God Help Us – The Old Testament


The Old Testament (1)

Very few people change their mind about the Bible because of logic or study. Until you address the emotional commitment, you won’t see real change.

In this episode, the Rev. Dr. J. P. Kang joins Annie to discuss the Old Testament. J. P. has been an Associate Pastor at Japanese Presbyterian Church of Seattle since 2009 and an Affiliate member of the Theology Faculty at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology since 2014 where he teaches biblical languages and literature. 

The son of Presbyterian missionaries, he grew up in Africa and Asia before returning to the U.S. for higher education, which was when he began to discern a call to ministry.

J. P. is here to help Annie unpack both what the Old Testament is and isn’t – and then to discuss some of how the Old Testament is used culturally and politically today in the US. 

In this episode, J. P. recommends Aviya Kushner’s The Grammar of God; Robert Alter’s The Hebrew Bible; David Carr’s Holy Resilience; Mark Smith’s The Genesis of Good and Evil; Emily M. D. Scott’s article “The Bible’s #MeToo Problem”; Jacqueline Vayntrub’s “Sexy Sunday School: Naughty Bible Translation”; and Bruce Metzger’s New York Times obituary.

Find more content from J. P. on his church’s website, jpresby.org.

Finally, a special announcement! Annie is collaborating with Coastland Commons, a New Worshipping Community of the Presbyterian Church (USA), that gathers every month for dinner, conversation, and to engage in spiritual practices. Annie will be partnering with them for their October event and would love to see you there! It’s Monday, October 21, 6-8pm at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Ballard. Keep an eye on our social media for more details in the coming weeks!

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash.

Advertisements

God Help Us – Crisis in the Catholic Church


w_ Rick Gaillardetz (1)

I have an obligation to hear the stories of pain and marginalization as best as I can, and then to look at my tradition and say, ‘is it worth fighting for?’

In this episode, Dr. Richard Gaillardetz joins Annie to discuss crises in the Catholic church. Rick is a Catholic lay theologian and a professor at Boston College who studies and teaches on the Catholic church. A husband and father of four, Rick has his PhD in theology and is a prolific author.

Treating the sexual abuse perpetrated by priests as a symptom of more fundamental issues in the church, Rick identifies three deeper crises: clerical culture, authority, and gender and sexuality. He advocates for reforms that address the root issues to prevent more violent and tragic symptoms from continuing to emerge. We also discuss the politics of demonization and the importance of disagreeing well.

For further exploration, Rick recommends reading Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church by Marie Keenan, Clericalism: the Death of Priesthood by George Wilson, and a paper produced by the Boston College Priesthood Seminar entitled “To Serve the People of God.”

Find Rick’s publications and speaking schedule at gaillardetz.com

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

Photo by Jenny Marvin on Unsplash

God Help Us Replay – Women with Authority


Women w Authority

The assumptions that we bring to scripture influence our interpretation and even our translation – and not always for the best.

Throughout the history of Christianity, people have used the Bible to try to ban women from leading. In this episode of God Help Us, I talk with Pastor Kari Olson about what the Bible says about women having authority in the church and over men and what those implications might be for our social and political lives as well, in a country steeped in Christian heritage.

Originally from Seattle, Kari has her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, is the pastor of East Falls Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA, and serves on the board of Young Clergy Women International. In this episode, she mentions the books Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans and Junia: First Woman Apostle by Eldon Jay Epp. For further reading, she recommends Young Clergy Women International’s online magazine and the Women’s Bible Commentary.

You can find more content from Kari and reach out to her via fallspres.org and by following East Falls Presbyterian Church on Facebook.

Two sites I mention in this episode are The Junia Project, a progressive site about egalitarian leadership – and Desiring God, a site by John Piper that promotes hierarchical gender roles.

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

God Help Us Replay – Complicating the Narrative


Complicating Banner

Who’s story’s getting left out? What story’s getting trampled on? How can I be part of lifting those voices to the surface?

In this episode of God Help Us, Kelsey Wallace, a PhD student in the Bible and Cultures program at Drew Theological School, joins Annie to discuss the biblical story of Jephthah’s daughter as told in Judges 11:29-40.

One of the many nameless women in the Bible who suffers terrible and senseless violence, Jephthah’s daughter has been largely forgotten by many of us. We offer a feminist reading of the story and relate it to the #MeToo movement and family separation at the US/Mexico border and even slip in an anecdote from Lindy West’s book, Shrill.

For further study on our topic, Kelsey recommends the Women’s Bible Commentary, a series of biblical commentaries by Bloomsbury Publishing called “The Feminist Companion To…”, and publications by the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. For more from Kelsey, visit kelseyerinwallace.com and follow her on Twitter @kwall03.

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

Photo by Alex Ronsdorf on Unsplash

God Help Us Replay – Empire


Empire Banner

Christianity becomes a power complex and so it’s no longer used as a tool for love, but for domination.

One of the best teachers I’ve ever had is Dr. Angela Parker, a brilliant womanist new testament scholar who challenges me to interrogate my reading of the biblical text and to question where I place myself in the narratives I find there. In this episode of God Help Us, she and I sit down to talk about the Bible’s relevance to our 2018 world – both as a tool of empire used to colonize bodies (thank you, Jeff Sessions and Roy Moore) and as a collection of stories of ancient people connecting with each other and the Divine.

Angela is an assistant professor of biblical studies at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Angela has a PhD in Bible, Culture, and Hermeneutics with an emphasis on the New Testament. In this episode, she recommends a number of resources for further exploration – Racializing Jesus, by Shawn Kelley; Postcolonial Feminist Interpretations of the Bible, by Musa Dube; podcasts she has recorded with Dan Allender such as this one on power and hierarchy in biblical Corinth; and “Can’t Stop the Feelings: Anger and Identity in Mark 6:17-29,” an article she published in The Other Journal.

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

God Help Us Replay – Church


Church Replay Banner

How do we move into a place of wholeness and then desire? And then what I love about the church is the collective power it has for good.

Jen is a great person to talk to about church: the good, the bad, the unexpected. She has no illusions about the institution and yet she loves the body of Christ and leading within it. I always learn something new when I talk with Jen, so here’s her episode once again on church: what it is and what it could be. Enjoy!

For more from Jen, check out her sermons at Left Hand Church, particularly their series called “We are Family.” You can also follow Left Hand on Facebook and find Jen’s blog at jenniferjepsen.org. Great resources for finding affirming, egalitarian churches in your area are The W/ Collective and Church Clarity.

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

Photo by Rishav Banerji on Unsplash.

 

God Help Us – Church Clarity


Clarity Banner

Non-affirming policies are, I think, harmful. But there’s an extra level of harm when those policies are covered over and revealed only after a significant level of investment.

Can women and queer people be church leaders? Christian congregations hold a wide variety of beliefs on both counts – but all too often, people experience a bait-and-switch, attending a church for months or even years before being denied a leadership role due to their gender and/or sexuality.

Church Clarity is a crowd-sourced database that scores congregations based on their level of transparency. My guest, Sarah Ngu, is a co-founder of the site, and for her, clarity is a political act of redistributing power and holding industry leaders accountable.

In addition to her work with Church Clarity, Sarah is a writer, speaker, ministry leader, and host of the Religious Socialism podcast. Resources she recommends are: churchclarity.org’s FAQ page and resource page as well as this specific blog post on North Point Ministries. Find more content from Sarah at religioussocialism.org, at sarahngu.com, and by following her on Twitter @sarahngu.

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

Photo by John Cafazza on Unsplash

God Help Us – Interfaith Collaboration


Interfaith Collaboration.png

The more I’m studying this book that I’ve been told my whole life to study, the more it’s actually causing me to drift away from the world that told me to study it.

In this episode, Annie talks with Michael Hidalgo, lead pastor of Denver Community Church. He’s the host of the Changing Faith Podcast, and the author of two books: Unlost: Being Found by the One We Are Looking For, and Changing Faith: Questions, Doubts, and Choices about the Unchanging God.

Michael is also involved with the Interfaith Alliance – which is pretty much what it sounds like, a group of individuals and faith communities from a variety of religions (and also traditions within those religions) that work together to address problems in their community, whether that be advocating to stop gun violence or finding creative solutions to Denver’s housing crisis.

Interfaith work is particularly significant for Michael because, although he’s not anymore, he used to be a conservative evangelical. He and I both grew up with a similar understanding, which is that because Jesus is The Way, all the other ways are ultimately not the way. And that kind of belief can make it very difficult to form genuine and loving relationships with people of other faiths in which you can fully appreciate and respect the other person’s beliefs.

As Michael’s faith shifted, so did his ability to join people of other faiths in working toward their common desires for the life of their communities and their city. So we talk about what that looks like for Michael and hopefully what that could look like for the rest of us who are interested in taking a similar approach to community activism.

Michael recommends reading The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, by M. Scott Peck and Mending the Divides, by Jer Swigart and John Huckins. You can find more content from Michael at michael-hidalgo.com, on Instagram @michaeljhidalgo and on Facebook at Michael Hidalgo.

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

God Help Us – Civility


Civility

We need strong leaders who can try to set a different agenda, regardless of what the political consequences might be.

That takes some courage.

In this episode, presidential historian Mike Purdy joins Annie to talk about about civility in civic discourse and his new book, 101 Presidential Insults: What they Really Thought about Each Other and What It Means to Us.

Mike is the founder of presidentialhistory.com, which includes his award-winning blog and other presidential resources. He writes, speaks, and podcasts on presidential history and politics and has been interviewed by and quoted in a variety of national and international media outlets including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Reuters, Bloomberg BNA, The Huffington Post, and BBC. And he is a regular opinion contributor to TheHill.com.

We talk about historical presidential relationships, the current president, and what it will take to successfully oust Trump in the upcoming election, ideally while truly living into our values for equity, justice, and care, not only in our actions, but maybe especially in our words.

In addition to his own book, Mike recommends reading The Soul of America by John Meacham and The Case for Civility – and Why Our Future Depends on It by Os Guinness. Follow Mike’s work and find links to his contributions to national media outlets at presidentialhistory.com, follow him on Twitter @PresHistory, Facebook, and Instagram @PresidentialHistorian.

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

God Help Us – Augustine


Augustine

It’s not just my experience – it’s my experience and your experience and somebody else’s experience and how they interact with each other.

 

This episode is dedicated to the great Rachel Held Evans who passed away on May 4, 2019. Please hold her family in your hearts in the wake of their deep loss.

In this episode, Annie is joined by Lauren D. Sawyer to talk about a curious and problematic figure in Christian history: Augustine. His legacy has perpetuated some harmful beliefs about original sin, and in particular sexuality and desire and that’s why he’s worth knowing about.

Lauren is a Ph.D. student in Christian Social Ethics at Drew Theological School. Her current research focuses on how women and LGBTQ folks develop moral agency under the constraints of white evangelical purity culture. And she also works as Submissions Editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.

Lauren recommends Feminist Interpretations of Augustine, edited by Judith Stark; Desire and Delight by Margaret Miles; and Confessions by Augustine – translated by Sarah Ruden. Follow Lauren on Twitter @ldsawyer and find her work at laurendsawyer.com.

 

Like God Help Us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe via iTunes or Google Play. You can also stream episodes here. Have a request for future guests or topics? Send me an email!

Support God Help Us with a financial contribution at patreon.com/anniemesaros and get monthly bonus content!

Thanks for listening! Until next time, God help us.

%d bloggers like this: