we're I'm part of an online school called IRPJ.org, it stands for the Institute for Religion Peace and Justice. What we're doing is we have Canadians / Americans and also guest lecturers from the UK and from across the sea and Asia; from Australia from India. We are talking about a Christian theology of peace: specifically that peace building that I was talking about where you're looking to to undergird things. Dr. Andrew Klager is the director of that, I'm a core lecturer for it, but we've also got got a whole variety of wonderful guest lecturers.

I'll just name one of them is a grandson of Gandhi, so students could join a cohort with us and you're gonna get like online access even some face-time in as a cohort with with guys like him. So IRPJ.org is a place where you get education. In terms of voices that I'm listening to right now, I think, you've got Stanley Hauerwas he's really good and also Walter Brueggemann

Seth mm-hmm

Brad these are senior statesmen in the body of Christ who know how to use the Scriptures as that Nathan kind of prophet, that holds the Empire's feet the the fire; and they're just there eloquent and we're talking like 70s and 80s now that these are guys are seasoned and they know their scriptures and they know public faith and they're really good at it. On the younger front we've got Bryan's Zahnd and so he's the pastor of Word of Life Church and he's written a bunch of books that are about public faith as well. He's really pushing back in terms of against militarism and nationalism and patriotism which becomes an ideology and he's actually saying that much of what passes for “act of American Christianity” is really just civil religion with a thin veneer of Jesus talk on it. He's written books like Farewell To Mars, and that would be a good one by him on that topic.

In terms of activism i also follow Shane Claiborne on Twitter and he's really saying look at if Christianity claims to be pro-life what's with this Christian promotion of the death penalty and I mean Christian promotion. Then there's a Yale scholar named Miroslav Volf, and he wrote an amazing book on called exclusion and embrace and he's a real voice for political political theology of peacebuilding and forgiveness; he's magnificent. So that's some people I'm paying attention to you right now.

Seth Well I know some of those voices, quite a few of I don't and so you see me keep darting over, I'm taking notes on that, because I find and I don't know maybe you agree, as I read and I read a lot for this but also just a lot and I like the bibliography almost as much as I like the books anymore. I'll see somebody says I'm like oh that's number two and then stop, pause, go buy the book, and then I get stuck in that book. I find I'm not finishing books I just keep going from one bibliography to the next which leads me to this…so I know that you have a new book coming out later this year.

I'd like, if you want, what is that about? Why should people get it and then how do they get in touch with you as I listen to this? If they are like, “I kind of like what you're saying Brad I have more questions”. Wrap all that up for me.

Brad Sure, so the book I have coming out…I hope to have two books out this fall. One is called A More Christ-like Way and it is a follow-up to a previous book I wrote called A More Christ-like God; and in the first book we're talking about how Christ shows us the very nature of God as self-giving, radically forgiving, co-suffering love. We see the image of God in clearest focus on the cross, where God is love and he's not retributive. He's all about restoration and redemption and that's where this world is heading. But A More Christ-like way then says, '“What does this look like in practice"?” and we're not looking at Christian examples for that. We're looking at Jesus’ humanity, in his teachings, in terms of…here's the way of cruciform, that means cross-shaped love. What is a way of living look like that involves self-giving, radically forgiving, co-suffering love?

And so in that book I'm gonna do, like I have, I critique four counterfeit ways. I critique moralism, I critique partisan a-moralism, I critique this spectrum factionalism, that we talked about, and I critique, sort of, nationalism and civil religion. Then I go into seven facets of the Jesus way. That the radical ,meaning roots, going back to the roots what are the radicals of his way and it's that involves forgiveness it involves inclusion it involves surrender and so on. So that's where that book is going…

The other book you might find interesting is called in IN; and I'm still working on the subtitle, but the idea is that we've got these two ditches. In one ditch we want to uphold the uniqueness of Jesus but that can go into a ditch of exclusivism where we're God's little club and everyone is out, you know. And we also want to talk about God's all-inclusive love, but that can go in the ditch of pluralism. Where it's like everything counts…who cares anyway?

What I want to do in this book IN, is to say, we need to hold these two truths together. The unique revelation of God's all-inclusive love, and I use as a starting point the story of Cornelius who before he's a Christian God already calls him clean and righteous and accepted.

Seth Yeah

Brad So there's the inclusion. But then Peter doesn't say “Oh! Then he doesn't need Jesus!” he goes, “Oh you're ripe to hear about Jesus!” and then he shares this unique truth claim of Jesus that leads to this profound experience of the Holy Spirit and such that Cornelius comes to know God in a way he didn't before. So, I think that story holds together the uniqueness of Jesus and the inclusiveness of God and so that's what that book is about.

Seth Two at the same time though, that seems to be a bit…

Brad Well it had to do with word count and content. A More Christ-like way used to be longer; and so I extracted elements of that, on the inclusion issue, that makes sense and made it its own work. That's what's going on there.

Seth I was like, “Yeah, I can't hardly read two books at one time and you're writing two it the same…”

Brad Well good, it's as bad as it sounds and you're right.

Seth Well, Brad, as always I love your voice and thank you so much for coming on. Appreciate the work that you're doing and I just, on-air, I'll ask…I'd love to have you back on to talk about either of those other two topics, specifically IN, something in that piques my interest. When are those out?

Brad A More Christ-like Way is out in September and IN, I'm not sure, but it'll be this year. So you can visit me at BradJersak.com or you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. But if you have an actual question I don't want it to fall between the cracks and so your listeners are free to email me at BradJersak at gmail.com. That's the best way to get hold of me where I won't just lose your message.

Seth Absolutely! Thank you again so much for your time tonight I've really enjoyed the conversation.

Brad I'll be back.


I'm really struggling with a lot of that. So some of the things that Brad says really impact me. Really, really, really, impact me; and I know personally, I had the conversation and then I edited it I've listened to it again since then and I'm probably gonna have to listen to it a few more times after release. So, so, much in here. I hope that something that Brad said you can take home. Specificallycthe way that you make space for one another in the way how that forces us to allow voices from the minority positions and the majority positions to have equal say in conversations. I think that's important, I think so often we forget how to do that well. I think, you know, alot of what I talked about with Jared, (a few weeks ago) and a lot about what I've been dealing with lately; I think it's because, you know, the political climate is engaging this time of year.

There's just so much that goes on with all that at least here in America, so let me know what you thought of this show. Shoot me an email, hit me on Twitter whatever works for you really.

Thank you so much to the band, Wimberly, you'll find links to their music that was used today in the shownotes. They had their album that came out recently that I'm really enjoying you will find links to them and how they get in touch with them as well as Brad and all the other information for the show in the notes and you'll find that music in the Spotify playlist for Can I Say This at Church.

I appreciate every single one of you. I will talk to you next week.

Be well and blessings to you all.